Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making Rose Beads - How Tuesday

Making rose beads is steeped in history although the actual origin of the making of these beads is not exactly clear.  It is known that the rose plant and rose flower has long been associated with Mary the mother of Jesus.  Many older varieties of roses had only five petals and were said to represent the five wounds of Jesus.
The word rosary means rose garden and came from when the Monks would gather petals from their rose gardens and make rose beads. The beads were strung to help them count their prayers. A special remembrance you can create can be made from roses collected from a special occasion.  The long lasting scent of the beads will help recall that same special event.
Steps in Making Rose Beads:
1.  Gather roses. Remove the petals and chop them finely.
2.  In a cast-iron cooking container, place a quart of fresh, finely-minced red rose petals, a cup of water, a few drops of rose oil to enhance the scent, and rusty nails, if you have any.  Turn the heat on medium-low and let the petals cook for one hour. Do not let the water boil. Remove from heat, stir well with a wooden spoon, and let it stand overnight. Repeat this heating of the petals for three or four days, adding water if necessary, until the doughy mixture has turned very dark.

3.  Place the petal pulp in a colander or sieve. Press out as much water as possible. Let the mixture stand until it dries to a clay-like consistency that can be easily molded. Wet your hands and roll into beads a little larger than a marble. (They will shrink about fifty percent as they dry.) Place on paper towels.
4.  Allow the beads to air dry. 
5.  When the beads are partly dry and therefore stable, thread a large needle with dental floss or thick fishing line. (I perfer the fish line.)  String the beads, and hang them to dry, turning regularly so that they don't stick to the floss.

6.  In a week, your rose beads are ready for their final stringing. Alternate them with smaller, pretty beads used as spacers, or use wire links. Add a clasp.
7.  Store in an air-tight container between wearings to preserve the scent. As you wear them against your skin, they will warm and give off a sweet rose fragrance.

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