Bringing Nature’s Beauty Indoors: Creating a Festive Mood at the Holiday Dinner Table with Candles and Natural Treasures…

November 25th, 2009 § 6 comments § permalink

Bittersweet and floating votive candles…

As we begin celebrating the holidays this season, our attentions turn toward the table, where we gather to celebrate and give thanks. Now that I have finished shopping for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving feast, I am beginning to play with some seasonal arrangements to greet my guests and illuminate the dining area. With so much stark inspiration in the forest surrounding my home, I tend to reflect nature’s minimalism by keeping my decorations simple.

As seasonal darkness returns, candles provide a warm welcome at dinnertime. This year I am drawn to beeswax pillars glowing behind glass, and floating votives flickering in bittersweet-laced water bowls. Placing candles behind glass, or floating them in water provides additional sparkle and reflection. Beyond the added luminosity, thick glass and water also add safety to candle displays, particularly when they are combined with natural and often combustible materials…

Pine cones and crabapples, safely piled around a glass-hurricane lantern…

Of course, we all know that open flames are very dangerous, especially in households with children and pets. Candles should never be left untended, even when protected by glass. But when handled with care in occupied rooms, candles enclosed in glass jars, water bowls or hurricane lanterns can provide a safe focal point for beautiful holiday centerpieces.

A few years ago I received several hurricane shades, (pictured above, and linked below), and beeswax candles as a holiday gift. What a great present for a gardener! I use these glass cylinders in many ways, throughout the seasons. The stockier jar-type containers with glass bottoms work great for holding water, stone or gravel in addition to votive candles or short pillars. I also like to wrap vines like bittersweet all around these jars. The taller glass hurricane shades provide higher flame protection, and I love using these on the terrace where they prevent candles from extinguishing in the wind. The taller, heavy glass shades also work well when piling up pine cones, berries, evergreen boughs or branches on the table, as the glass provides a barrier to open flame. Particularly rambunctious households may wish to replace real candles with battery-powered fakes for added peace of mind. Your table will benefit from the natural elements and illumination either way…

Hurricane Glass Shade

Glass Hurricane Shade, (11.5″), by Libbey Glass, $29.49

Libbey 9861112 11.5

Glass Hurricane clearClear Glass Hurricane from Target, $20.49

Glass Hurricane – Clear

When choosing candles, I usually prefer beeswax candles to other types because they tend to burn longer and cleaner, (without the black smoke), than paraffin candles. Although candle wax is often colored and scented, I like the natural, unscented kind best. Scented candles can be lovely for setting a mood when bathing or for adding fragrance to a room, but at the dinner table, I find them very distracting when I want to focus on the smells and tastes of a special meal.

More decorating ideas inspired by the garden will be coming soon. In the meantime, I hope you will continue to look toward the natural world for beautiful, recyclable materials as you begin decorating for the holidays this year…

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone – Safe Travels

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6" beeswax pillar candle

Beeswax Pillar Candle, 6″ tall, $24.00

Six Inch Tall Pure Beeswax Pillar Candle – Unscented

1 natural floating votive candleFloating votive candle for suspending in water-bowls…

Tapered Floater Votive Candle – Medium – 2

Hurricane Glass BowlHurricane Glass Bowl from Target, $29.99

Hurricane Glass Bowl

Beeswax votivesBeeswax votive candles,(image and product from Blue Corn naturals), 4 for $9.00

Raw Beeswax Votives: 4 Pack

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Article and photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

Please do not take, use or reproduce my photographs or my words, for any purpose, without first contacting me for permission.

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the copyrighted property of Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, and may not be used or reproduced without express written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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Bringing Nature’s Beauty Indoors: Decorating for the Holidays with Winterberry, Pine Cones, Bittersweet and Natural Garden Remnants…

November 20th, 2009 § 6 comments § permalink

NB winterberry upclose

Winterberry branches, in a modern glass vase, beside my painting studio door

One of my favorite ways to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday is to decorate my home and studio with natural remnants from my garden. At the end of my day yesterday afternoon, I stopped along the bank of the Connecticut river and gathered some native bittersweet vine, (Celastrus scandens), for wreaths and table arrangements. Over the past couple of weeks, I have also been collecting pine cones, berry covered twigs and fruit tree branches from around my property. These autumn remnants will fill vases, urns and baskets around my home. Later I will add some berries and pine cones to my wreaths and door swags, setting aside a few extra decorations to give as gifts. When the holidays have passed, I will recycle my decorations by bringing the berry branches back outdoors to provide food for birds. The pine cones will remain indoors, where I will use them to start fires in my wood stove…

winterberry

Gathered winterberry branches, (Ilex verticillata),  from the garden

I started decorating this morning by filling vases with berry branches and baskets with pine cones. Just adding a little bit of color and texture from the garden really brightened the house and lifted my spirits. I thought I would share some photos of my dried table and floor arrangements as I get ready for the holidays. This weekend I plan to continue making simple, decorative baskets and wreaths – so there will be more ideas coming next week. The best part? All of these decorations came from my garden or nature; the only costs are time and energy – both well spent…

pinecones in a basket

Pine cones, dried and arranged in a basket on my kitchen table

NB bittersweet in aletha soule pitcher

Bittersweet, in an Aletha Soule gunmetal-glaze pitcher, on a table in my studio

NB crabapple vase

Crabapple branches in a Richard Foye raku vase in my bedroom

NB winterberry in vase

NB winterberry

Winterberry branch, (Ilex verticillata)

NB winterberry in urn

Winterberry, placed in an urn on the second floor landing of my studio

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Article and photographs copyright 2009, Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

Please do not use or reproduce my photographs, for any reason, without permission

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced for any reason without express written permission. Inspired by something you see here? Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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