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Fragrant swags that say, come in.

Draped gracefully across a fireplace mantel or over a front door, swags of greens and berries announce the holidays with color and fragrance.

You make one by wrapping bunches of greenery and clusters of berries around a long piece of twine; a swag like that pictured at right can take several hours to make. Designer Francoise Kirkman adapted this technique from Hawaiian lei-making methods.

For the base, cut strong jute twine to the desired length of the swag. Also cut evergreen prunings into 6- to 9-inch pieces; use raffia to attach prunings to twine.

To start, loop and tie together the twine and a piece of wet raffia at least a foot long (add more as needed)--see step 1 in drawings below. Working on a flat surface or on your lap, place a small bunch (about four pieces) of mixed plant clippings on top of the twine; wind the raffia around plant stems and twine. Wind again (step 2). Lay a second bunch of plant clippings on top of the twine with the greenery overlapping the stems of the first bunch. Wind the raffia once around the stems. Continue adding clippings along the length of the twine (step 3).

When you've almost used up a piece of raffia, tie another wet piece to it. Or tuck the ends of the old and new pieces under plant stems, and wind the new piece of raffia around them. At the end of the swag, tie together the raffia and twine (make a second loop if you need it to hang the swag). Finished swags, especially long ones, are fragile; handle them carefully.

Raffia and jute twine are sold at craft and hobby shops; raffia costs about $4 for 4 ounces (enough for one swag), and a 2-yard roll of jute costs about 80 cents.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:A Houseful of Happy Holiday Ideas
Author:Ocone, Lynn
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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