Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dried Fruit for Christmas Decor

What's better than homemade Christmas decorations? Nothing, right? I love using dried fruit around the holidays- it's simple and creates a warm charm of bygone days that you can't find in any store.

I had the honor of decorating the historic Phelps-Hatheway House in Suffield Connecticut for the holidays.  The original part of the home, built in 1761 has an obvious early American feel that practically begged for my dried fruit creations.

This is a street view of the Phelps-Hatheway House. 
Located on Main Street, it was a classic New England home, now preserved as a museum. 

I used limes, oranges, lemons, apples and cranberries along with cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves with with fresh boughs from Spruce and Fir trees.
Here you can really see the star shape from the core of the apple.
I gathered slices of fruit on a string and tied them to branches of the Concolor Fir Christmas tree with deep red velvet ribbon.
 The first cigar factory in the United States was built in Suffield Connecticut. Because tobacco played such an important role in shaping the town,
I figured a tobacco swag above the hearth was only appropriate.   
I love this garland of cinnamon sticks, apples, citrus and gay leaves.

To dry the fruit, I tried using the oven and a food dehydrator. I could get a lot more done at once with the dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, the oven works fine, I just wouldn't leave it unattended.
I started by slicing the fruit about 1/4 of an inch thick.
Here the fruit is in the oven on cooling racks with a pan below to collect drips from the juicier fruits.
I set the oven to the coolest temperature and left them until they were very dry to the touch.
This is the green parlor of the house. I created valances with spruce branches and hung slices of fruit from twine tied to the branches.
The attic of the Phelps-Hatheway House is filled with treasures. I found these tea boxes and placed them around the base of the Christmas tree instead of gifts.
I created pomanders with oranges and whole cloves. They smelled so wonderful with the springs of fir and pinecones. Such an easy, long lasting arrangement.
Another attic treasure...this bird cage might have belonged to a family pet. I placed a toy snow owl inside and I love how the feathers glow in the sun. An antler my father found in field is along side more bundles of Suffield-grown broadleaf tobacco.
The citrus glowed with the lights from the tree. And how cute are the bundles of cinnamon tied to the branches with the wonderful velvet ribbon?
No need to complicate Christmas. I love the rustic early American charm of dried fruit.
Sometimes back to basics is best, don't you think?
Please share this post with a friend and let me know in the comments below how you are decorating for the holidays this year.
xoxo Julie Harrison ~ 'Julie The Garden Fairy'