Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nature Crafts

Autumn is upon us and it's time to think about making some nature crafts. Grapevine grows in abundance here, as do a lot of seed pods and acorns.

We have grapevine in abundance on the farm, especially on the various fencing. We try to pull out the thickest and longest pieces whole. It'll grow back quickly next spring.

The grapevine has to be cut and shaped within a day or two, then left to dry. When the wreath is full enough, I will wrap it with another piece of grapevine, then wire that in place until it is hard. This makes a fairly secure, thick wreath. The leaves have to be stripped too. Our chickens love them!

We have three huge old oak trees that are dropping acorns now. We picked this tin (below) 3/4 full in about 15 minutes, only taking a few steps in a small circle. There are many wheelbarrels full still on the ground. I sometimes feel a little guilty for taking food from the deer and the squirrels, but the guilt is short lived and there's plenty for everyone. We have old hay for the garden that will probably feed the deer in the winter. The deer and racoons have already taken every single one of our little red apples.

Selling boxes of acorns to crafters is something I am contemplating. If you live nearby and are interested in purchasing some large, prime acorns, please send me an email. I'll gladly trade acorns for ribbon and dried filler or small silk flowers.

Collecting the seed pods, nuts, berries and other native odd things will be fun and interesting. These things will have to thoroughly dry as well, before being glued to the wreaths. The piney forest beside us yields a lot of great pine cones, large and small. I like to use the tiny, 1" cones for wreaths, but these are harder to find than the big ones.

This is "prunella vulgaris", also called "Heal-All". It's an herb that used to be taken for everything. It produces an interesting seedpod for wreaths. Also pretty on a wreath are the seed pods of "Queen Anne's Lace" (wild carrot) in the picture below.

After collecting what we need, I can spend a few very creative, fun days making up the wreaths. I will have to start shopping for ribbon and dried filler now. Any bits of flowers and dried filler can be added to a wreath for a colour. Color combinations are important. In making wreaths to sell, one has to keep the current colour trends in mind.

Making the wreaths is something I do a little here and there, when I want to do something a bit different and the ground is, perhaps, too wet to dig and the grass too wet to cut. The shaping is usually done on the front veranda, so it is something I can do in the rain. I store the unfinished wreaths on the walls of the veranda to dry. It takes about a week for them to be completely dry and hard.

Most of the craft work is done on the front veranda. It's a great three season work space. It is also a great space for contemplation and coffee/tea drinking, even wrapped in a blanket.
I will be adding more pictures as we collect the things to go on the wreaths and start making them.

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