Those of you that have been following me and my blog for while will know that I am a huge advocate of bringing nature into the home and the benefits that it has on our health and wellbeing, and Christmas time is no different. Using local foliage and natural, biodegradable decorations is one of the most economical and sustainable ways to decorate your home. This is nothing new though of course, the Scandinavians have been using foliage and home made paper decorations for years and it seems like we are finally starting to get on board too so I’ve put together this list of 5 festive foliage creations that are super simple to make.
Biophilia and the importance of connecting to your environment
Picking out and using some of the natural materials and vegetation from your local area is a great way to make your home feel like it’s part of the very foundations of it. Using seasonal evergreens or dried foliage typically seen in your local green spaces at this time of year will make you feel much more connected to your surroundings and give you a sense of belonging, not to mention the feeling of calm that comes along with having those visual and sensory connections to nature.
Don’t panic, there’s no need to trow away any of the decorations that you already own as that would be wasteful in itself and if you’re anything like us, a lot of those decorations will come with sentimental value, but incorporating them with some natural foliage, whether foraged or purchased from your local florist will not only bring in some much needed seasonal greenery during the dark winter months, but it is also a really simple way to freshen up your Christmas decs every year without having to spend a fortune on changing up the theme to keep up with the current trend.
I’ve been creating a Christmas mantel and banister using greenery mainly from our garden and the local forest for a few years now. I never get bored of doing it. I find getting hands on and doing something creative is honestly the best therapy there is – let’s not mention the epic mess that you create in the process though.
“I’ve created 5 festive foliage creations in our home using natural materials to help you get inspired and in the mood to create your own.“
So the first one just had to be the good old Christmas wreath, I’ve been to so many wreath making classes over the years – it’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition.
Of course this year is a little different and as I fully appreciate that not everyone has the time or the desire to nip into the local park or forest to forage some greenery, I’ve found the next best thing from Shida Preserved Flowers. Shida have put together an indoor wreath making kit that contains everything you need, they deliver it straight to your door and you’ll be able to use the metal ring and wire to make your own wreath for years to come. All you have to do is pour yourself a glass of bubbles, get the Christmas tunes on and away you go…you could even order one for a friend and make a Zoom night of it.
As the name suggests, their flowers are preserved so they’re guaranteed to keep looking fresh all through winter without needing to be spritzed with water or kept moist using foam or moss rings.
They’re super simple to put together too so if you’re a complete wreath making newbie I guarantee that you will be more than capable of doing this, even after a couple of glasses of fizz.
The kit includes:
- Mixed flowers and foliage
- 30cm wreath ring
- Floristry tape
- How to guide
You can of course add your own additional bits and bobs too to make it truly unique.
I already had some beeswax candles to make an advent crown that I was planning for this blog post and I decided to use some wire to secure a candle holder in the centre of the ring before attaching the foliage.
The candles are from Myriad Online, they are 100% natural, tapered pure beeswax, with cotton wicks and are made in a community for adults with disabilities in Germany, so it’s a really worthy cause too. I also bought five of their solid, brass candle holders to insure that the candles are safe whilst in use.
I took four or five stems of foliage and flowers, created seven small bunches and wrapped them with floristry tape, trimming off the ends with a pair of utility scissors.
I then laid them next to the floristry ring to create the design that I wanted before taping them into place on the ring and over lapping them so as to hide the tape. I used five of the bunches on one side of the candle and the remaining two on the other side. The kit included two cotton heads that I secured using the wire to finish it off.
I then hung it using some left over rustic ribbon that I had in my craft box. I think it would look stunning hung above a table or on the back of your front door so that you can enjoy it every day as the you come and go.
Personally, I’m loving ours on our wooden clad bedroom wall. It brings in just a hint of Christmas to the bedroom along with our Norfolk Pine mini tree and a scented candle for maximum hygge vibes.
This brings me nicely onto the table centre piece that I’ve been planning. My initial idea was to make the indoor wreath, take it apart, reposition all of the foliage and add the five candle holders in order to create the crown, but I fell in love with it as it was and I wanted to keep it completely in tact. I didn’t want to risk damaging it unnecessarily. Plus to make 100% sure that the candle was fully secured and safe to use I used quite a lot of wire and a bit of duct tape…you could create your own advent crown using the kit from Shida though of course.
