Mother Nature: Your New Decorating Muse

The textures and colors found in the natural world are a beautiful reminder of the power of simplicity and the impact of the unassuming.  This autumn, bring the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors in to your home décor with these easy, low-cost craft projects inspired by the environment.

Leaf Wreath
Go on a fall foliage tour that begins and ends at your own front door.  Pick up an armful of gorgeous autumn leaves from the woods, the park or your backyard and use them to give a warm welcome to all those who grace your door step.  We found two different techniques you can use to attach your leaf clusters to a wreath base.  If you prefer wire, get the basics from Country Living; if U-pins seem easier to work with, see how it's done courtesy of Sunset Magazine.  

Twig Table Runner
It's hard to believe how much impact you can get from so few materials!  And the instructions couldn't be easier:  Step 1. Cut.  Step 2.  Glue.  Yep, that's all it takes.  Get started now and have this ready in time to decorate your holiday table.  Find the details here from the folks at HGTV.   

Pinecone Potpourri
A can't-miss way to cozy up the atmosphere in your home?  Release the soothing smell of fragrant spices.  We were won over by the easy, easy, easy instructions from Easy Homemade Recipes for three different ways you can put together potpourri from items you have on hand in your home.  

No matter how you scent the pinecones, the first step is to dry them.   Rinse the pinecones well and lay them out on an old cookie sheet.  Put them in the oven at 200F until they open up.  This will kill off any bugs and melt any sap so your final product is clean. Meanwhile, cover your work surface with several layers of old newspapers.  When the pinecones are done, take them out of the oven and place them on the papered surface.  Now, choose one of these methods for adding fragrance:

Method #1 - Use a foam brush to apply glue to the pinecones.  Mix cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a plastic bag.  Drop pinecones into the bag a few at a time and shake to cover. Lay the scented pinecones out on the newspaper to dry overnight.  
 
Method #2 - Pour cinnamon, clove or other essential oils into a spray bottle and add a little water.  Spray the pinecones with this mixture until they're damp.  Place the scented cones in a plastic bag, seal it and let them sit for at least 24 hours.  .

Method #3 - Place dried pinecones in a sealable plastic bag.  Add several drops of cinnamon, clove or other essential oil.  Close and seal bag and shake several times to distribute the oil.  Keep the pinecones sealed in the bag for at least 48 hours, longer if you have the time.   

Once you're done, place bowls of your homemade pinecone potpourri around you home.  You can also work the cones into wreaths, hang them from door handles or from your Christmas tree. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you can throw the pinecones into the fire as their fragrance beings to fade.  

Acorn Picture Frame
You know an art project is simple when the list of materials is in the name.  All you need are acorns and a picture frame (OK, add hot glue to the list, but we swear that's it!).  You don't even need instructions--just decide if you want to create a border using acorn caps only or if you want to glue the whole acorn to the frame.    Use the photos above--courtesy of BHG and indulgy --for inspiration.  
 

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Winter Terrarium
Tree branches may be bare outside, but inside can be home to a miniature, live nature scene that will keep your spirits light during winter's darker days.  Almost any glass container can make a great terrarium--shop Yerdle for brandy snifters, cookie jars, caning jars and the like--add charcoal, soil and a selection of plants and enjoy a new kind of holiday greenery.   View the slide show of ideas at inhabitat to decide on your design and get easy-to-follow assembly instructions from landscape designer Claire Jones.  

Are you an autumn art aficionado?  A winter weekend crafter?  Share your ideas for ways to bring the outdoors in this time of year.