Herbs and spices make for a cozy home. From the piney freshness of rosemary to the piquant sweetness of cardamom, their aromas are quick nostalgic passageways to memories of favorite meals shared with loved ones. While most of us cook with herbs, there are plenty of other uses for them, too. We hope to inspire you with these creative decorative ideas for the season.
Herbal garlands are simple and fun to make. Beautiful accents for the fireplace mantle or around a doorframe, they are unique, elegant, and fragrant. Not every herb works for a garland but we did our homework and came up with two designs that look beautiful and smell divine.
6-inch straight upholstery needle
Bead stringing wire or cotton twine
Organic dried bay leaves
Organic dried whole bird’s eye chilies
Organic dried shiitake mushroom
While there are many options for a culinary garland, we found these herbs the most attractive together and easy to thread: bay leaf, whole bird’s eye chili, and shiitake mushroom. Start by threading a needle with your wire or string and tie a large knot on the end. We used cotton twine. Choose a pattern that you like (we went with one mushroom, two chilies, one bay leaf, two chilies; repeat). It is important to wear gloves to thread this garland, as the chilies are spicy and should not come in prolonged contact with your skin. To thread the shiitakes, it worked best to set the shiitake on a plate and push the needle through. When the garland reaches your desired length, tie a knot on the other end and hang.
Organic whole cloves
An early form of aromatherapy tracing back to the mid-thirteenth century, pomanders are oranges decorated with whole cloves—so simple and festive. Use them to display in a bowl, or thread string through the center to hang them. They will immediately freshen up any space. If you have never worked with cloves, they are like little spikes and easily pierce the orange’s peel. To create straight circles or geometric patterns with your clove design, wrap rubber bands around the orange in the pattern you wish to make. Then follow along the side of the rubber band placing cloves. This is a great activity for the family, especially because design options are limitless.
Holiday Spice Garland:
Organic dried orange slices
Organic sweet cinnamon sticks
Organic dried white sage
Calling upon the traditional holiday aromas of citrus and cinnamon, we added sage for its pungent aroma and playful aesthetic (it’s almost like a snowflake!). Start by threading a needle with your wire or string and tie a large knot on the end. We used cotton twine. The pattern was simple—one cinnamon stick, one orange, one sage piece; repeat. Though the cinnamon sticks are hollow, we opted to not thread through them, rather to wrap twine around them and knot them in place for an extra decorative touch. To do this, wrap the thread around each stick a few times and then thread the needle through to create a knot. For the sage, we used large pieces by threading through hollow spaces in their leaves rather than piercing with the needle. We encourage experimentation! Consider an all-sage garland or add cedar tips or juniper berries to it. Just note that different variations will require different equipment—for example, a smaller thread and smaller needle for the berries. When the garland reaches your desired length, tie a knot on the other end and hang.
Hang garlands in areas where they will not be frequently touched or moved due to the delicate nature of herbs.