Orange Clove Pomanders

When the weather turns colder, it becomes essential to have some good indoor activities on tap for the kids (and adults, for that matter). Particularly when temperatures dip to “no exposed skin” levels and/or you have a family member fighting off a cold – which seems to be most of the winter months – it’s nice to stay hunkered down inside. When you can combine an activity with getting other items checked off your to-do list, all the better! These orange clove pomanders are simple enough to do with the kids (even Ella, at age 3, loved it) and result in great holiday décor, such as a centerpiece when grouped together. They also can serve as simple but pretty gifts to give to teachers, party hosts, and co-workers (anyone else find Secret Santa gift-giving extremely challenging?). The materials and the steps are simple, and are included below.

IMG_1136_edited-1Materials: Oranges (or other citrus fruit, if you would like), a wooden skewer (a toothpick or small nail works too), and whole cloves.
IMG_1137_edited-2DSC_2376_edited-1DSC_2392_edited-1Steps: Pierce the orange with a wooden skewer and insert whole cloves. There you have it, it’s that easy (raspberry snack optional). Ideas for what to do with the finished product, how to take things up a notch if you’re a little fancier than the Olson girls, and how to preserve the sweet smelling spheres, are all included below.

Ideas for the finished pomanders:

  • Place in a bowl with faux pine or berries and pine cones for a lovely centerpiece
  • Enclose in a cellophane bag with nice ribbon for a simple and singular gift
  • Tie a ribbon around smaller pomanders and use as fresh, fragrant ornaments on the tree
  • Use them as natural air fresheners in bowls (and even in drawers) throughout the house

If you want to take things up a notch, there are a few things you can do when decorating these with the cloves. I happen to like how they look without a lot of fuss in the design and I also happen to like how not having too much going on holds Ella’s attention and keeps both of us from getting frustrated! But if you’re fancy:

  • Make other designs in the orange with a citrus zester
  • Use rubber bands to ensure perfect straight lines
  • Finish the pomanders by rolling them in other spices such as ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Tips for pomander longevity:

The pomanders are wonderfully spicy and sweet smelling just after being pierced, but taking a few steps to dry them will prevent mold and preserve their fragrance. Enjoy them fresh for a while, but then tie twine around them and hang them in a cool dry place to dry (for about a week). Martha Stewart advises to use orrisroot powder as a drying agent. Of course she does. I don’t really know what that is, and have a feeling that it costs more than the decoration itself. I don’t like either of those factors when thinking of a fun and simple craft. But it’s an option.

Reality Check. I feel as though it’s the responsible thing to do to provide the directions about drying the pomanders, but I live in a climate where right now – between the frigid temps outside and the high furnace heat inside – I am on a constant mission to keep my hands and lips moisturized (without success). So my pomanders are going to dry naturally, just fine. I may rotate the things every once in a while, but I don’t foresee an issue with mold such that I have to take any steps with this project other than what you see above with me and Ella.


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