Eco Lassie wants to encourage you to green up your holidays, using natural decorations that can come to mind simply by looking outside your own window for inspiration. Keep this idea in mind at other times of the year, and when you see dried flowers, berries, or large leaves that might work, keep them in a basket for your decorating use. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for such things as discarded birds nests, nuts, grasses, and seed pods, too.
Living in a pine forest in North Carolina, I have a huge supply of pine cones at my disposal. I use them spray painted them and toss them in a bowl for a spot of color anywhere.
And if you add some bits of ribbon and tiny baubles, like Christmas Geek did here, you’ve got a cute decoration to use anywhere.
Eco Lassie has had her grandchildren use that old standard: roll cones in softened plain peanut butter and then in bird seed. Add a ribbon for hanging, and they go outside for the birds to enjoy, a Christmas treat. If you supervise and use old pie plates, you can contain the mess and give the birds their winter surprise.
Here’s another great green idea: Recycle those tomato cages out of season. They make great forms for trees. Wire branches and boughs you’ve cut onto the forms, overlapping to give them a natural form. In a pinch you can use an old wired evergreen garland from your attic. Add lights and those spray painted pine cones, crown it with a ribbon bow, and you’ve got a neat tree to stand beside your front door to welcome visitors.
This is where old timey popcorn and cranberry garlands can be pressed into service, too, adding color for outside and doubling as bird food. Kids love to string popcorn, too.
More pine cones to the rescue for a scented natural wreath:
Choose your favorite holiday scent. I like cinnamon, orange rind and balsam oil mixed. You can get essential oils in other scents, such as nutmeg, coves, evergreen and cedar, for example. Get those pine cones out and wire them to a simple wreath you’ve made by wiring boughs to a form. Hot glue or wire the pine cones, painted or natural, in bunches or singles, in an arrangement that pleases you on the wreath. For my scents, my wreath has dried orange slices, whole cinnamon sticks, and spray painted pine cones that I’ve added a spritz of spray glue to and then glitter. I might add a few different leaves I’ve spray painted, too. Now use a Q-tip dipped in your essential oil to dab here and there on the cones. Glue on several small bows or one large one if you like, or leave it natural. This fragrant wreath will welcome your guests at your door with the scents of winter. You can add lights, berries, anything you’ve gathered in your yard.
Here’s another idea: gather interesting branches of whatever grows where you live–grapevines, fir, cedar, any neat branch works. Hand form these into a fan shape and weave with florist wire to secure the shape you want. Cover the wired bottom with a decorative ribbon. You can add those berries you saved, in clusters, a few dried flowers, maybe even some shiny leaves spray painted in a contrasting color–whatever strikes you creatively. These fans look great over doorways or windows, or you can leave your ends long and stand your fan in a jug near the door. Turn it upside down, and they look great on a newel post. Add those cinnamon sticksand you’ve added fragrance, too.
We have a few magnolia trees, and their large, shiny leaves look great sprayed gold and places along a mantel. Living along a river, I also have access to shells. These can be simply hung au natural from a bit of glued-on ribbon, or spray painted and glittered.
If you’re fortunate enough to have late-blooming roses, you can dry these and spray paint them, or add glitter glue for use in any of the above ideas.
One last idea: drop small cranberries, mini pine cones, acorns, holly, etc. in a jello ring mold. Fill with water and freeze. Unmold into a holiday punch to keep it cool. Just remember to check the mold as it melts and remove your bits before they float into the punch!
Eco Lassie hopes these ideas will encourage you to look our your windows with an eye to how you can bring your outside inside! Happy Holidays to all!