Christmas Foraging - Into the Woods We Go ...

Posted on October 18, 2015 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I was running around this morning finishing up a few errands when it started to snow. I noticed a fellow across the street from me glance up at the sky and stretch his hand out to catch some snowflakes. We looked at each other and both of us grinned in delight. First snow has that effect. It didn't last, of course; after all, it's only mid-October but it will come and, I'm keeping my figures crossed for piles and piles of this white stuff, especially at Christmas. 

One of the nicest memories that I always associate with Christmas is the scent of evergreen. I can't have a live Christmas tree in my flat as fire regulations and the fact that some people, after the holidays, toss their trees over their balconies to the street below, prohibit the real thing. However, I always have at least one real wreath - one I make myself or buy at the farmer's market.

Heading out into the woods is probably not a reality for most of us but if you can, gather up the kids, the family pet (if you have one), a few baskets or boxes, and get foraging. Let the kids decide what they would like to bring home and be sure that you don't harm any trees or other plants - just pick up what you find on the ground. Once you get home, remember to spread out your finds outside for an hour or two so that any residents inside the finds you brought home have time to scurry out and find new homes!

Below are a few ideas for DIY wreaths that I found online. Some of the things you will need to collect are fresh branches such as willow or grapevine, oak leaves, cones, and evergreen clippings. So get out there and forage.

Bambi Wreath / La Couronne de Noel de Bambi

The gals over at Oui Oui Oui Studio created this kid-friendly wreath with holly branches, oak leaves, tea lights and, of course, a little Bambi toy figure and some white balls. You can easily forage and find oak leaves and willow branches which are flexible enough for the kids to shape into a wreath. If you have any spare round (plastic) Christmas tree ornaments (ping pong balls would also work), get the kids to paint these white. The tea lights are battery-powered so this wreath can easily be one for the children's room.

A Foraged Wreath

This wreath is from a photo shoot at The Marion House. It was one of several wreaths made by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard for a Chatelaine magazine 2014 article. I liked this one in particular for its simplicity. It looks a bit like the Bambi wreath and everything on it can be foraged from the woods, your backyard, or a local nature park. I pick up a lot of stuff along the Rideau Canal which is close to where I live. I often find acorns, pine cones, twigs and even some evergreen boughs along the path. Of course, it's considered illegal to pick this stuff up but let's that be our secret!

A Traditional Wreath

A simple traditional DIY wreath made using spruce clippings. It's from a posting on Once Wed by photography Laura Murray. Under materials she lists a metal wreath form but as I'm encouraging you to forage, collect some fresh thin branches and wire these together instead to use as the base for your wreath (or you could recycle a wire clothes hanger). Using the branches means you can skip the floral tape, too. Just wire the spruce clippings and cones to the branch base. And skip the glue gun. Oh dear, I think I just completely redid the instructions. Oh, well - frugal me.

DIY Seasonal Wreath

My very favourite wreath is from Treasures and Travels. If I had the wall space, this would be up in a flash. It reminds me of one Christmas when my family and I were driving through Pennsylvania when I spotted a huge rusted barb wire wreath on the side of an old red barn. It's sheer size and simplicity blew me away. Ever since then, I have lusted for a similar (somewhat smaller) one for my home. Somethings, I do believe, are better, bigger.

But I digress. For this beautiful wreath you'll need flexible branches or woody vines (grapevines or whatever is growing in your neighbourhood). If you don't have vines covering your home and a neighbour does, what are you waiting for? 

Yummy Saffron and Cinnamon Wreath

Another traditional spruce wreath posted on a foodie blog and it's owner, Linda, at Call Me Cupcake offers you not only this yummy smelling saffron and cinnamon spruce wreath but an lovely edible saffron bun wreath as well. She jumps around a bit from the real wreath to the bun wreath but it's easy to see how she makes both.

Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Too pooped to post anything as I spent the day preparing photos to accompany my Christmas articles. Here's a little something I thought you might enjoy. 

I love the whole Peanuts gang - Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, and especially Charlie's little Christmas tree which this one resembles.

Photo via Anne Sage

Thanksgiving quickie

Posted on October 6, 2011 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Here's a quick and easy last-minute Thanksgiving decorating idea.  You can get it all at your local market or grocery store and no skills required. If you wax the pumpkins with floor wax (not the liquid kind, the real wax kind) and, after Thanksgiving, store in a cool dark place, these should last until next year. So will the corn without waxing.

Have fun and don't eat the entire turkey in one sitting.

Make an Easter Willow Wreath

Posted on April 18, 2011 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (2)

At the Bytown market yesterday afternoon I spotted my favourite vendor selling willow (Salix discolor) branches and, of course, I couldn't resist buying a few. I sometimes just plunk them into one of my old sap buckets and leave it at that. But this year I wanted to create a nice wreath to remind me that spring is not too far away. 

To make the wreath, I simply recycled a twig wreath that I had left over from Christmas and inserted short stems of the willow between the twigs. The wreath will last a long time but keep it out of the sun.