Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Simply Natural Ornaments

We're pretty busy putting the finishing touches on the next issue, so I thought I'd post something from The Essential Herbal holiday issue the first year - 2002. We did an article listing ways to make things to decorate the tree.

There are so many beautiful ways to decorate the Yule tree without spending too much money. It does require a bit of forethought, but the results are well worth it. Here are some ideas.....
* The flowers that were pressed during the summer make lovely decorations if you have access to a laminator. Clear contact paper works too, but will not be as defined. Lunaria makes a great background. Add some deep blue larkspur, maybe some monarda, some arborvitae or boxwood leaves. Cut close to the flowers to avoid big empty areas. Punch a hole and add a ribbon.
* When peeling and eating citrus fruit, keep the peel as intact as possible. Use cookie cutters or scissors to cut out stars, hearts, or whatever shape you like. Cut a hole for hanging before drying. To dry flat, put a weight on top for a few days... although they will still curl a bit.
* Miniature (4") garlands are fun and fragrant. Soak 2' cinnamon sticks in warm watter to soften them. Combine with bay leaves, and string. Rosehips are a nice touch too.
* As a change from the traditional cranberry and popcorn garland, try a spice garland for incredible scent. Gather juniper berries, allspice, rosehips, 1" cinnamon pieces, cardamom pods in green and white, tonka beans or vanilla beans, star anise and hawthorne berries. Put all the hard dried spices in a large bowl of warm water. In a few minutes they will be soft enough for a needle to pierce. String with abandon. If these are stored properly to avoid tangles, they will last for years.
* Make tiny tussie mussies with dried flowers. Put lace around the outside, and glue small spring clothes pins to hang them from.
* Cut small dried goards to make a cup. Fill with moss, and then glue dried flowers to make a miniature floral arrangement. Drill holes in the sides to tie a ribbon handle - like a bucket.
* Use clear balls that can be opened to make tiny terrariums, using moss and wee woodland plants. If you look under the leaves, its easy to find pretty little plants to use. Mist lightly, seal, and hang.
* For a bit of sparkle, spray gold or silver paint onto pinecones and seedpods. Spray glitter works well too.
* Spice Clay Mix available at www.siblinggroup.com can be mixed with applesauce, rolled out like cookie dough, and cut with cookie cutters to make scented ornaments.

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