The harvest theme takes on new dimensions when executed in unexpected colors and materials. Turkey quill feathers and magnolia leaves, colored on one side with floral spray, are mixed with stalks of wheat to create a stunning wreath. The feathers reappear as gold imprints on pillar candles, which are paired with faux-bois versions in a rich green and gold. Quinces, a nest of golden eggs, and more gilded magnolia leaves continue the unusual color scheme. Below, the modern table setting picks up the palette with chartreuse place mats on a bleached-oak table, contrasted with matte white plates and Venetian glass tumblers. The feather motif is repeated on the napkin and the place card. Twig breadsticks and a butter pat etched with a faux-bois pattern further the natural references.
Golden Harvest Wreath How-To
This 22-inch wreath form was decorated with about 90 magnolia leaves, 150 wheat stems, and 25 feathers. If you can't find magnolia leaves, use any other sturdy, broad leaf. This wreath can last for several years: After the holidays, place it, front side up, in a flat box cushioned with tissue paper. Keep it in a cool, dry place. If a few of the magnolia leaves look tired when you unpack it, replace them with freshly painted ones.
Tools and Materials
Floral spray in brilliant gold White feathers
24-gauge gold wire
22-inch wire wreath form
1. On a clean, dry surface protected by paper in a well-ventilated area, spray the feathers and the top sides of the magnolia leaves gold. Let dry.
2. Bundle 3 leaves with a small piece of wire; snip end. Bundle 5 wheat stems with wire, and snip end. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stems. Wrap the bundles to the wreath form with a single piece of wire, alternating and overlapping bundles of leaves and stems. Keep them tight and close together.
3. Once the wreath form is covered, insert the feathers at equal intervals. Glue in place.
Feather-Printed Candles, Napkins, and Place Cards How-To
A single feather can be reused on several surfaces. This technique works equally well on any type of candle, cotton or linen fabric, and on heavy paper, such as card stock. If making napkins, you will need an ink pad with ink designed for use on fabric. Feathers are available at crafts or fishing-gear stores.
Tools and Materials
Ink pad in metallic gold or brown, either fabric-safe or standard ink, depending on the project
Scrap paper, for blotting
Place cards, napkins, and candles
1. Place a feather on ink pad; place a piece of scrap paper on top. Flip, then press with fingertips. With tweezers, remove feather from paper.
2. Place the feather, ink side down, on the surface you wish to print. Lay a fresh piece of scrap paper over the feather, then carefully roll brayer over the surface. Remove the feather with tweezers. Let dry. For napkins: Check to see if the fabric ink needs to be heat-set with an iron. For candle: The ink will only partially dry on the candle's wax surface. It is still suitable for use, but can smudge, so handle with care.
Faux-Bois Candles How-To
We used 6 sheets of smooth beeswax to roll a pillar candle from scratch, although you could wrap a sheet of beeswax around a store-bought pillar (start with step 3, below). Keep in mind that the color of the sheet of wax may not match the store-bought candle.
Tools and Materials
Ruler Craft knife
Smooth beeswax sheets
1-inch-wide craft brush
Glazing medium in gold
1. With ruler and craft knife, cut a sheet of wax to the height you want your candle to be. Cut wicking 1 inch longer than this measurement. Lay wicking along 1 short edge of sheet, allowing a 1/2-inch overhang.
2. Fold edge of sheet over wicking, and roll tightly, adding sheets until candle is desired circumference. Trim. Smooth the seam with your fingertips.
3. With the ruler and craft knife, cut a sheet of wax to fit the just-rolled (or store-bought) candle. Lay sheet on a flat, clean surface protected with paper.
4. With the craft brush, coat the sheet with glazing medium.
5. Drag wood-graining tool across the wax. (If you don't like the results, try again, wiping the tool between uses.) Let dry.
6. Align the edges of the glazed sheet with the top and bottom of the candle, and roll the sheet gently in place. The warmth of your fingertips should make it stick; if not, use a hair dryer set on medium to warm it slightly. Smooth out the seam with your fingertips, being careful not to smudge the glaze.
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