Monday, Jun 18, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Amy Stone

Decorating doesn't have to be a needle in your side

I'll bet that tree in your living room looks amazing. Now, what about the mantle and the outside of your house? Have you put up the holiday wreath and swags? You can use the cuttings from the bottom of your fresh tree to whip up some holiday décor.

Finding pieces

You can use the leftovers from your fresh Chrsitmas tree to make a wreath for the front door or bring them inside to decorate the mantle.

If you don't usually get a fresh tree, you can still find lots of fresh evergreen limbs at your favorite tree farm. Fraser fir boughs are popular. They are long-lasting and have a strong fragrance. The short, soft needles make them easy to work with and they look great on the mantle, over your door and even in a centerpiece.

Cutting the fir tips from 6 to 12 inches will help get you started. You will need a couple dozen small branches to make a 22-inch wreath.

Boxwood tips trimmed from the bushes around your garden make a nice complement to the long needles of the pine boughs. Cut them in 12- to 18-inch lengths to use in arrangements or swags. They will last for weeks if you keep them watered.

Decorate your evergreens with variegated holly. Its white, yellow, and green leaves are spectacular, set off by bright red berries. You can also find varieties of holly with solid green leaves with red berries.

Putting it together

You don't need to use just one type of greenery. Blend them in layers. Start with something sturdy in the background such as Noble or Silver Fir. Even a few stems of Fraser from the bottom of your fresh tree will do nicely.

Put two or three stems in your hand and wrap them one or two times with floral wire that is on a spool.

Lay a few stems of a more delicate evergreen like cedar or juniper on top of that. Then, wrap it again with more floral wire. Keep layering the greens into a swag or on to a wire wreath. Wrap it tightly to keep the greens secure.

Some cedars are lighter green and on the yellow side and really complement the dark green of the fir. The dark purple juniper berries wired on top will make your swag look like it already has a bow.

Tie it all together with medium weight floral wire and add a ribbon to match your decorations for more color.

Layer your evergreens with other goodies from your tree. Stay with a couple colors from your color scheme and add in different textures like icicles, glass balls, berries, bells and even feathers. You can also wrap a string of battery operated lights into the wreath for a little more pizzazz.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at

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