well, i've been so looking forward to fall this year (maybe it was the three months of endless summer rain, or the sudden heat wave in september?), that i started planning an autumn garland in anticipation of the chilly, softly-lit, orange and red splashed, boot wearing, bread making season of goodness...well before it actually arrived here in georgia.
so, here it is...a little tutorial for a dried orange and pinecone garland. but this is the part where you can have fun (and get creative), by tromping around in nature and collecting whatever fall treasures you want to mix in. tying on some cinnamon sticks gives a wonderful aroma too...especially when mixed with the orange.
- 6 or 7 oranges
- pinecones of various sizes (amount depending on pattern preference)
- 75" jute, twine, or ribbon (for a small, mantle sized garland)
- brown yarn or embroidery thread
- parchment paper
first step... oven drying orange slices. warning: your house will smell completely delicious!
cut your oranges in very thin slices, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch wide, making sure the slices are even to prevent burning. place your slices, in a single layer, on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (this prevents sticking). place in an oven heated to 175 degrees farenheit, leaving door slightly open, and leave to bake for a few hours, turning three to four times. some slices will cook faster, so pull individual slices out as they finish. the centers should be transparent, and free of moisture (think thin fruit leather texture)... a little browning is okay for this project. i baked my oranges in batches over a few afternoons and evenings.
this will leave you with around 55 to 60 slices, depending on the size of your oranges.
step two... starting your garland.
begin by placing a loose knot about 6 inches from one end of your twine, to prevent your oranges from sliding. poke a small hole in any of your orange slices that do not already have one, and slide about 8 slices down from the other end of your twine, until they rest against your knot.
step three... preparing your pinecones.
cut two lengths of brown yarn/thread for each pinecone, between 5" and 7" long, depending on the size of your pinecone (i just eyeballed it).
now, work each string around one side of the pinecone, near the bottom, until the strings meet at either side. tie the strings together, in toward the center of each side of the pinecone, then knot and leave ends hanging.
tip* the better you center your tied string on the sides of the pinecone, the better the pinecone will hang...too far towards the front or back will make your pinecone tilt more on the garland.
step four... adding the pinecones.
tie one end of your pinecone around the twine, as close as possible to your oranges. knot, and trim ends of string.
wrap your twine around the back of the pinecone, working it in to the center, until you reach the other set of strings. tie the strings around the twine and knot. repeat with one or two more pinecones (depending on the pattern you choose), making sure to tie the pinecones as close together as possible.
add eight more orange slices and a few more pinecones. now you've reached the center portion of your garland. here i added around 12 orange slices on each side of the center pinecones, along with a few extra nature bits. finish off your other side, undo your original knot, and trim ends as needed to match. tie a loop on each end for hanging, and sit back and enjoy your craftiness!