When you live in a tiny apartment, the idea of holiday decor can be overwhelming. I spend most of my time thinking about how to get rid of things, not working out ways to bring in more. This year, instead of worrying about wrestling a tree into my small space, I turned my attention to making miniature arrangements.
Inspired by a mobile tutorial I spotted around this time last year, I set to work with a bag full of wintry clippings and a spool of silvery twine.
Photographs by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.
Above: I secured two of my swags to the wall in my apartment that I use as a kind of rotating inspiration board. For the holidays, I added a few vintage greeting cards to my current collage (the gal on the motorcycle is from the local shop, Smith + Butler, and the vinyl decal is by Shanna Murray).
Above: For me, these tiny swags were the perfect compromise for a small space. They add holiday spirit without taking up precious floor space or surface area.
Above: The other swags that I made were tiny enough to string up in small spots around the apartment. Here they are, all in a row like little bundles of good cheer.
Above: Pine cones and holly berries and evergreen clippings: use what you have available or ask the guy selling Christmas trees on the corner for scraps. A 120-yard spool of Silver Shimmer Twine is $9.50 from Tom Kat Studio. (Gold Shimmer Twine is also available.)
Above: The key to making festive wintertime decorations is often in the variety of greens that you use. For these tiny swags, I used a combination of white pine, umbrella pine, cedar, holly, privet berries, and pine cones.
Above: For the larger swags, I began with my biggest clipping--in this case, a piece of umbrella pine--and built up from there, finishing with sprig of holly or a pine cone. For smaller swags, I used a pinecone and just one or two small clippings of cedar and privet berries.
Above: To wrap the swag, I bound the stems of my clippings together as tightly as possible, wrapping the silver twine up to ten times around the bundle. Pine cones generally have a tiny stem for easy wrapping. If your stem falls off, don’t panic. It’s simple enough to wrap your twine around the first layer of scales instead. Afte my bundle was tightly wrapped, I tied a simple knot to finish off the swag. In each case, I made sure to leave a long trail of twine so that I would have flexibility about how and where to hang the swag.