With their thin skins, clementines are ideal for transforming into these petite pomanders. Pencil various designs onto the fruit, then insert cloves. Heap in a burlap-lined bowl, and tuck in clippings from the Christmas tree.
With a little imagination, brown parcel paper, some twine, festive ribbon, and nature-made embellishments are all you need to wrap gifts. Wrap your presents as usual; add the twine or ribbon. Then, simply use floral wire to attach kumquats, holly sprigs, and other seasonal decor to add a burst of color.
Purchase a package of preserved lemon leaves on stems at a crafts store or floral supply store. Remove the leaves from the stem. Take a 6-inch by 3-inch Styrofoam cone (also purchased at a crafts store) and use straight pins to attach the leaves, starting at the bottom. Cover the cone, placing the leaves so they fall below the bottom edge, as shown. Work around the bottom row, pinning each leaf at its top center and top sides to hold it in place. Move up to make the next row and continue until the entire cone is covered to the top, overlapping the leaves as you go in order to cover the pinheads. As you are making the tree (or as the leaves dry out) some of the leaves will curl out and some will lie flat, giving each tree its own shape. Add a small bow of twine at the top and set into a small (3-inch) terra-cotta pot.
Cut oranges crosswise into 3/4-inch slices to create a pinwheel effect, keeping them as uniform as possible in thickness. Lay on a baking sheet or aluminum foil in the oven set at the lowest temperature (around 150 degrees F). Leave them to bake for about four hours, then turn with a spatula, checking them every hour until they seem almost dry with a bit of moisture left so they still have an orange color (they will continue to dry at room temperature). Create a tiny hole in the top of each slice with a small paring knife, and string twine through each to hang on your tree.
Sweet Lady Apples
When picking these mini apples, try to choose the ones that are 2 inches across or smaller so theyre not too bulky (or heavy) to hang from the branches of your tree. To hang: Take a piece of floral wire long enough to poke about one third of the way through the apple (or until it feels secure), and leave enough wire to hook at the top to hang on your tree.
Add these little cornucopias to your tree as vessels for sprigs of holly and berries. Use a 12- to 14-inch bowl to make circles on brown paper or brown grocery bags. Cut out each circle, then cut it in half. Fold each semicircle into thirds so that the corners come in to form a triple-thick flattened cone. Cut through the three layers along the top to create a scalloped edge. Fold over the scallops in the front of the cone (this will be the side that faces you, if the cone is lying flat on a surface, and the overlapping corners are underneath). Squeeze in the sides to create a three-dimensional cone shape; staple together in back to secure. Thread with twine to hang. Fill with holly and berries.
Add homespun chic to your front door or mantel with this rough-hewn bootie. First, trace the stocking shape onto white burlap (find it at fabric or crafts stores). Cut out your shapes and, with the correct sides together, sew starting 3 inches down on both sides from the top (the top 3 inches will fold over to make a cuff, as shown here). Turn right side out and iron, creating a cuff with the 3-inch overlap. Fray the cuff edges to give it a rustic look by simply pulling at the loose threads of the burlap. Use twine to make a monogram letter and border at the top. Secure with a pin once you create a design you like, and sew in place. Add a dried orange threaded through the twine for added interest. Fill your new stocking with something soft but sturdy, like a layer of bubble wrap, to give it bulk and weight. Cut a manila folder or piece of stiff cardboard to fit in the top half, and place behind the bubble wrap. Place a branch of spruce between the bubble wrap and folder, and add a few other light sprigs of seeded eucalyptus or other stocking stuffers of your choice. To hang, string a piece of wire through the back top of the burlap.
Enliven a fresh garland with seasonal produce clementines, oranges, apples, and kumquats that can scent the scene now and enrich the compost pile post-holiday. Drape the mantel with greenery. Use wooden skewers to pierce fruits; then poke into garland, positioning heavier produce atop the mantel and wiring on any dangling pieces.
Potted narcissus, swaddled in burlap and tied with red twine, bring botanical beauty and fragrance to a stairwell. Buy paperwhites from a florist, or force the quick-growing bulbs starting in mid-November. By Christmas, youll have flowers that will bloom and perfume into the new year.