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Natural decoration.

Byline: Hannah

IF YOU'VE any bare spots left in the house and want to add some natural foliage, berries or edible items to complete the festive look in your home, there's no shortage of possibilities.

And when Christmas Day has passed, you may want to revive your decorations, as foliage starts to look past its best and certain decorative items need replacing quickly so the arrangement lasts into the New Year.

For my Christmas table this year, I'm taking a simple idea which came from a visit to a top restaurant in London last Christmas.

Ideally you need a large plate or shallow bowl with a curved lip. Place a medium-sized church candle in the centre of the bowl and pile up oranges, festive nuts (with shells on) and small apples in the bowl around it, so they go up to around a third of the candle's height. Then sift some icing sugar over the fruit and nuts, as if it were a light sprinkling of snow. It looks fabulous and takes less than 10 minutes to do.

Cinnamon sticks are always worth adding to any door wreath which has some bare patches. Just tie the sticks together with raffia or ribbon and use some florist's wire to attach them to the wreath.

Looking around the garden in the depths of winter, you may find some fantastic seedheads which can be added to any dried arrangement. The great balls created by allium seedheads make a good focal point for seasonal dried arrangements, while smaller pods and seedheads can be sprayed gold, silver or another festive colour and added to the tree or another decoration.

Those who like their Christmas tree to look more natural and devoid of sparkling tinsel - which can look tacky - may prefer to fill the gaps with more natural materials.

Make some popcorn and thread a string of it together to drape around the tree instead. For additional interest I usually buy a big bunch of gypsophilia, separate the strands and place them within the tree for a snowy, wintry effect.

If you have children, get them involved too. Go out to the woods and collect acorns, pine cones and nuts. Spray them silver or gold and make lovely candleholders (on a round cardboard base).

Paint and wire on pine cones or real red glossy apples to any festive decoration. If you have a pot, a fairly tall candle and some oasis, you can't go wrong.

Just fill the pot with the oasis, place the candle in the centre (you can buy plastic candle holders from garden centres and florists) and attach the wired cones, fruit and any evergreen foliage you can find in your garden around the edges, so you can't see any oasis. Tie on bundles of cinnamon sticks for a fabulous fragrance.

If you want some scented decorations at Christmas, push cloves into oranges to make aromatic pomanders to place in bowls or hang from the tree.

Make the holes with a small skewer first to make it easier and much quicker. You don't have to cover the whole orange. Start by tying on a narrow ribbon and then arrange the cloves in lines two or three deep around the orange in whatever design takes your fancy.

Before you know it, the festive look of your home will be complete.

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Look around the garden to find ingredients for a natural table decoration' A natural wreath will look beautiful hanging from your front door
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 24, 2005
Words:581
Previous Article:Delicious treat for Christmas breakfast.
Next Article:plant of the week . . . holly (I IIex).


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