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Friday, November 8, 2013

Repurposed Fall Decor for Your Door

Autumn craft shows offer many beautiful items for your home decor, but there are things you can do yourself that will cost you next to nothing. With a little planning ahead and imagination you can have the materials on hand to make your own door hangings to add a seasonal touch to your home.

Though I have a vengeance for the Oriental Bittersweet because it is an invasive vine that crawls over anything in its path, I do appreciate its beautiful berries that in October, split open to display the red seeds within their yellow casings. These woody vines can be cut to gather these clusters to be used for wreaths, swags or fall centerpieces. Eventually, these twiggy branches get messy as the casings and berries dry out and fall off, but they will last throughout the holiday season.

An idea for a door decoration is to find an old leaf rake, and remove the rake part from the wooden handle. Use your imagination with how you arrange your gathered materials. Pictured here is a very simple idea. All that was used was evergreens, the Oriental Bittersweet branches and tiny gourds mounted on wooden dowels (these were found at a thrift shop, but craft stores carry all kinds of ideas if you don't have access to your own). Use a bit of twine, rope, or wire to form a loop for hanging, and attach to the back of the rake. You now have a unique door decoration ready to hang.

An idea for a simple, yet beautiful swag, is to use Chinese Lanterns (also known as Winter Cherry). This hardy, drought tolerant, perennial is very easy to grow but be aware that it easily spreads. Great if you want an effective ground cover or just want an abundance of the sought after orange, papery, lantern shaped seed cases to gather in the fall for flower arrangements. Plant in containers if you don't want it popping up all over your garden area. A member of the nightshade family, be aware if you have young children or pets, that the plant is considered toxic if ingested.

Once the lanterns turn from green to orange, cut the stems at the ground level and trim off the leaves. If you wait till early November, a lot of the leaves will have shriveled up on their own, which makes it easier to remove them, but if you do wait that long there is a chance the lanterns won't be as pretty if they started to break down or develop holes in them.

Once you have enough for a bundle, gather the heavier stem ends together and bind with a piece of twine, wire or rope. Swags are much easier to make than wreathes, yet beautiful to brighten up a door or wall. If kept out of the sun, Chinese Lantern decorations last a long time before the color starts to fade. To keep them dust free, put a sock over your vacuum hose and lightly sweep the arrangement.



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