I am always so excited for the first weekend of December, as this is always the weekend when the Christmas decorations go up in our house!
Now aside from my usual baking, this year I have decided to also make some decorations myself. The idea came about initially because I wanted to give my desk at work a homemade and more traditional Yule based feel. In our office, we usually decorate all our desk banks with the usual tinsel and left over decorations that people bring in from home. However this year, we decided to decorate our own desk spaces so we can all put our individual stamp on the way they look. I am really looking forward to this as the office can look a little sparse and Christmas is a perfect time to change that for a short while.
The idea of making some homemade potpourri to take to work came about as I began drying my own orange slices for the first time. I am going to use some of the slices to make hanging decorations but then I also thought of having some potpourri on the desk to give off that lovely Christmassy, spicy scent that I love so much. You could dry your own slices (easy, but takes some time) or you could by some online or in craft shops.
Drying Orange Slices
I have used 3 medium to large oranges, which should give me enough to make some potpourri as well as the hanging decorations. You could even use them to make a garland.
Cut the oranges across the middle so that the shape of the segments show beautifully in slices about 1/2 cm thick. Lay the slices on baking trays lined with kitchen towel so that the excess juice is absorbed, turning them over once to get both sides.
Heat your oven to its lowest temperature and place the slices on to the oven racks. Leave them to dry in the oven for an hour and a half with the door ajar before turning them over and letting them continue to dry in the oven for another hour and a half.
Making the Potpourri
I have used a jam jar but you can use any bowl, vase or dish. Combine a few of the orange slices, a couple of cinnamon sticks, a few star anise and a pinch of whole cloves. Some foliage such as pine cones and evergreens add pops of colour and ups the Yule look even more and I also added some wooden craft charms that I had to hand. I haven’t specified any quantities of the spices as you can add as much or as little as you like for your own taste. I then put in a few drops of Christmassy essential oil to enhance the spicy smells a little more.
You could also make some yummy smelling hanging ornaments with the orange slices and sewing on some star anise or cinnamon sticks plus a few cloves poked through the segments. Tie on some thread, hemp cord or twine at the top point of the orange slice and you have yourself an ornament for the tree or garland.
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