Decorations from My Kitchen ~ A Photo Tutorial and Other Inspiration

It's been a whirl of creative activity around our house these days. Everyone, daddy included, is crafting. Please forgive my frequent posting (right on through the weekend even) but I'm excited to share it all; the photography, the ideas, the creative energy. It's a wonderful season for the Tougas family.

A few of the items I've been making are Christmas decorations from the kitchen. Nothing new, no doubt, but very easy and hopefully a bit of inspiration for your own project(s).

1. Dried pepper garland

I got the idea for this after watching our beautiful orange, red and green peppers from the farm sit unused (the kids don't like spicy food) and dry up on the window ledge. 


After seeing what lovely light lanterns they became when held up to the sunlight I decided to buy a few habeneros from the produce market (on purpose) to dry in the dehydrator. I made two garlands. One with the original farm peppers on twisted red, golden and green embroidery floss that is strung on the tree. Below, Celine holds it up to the sunlight that was reflected off our neighbor's window in the early morning.

For the other garland I used the dried haberneros and golden embroidery floss coated with beeswax to make the garland a bit stiffer. To do so I dribbled a bit of melted wax on and rubbed in with my fingers. This one hangs on my kitchen window (attached to the window behind the valence with none other than... beeswax) catching the morning sun. I love it!

The cool thing about this decoration is that it will last through the winter and isn't exclusively "christmasy".

2. Dried oranges garland

This garland is even easier, if that's actually possible, than the peppers.

I dried orange slices in our dehydrator but you could use an oven on low for several hours and get a similar result I'd imagine. Once dried they sat in jars for a month or so just looking pretty. Then last week Celine and I strung them onto fancy "eyelash" yarn that was in our stash. You could use any yarn or ribbon you'd like. We liked the "tinsel" effect of this yarn. You can see it pictured below on the tree, the red one blends in a bit more but the yellow strand really pops out.

3. More inspiration from the kitchen

  • Of course the perennial from-the-kitchen favorite is popcorn and cranberries. This year I'm taking a break from this stand-by.
  • Cinnamon applesauce ornaments. I recall making these in years past, oh they smell so good!
  • I loved this easy cranberry-bunt pan advent wreath from Small Notebook.
  • My friend Spring (her real name, don't you love it?) made this snow garland which is not exactly from her kitchen but it is hanging in her kitchen, that counts. It requires a couple supplies but looks sweet and easy.

4. Kitchen related notes

I wanted to point you to this post I wrote last December about roasting chestnuts.

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  • kyndale

    kyndale on Dec. 7, 2009, 8 p.m.

    What great ideas Renee. I love the earthiness of the pepper garland! It's really pretty. I think I may try the oranges sometime soon. As soon as I can get to a store. We're having a huge snow storm right now! I'm so excited! xo Kyndale


  • Mel

    Mel on Dec. 7, 2009, 8:36 p.m.

    Love the natural craft materials! We made ice ornaments this weekend and hung them outside. Such fun.

    Like the peppers, the light shines through them and is so lovely. I have a couple oranges I was going to give the kids for a snack today, but maybe I'll dry them instead ;)


  • kate

    kate on Dec. 7, 2009, 8:42 p.m.

    so much goodness it is almost cruel-- you just added a serious amount of to-do's to my crafting list;)....those dried oranges, especially! Oh, my!


  • Spring

    Spring on Dec. 7, 2009, 10:03 p.m.

    Oh Renee, the pepper garland is beautious!! I did BUY cranberries for the garland, but haven't got around to making them yet. I maybe end up baking an apple-cranberry cake with them instead! :) I shared your thrill at the light through that pepper, too... you might turn me on photographer after all! ;)

    Spring's last blog post... Let it Snow!


  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Dec. 8, 2009, 12:13 a.m.

    i never thought of dried fruit or peppers as illuminating light like that. beautiful!i am loving reading and sharing creative energy too. renee, it sounds like a wonderful, creative weekend, and an excellent start to the simple christmas you are longing for! nicola

    nicola@which name?'s last blog post... celebration and a six word memoir


  • Candelion

    Candelion on Dec. 8, 2009, 12:31 a.m.

    I love being able to read a post each day or catch up on a couple, so please proceed with your marathon posts! These ideas have really helped.. Thanks for the inspiration. Also, I got my salve kit today, and I can't wait to get started!! I just did my weekly roll on a tennis ball last night, and hopefully, I can add this to the mix. So fun! And lastly, if you wouldn't mind passing along the message to your kiddos: I think the shrinky dink art is pretty special, and I will also be keeping Laurent's dragon drawing from the back of the instructions. He probably doesn't even remember drawing it, but I really like it. Now, I have to figure out where to put everything ;)


  • Candelion

    Candelion on Dec. 8, 2009, 12:36 a.m.

    Oh--- forgot to ask.. Have you ever thought of putting the peppers and oranges together on a strand? I have a feeling that would also look amazing on your window! In fact, that is probably something I will do myself eventually.


  • shelli

    shelli on Dec. 8, 2009, 2:24 a.m.

    Great ideas! I'm trying to do more baking this year to give to neighbors. It's hard to find time to do this stuff with a baby in the house!!


  • April

    April on Dec. 8, 2009, 4:18 a.m.

    Gorgeous ideas and wonderful links! I, too, love the oranges and why didn't I ever think about that before either? Geesh. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!


  • Kika

    Kika on Dec. 8, 2009, 5:34 a.m.

    Well, now I know just what to do with the two sad-looking oranges in my fruit drawer.


    • Kika

      Kika on Dec. 23, 2009, 2:41 a.m.

      As a follow up I wanted to say my oranges look beatiful, strung with twine, on my tree. I love the bright splash of unusual color and the way the light shines through them. My two little oranges didn't make too many ornaments (I only kept the nicer looking slices) but perhaps I'll add more next year. Thanks again for a splash of creative inspiration!


  • New Urban Habitat

    New Urban Habitat on Dec. 8, 2009, 3:25 p.m.

    Wow! What beautiful decorations. You've definitely inspired me. And that photograph of the pepper is incredible.

    Abby @ New Urban Habitat's last blog post... Winter Stargazing: 7 reasons to observe the night sky


  • Rachel

    Rachel on Dec. 9, 2009, 6:17 a.m.

    I did the orange slices too in my oven. The popcorn and cranberries is my favorite. I've never tried roasting chestnuts, but I did see them at the store and considered it. Maybe next year, and I'll try to keep them from exploding in my oven!


  • Schaufensterpuppen

    Schaufensterpuppen on Dec. 22, 2009, 1:12 p.m.

    Hmm, never thought of that before, maybe I should have a deeper research done on it. Great ideas! I'm trying to do more baking this year to give to neighbors.


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