18 December 2014

Blogmas Day 18: Simple Williamsburg Fruit Garland

As I mentioned in my last-minute post yesterday, most of my family's Christmas decorations are inspired by the holiday decorating style of Colonial Williamsburg. We use faux natural materials such as artificial holly, wooden cranberry beads, and faux fruit to add simple decorations to our windows, doors, and mantlepiece. Because these decorations are made to imitate winter greenery and produce, we leave them up all season long to brighten up the long winter months.

Colonial Williamsburg's wreaths, garlands, and swags can be quite elaborate, and therefore expensive to buy pre-made and somewhat difficult to replicate at home. However, a few years ago my mother and I came up with an easy-to-make and inexpensive Williamsburg-style garland for our stairwell, and we've been using it every year since. It took a bit of experimenting to find just the right arrangement of materials, but I think the variation we've used the past two years is now just right:

The base of the garland is a string of wooden cranberry beads, available at places that sell Christmas decorating supplies such as craft stores, garden centers, and home improvement stores. Faux magnolia leaves, faux pears and apples, and sprigs of faux holly are secured to the beads with floral wire, evenly spaced in an alternating pattern of leaf, pear, leaf, holly, leaf, apple, leaf, holly, and so on. We got our faux fruit and greenery from Williamsburg Marketplace, who no longer sells them, but craft and hobby stores should stock this kind of thing. The garland is draped on cup hooks, and the fruit and greenery bunch together nicely at the draped points. 

While it takes a bit of time and patience to get the fruit stems properly secured (they have a tendency to slip if not wrapped tightly enough), the entire garland can be gently coiled and packed in a box for easy set-up in the future. You could also use this method to make garlands in a more Victorian style, using ornaments and bows instead of fruit and magnolia leaves with the cranberry beads and holly.

Speaking of garlands and decking the halls, today is the last day to order the paper pennant banners I make for my Etsy shop and have your package shipped before Christmas. There are designs inspired by classic books as well as vintage and retro themes, so take a look if you like that sort of thing!

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