Fresh and dried herbs provide a wonderful source of plant material for nature-inspired crafts.
Wreaths remain popular here in New England.
Seasonal wreaths are used to greet guests at the door and add a decorative accent indoors. A small wreath of culinary herbs makes a thoughtful gift for a favorite cook.
Wreaths can be as simple as loosely coiled grape vines or bittersweet, or might begin with a base of artemesia or other herbs. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum), and wormwood (Artemisia absinthum) provide a good base for herbal wreaths. To dry the plant material for later use, loosely coil the cut stems/branches inside a basket. If you dry the stems in a curved shape, there's less breakage when it's time to make your wreath.
One of our more popular workshops was based on a creative session given by Don Haynie of Buffalo Springs Herb Farm, (Raphine, Virginia) to members of the International Herb Association. One of our members took part, and offered to teach us. A group of 8-10 members, equipped with glue guns, clippers, and an assortment of dried flowers and herbs spent a pleasant session creating gardening "angels." The results were as creative and individual as the members who participated. One of the angels wore an elegant gown of Eucalyptus leaves. Some were decidedly less sophisti- cated, including my own "angel top," pictured here.
This gardening angel or flower fairy was inspired by HSA member Betsy Williams of The Proper Season. Betsy taught us how to make flower fairies from dried peonies and rosebuds. We added Lunaria (money plant or honesty) wings. The peony flower fairies are delicate and charming, but rather fragile. The example at right (actual size) was fashioned from a silk rose to make a longer lasting ornament. It can be scaled down by using smaller flowers. I designed a Victorian table-top tree which was decorated with small flower fairies, miniature tussie mussies, lavender ornaments and lace (photo below). The tree was donated to the South Shore Natural Science Center for their second annual "A Natural Christmas."
Lavender, sweet lavender
Lavender wands (also called lavender bottles) are made from freshly-cut stems of lavender. Start with an uneven number of stems, bend the stems back over the flowers and weave a narrow ribbon in and out between the "spokes." Your first attempt may be less than perfect, but it gets easier with practice.
Dried lavender can be used in lavender sachets. Sew two pieces of fabric, right sides together, on three sides, turn right side out and lightly stuff with lavender. Sew the opening closed with hand or machine stitching. If you don't sew, find a pretty hankie, put a small scoop of lavender in the center, pull up the edges and tie with a decorative ribbon.
Crafts by Rhonda Haavisto
"Kisu'" kitty stepped in for the photo finish, which seemed fitting since she had been 'helping' every step of the way.
Herbs for Use and for Delight!
Designers: Rhonda Haavisto and Joanne Robinson, Paper Petals, for the SSNSC's first annual "A Natural Christmas." 2001