While at the Avice Hill Art and Craft fair recently, I spent some time with the ladies from the Canterbury Herb Society, discussing the do’s and don’ts of dried flowers and making a fabulous and very fragrant tussie mussie. Also known as a ‘nose gay’, a tussie mussie is a Victorian-style bouquet of flowers and herbs specifically designed to be carried in a small metal vase.
Using a rose as the centrepiece, I was shown how to arrange herbs and flowers suchs as lavender, lemon balm, and angelica around it in a circular fashion, binding the stems with wool as I went. Binding the stems helps keep the flowers and herbs in place as more are added. When the bouquet was complete, we used a decorative paper doiley to frame it all and foil to cover the stems. The result was most impressive, with several people commenting on it as I wandered round.
According to the ladies, tussie-mussies became popular during the reign of Queen Victoria when the Queen herself carried one, during her excursions in public. During that era, it was thought that germs came from smell and many believed that sniffing the bouquets helped eliminate germs as well as disguising the stench from the unsanitary streets and unwashed bodies of the public. Thank goodness perfume and deodorants are now commonplace!
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Or maybe you have recently had a go at some new crafty thing and loved it?