Winter Decorations 2011

I like to use greens from the garden to decorate for the winter holidays.  I have a large bay tree, and so I pruned some branches that were sticking out, and used the prunings as part of the greenery for the house and around the front door in containers.  Our neighbors also have tons of English laurel shrubs on their property, and they allowed me to prune some of that to use in decorating as well.  I came up with a mix of greens with more Christmas-y items, just things that I like that we’ve collected over the years.  Enjoy!

A wreath for the front door made of English laurel, a little bay leaf, and a few pine cones.

 
 

Fireplace mantle, 2011 version

The centerpiece of this arrangement is a pretty red and green dwarf bamboo that really comes into its own in December.  I put some in a tallish vase, and surrounded it with bay leaves, and the red ribbon strung through the top curlicues of the wire basket.  Some red-curled sticks coming out of the top.  Little things that I like that might not survive cat examination go up here safely for the season.  For the same reason, my favorite ornaments get hung up on the picture rail all around the living room, rather than on a tree where they would be irresistible to curious cats.
 
 

Sideboard with English laurel clippings, gold pointsetta flower and gold ribbon, and a little drum basket holding cards

 

The top of a bookcase got in the holiday spirit

 

Ornaments on the chandelier

 

China cabinet with holiday decor.

 

A festive table centerpiece. I have collected the plates and dishes over time from Goodwill. The red plate is a favorite from Johnson Brothers, an English manufacturer from the turn of last century, and the cabbage-leaf bowl is a newer addition to my small collection. Good old bamboo and bay leaves do their holiday job in a simple vase.

 
One new item I made over the weekend . . .
 
 

An ornament wreath inspired by Eddie Ross

 
This indoor wreath was pretty inexpensive to make, because most of it came from Dollar Tree–the ornaments, ribbon and wreath hanger.  The base is just a wire hanger that you shape into a circle, then hot-glue the caps onto each ornament and string them on the wire hanger.  When it’s all filled–it takes about 70-80 ornaments for this–you (carefully–it’s easy to break ornaments at this stage) twist the wire ends shut, leaving the cupped part of the hanger still in shape.  I made a loop from wire and used it to attach the wreath to the wreath hanger, and then covered the hanger with the ribbon, which I tied at the top.  I haven’t made any ornaments or decorations in years–got pretty burned out from times past–but I saw this at Eddie Ross’ site and was inspired!  Except for this, I didn’t really buy anything new, but I reused what I had on hand in different ways to give them a new look this year.
 
Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule and all of the other winter holidays and festivals found at this time of year!
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A Use For English Laurel

Many homes in Clark County have English Laurel growing as a large hedge.   It does require extensive pruning to keep it somewhat in check, but now is a great time to use some of those prunings and turn them into holiday decorations for your home.

I like to use English Laurel, with its glossy leaves, as a perfect foliage foil for use in containers.  These containers live outdoors year round, and I like to dress them up a bit for the winter holidays, and this laurel does the job.  Just stick them in the dirt in the container in artistic clumps, add a ribbon if you wish, and you are done.

English laurel is also wonderful on the mantel of the fireplace.  The shiny leaves stay green for at least 3 weeks or more indoors.  Pair it with some prunings from  dwarf bamboo that has red foliage in the winter, and you are off to the races with natural decor that you can get for free from your abundant garden.  Add some pinecones for a wonderful display of holiday cheer!