It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day Eleven of the Twelve Days of Christmas

On day eleven, we get fruits and beads and pretties. We are making a beautiful handmade garland to festoon your home. Mine is hanging above the window in the living room, hence the blinds you see in the photo. This one will take a little longer, but it's worth it!

Start by slicing apples and oranges about 1/4" thick and drying the slices. This can be done in a dehydrator, which is the method of choice, or on cookie racks placed on cookie sheets and put in the oven on the lowest temperature, usually about 150 -200 degrees. Turn them at two or three times a day until dry. How long this take will depend on a few things, but shouldn't take longer than 2 or 3 days. If you do this in the oven, you need to leave the door open a crack so the moisture can escape.

While the fruits are drying, you can be getting the rest of the material together. You will need large, wooden macrame type beads and little wooden thread spools, both of which you can get at a craft store like Michaels. Mine has a combination of the two, and I used approximately 40 pieces. You might use more or less, depending on how you space them. You will need 2 or three fabrics (or more, if you like), complimentary to one another, torn into 1" wide strips and cut into 5" lengths. You will also need a piece of jute or heavy cotton string, about 8 ft. long.

Start by a sliding all your beads, spools and fruit slices onto the jute, in any order you like. (For ease of instruction, I will call the spools beads from now on. You will slide whichever one you have on your jute.) Its good to have a bead on either side of a fruit slice to hold it in place. Fold down about 5" at one end and tie an overhand knot to form a loop. Take one of your fabric strips and tie it over the knot. (You can just tie this once, it doesn't have to be tied in a knot. It's not going anywhere and has no stress on it.) This will keep your bead, etc. from sliding off the end. Tie another 2 strips on, then slide a bead over next to them. Then tie 2 or 3 more strips, and slide a bead or fruit slice, whichever you have strung next. You are going to just keep tying strips between beads and fruit slices until you have filled all but the last 12" of the jute. Make a loop at the last end and tie an overhand knot, tying strips over the knot, as before. Hopefully you can see from the photo and the drawing what I mean. This garland has a cozy, homespun look and feel, and it makes me feel right at home when I look at it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Now...the fruit of apple and orange are used to make Wassail. If you have never tried it, you don't know what you're missing. Here's a really simple recipe. Take 1 gallon apple juice, 1 qt. cranberry juice, 7 sticks of cinnamon, 15 whole cloves and 1 sliced orange. Put all together in a large pan and heat on medium heat until warm. You can turn it down and simmer it all day to make your house smell good, too. It's a wonderful drink to get you warm on a cold winter's day. Enjoy!

Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves of green.

Here we come a-wandering, so fair to be seen,

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too.

And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year!

And God send you a Happy New Year.

I hope you are enjoying the last few days before Christmas as much as I am. I finally got my gifts taken care of, as much as I can on a VERY limited budget. My husband will be losing his job any day now, so we really have to watch what we spend. But I'm used to doing a lot with just a little, so I know we'll get through this one way or another. "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." Anne Bradstreet.

'Night all. Gramma G.

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