Once the Yule log is ready, turn your home into a magical wonderland. Get into the holiday spirit by decorating mantles, shelves, walls, and corners. Afraid it will be too expensive? Think again! The magical ideas below make great decorations without making short work of your pocketbook.
Separate the evergreen snippets into tiny bunches of three or four sprigs. Then wrap the bottom of each bunch with a six- to eight-inch piece of floral wire. (Wrap from the center of the wire so the ends are left loose.)
Place one bunch on the ring, and secure it by wrapping the wire ends tightly around the ring. Place the head of the next bunch over the bottom of the first and wind its wire around the ring. Continue in this fashion until the entire ring is covered. While you work, chant something like:
Leaves of everlasting life
Leaves that know no stress and strife
Protect us with your perfect ring
Until the Sun this season brings
Arrange pine cones and nuts in bunches around the wreath and hot glue them in place. Cut another eight-inch length of wire for a hanger, fold it in half, and twist the ends around the top of the wreath. Cove the wire with the ribbon and tie the ends to form a bow. Hang it on the front door or in a prominent spot in your home.
Separate the sprigs into bunches and secure with wire as suggested for the Evergreen Wreath. Place one bunch over another so it covers the wire on the bottom bunch. Twist the wire tails of the first bunch around the second to secure it. Add another bunch and wrap the tails of the previous bunch around it. Continue to add bunches in this manner until the garland reaches the desired length. As you work, chant something like:
Long lasting chain of evergreen
Protect from things seen and unseen
Positive energy, please secure
So love and happiness may endure
When the garland is finished, tie lengths of ribbon into bows and attach them with wire at the planned scallop points.
Decide on the size of the placemat, then, using the scissors, cut the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Using the fabric pieces as patterns, cut two sheets of contact paper for each placemat. Cut out pictures from old greeting cards and arrange them on the fabric pieces. Add mementos from previous holidays if you like. When you like the arrangement, carefully peel the backing from one sheet of contact paper and lay it over the arrangement; be careful to work out all creases and air bubbles. Add a sheet of contact paper to the other side as well. Repeat the process for each placemat, and then trim the edges with pinking shears. Enchant the placemats by saying something like:
Bits of happiness and cheer
Bring old joys back to us here
Help make new memories as we share
Our dinner table and its fare
If you still have some bare spots in your home once the decorating is done, try some of the ideas below for quick yet attractive fillers:
Excerpted from Yule, by Dorothy Morrison