Natural Home

Making Nature-inspired Autumn Decorations

It is the first Sunday of the UK’s second Covid-19 lockdown. The weather is mild and there is no wind, but it is very autumnal and gloomy, as is appropriate for November. Considering that it is impossible to go out, doing something creative in one’s own garden is an attractive prospect. Autumn is indeed a lovely time to make decorations from natural materials, since woods, fields, parks and gardens are full of leaves, berries and seedheads in beautiful shapes and jewel-like colours. Berries can be easily turned into necklaces and leaves into table centerpieces. One could work on a project with a child, or, in happier times, decorate a table for a party or dinner with family and friends.

When I was a child I made crowns from maple leaves during autumn walks. Today I tried it again and here is the result:

The crown is very easy to make. Take two maple leaves and wrap the stem of one of them around the stem of the other:

Continue doing this with more leaves, until you have the desired length:

Once the desired length has been reached (for example, enough to wrap around someone’s head), tie with a string to form a circle. For the crown shown, I added leaves more densely than in the photograph above to get a ‘fluffy’ appearance.

In addition to the crown, I made necklaces, one from red and yellow crab apples and another from pyracantha berries:

To make a necklace all one needs is berries, a reasonably long needle and a strong thread. Crab apples are firm and require somewhat more effort, but the result is robust and can’t be easily squashed or damaged. Remember to cut off any stalks, because they can be rather prickly. Jewelry made from berries is a good project for older children that can safely use a needle. One has to be somewhat cautious though not to let them use toxic berries. Crab apples, rowan berries, pyracantha, rosehips, and firm, not fully ripe, sloes are all great, because, apart from possible staining, they are safe to use. In fact one can make an excellent conserve from crab apples and rowan, whereas rosehips are great in tea, and sloes are a classic in gin and make a good syllabub.

All leaf and berry jewelry can easily double as table decorations:

These are just some simple suggestions, but the possibilities are ENDLESS. All in all due to berries and leaves it has been a massively creative lockdown Sunday!

Earlier in the week I also made an arrangement for a mantlepiece from seedheads, leaves and branches I collected during a walk in the nearby wood. The branches are inserted in dry floral foam and looked good for days.

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