Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 13: Gathering centerpiece materials

Loretta Gillespie

Look for grasses and twisted twigs for your arrangements.

Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 13:

Little things add up when preparing for holiday dinners. There is so much intensive labor on the day proceeding the holiday, and of course, the day of, that you just simply run out of time before you get to do a lot of the little things that make the day so special.

Some of the things you can do a week or a few days ahead of time are simple, inexpensive or even free. Things like gathering dried branches, grasses, seed pods and mosses make for an enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine and save you money.

Go for a walk in the woods; you’ll be amazed at what nature has all ready for your Thanksgiving centerpiece!

Don’t forget to look in your garden, too, for dried hydrangeas, rose hips and nandina berries.

Gather berries, vines, twisted branches and pinecones, then take them home and sort them out. Place pinecones in a sink filled with warm water and a little bit of bleach. Soak for one hour, then drain on paper towels. When dry, place on aluminum covered cookie sheet and put into a preheated 300-degree oven for 1-2 hours.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

You can scent your pinecones at this point by placing them in a heavy duty plastic bag with cinnamon, vanilla and other spices, to your liking, shake and leave to soak up scents overnight. You can purchase liquid cinnamon at drug stores for this purpose.

Remove pinecones and lay out on a countertop covered with paper towels. Take small eye-bolts, the kind with a threaded end, and screw it into the base of each pinecone so that you can insert them in your arrangement and secure them with thin wire, ensuring that they will hang properly in a wreath or centerpiece.

Using styrofoam as a base for a centerpiece, or grapevines as a base for a wreath, start with your tallest pieces and work outward, adding dried ornamental or tall grasses for filler. You can cover your styrofoam with moss, either found in the woods, or bought from a craft store.

If making a wreath, wrap a thin piece of floral wire through the eye- bolt, then wrap it around a section of grapevine wreath. Add colorful fall leaves, and you have a beautiful wreath to welcome your guests. You can make them last longer by spraying with clear spray paint before hanging.


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