Along the Grapevine


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Foraged Wrappings

The presentation of gifts is an important part of the act of giving at this time of year, but it doesn’t hurt to be mindful of the waste we are creating and the fact that it is not necessary to use non-biodegradable papers and bobbles. This year I am using plain brown wrapping paper which if not reused can at least be composted. I have collected a few sprigs from the garden, and that combined with some ribbons I’ve collected over the years and snippets of disintegrated decorations serve well as wrapping.

If you are mailing and preparing things in advance, a stamp, pencil or a little paint will do well to brighten up the brown wrapping, but if you have the luxury of last-minute preparations, the things you find in the woods or garden are appropriate for the season, especially when you consider that is exactly what all the store-bought items are trying to mimic.

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I have used red dogwood branches, sprigs of pine and cedar, cones, unidentified dried flowers and euonymus. Flowering grasses, silver dollars, nuts and holly, to name just a few, would also be good.

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I did collect some beautiful twine for wrapping and a few other interesting bits, but they somehow got thrown out during a clean-up. Next year I’ll be more careful!

As for any leftovers, especially the evergreen, just pop them in a pot of water along with some spices and bits of citrus, heat on the stove as I did in this post, and you will have a beautiful potpourri to make you house smell super festive.

Linked to Fiesta Friday #99


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A Forager’s Potpourri

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As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to wish all my readers a very happy New Year. On this occasion I am sharing something seasonal to mark the occasion, and something a little different from the usual recipe post. The idea came from one of my favourite DIY blogs I read the other day on how to make your house smell amazing, a sort of stewed potpourri made of winter greens, fruit and spices. I decided to make my own version using mostly fragrant ingredients from my own garden. It seemed sumac, among other things, would be a good addition, as I’ve noticed whenever I dry sumac berries the house smells wonderful.

This is what I used:

a few sprigs of spruce, juniper and cedar

3 or 4 clusters of sumac berries

2 sticks of cinnamon

4 cloves

a few fresh lemon slices

Place all these ingredients in a pot, cover with water, heat and allow to simmer for a few hours.

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The aroma is not overwhelming, even from very close, but is a subtle woodsy outdoor smell which really does make the house smell amazing. I intend to repeat this and vary the ingredients a little each time, perhaps with some surviving herbs and berries, but in the meantime, wanted to share this easy, inexpensive potpourri with you all.

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