By Christy Milan
Nature can offer us a variety of decorations for any season. We find that the foliage of evergreen boughs brings the aroma of fresh pine. Dried blooms can add an array of seasonal color. Even seedpods add “spice” and personality to any design project. A simple evergreen wreath invites the season indoors when embellished with dried teasel, milk thistle, coneflower heads or other locally harvested plants. Even something as simple and easy as a bundle of ornamental grasses can make a dramatic and classy display. Gathering things in your yard like grasses, pine cones, evergreen boughs, eucalyptus etc. can create a seasonal centerpiece you can be proud of. Glass plates and vases allow your treasures to be seen and admired.
Make table runners or tote bags by creating your own stamps out of apple wedges, potato chunks and/or other objects that have shapes and sizes you like. Just dip into the ink and press onto the item. Let dry then use them to enhance your décor. You can also use a blank table runner/cloth and put pens next to your guest’s silverware. The guests can then write what they are thankful for on the table runner/cloth. Each year you can visit the year before and remember all the things your family was thankful for.
Let kids decorate the outside of a pumpkin! Some ideas are things that they find in the yard like sticks, acorns, rocks, leaves and flowers. The ideas don’t stop there! Use shells, cinnamon sticks or slices of dried fruits etc. Use your imagination! Kids will be proud to show off their own holiday décor project to family and friends.
Marigolds bloom this time of year and offer a wide variety of colors to choose from. Bring some inside and put in a Styrofoam sphere or put them on a cake plate piled high. Other elements for a centerpiece include using food elements in your design such as blueberries, cranberries, walnuts or pecans. Including sprigs of evergreen or other ornamental grasses help bring nature and the warmth of the season to your holiday décor.
Pinecones are one of nature’s most wonderful décor items. Glitter- covered ornaments adorn lighted Christmas trees that sparkle and twinkle with Christmas magic.
Scented pinecones fill a basket and the air with scents of the season including cinnamon and pine. Just place pinecones in a Ziploc bag with your favorite scent. Shake the bag and let sit overnight. In the morning place your pinecones in your display.
Pinecones make great fire starters to keep you and your loved ones warm and cozy. Gather a few from the yard and be ready to bring a toasty fire to life with your pinecones.
Another alternative is making a bird-feeder with a pinecone. Tie a string around the base or top of the pinecone. With a spatula, carefully wedge peanut butter in between the petals of the cone, roll in birdseed, then hang it outside for your feathery friends to enjoy this holiday season.
Bring nature’s magic into your home with a Yule log. The Yule log’s modern tradition calls for it to be burned in the fireplace on Christmas Eve to inspire good fortune in the household.
You can create your own Yule log. Find a piece of wood about 12 inches in length. Decorate the log with greenery, pinecones, berries etc. Just remember, if you are going to burn it you will need to keep all the decorations natural. After you have decorated your Yule log, you can display it as a centerpiece or position it next to your fireplace in anticipation of Christmas Eve.
I hope this has inspired you to go for a walk and enjoy what nature has to offer. This is a time of year to spend with family and friends and what better way to do it than to go outside for a nature walk.