Sunday, December 25, 2011

Herbs on the Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas!
I hope your Holiday is filled with all that you desire, from family to food to peace and quiet!
This year with the herb business expanding and my role with organizing an office move time slipped through my fingers and I ended up not getting my decoration out.  We are also traveling to Wisconsin for the holiday so in the end since I would not be home to enjoy it, I decided against putting up the tree. 
So in celebration of Christmas Day I created this virtual selection of herb related ornaments that I could have put on my tree, if I’d actually gotten it out of storage!
I start with scent.  Here are the spice and applesauce balls I made at the Palos Park Library for my November program.  These smell heavenly and are so easy to make.

Not sure if I shared the recipe to make these here before but here it is:
Apple Spice Balls
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ cups ground spices
  (1/2 cup each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)
2 tsp. orris root powder

Gradually stir the spices into cold applesauce until thick enough to roll into balls without being sticky.  If crumbly, add a bit of water.  Roll dough into small balls and lay on wax paper to air dry.  Allow to dry for 1 to 2 weeks.  Wrap in netting and tie with ribbon.  To create ornaments, push a skewer through the center, and when partly dry, remove skewer and thread with ribbon, then continue to dry.

I also crafted a scented ornament using mulling spices.  The warmth of the bulbs on the tree lifts the scent out of the ornament and it is pretty to look at too filled with cinnamon, star anise, orange and lemon peel, lemon balm and cloves. 

A friend said she dries Queen Anne’s Lace during the summer, spray paints it gold, sometimes add a bit of glitter, then sets them on the tree branches.  

In the past I have made popcorn and cranberry garlands, especially when I worked at Kline Creek Farm with the hubby.  I remember coming home with red fingers and it wasn’t only from the cranberries.

A pomander ball, made by pressing cloves into the skin of a fresh orange is always a seasonal scented delight.  They were very popular in the Victorian era and were something I remember my grandmother teaching me to make back when I was in first grade.

Pine cones are my favorite thing to use in decorations.  This year I started working on a ball ornament that incorporated many pine cones of various shapes and sizes.  I don't think it has the final look I want yet though??

I love the attractive natural look of them.  I have decorated them with just ribbon.
Dusted them with powdered sugar or glitter to give a snow effect and painted them gold and silver too. 

I like pine cones so much that 40% of the glass ornaments I have for my Christmas tree are shaped or colored like pine cones.

Hope you have enjoyed the vitual tree and however you decorate, I hope you have a blessed and peaceful holiday season.  Please enjoy your holiday and if you are traveling, be safe!

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