I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and noticed not just one of my Insta-buddies but four or more making these adorable natural garlands. Many with multiple layers of natural foliage and seeded eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is very popular this year and I love it! Specifically, Seeded Eucalyptus is my absolute favorite “green” element; it has interesting texture, an olive colored tone, and it smells so refreshing.
If you read my post last week, you remember my mentioning how people in the past used natural elements to decorate. They used things they could find in their own backyard. So, I thought it was the perfect challenge to myself. I absolutely adore any opportunity to make something beautiful. Especially, if I can do it for next to nothing.
Enter a trip to the farm.
My husband’s family owns a beautiful spread of farmland. And it’s such a treat to go out there and just be. It’s close enough to town but seems far enough to just breathe and get away from any distraction. My husband was nice enough to take both our little girl and me to get some natural foliage. He made the climb to a wild cedar tree on a ridge and trimmed off a small stack for me to use. I tell you ladies, find a guy who will do crazy things just to make you happy. I am one blessed lady… doubly blessed because he loves Christmas more than anyone I know.
We went back home and I began my little craft project.
I had about 6 foot of faux green garland that had lights left over from last year, just sitting in storage. So, I decided to use that on one of the railings on our little front porch. After seeing what method would be best to wrap and secure the greenery, I began to add different “sprays” of real greenery throughout. The faux garland is bendable so I simply just had to twist those sprays around the real ones to secure.
I love the volume that different branches gave the garland. Since we have only lived in the home for 2 months, we haven’t been able to do many updates to the front. We replaced the front door but still have much to do once spring and summer temperatures hit. One of those projects will be painting the entire exterior including the little front porch, that is currently not so pleasing to the eye. (Keep that in mind when judging how badly the old paint is chipped, haha).
I wanted to add a different natural element. And I wanted to make sure it would be friendly in case the birds got hungry. I “upcycled” some mandarin oranges that were going to go bad before we could eat them. But in order for them to be able to be used for decorating, they needed to be dehydrated.
Here’s what I did to dehydrate and get them ready to be added to the garland. You could do this to any citrus, temps and times may vary due to type and your altitude. (A hint/shout out to my Wyoming and Colorado readers).
– Cut citrus into 1/4″ rings
– Place on parchment lined baking sheet with about 1/4″ to 1/2″ in between slices
-Heat oven to 200°F
-Bake for 1 hr
-Bake for 1 hr, more
-Heat oven to 250°F
-Bake for another 15-20 minutes, ***optional: put them on an oven rack above the parchment to allow the dry air to get to both sides.
-If they still seem juicy leave them in longer… just be careful not to burn.
-Turn oven off
-Leave in oven overnight… or on counter.
Next came the fun part. Once I had all my citrus dried, I just needed to thread them with some string. I used white crochet string, a large quilting needle, and a large string (6 feet or so) of jute. Many of these steps would be a good option to have the kiddos help.
-Simply thread your needle with the crochet string.
-Thread each mandarin slice, close to the rind, with approximately 3-4 inches of thread.
-Cut, and tie two knots around the rind of the dehydrated citrus.
-Tie around the jute string. I did 3-4 knots to make sure it was tight and secure.
-Cut off remaining string.
-Repeat until you have your desired amount of slices and length.
-Reorder according to your liking. You will still be able to adjust when you add this to the greenery in the next phase.
The FINAL PHASE… drape around your greenery according to your liking and secure. You can also take a few of your leftover citrus slices and tie directly to your branches for a more scattered look. Or if you don’t want any of your string to show, simply use green floral wire and secure to individual branches. This is the best option for a seamless, more professional look.
As always, thank you for reading! Please be sure to share this via social media and word of mouth! You can always find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and a little Facebook. Comment below if you enjoyed this little DIY! Now, go and make today BEAUTIFUL!