There is something about the simplicity of a monochromatic, under-done Christmas that really appeals to me. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the glitz and commercialism that we are surrounded by on a daily basis but I’m finding myself drawn to unfinished, natural and handmade materials and ornaments. I’m feeling a lot like Linus when he makes that wonderful speech at the end of the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
I find these simple little ornaments hung on bare branches really attractive and festive in a quiet and unassuming way.
I made them by pressing oven-bake clay from the craft store into a simple silicon mould of a leaf and then cutting it out with a small round cookie cutter.
Combined with a branch that I found in the woods while walking the dog they are the perfect simple alternative Christmas tree for a small space. These would also make sweet, little, keepsake gift tags as well.
I first saw these little trees on Pinterest made in green polymer clay. Following the link I was taken to a blog that seemed to have gotten the image off Pinterest so I can’t tell where the original idea came from. I love these little trees so much but I wanted to make mine in white polymer to make them look snow laden. Imagine how cute they would be grouped as a forest in the centre of a dinner table? Here’s how I made mine:
Starting with white polymer, oven cured clay bought at the craft store, form a small cone. Using nail scissors, which are perfect because of the curve of the blades, snip from the top all around the cone flicking up slightly as you pull the scissors out. Make sure that you are snipping in an irregular way so that your branches aren’t lined up one on top of the other.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for baking. (mine was about 20 minutes at 250 degrees) and you’re done! If you are going to make a number of trees make sure that your clay cones are different sizes for a more natural grouping.
Hopefully in the frenzied lead-up to Christmas you can steal a bit of time to sit quietly and relax while sipping hot chocolate or eggnog. Maybe wrap a few last minute gifts or try your hand at a small handmade something. These pretty evergreen snowflakes and dried oranges are the kind of project to while away a quiet winter afternoon.
The dried oranges turn into lovely translucent spots of colour against a grey winter’s sky and I love them hung in a window – the light coming through makes them look like stained glass. You can string them on a garland with cinnamon sticks or hang them from the tree.
Slice the oranges no thinner than one half inch or they will be brittle and tend to break or burn. Place the slices right on the oven rack in a 200 degree oven for at least two hours, flipping once to make sure they don’t stick and that they dry evenly. Remove, cool on a rack and… done!
I have hung the dried orange slices with the sweet evergreen snowflakes I made from the tips of left-over noble fir boughs.