Winter crafts.

At this time of year it is especially nice to bring some things from the natural world into the home. We love to decorate our house with materials found in the garden. It brings with it a feeling of calm and reflection on the past year of growth in the garden. Most plants are resting and gathering strength for the spring to come. We like a slower pace of life as well at this time of year, and making a few winter crafts and decorations can brighten up your space as well as calming your mind while you work on them.

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All our ideas here are made from prunings, moss, twigs and ivy from the garden. We like to use willow and dogwoods and this year was the first time we could cut some stems from our plantations. The different colours are beautiful and contrast well with the greenery.

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First we made a wreath from bending and twisting willow and dogwood into a circle and adding enough stems to make a sturdy and beautiful shape. It is easy to secure each stem by weaving it in. We added some larch twigs with beautiful cones and also some greenery and a small crafted bird’s house. This wreath is suitable for outdoor use.

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We then went on to spruce up an old wreath from the charity shop by fashioning and attaching a five pointed star to it. The star was woven from red dog wood and it is easiest to do this if you are two people. Tie each point together with a small piece of string and then use a long string to secure it to the wreath. We first went around in a clockwise motion and then an anti clock wise. This leaves you with a secondary star pattern on the wreath, echoing the first. We used paper string so this would be mostly suited for and indoor position. You could make endless variations on this theme using thicker branches for the star and make a very rustic outdoor arrangement.

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Our last winter decoration is a table centre piece made with hyacinths. We bought some cheap bulbs planted in plastic pots and got an old metal tray from the charity shop. First we made a twisted wreath from dog woods, similar to our first project. The wreath must be slightly smaller than your tray. We took the hyacinth bulbs out of their pots and arranged them on the tray at slightly different heights. We covered all the soil and bulbs with a layer of moss and pushed the dogwood wreath down around the bulbs to hold them securely in place. This is important as the flowers have a tendency to keel over later when in full bloom. We then added some ivy and larch cones along with a few metal balls. All in all this arrangement cost €6.50 and the bulbs can later be planted out in the garden, enjoyed in years to come and the rest can go on the compost heap. The tray and balls can be reused for another arrangement. Even if you don’t have your own garden you might be able to get some greenery from a friend or collect some fallen twigs and pine cones on a forest walk. It is so rewarding making your own natural decorations, and we think nothing bought could be more beautiful.

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