Decorating on a Shoestring

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Magi's Bring it on Home
Decorating on a Shoestring

In this Series
Decorating on a Shoestring
Makin Hay
Dog Daze of Summer
Now We Are Four!
Dried Flower Baskets
A Bit o' Blarney
Save that Trash


Magi's Guide to Cheap Decorating

Buy it (if you can't make it!)

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Let Our Garden Gang show you how to decorate your yard as well as Mirtha Stuwort would with garden and household cast-aways!  We've pulled together some cheap and free outdoor and indoor decorating ideas for fall and winter.

Don't forget nature's decoration -
birds!  Clean out and refill your feeders, and put a heated birdbath out to attract them all year round. Talk about cheap - no one does it cheaper than OGG!  Post your on-the-cheap ideas, too, at the Garden message board.  Now, let's get right into it!

Household Cast-aways

doordecor.jpg (79x176 -- 3324 bytes)Don't toss out those lone mittens, socks or old tams and knitted caps.  Use the ones with orange, yellow and brown colors for fall decorations.  Do the same with red, white, green and blue ones for Christmas and winter.

Here's how.  Once they've been washed and dried, trace around the clothing items on some corrugated box paper or stiff cardboard.  Cut out the shape, and put it into the hat, mitt or sock so it will hold its form.

String them together with color-coordinated yarn or ribbon, alternating with bells, bows, waxed leaves, berries, or whatever you have.  Hang on your door, in a window or any spot that needs cheering up.

red_rainboots.jpg (150x147 -- 5065 bytes)Never overlook outgrown footwear!  Those brightly colored boots that little Susie or Johnny has outgrown are perfect for stuffing with fall and winter boughs and placing on your porch or by your entrance door.  Weight them with bricks or stones, fill with soil and water and add fresh cut boughs.  It's important to get freshly cut boughs into the soil BEFORE it freezes - they will NOT go into frozen soil.  Add a festive bow at Christmas time, and away you go!

If you have dried plant material, fill the boots with sand and push the stems in deeply enough to hold them upright.  For short stems, wire them to some stakes that will go deep enough into the sand to hold them up.

gourds.jpg (90x150 -- 3329 bytes)Do you have a dilapidated birdhouse, children's wooden toy blocks, or other items that have ornamental potential?  Get out the spray paint and spray them with metallic glitter colors or whatever strikes your fancy and goes with the spot you have in mind for them.

String them together with ribbon or yarn using a staple gun or small self-tapping cup hooks.  For larger items, leave them on their own, adding a cheerful bow or sprig of plant material.

chilipepperornaments.jpg (76x150 -- 2321 bytes) Imagine how cheerful this old gourd birdhouse would look spray painted a metallic gold and topped with a bow and some cuttings from your evergreens, and hung from a branch or hook near your entrance?

You grew chilli or cayenne peppers this year, and now those hot-as-a-firecracker babies are coming out your ears?  No problem!  Once they've dried, string them together and use as a garland.  If the stems are long enough, you can tie them together.

Otherwise, use a large sewing needle to make a hole and pull the yarn or string through the tops of the peppers or the base of the stem.  The same trick can be used on crab apples and the colored pods from hyacinth beans or other annuals.

Garden Cast-aways

fruitswag.jpg (263x78 -- 5031 bytes)It will soon be time to cut back your roses and evergreens before applying winter protection.  These items, together with decorative grasses, berry-laden branches of shrubs, and even that wild grapevine that takes over the back corner of the yard, make great decorations.  Don't throw the cuttings away!

kissingball.jpg (97x100 -- 3173 bytes)Get creative and make swags, wreaths and balls from the bits and pieces.  Use florist wire to bind a group of twigs or branches together, and add pinecones, waxed leaves, bells and bows - or some of those spray painted wooden toys mentioned above!  Your creation can be horizontal, vertical, round, or any shape you can devise - use an old coat hanger for the frame of a door wreath!

twigberrywreath.gif (125x131 -- 11063 bytes)Apply an anti-desiccant preservative to evergreen boughs and cuttings from berry and fruit-bearing shrubs like Bittersweet, hollies, Euonymus, and rosehips.  A little shot with a glue gun or dab of Elmer's paste will handle any bits that make a break for it.  Grape vine cuttings just need to be at least partially dried - so they are firm but still flexible.

To wax leaves and the small twigs they are attached to, use the old grade-school technique of sandwiching the leaves between two layers of waxed paper.  Protect the iron and ironing board from the waxed paper with sheets of newspaper on both sides, and iron them with a hot iron. The wax will transfer to the leaves.  wreathonfence.jpg (121x100 -- 4226 bytes)Remember to remove the waxed paper while it is still warm, and lay the leaves flat to cool.

And don't just decorate your door - decorate your fences and arbors with home-made wreaths and garlands you can purchase inexpensively at garden centers.  Even that Douglas Fir or rhododendron you have put under a protective tepee has decorating potential!  Put a big red velveteen bow on top and spiral wrap a green garland around the sides of the protective covering.

So there you have it - there's practically no such thing as garbage with OGG's decorating tips ;-)  

Home ] [ Decorating on a Shoestring ] Makin Hay ] Dog Daze of Summer ] Now We Are Four! ] Dried Flower Baskets ] A Bit o' Blarney ] Save that Trash ]


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