Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Craft: Orange and Clove Ornaments

As I alluded to in this post, a friend and I made orange and clove ornaments last Saturday afternoon while listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate (tea for me).  I know this idea is not new; in fact its roots can be traced back to medieval Europe when people bathed very infrequently if at all.  The smell of orange and clove helped to mask the stench.  It was also believed to ward of disease. 

However, I thought I would share how we decorated a few of our ornaments while posting the easy instructions along the way.

Supplies Needed:
  • 4 oranges, 2 for you and 2 for your guest--you can obviously make more but we have a small tree this year and I didn't want to overwhelm the poor thing
  • 1 jar of whole cloves--one of the small spice jars they sell at grocery stores will be plenty for four ornaments.  If you are decorating more than 4 oranges, you may want to consider buying a bigger jar, perhaps from Penzey's if you are lucky enough to have one in your area!
  • Ribbon to tie off and hang your ornament from--I used scrap ribbon left over from our wedding
  • Ballpoint pen for tracing and making holes--note: once you start using the pen to make the holes, it may stop working as a writing utensil.  Therefore, use a pen you don't mind parting with at the end of the project
Total Cost: under five dollars!

    Tie ribbon around the middle of your orange.  You will need a partner to help you with this part, similar to when you are tying a bow on a present.   Create a lop at the top and then tie off.  This will be the string by which your ornament will hang.

    Draw your design on the orange.  When I made these, I drew the design and inserted all of the cloves before tying the ribbon.  You can obviously create this in the same order as I did, but I found that some of the designs I created were interrupted by the ribbon.  Having the ribbon around the orange to begin with helps you visualize the space (canvas if you will) that you have to work with before you even get started.

    Next, using the tip of your pen, poke a hole through the orange.  The hole needs to be fairly deep so that the whole clove can fit comfortably inside it without falling out but take care not to make it too deep or the clove will start to disappear inside the orange!  Insert a clove into the hole, then move on to the next part of your design, trying to keep the holes spaced evenly throughout.

    The directions I read said only to use perfectly intact cloves for this project, but the whole cloves weren't exactly cheap so unless they were terribly broken, I still used them.  There are enough cloves on there that one or two broken (read missing their bulb) cloves won't be noticed.  Note: the broken cloves are a bit more noticeable in these photos because they are close-up shots and had been sitting on our tree for almost a week before I got around to taking pictures.   Don't worry, they still smell delicious!

    Repeat until finished.  Hang on tree or anywhere you want a little fresh scent (like a closet or the kitchen). 

    I also think a tree decorated completely with oranges and baby clementines would be darling!

    Anyone else have easy yet festive crafts to share?  I am always looking for new projects!

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