Today I’m joining Mary Ann and Cindy along with a few friends to share our Christmas inspired by nature. I have always preferred the more natural rustic Christmas decor over the glitz and sparkles. Not to say that a sparkly Christmas isn’t beautiful, but our little cottage by The Long Island Sound feels more at home with rustic and natural. Think along the lines of foraged greens in found bottles, a beautiful embellished wreath inspired by Terrain, and an advent calendar made from driftwood we found in Montauk. These are the things I love!
An advent calendar using driftwood & clay tags
I’ve made advent calendars over the years and it has brought so much joy to my kids. This year, my kids are adults, but I still wanted to create one for fun and memories. When my kids were little they looked so forward to unwrapping a small toy, candy, or a note with the promise of going for a drive looking at Christmas lights after having snowflake waffles for dinner! It’s those little things that make memories and creating a different advent calendar every year was something they looked forward to…and I looked forward to making! Read this post to see past advent calendars.
The materials used to make the driftwood advent calendar
Foraged branches in bottles
I add touches of holiday with foraged evergreen branches in my collection of old bottles brought back from vacations in Europe over the years. Old bottles are my favorite souvenirs and are the perfect vessel for foraged finds especially at Christmas.
I used my large white marble board, black trivet from Terrain with a crystal tree I’ve had since childhood, a stack of red linen napkins, a tin house from Target Dollar Spot, and a foraged branch decorated with vintage mini ornaments in an old decanter. I placed it at the end of the farm table for a collected look. The napkins get changed out with different ones, but these are my favorite!
An Advent Centerpiece
The first thing we did was head to the woods to forage some moss. Moss is the easiest thing to find in Connecticut. If there’s water, there’s moss and it removes from the rocks very easily. I like to put it around the soil of my outdoor planters. We also used it to make sort of an Advent wreath. We used everything we had on hand along with the moss to create a very natural and rustic advent centerpiece for indoors or out.
And now let’s make a wreath inspired by Terrain with sandy @thecollectedgarden
My friend Sandy of @TheCollectedGarden came by yesterday to show how easy it is (with some step-by-step directions) to make a gorgeous layered wreath that begins with a simple wreath that you can buy at any hardware store or grocery store for around $12.
Sandy brought a lot of foraged greens that she found in her friend’s backyard. Evergreens of all types and colors, berries, various types of boxwood, dried baby’s breath, grasses, tulip tree seed pods, and dried orange slices. The first thing we did was decide what we wanted to use. We then made about a dozen bundles, securing each bundle with wire. Sandy then started to layer the bundles into the “base wreath” (the one we bought at the hardware store) going in a circle so that each bundle was sort of layering from the last bundle. Once we were happy with that, we decided on the next layer. Some of the airy evergreen cuttings mixed in with a sprig of boxwood and some of the dried baby’s breath. Then we took the dried lemon and orange slices and attached a seed pod to create small clusters to add at the end.
Once we had everything layered and the way we liked it, Sandy took everything off and set each piece on a tray in the order that she would then put it back on, only this time she would be securing each bundle with wire. She likes to use paddle wire as it is called because as you are securing the bundles, you are wrapping the wire and going through and around the wreath and the “paddle wire” makes it easier. Once all 12 of the bundles have been wrapped with the wire in a continuous fashion, you can begin to pull out a few branches from the wire so that it gives the wreath more depth. You aren’t removing any of the bundles, but just releasing a few of the tiny branches from the bundles to be on top of the wire. Then we added in the next layer of bundles, securing them, and then finally the orange slices with the seed pods. Once everything was secure, Sandy took one last look with her talented and trained eye and decided it needed a few sprigs of lavender for the icy blue color like some of the evergreens.
As we were hanging it on our front door, Sandy said she decided to make the dried lemon and orange slices because our door painted India Yellow. I love that!
Let’s add a few dried lemon & orange slices with seed pods
Our door painted India Yellow from Farrow & Ball
The entire cost of this embellished wreath inspired by Terrain cost a total of $13! The basic wreath was $12 and an orange for $1. The rest foraged! I would love to start a tradition of wreath making in my backyard every year. Friends could go for a walk and collect the materials (I would have some on hand just in case) and then spend a morning putting wreaths together like we did today! It was fun, I learned a lot from Sandy and it was inexpensive! And now I have a beautiful wreath for the front door that would have cost at least $100 or more at the nursery. Thank you, Sandy!!
Follow Sandy @thecollectedgarden for seasonal inspiration for flowers and gardening!
Now make sure to head over to my friend’s blogs to see their Christmas decorations Inspired by Nature