I love crafting. I don't think I'm very good at it but I don't let that stop me, just don't laugh at my final pieces and we'll be good friends. crafting keeps our hands busy and helps our minds let loose. I also incorporate lots of crafting and handicrafts into our homeschool rhythm as this time is so well spent and can teach so much! the kids develop their hand and eye coordination and muscle memory and their nurturing their artistic self as well as learning stress relief and accomplishment. all good things. all good things. (name that movie? ).
nature inspires us daily and I'm always trying to figure out how to bring even more nature into our home. if you've followed me on instagram for awhile you've seen all my barn wood headboards pulled directly from the barns, we have dried flowers and dried greenery strung in random places throughout the house, it's all so natural and homey, I love it.
we do't have an orange tree here on our land though I sure hope to one day. it's still a fruit of nature so I'm still saying this is nature inspired! with this crafty decor, I not only love the final product but smelling the oranges as they spent a few hours in the oven that day sure did make the whole house smell wonderful. and citrus has a way of lifting the spirits ya know? especially days like today where it's gloomy outdoors and my to do list is a mile long - that citrus uplifting is A-OK.
I hear some people have burned their oranges doing this but you just have to keep an eye on it. it's a very simple project that doesn't require a lot of work but you do want to keep checking on it during the oven drying time.
here's how we did it..
dried orange garland -
* 3-4 oranges thinly sliced (we did 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness). too thin and they seem more fragile but too thick and they'll take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to dry and possibly not dry enough.
* pat dry
* place single layer on baking sheet and cook in oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours, flipping occasionally (again, ovens vary and also depends on the thickness of your slices. you want them dehydrated but not burnt.)
* turn off oven and leave in there for several hours. just don't forget about them and go preheat the oven at 500 degrees for that homemade pizza (possibly happened to a friend - not me, not me)
(optional - you can pull out and place somewhere else to continue drying for 1-2 days if you need the oven).
* once completely dry (left alone a few days somewhere. they don't have to be all spread out, I stacked mine but I did rearrange the stack every day or so - mainly cause I wanted to look at their beauty =)), thread needle with yarn or jute or whatever string type material you want to use and sew it into a garland. you can also hot glue them to a wreath or use them as individual ornaments for the tree. I sew directly into the meat of the orange but you could also sew into the rind part. this looks pretty but seems much harder so I chose the lazy, errr, easy way.
(the art of sewing is a fantastic handicraft to teach even at a very young age. you can find plastic safe needles so that even young kids can sew these oranges into a garland themselves.)
a few notes -
thickness of the oranges matter for baking and drying times. I like not super thin but not too thick (ha, what kind of measurement is that??). if you want to make a decent size garland you'll want to double or triple the amount of oranges. I ended up with 2 batches and my garland is probably about 4 feet. this will make a great garland for the Christmas tree but can also be a decor that's held year round! cook them until they look nice and dehydrated and it's ok for a little browning on some (I like the look that gives) but be careful cause they can probably start buying quick once you see the browning. you can sprinkle cinnamon on them to enhance the smell. the oranges do still smell after drying but it is a very faint scent. if you want it stronger you could add orange essential oil!
enjoy and please let me know if you give this a try! they are beautiful!