Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our new Yule Tree and Dried Fruit Ornaments.

Now that the Holiday season is wrapping up (only one more to go!!) i finally have a minute to put together some posts.

For the past 11 years we have always had a live potted tree to celebrate Yule. After the holidays are over we replant the tree outside, and the next year we dig it up and bring it back inside again until the tree becomes too large to bring inside. The tree becomes a part of our family for a few weeks each year, and we always look forward to bringing it back inside the next year. It's like a familiar friend to spent the holidays with. Two years ago, we lost our current Yule tree when a large truck backed over it. :( We replaced it with the only 'living christmas tree' we could find, which was a Norfolk Island Pine. It was not a hardy tree, and didn't survive the year. So this year we went out looking for a new Yule tree.

We found a tree lot that hd a really nice selection of potted trees, and came home with this lovely little Frasier fir. The Frasier fir is native to the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Infact it's restricted to a small area of the southeastern Appalachian Mountains in south western Virginia, North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Making it the perfect choice to replant on our proprty.

i like that the needles are soft, so that the kids can decorate it without constantly getting poked. It also smells wonderful. :) The kids decorated with our usual ornaments. Hand blown glass icicles, pinecones, ribbons, bells, gingerbread and dried fruits.

After decorating our new Yule tree, we went outside to decorate our past trees. Some years we add lights, or ribbons and some years we make the pinecone peanut butter bird feeders. This year covered them in dried citrus fruits. i wanted to string cranberries as well, but never got around to it. They still looked beautiful.

Drying citrus to hang on your tree is very easy. It looks fabulous on a tree and smells wonderful.

To make dried fruit slices, you just slice your fruit round 1/8 inch thick, place on rack and bake at your lowest oven setting for about 2- 3 hours. You could also use a food dehydrator, or air dry them for a couple days. i did both the air dry method and the oven method. Some of the oven dried fruit turned a little brown, while the air dried fruit kept it's color better. It took bout two days to dry, and i had them setting near our wood stove.

We used oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes. Pink grapefruit would look gorgeous as well. You can also use apple slices, but soak them in a little lemon/juice water or they will get very brown.

We left our fruit natural, but you could preserve these with a little varnish. i've seen some folks sprinkle them with glitter first, and then coat them a varnish, clear glue or mod podge. Then you just attach a ribbon and hang, you can also glue them together or onto a grapevine wreath to make a beautiful dried fruit wreath. i think that my be our next project!


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