One of my favorite parts of the holidays is all of the decorations.
The only problem is that I’m not very good at it. My best excuse is to start with my lack of know-how, briskly mix in a short attention span and then I always like to add a few dashes of embarrassment when it looks like I tried too hard.
The tree is up, lit and decorated
and most years that is all I do. One year I made a bunch of garlands that I draped over the doorways, but that year was an anomaly that has never been repeated. I was encouraged by Martha Stewart showing how easy it was. I have to admit that her technique of building a rope from fir cuttings and then attaching the rest of the greens to the “rope” with wire worked really well and made for some very sturdy garlands. Click on the pictures to see and read more.
They made it through the season completely intact! If I’m remembering it correctly, that year the windstorms in November left huge amounts of windfall from the evergreen trees, and the timing was perfect! I went for many walks around the neighborhood collecting as much as I could carry. It was mostly fir and cedar, which was great, but the pine turned out to be my favorite. Unfortunately, pine is very messy to work with because of the tree’s resin, but because it smells heavenly, it’s definitely worth the sticky bother. Also, I love the fine, grass-like texture of the needles.
So pretty! So worth the mess, but…
…the garlands were so much work!
So, it hasn’t happened since.
That’s why I was surprised to find myself eyeing the fallen cones of a western white pine tree.
I was under the tree cleaning up some branches that a deer had broken, when I noticed that quite a few cones had fallen. They’re a slender cone with a nice curve and an appealing smoky-gray color. I quickly gathered up a bucket full and then wondered what I was going to do with them. They looked so nice in the bucket that I thought I might even just keep them all together with no further embellishments.
Fast forward to later that day.
I was in my shed searching for a basket when I realized that most of my wicker baskets had gone missing. They had probably been donated to the free store or sold at my last yard sale; somethings have become a blur! The few that were left were way too large for what now seemed like just a small pile of cones. I considered using plant containers but, since most of them were Terracotta and I was looking for some holiday color, I decided against it.
I was about to give up and go inside when I thought to myself, “No, this should work. There has to be something that I’m not seeing.”
I stood there for a moment, not doing anything, trying to clear my head of what I had thought I wanted. Then I did a slow turn and let my eyes scan the room, trying not to get stuck on the pots and baskets again.
Suddenly, I saw it!
There on a lower shelf, back behind some wire and ties, were two stacks of bonsai trays. I had bought eight of them at a yard sale (major score!) but, had only gotten around to planting three of them. What a great assortment of containers and perfectly sized for tucking around the house.
I started by filling the trays with the cones.
It was OK, but now I felt like doing more. I still had the broken branch from the pine tree, so I made some cuttings to tuck in around the cones. The only real cutting I had to do was a few tips off of my holly tree for that traditional holiday effect. I stopped there because, as I said before, I’m not really confident when it comes to decorating.
I would definitely recommend going into your yard or for a walk and see what speaks to you. There is so much to choose from: dried seed pods, greens, berries and of course vines that naturally lend themselves to wreaths as you wind them around and around and around……
These were fun to make and so easy! It took just a small amount of ‘down-on-the-ground’ greens, a few pine cones and some forgotten trays that I found while spinning around in my shed.