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Celebrate World Read Aloud Day with Author Carole Marsh!

Attention all CMBC members — lend us your ears, and join Carole Marsh for a reading of "The Secret Potpourri and Tussie Mussie Story" in honor of World Read Aloud Day (February 1, 2023)! After listening to Carole's reading, you can make a tussie mussie and potpourri using the instructions below.

Historical Facts About Potpourri and Tussie Mussies

  • Potpourri comes from the French word "pot pourri," which, translated, means "rotten pot." The translation may not sound very pretty, but potpourri smells lovely! A mixture of fresh herbs, flowers, and essential oils makes fragrant potpourri.

  • Egyptians placed potpourri in tombs and used it during mummification to preserve the body.

  • During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, potpourri was often strewn on the floors of castles to make the rooms smell better and to repel insects.

  • Tussie mussies are small bouquets of flowers held or worn on clothing during the Victorian era. Queen Victoria of England often carried a tussie mussie, and the trend soon caught on! People copied the queen and placed their tussie mussies in posy holders — a small, cone-shaped ornament they could pin to their clothing. These holders could be simple or elaborately decorated with stones.

  • Today, the term "tussie mussie" is used to describe both the small bouquet and the cone-shaped holder.

How to Make Potpourri

You can make your very own sweet-smelling potpourri by going outdoors! Ask your parent to help you collect pine needles, flowers, and pine cones in your backyard and put them in a plastic sandwich bag. Next, ask your parent for spices and herbs from their spice cabinet, such as rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, and parsley. Add these to your bag, along with a few drops of essential oil. You can also add dried flowers, rose petals, orange rind, bits of ribbon, and rice. Mix everything and place it in a bowl or in your tussie mussie.

How to Make a Tussie Mussie

Download the pattern below and trace it on colored construction paper. Next, carefully cut the pattern along the dotted lines. Roll the paper into a cone and glue or tape the edges where they cross over one another. You can decorate your tussie mussie with lace, ribbons, and stickers. When you're done decorating your tussie mussie, fill it with a bouquet or potpourri.

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