I always feel a little let down when it's time to take down the Christmas decorations. Usually I spend the days after Christmas doing really deep cleaning-like going through closets, cleaning out the bookshelves, and changing all the curtains.
Getting the house in order seems to brighten the house after the dreary chore of putting up Christmas until next year.
This year I haven't been able to fit my usual cleaning frenzy into my schedule-since we're still in the middle of the kitchen re-model. My cleansing purge will have to wait.
I did find time to make an "after Christmas" decoration. Luckily I made the hardest part before Christmas...and before the remodel began.
I found the directions for dried citrus ornaments on this blog. They used a variety of citrus for their project-I only had oranges so I used them.
First-slice the fruit into 1/4 inch slices-and if you see any seeds discard them.
Second-lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake in a 175 - 200 degree oven. The directions said it should take 3 to 4 hours-mine took longer than that. Maybe my oranges were extra juicy? Turn the slices over each hour to ensure they dry evenly.
The option of air drying the slices was listed in the directions with the process taking about 4 days. The writer of the blog said using a food dehydrator would work as well-but drying the slices by air or by dehydrator didn't give the same result as drying them in the oven. The citrus dried in the oven seemed to retain more of their original color.
Once the slices are dry-you can use them in whatever manner you'd like. I really liked the way the bloggers showcased their orange slices. They used evergreen branches in a brown glass bottle to make sort of a mini tree shape-then hung the citrus on it.
I had some leftover spruce trimmings from the Christmas tree and I knew I had a couple of old brown bottles in the basement. I found 3 bottles-an old clorox bottle, an old beer bottle, and a much larger one that I don't have a clue what came in it.
I took the bottles upstairs to clean and realized the largest one had a lot of stuff in the bottom of it. Not remembering where I found it or who gave it to me-I figured I had put it up without trying to get the stuff out of the bottom. So I poured some water in it and set it outside to soak all the debris lose.
A couple of hours later I went out and poured the water out-noticing the stuff in the bottom was still solid. I took a long sharp stick and began poking at the mass trying to break it up so that it would fall out of the hole. After a good 15 minutes or so I had most of it out...all but one large clump that just would not break up. That's when I realized it was a petrified mouse.
After a short screaming while simultaneously gagging session I turned the glass container upside to await The Deer Hunter's return from deer camp.
On the bright side-the project turned out really well. I like the look of the brown jug, the green spruce and the orange slices-a clean fresh look that says it's still winter.