Apples are our ingredient of the seasons. So far we’ve gone crazy with them in the kitchen, but today we’re filing getting crafty!
This year, after taking down our Halloween decorations and while waiting to up a Christmas tree, I was really feeling the urge to decorate. So I put together this simple garland that’s a snap to make, celebrates the bounty of the season, and is perfectly suited for my need to add a little touch of something to our November walls.
This project requires relatively few supplies, but as with everything we do around here, the garland is easily customizable, so look around your craft room and get creative!
- dried fruit (more on this below)
- wooden beads
- simple yarn flowers (how-to below)
- hot glue gun
Drying the Fruit
I began the project by slicing and drying three pieces of fruit: red and gold delicious apples and a seedless navel orange. The fruit were sliced into quarter inch discs. Sharpening your knife will go a long way towards helping you make even slices with nice smooth surfaces. You’ll find it difficult to cut through the seeded area of the apples, but my advice is to keep your knife horizontal (rather than pushing the point or handle ends up and down) and to saw back and forth with even pressure.
Once sliced, I removed all seeds and placed the pieces on cooling racks over cookie sheets for drying. I then dried the fruit in a 200F oven for about 5-6 hours, flipping the slices twice to help minimize curling of the fruit.
In addition to the fruit, I wanted to add a few other textures and colors to the garland. First up, some natural wooden beads. I bought a 20-pack of these beads at Joann’s. Once home I thought about painting these, but didn’t have any craft paint, so decided to keep them natural and add color with a bit of yarn (something I have plenty of!).
Using some rusty-red yarn, I made a few very simple flowers. I originally saw these flowers on Pinterest and made from twine. The link to that Pin was bad, but a quick Google search led me to this really helpful how-to video.
The only supplies you’ll need to make these are a piece of cardboard, yarn or twine, scissors, a yarn needle, and 8-12 toothpicks. If you assemble that, you’ll be able to make a flower right along with the video because she explains everything at a nice slow speed.
In the video, 12 toothpicks are used, but as I mention, you may need as few as 8, depending upon how large and full you make your flower. I made my flowers with cardboard discs that were 1.5 and 2 inches in diameter. As you can see in these photos, the diameter of your disc determines the final diameter of your flower. I wouldn’t go any smaller than 1.5 inches, and if I were to do it again, would probably uses discs that were 2 and 2.5 inches. As you can see, my flowers are quite full with only 8 petals, and I think 12 would have been too much, but may be just right for a 2.5 inch flower.
*Don’t cut off the extra yarn ends when you’re done making your flower – these come in handy for tying the flowers to the twine.
Assemble the Garland
With your garland swag in order, it’s time to assemble! I attached the fruit with hot glue. In order to get the fruit to hang nicely, you should glue the twine on no more than 1/3 of the way down the slice (rather than along the widest part, if that makes sense?). If you glue the twine too far down, the weight of the fruit will cause them to face downwards rather than out. The flowers were tied on by the extra yarn ends. If you cut off the yarn ends, you could easily hot glue these too. Once tied, I then cut any excess yarn off. And to make bead placement easier, I strung a whole bunch at once (as you saw in the photo above), then just knotted the twine on either side of the bead.
With those instructions, just go for a random placement of your items, but still keeping in mind that odd-numbered groupings are more appealing. The beads sort of act as breakpoints in your garland, so I thought it was useful to place 3 or 5 of the fruit and flower items between any two beads.
Hang it up!
And now comes the hardest part, figuring out where to hang your garland. I started by stringing mine along one of our ceiling beams and thought that it looked OK, but maybe a little bit too puny for that space? What do you think?
From there I took the garland over to our fireplace. First, I tried stringing it along the mantel and letting the excess hang down on either side. I loved the look of the garland along the skinny front of the mantel, but knew that if we were to keep it here, I’d have to shorten the ends to keep Little A from pulling on or trying to eat it.
So I moved the garland with the same hanging profile to above the mantel. I’m not completely in love with how it looks here, I feel like there’s nothing specific that’s anchoring the garland to that spot (am I wrong?). I do love being able to see it as we sit on the couch, especially when I catch a look at the fruit in the glow of the candle light. But, now what’s this renter to do with those ugly brown vents? Any tips?
So, that’s our simple bit of decoration for November. Just enough to tide me over until I go evergreen and light crazy!