December 14, 2012

Merry Making

The fragrance of orange and apple drying in the oven takes me right back to my grandparents' old house (not for the first time this holiday season). I can see myself, as a little girl, sitting on the floor in front of the freshly cut Christmas tree, surrounded by boxes of old glass ornaments collected over the years...Wood in the stove is cracking and filling the space with warmth. While I am making garlands from popcorn and snowflakes from tissue paper, my grandma is simmering dried apricots, apples and pears in a big pot, preparing the traditional dried fruit compote. Grandpa Angel sitting on the table in his signature pose is adding to the house an aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg from mulled wine...
It always amazes me how Christmas time brings back to everyone of us childhood memories of the magical past. It also possesses this unexplained power to inspire our creative being and make us create handmade beauty, something I have always loved. By just taking a little time and using our hands we can lend personality to our Christmases and make them truly a meaningful time for family, friends and strangers. This is how we give the love inside of us wings to fly and reach others...
Days before we trimmed our tree and before our guests arrived for dinner, I spent time drying oranges and apples. Once dried, the fruit slices not only make the room smell great, but they look beautiful and they are multifunctional. With mini jingle bells and hemp twine, I made ornaments. Instead of using them on the Christmas tree, I decided to make a dried fruit holiday tree, simply by putting branches in an urn and covering them with a little moss. I also arrange slices of dried oranges and apples together with pine cones, cinnamon sticks, walnuts and chestnuts around candles to create a simple table centerpiece. Then, it came to mind that I can adorn the wine glasses with them...These homemade ornaments would look pretty decorating on top of the wrapping presents, too. And...why not adding them to cinnamon sticks or mint and rosemary in order to make potpourri. Isn't it a perfect welcome gift for the guests?! Of course, I can also make a dried fruit wreath or unique napkin rings...But the best part is that when the Christmas season is done, my son would hang our dried fruits ornaments outside from tree branches and make them gifts to our bird friends. 


                                                     Dried Orange and Apple Slices 

1.Slice the oranges and apples into approximately 1/4 (5mm) wide slices.

2. Lay the orange slices on a dishtowel and blot them with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

3. Dip the apple slices into a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water.

4. Place the fruit slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dry in a 200 F  for 3-4 hours. It's a bit of a slow process since we only dehydrate and dry them out.

5. About half way through turn each slice over to help the slices dry out evenly. 

6. Remove the sheet from the oven and leave for half an hour to cool.

                                                               Merry making!

                                                                            Wishing you all the joy of the season!


  1. I can almost smell the wonderful aroma of the dried fruit. wonderful photos, as always, Sylvia! sending Christmas Blessings!!

  2. So lovely, Sylvia! I must try drying some oranges!

  3. Oh what a gorgeous, award-winning post!

    I think if you were to take those and decorate outdoors some birds and animals would know Santa made a visit, too!

    Well done, your photography is amazing!!!!!

  4. make the holidays multi-sensory is what makes it all so thrilling. Our sense of smell is one of the strongest, isn't it? So why not fill the home with perfumes of nature, of beauty and family. Sylvia my dear, i wish you a most magnificent weekend of play, perfect companionship and love. You are just super!! Anita

  5. Love your sweet and simple post taking us back to when Christmas was made from what we have and from our own hands. Your pictures are serenely beautiful - as pretty as a magazine.

  6. Oh, the wonderful aroma that much be wafting through your home. This is a gorgeous post. Just makes me smile! ~ Sarah

  7. So beautiful, dear friend and sister...a multi-sensory (to borrow Anita's sentiment) gift you have given us...
    Gorgeous...and full of love....thank you for the splendid ideas and inspiration!!
    Much love to you,
    - Irina

  8. Good morning beautiful friend!

    And I believe with all my heart that those children and teachers are resting, and REJOICING in total peace. Our day will come as well, if we believe.

    BIG HUGS TO YOU and I need to get me some oranges and cloves!!! Anita

  9. Dear Sylvia,

    Looking at your post makes me want to start straight away. Those dried orange slices look so very pretty on the branches! Love the little bags you made!

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  10. You have a beautiful blog, I enjoyed reading it and seeing your wonderful photos, very much.
    Hugs, Cindy

  11. What a beautiful post, Sylvia. I love the thought of adding such wonderful, natural scents around the home this time of year. Thank you for the lovely idea.

  12. Love how naturally beautiful these dried fruit ornaments look in your space Sylvia! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity at It's Party Time!!

  13. Love your blog and particularly this post. We also decorated our Christmas tree with dried fruit and nuts and we loved the whole process and the way the tree turned out. There is something so charming about natural ornaments. Thanks for the lovely pictures.


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