Outside my house there is a giant cliff rose bush. It is about 8 feet high and maybe 11 feet long. Every year it blooms only once. For about 3 weeks the sweet smell infuses everything. The cool breeze brings it in the house in the night and it makes me so happy.
I have had quite a few women tell me about "love beads" made from rose petals. Apparently, way back before they had air conditioners and deodorant they had to get creative about smell here in the desert. Everyone says the exact same thing about the beads.... They are "ugly" little black beads that smell like roses when you wear them on the skin. When I ask how they are made I am always told some story about stirring them up by the light of the full moon and bathing in the liquid..... everyone was a little sketchy on the exact details.
So, imagine my delight when I purchased a book on homemade oils and incense and there in the back was the recipe for Rose love beads. Sure enough, it says the beads are "ugly and black" so I am thinking it is the same recipe I have been hearing rumors about.
1 part Rose geranium leaves
3 parts Rose petals
distilled water or rose water if you want more smell.
Remove any white stem ends from the petals. It says to infuse the petals with your intention to be love and attract love into your life. (got it?) Cover the petals with water or rose water in a Non-metallic pan. I used my canning pot and it worked out great. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. **Ensure that the mixture doesn't actually boil. Turn off the heat and let soak till the next day.
This is what it looks like after the first simmer. I kept mine outside just so it didn't get in the way during my actual cooking of food.
Repeat simmering for 30 minutes each day for 3 more days. Add water as needed. At first it doesn't smell that much but every day it gets stronger and stronger until it almost knocks you over when you open the lid.
On the last day squeeze out all the water until you have a fragrant mess. The mixture should be dry enough to hold its shape. Strain the water and save for a nice rosy hydrosol for refreshing hair and skin. (or moonlight bathing if you wish) Form into small round beads with your hands. Push a wire or needle through each one while it is still wet to form holes for stringing. Let dry for a week or so, moving them around to ensure even drying.
I just strung mine right on a string to begin with. They shrunk in size by at least half. When I do this again next year I am going to run the mix through the blender after I squeeze the water out. I hope that will make a "prettier" bead. I also learned that the mixture is very astringent. The skin on my fingers dried out and peeled off. Gloves are a good idea!
String on a red ribbon for attracting passion and a pink ribbon for lasting love. Wear these for love, add to sachets,place in your purses, drawers and so on. When worn on the body they release the most delicious scent.
....at least I like it. When I made my sister smell the concoction she said "Oh!!! It smells like grandma's closet!". So, if you're not into rose, it may make a nice gift for grandma.