Old World Simple

It is only Tuesday, and this week already feels interminably long. Mr. B and I have caught Little Sis's cold, and Big Sis - who remains healthy (knock on wood) - is in her final week of The Nutcracker. She rehearsed last night, she'll rehearse Wednesday, she will perform twice for the local schools on Thursday, then Saturday will bring morning rehearsal and the full show in the evening. My head is swimming. I still want to bring some simple seasonal joy into the house, so this weekend, we made a few quiet old-world decorations.

I've wanted to make dried orange slice decorations since last year, but we switched to the artificial white tree, which called for a kitschy mid-century American vibe. We did, however, save our fairy branch tree, setting it on the porch for the holidays, and I decided it could use a few more decorations. (Most of the fairy dust necklaces and glitter acorns went home with Little Sis's birthday party guests.)

We usually have a big bowl of little clementine oranges in the middle of our table, this time of year. They are a favorite go-to snack. Occasionally, the bag we'll buy will have a few especially squishy or not-so-nice ones. I pulled those to make our decorations.

The internet is full of instructions for how to make these. I think this post over at  Red Ted Art  was the first one I pinned. I set the oven at 200° F, and allowed mine to dry for about 2 1/2 hours, or a little less. I think if I do this again, I'll set the oven lower (150°, maybe) and allow more time for the slices to dehydrate. It may be because I used clementines instead of large navel oranges, but mine were really starting to brown.

We didn't need to poke holes in our slices, as nature provided us some openings for our yarn.

We hung them on the tree branch that night. I think they add something sweet and colorful to our little porch.

I'm still lamenting the fact that we don't get to go to Lindsborg for Lucia Fest, this year. If money weren't so tight, I would try to head there for a little shopping excursion. The grocery store alone would be worth the trip! Alas, it isn't in the cards, so I'm trying to bring a little Scandinavian simplicity into my admittedly big, kooky holiday time.

Swedish Christmas Crafts by Helene S. Lundberg. Skyhorse Publishing, 2013.

I checked this book out from the library. There are other books out there that I'd love to get my hands on, but this is the only one I could locate in our library system. See the apple candle holders? I think I need to do that...

I'm not sure if everything in the book is especially Swedish, or just inspired by the Scandinavian look. I know that orange and clove pomanders are popular all over the place - the girls helped decorate some at the Victorian Christmas event at Old Cowtown this weekend, in fact - but we hadn't made any at home for a while. I even had some lovely cinnamon sticks in the cabinet.

Here is our table right now. I have to tell you, I'm a sucker for cloves. I love the smell, and the scent mixed with citrus fruits? Heaven. I always add extra ground cloves to my pumpkin and gingerbread baked treats, too.

I liked the look of these simple stars on ribbon, too. I moved our straw Swedish star over the dining area, and strung our own paper stars (on yarn, instead of ribbon).

This year, I checked out a lot of books about Christmastime in other countries. As always, I have a hefty stack of Scandinavian or Scandinavian-inspired tales. While the girls are at school this week, I'm prepping a few activities and picking books to get us to Saturday morning, which is St. Lucia Day. Big Sis and I have to be downtown early that morning, but I think I can swing some Lucia buns, if I do most of the work the night before. Audrey Eclectic is hosting another St. Lucia Blog Procession this year. I had a lovely time participating two years ago, and hope to link up this weekend.

So, for the next few days, join us for some Scandinavian-inspired books and activities as we prepare for St. Lucia Day, this Saturday!

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  1. love love and more love! your orange slices look great! next year I will totally make these. this wkend I'm hoping to sit down and make some orange and clove pomanders, i love those so much! adore your little garland of tiny whit stars. i tell you, how did the Scandis corner the market on all things Christmas so very well?? this year i'm totally making rice pudding on christmas eve!

    1. We are, too! I even got a marzipan pig at World Market, so we'll play "hide the almond."

    2. OH FUN. thank you for the remind. we need to do that too!

  2. LOVE all your decorations. We made the orange slice ornaments last year and the one before, and I think we need to make them this year too, cuz it's sort of a tradition to us now- not a very old one, but still ;) but cloves on fruit... I totally need to make these! I love cloves! We also like to sprinkle some cinnamon on the orange slices before we bake them, it smells divine!

    1. Thank you! Okay, I have to do that next time. Cinnamon is another one of my favorite things.

  3. Paper and slices? I love it. So simple and perfect.

    1. Thanks. Someday, I want to have a house big enough for multiple trees. My kitschy, American mid-century white tree in one room, a very traditional fresh tree with simple red and white ornaments in another room...


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