Today for The Christmas Challenge I want to think about how we can use the natural world around us in our gifts. We need our eyes open!
Recently we had a good example of this when Jen used sea shells she collected to hold pretty little soaps. This looked beautiful!
For all our crafts, gifts and decor nature is our best friend! Plus we have what is around our garden and immediate area but when we travel there is a whole world of possibilities! (When I was little the nature table was the thing I liked best about school!)
And it is all free!
If you have looked in a florist lately you will see so many natural elements with massive price tags. Sticks for $60 a bunch an example I saw a little while ago! Bundles of twigs tied up with string, vases of foliage. Giant leaves for $8 each! yes, leaves! I could go on!
Mimi is a star at making up a floral bouquet with flowers and foliage and presenting it nicely. This is a lovely gift anytime or for a birthday. At Christmas this could be flowers for the table or a centre piece. If you study what you have and what is around you it might turn out you can give lovely bunches of flowers. You may even have wild flowers.
Flowers can also be gathered and pressed and used in your card making.
At the farm Mum has a native garden that blends into the bush. So it is full of native flowers. When I am there I pick masses! A bunch of these in the city would be $30 for a posy size and $100 for a massive bunch. Last year I was there when a lot was flowering so I made up small bouquets to bring home for gifts.
I have to say it was also beautiful just to be out gathering flowers in the sunshine!
When I got home these went into red tissue paper. They worked as presents really well!
Also in Mum's garden I picked bunches of fresh rosemary and Bay leaves. This is a lovely git for a cook. My neighbour went mad over this! Also in the shops they sell these in tiny bunches for a few dollars and these were ten times that size! I just tied them up with brown string.
Another time I dried my own herbs and made Bouquet Garni. I had Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaves etc. I just air dry them.
I packed the Bouquet Garni into cellophane bags. These were a gift I gave lots of people a couple of years ago. Plus I made a big jar of them for the kitchen!
Also at Mum's I pick Lavender. I give it away as gifts or make it into gifts. Last year I made Lavender Sachets.
In my decorating my dream item is a nest! Basically everyone knows this and so if a nest has fallen they end up with me. I would never take a nest in use. These have blown down well after they have been used. I would rather a nest than an expensive ornament! (the eggs are fakes!)
I have also used nests in wreaths and loved how they have looked.
At home my hydrangeas give me both flowers to give as gifts and for the house. I also dry them as they make glorious wreaths as well.
I have to include picking up kindling and wood. It is free at the farm and I grew up collecting firewood. I still love it. I love the sight of it sitting ready for the fire.
A basket of wood is still a lovely gift for anyone with a fire or for my Son in Law for his pizza oven!
We always pick up pine cones too. On our travels we often see gum nuts and pinecones and collect them. Apart from good kindling they make great Christmas decorations! One year I gave away bags of these and another year I decorated my Christmas presents with them...
I often make a cake for a gift. I am no cake decorator but flowers from the garden do the trick and make my cakes a much nicer gift.
What do you have around you that could become gifts and an asset? If you have herbs, a fruit tree, roses, wild berries... ohh ... all these things mean you are set! Run with all the possibilities! If you have roses you can make lovely bunches up as gifts, decorate cakes, sugar roses, rose petal scented bath products! They might not be your roses. A friend or relative might have a rose garden....
If you have a fruit tree you can give fresh fruit, fruit pies, dried fruit dipped in chocolate, jam, jam tarts, preserved fruit...
You see what I mean. So many possibilities!
This is going to be different for each of us depending on where we live but nature has a way of providing so many beautiful things. Just now on the streets around us there are beautiful giant sized autumn leaves falling. I usually collect some and have a bowl of them inside. Just lovely.
There are so many ways to incorporate natural elements into our gift giving with stunning results and it is all free.
What do you have that might be able to become gifts? Recently Vicky's husband cut down a tree so we had a kind of challenge to see what Vicky could make from this wood. And we came up with so many things as natural "slices" of branches make everything from stepping "stones" to rustic placemats! She came up with so many ideas!
If you have made gifts from natural elements please share!
One of my favourite things is road side gathering! The things you find! My eyes are always busy as I love gathering! I keep scissors and a basket in the car too! You just never know....