Rachel, I love your bio...it is a lot like mine. I too, began a new and better life. I also have discovered a love for crafts, volunteer every chance I get, and feel a sense of spiritualaity that I have always lacked in my life. I make jewelry, maybe I'll send you some pictures. I also use a lot of insence stick, but just the store bought kind, so I am curious about the ones you make. Can you explain the difference?
I'm not Rachel, but here is an idea: I grow white sage, and often gather a bunch of it, bind it fairly tightly with cotton thread, then hang it upside down in an airy place out of the direct sun for a couple of weeks. It will still feel a bit damp when ready, as there are oils in the herb. Once at this point, I have a 'smudge' stick. Light the end, and it will smoulder. Use a fan or just your hand to to fan the smoke in a room or over yourself for spiritual purification, readiness or as a prayer.
I use sweet grass and sage mixed bundles to cleanse the house and purify the energy within our home. It can be a little dangerous as pieces of smoldering sage sometimes fall off so I like to bring a small bowl around with me to catch the ashes.