I still wanted to show you how to make a crown for the table while keeping my indoor wreath perfectly in tact so I used an old clothes hanger to create a ring and made the crown using some cuttings from the garden and some wire to secure it all in place. It’s super simple to do and you can get really creative with it.
You will need:
- A clothes hanger or floristry ring
- Wire cutters
- Your choice of foliage, berries etc
- 5 candles
- 5 candle holders
- Floristry wire
- Ribbon or twine and hooks if hanging it from the ceiling
Once you’ve bent your wire hanger into a circle and cut off the hook using your wire cutters, twist the main bulk of your foliage around the hoop – don’t worry about any loose ends or anything sticking out as they can be secured later on.
When it starts to look nice and full, secure any loose ends by wrapping around some floristry wire. Now you can poke in or weave some gypsophila, dried bloom broom or berries.
I attached the candle holders by wrapping around the left over wire and fixing them to the crown. This can now be suspended over the table – I love to use torn up old canvas shoppers, or pillowcases to create rustic ribbons. I have quite a lot of jute left over from a wardrobe up cycle that we did which works really nicely too or you could just use twine if you prefer.
It looks stunning just placed on the table to create a centrepiece though. I’ve chosen this option as our home is made of 99% wood so Mr Woodenhill gets twitchy about fire hazards even if I just blow dry my hair for too long.
As I have used all untreated foliage to make my advent crown, you could also use the exact same method to make your outdoor wreath.
Just leave the candles off, tie it up with a bit of twine or ribbon and hang it on your front door to make an outdoor wreath. It really is as simple as that.
If you don’t want to use a wire clothes hanger or a florist ring you could create your own base by twisting some foraged twigs that still have a bit of flex in them and fixing them into place with some wire or twine… here’s a still from a wreath tutorial that I made last year when the twigs were in abundance after a clear up of some footpaths by the local council.
Always keep your eyes peeled at this time of year as you never know what will turn up.
Of all the festive foliage creations, the fireplace mantels are by far my favourite to make. I think it’s because you don’t often get to make anything on this scale, and to be honest I have gone a bit all out on the mantel front this year. I could blame it on 2020 and needing to bring a bit of joy into our home, but the truth is that our neighbour wanted us to help her chop down the overgrown branches on her juniper tree and there were A LOT.
I’ve never used an oasis block to create a fire place mantel as I always tend to start mine by slotting the foliage under the mirror and then attach it in bunches of four or five using wire.
Once you have your base, you can just poke in the extra bits in, again I used some dried gypsophila and dried bloom broom so that it is in keeping with the natural tones of the room, but you could use hydrangeas to add a pop of colour, baked oranges, pampas grass or whatever you like.
If you do use an oasis block it will help you to stop the foliage from drying out. For the last couple of years I have use foraged ivy and juniper branches and it has dried out really nicely, I do give it a spritz of water every couple of days though.
I do like making a bit of a statement in this room as it is where we will be eating Christmas dinner, so we wanted it to look really festive in here. I think the natural foliage works so well with the red cedar cladding, and the juniper branches smell amazing. It’s like walking into an alpine forest when we walk through the front door, giving us all the biophilic feels.
Festive banister garland
From the drama of the mantle to one of the easiest of my festive foliage creations – the banister garland. It might be the easiest to do but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t create a big impact.
So what is so simple about it, I hear you ask? Well, the banister rail or spindles mean that you can just simply wind the foliage in and out of the spindles or hand rail. I like to choose a base which is usually ivy that I twist in bunches and weave to create a base and then poke the extra adorning bits of flowers and foliage in.
This year, as perviously mentioned we had a really large amount of juniper branches so I sawed off the small branches from the base and then twisted them through the spindles, which made an even more dramatic and bushy base than the ivy, so in the end I only needed a few sprigs of gypsophila and some wintery stems from the local florist to finish it off.
I’m afraid I don’t know the name of the stems as it was something that had gone dry at the florists so she let me have the last bunch for next to nothing – it just goes to show that you can use whatever you can get your hands on really, just have fun with it.
I love how the banister garland perfectly ties in with the mantel on the other side of the room – it makes you feel really christmassy from the minute you walk down the stairs in the morning.
And that’s all folks, 5 Simple Festive Foliage Creations that will help you feel connected to nature this Christmas – the foraging won’t cost you a penny and it wont harm the environment either.
Have a great Christmas everyone and I’ll see you in the new year.