First, pick some roses. Go ahead and deadhead while you pick. This will encourage the bush to make more flowers. If you don't, the plant will put a lot of energy into making rose hips, which contain seeds. If you remove the heads, the bush will make more flowers to try to make more seeds.
Watch out for bees! I got stung by a bee who was sleeping inside a flower. It really hurt for a couple hours.
You only want the petals, not the leaves or hips or stems. It should be easy to separate the petals from the rest of the flower as you are picking them.
If you have time to make rose water now, you can use fresh petals. If not, lay out the petals to dry for later.
What you'll need to make rose water:
3 cups of rose petals
4 cups of water
Place the petals (no leaves or stems) and water in a pot on the stove.
Cover and heat on a low to medium flame, simmering until the water has reduced, about 30 - 60 minutes. You'll see that the petals lose their color to the water.
Remove from heat and let the water cool. Strain out the petals. Don't the colorless petals look weird?
The water has taken the color and scent (and other beneficial properties) from the rose petals.
Now you can cover the rose water and keep it in the refrigerator for about a month.
What should do with it during that month? You can put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on your face as a refreshing summer pick-me-up.
You can also use it as skin toner, after you wash your face. Just wet a cotton ball with rose water and apply it to your face. Rose water is hydrating, refreshing, energizing, cleansing, and comforting to skin. Plus it smells great!
You can pat it on under your eyes, to brighten them and make it look like you got enough sleep last night.
Take it into the shower with you and mix it with your hair conditioner to make your hair soft and shiny.
I'll be back with some more ideas on how to use your homemade rosewater.