For me the Christmas season starts with Advent. Tomorrow is the first Advent, so what would be better than starting this 12 Days of Christmas series with my Advent decoration.
Somehow my Advent decorations set the tone for all my Christmas decorations, so let’s see what this one is telling me about the direction I am taking…..
The first of Advent, the first light in a dark time with the promise of more light to come……
(this was actually a ‘mistake’ shot when I hadn’t adjusted my camera settings yet. But I love it).
Ok on to some proper photography…..
This centerpiece is so rich and abundant with greens, I think I used at least 10 different kinds in there. It all came from some scavenger hunting in my own garden, the woods and a bit of discreet clipping in a local park.
I hadn’t made a Christmas centerpiece like that in years. I used to do it al the time. My mom really had two green thumbs and a truly creative mind, so she used to decorate our whole house with beautiful centerpieces in every shape and form over Christmas.
She started to teach me how to do it when I was about six. Maybe even earlier but that is where my first memories come from.
I distinctly remember that we had a small wooden sleigh to use as a container. Of course that was my favorite. I would spend the entire afternoon filling it up with as many decorations and ornaments as I could cram in it. While my mother was clipping greens and building beautiful centerpieces specifically designed for the buffet, the dinner table, the hallway table, the coffee table etc.
After a while I started to follow her example and left putting the ornaments in until last and start building my centerpiece with the greens and the natural elements.
My centerpieces became better and better until that Christmas when I had my proudest moment.
My sister who lived out of town came home for Christmas and she couldn’t tell anymore which centerpiece my mom made and which one was mine…….
I felt so proud…. It truly was a badge of honor.
I think my mom felt relieved, because next year she handed me the clipping shears and told me I could do all the decorations that year. And I did until my parents died.
So building this centerpiece brought back a lot of lovely memories. Of kitchens filled with all kinds of greens, of the house smelling of pine and candle wax, of my mom and her able hands and of my childhood home filling up with siblings and love during Christmas.
Want to learn how to build a centerpiece like that? It really isn’t difficult. It is all about the preparations.
You can use that green stuff you dunk in water to fill a container and stick the greens in (over here it is called oasis, no idea what it is called in English), but you can use chicken wire too.
I choose chicken wire because I was using a shallow tray that wouldn’t be able to hold the water in, and because I had it on hand. I stapled two pieces of chicken wire to some wood and scrunched it up into two rolls. And I hammered in some big nails to form candle skewers. The wood also helps to lift the candles a bit, so they’ll look longer.
Then it was time to …… fill her up baby!
Start at the bottom layers, and set the diameter with those. Work with small branches, clip them down if they are too big. Be patients and keep going round and round, sticking in different greens each round. Don’t be afraid to take something out again when it doesn’t work.
Use things like Ivy leaves and moss to fill up the holes and disguise the chicken wire. Stick your embellishments in last. You can of course use ornaments and Christmas balls, but I stuck with the pinecones because I found so many of those lovely tiny pinecones that were still attached to the branches.
So what is it saying about the direction my Christmas decorations are going to take?
I guess natural comes to mind, homemade, rather frugal, definitely sentimental and filled with memories, hopefully beautiful and definitely easy and simple.
Ah well I guess you’ll have to come back the next two weeks and see for yourself (and so will I, because I definitely aren’t finished yet).
Oh and before I forget. I made the faux French enamel tags by using the tutorial from Can’t Stop Making Things that I’ve had in my Inspiration File forever.
If you are looking for more ideas for four candles Advent decorations, Karin from Renovated Faith, made a beautiful yet simple four candle Advent centerpiece herself and she rounded up more ideas for your pleasure.
My Advent decoration. Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas decorations.
Don’t forget to go see what the other participants are up to. I have gathered the links for you here.
12 Days of Christmas Decorations 2012