handmade christmas: oranges, tinsel and wax paper

Simple and sweet. Low pressure. That’s what I’m looking for this year. Plus most of the Christmas stuff is at the bottom and back of all stored things. It seemed like a good idea when I moved in June but now digging it out is entirely unreasonable. I sure do love a Christmas tree though. And a festive smell. Making citrus slice ornaments delivered both. It was easy and I had fun doing it. The smell is exquisite.

making citrus slice ornaments

I followed this tutorial.  A couple notes: I sliced pretty thin and setting the timer was key. 175 degrees turning every hour worked well, my slices were done after four hours.

baking orange slices on a cookie sheet

A couple that were thicker were still a little soft and a couple of the lemon slices were overdone. I’ll eventually paint these with something shiny and clear for extra preservation.

orange slice ornaments on a norfolk pine christmas tree

I love the effect. They are super light and perfect for my norfolk pine who isn’t that into being decorated. I also had some wax paper snowflakes from last year, my mother’s glass bead garlands and some antique tinsel (I’ve been using the same tinsel for years).

I’m super happy with my super simple tree. For wrapping I’m sticking with painted craft paper with tags made from the paper trimmed off the daily paintings.  I go on and on about this here.  And the owl and chicken and fish make perfect additions for extra sweet packages.

hand painted brown paper and tags and ornament extras

I hope your holidays are peaceful and healthy and happy!



  1. Love the spirit of this…it’s a good year to be peaceful and kind. Holiday traditions are important, but a gentle holiday season is more important this year. Thanks for all the projects you share during the year. Your generosity helps to lighten the dark days.

  2. sally stanley

    Love your Christmas decorations! Your Norfolk Pine has done well. It looks like it has grown a lot. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • Thanks Sally! It would have died that first year but for your excellent advice. And it is doing well – it has grown about 7 inches since June! I guess Norfolk like’s Connecticut.

  3. Sharon Johnson

    I’m so grateful for all you have shared this year and in years previous. When I see that you have a new post I get so happy! Thank you. Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, productive New Year.

  4. Martha Bilski

    Nice, I tried to make dried clementines but they cam out kindof wonky. I used them on out little tree anyway. Onward!

  5. I have so enjoyed your posts. I think I discovered you at just the right time. Thank you for the thoughtful inspiration and have a wonderful Christmas . Blessings.

  6. The photo of the orange slices is absolutely beautiful.
    I had no idea that you used painting trimming for you gift tags- that’s what I’ve been doing !

  7. Pauline McCarthy

    Dear Ann
    We too are hoping for a peaceful Christmas break. We have such a lot to be grateful for during the past year. Thank you for your continued posts which are truly appreciated. I will try your dried orange slices, mine are known as ‘festering ‘ oranges so you never know this just maybe my year!

    Stay safe and keep well, nadolig llawen from West Wales

  8. Anne, I just to thank you for all your great creative ideas, patterns and encouragement to SEW!!
    I send you my warmest wishes for a Holiday Season full of Creative, Healthy, Safe, and Prosperity for the coming New Year 2022.

  9. I forgot to mention that the snowflakes can also be made with tin foil, and some of those colored foil sheets available.

  10. I love everything! Everything!!

    Are you new to Connecticut? I’m waxing nostalgia for Madison, the Guilford Green, and the shoreline!

    Happy Holidays!

  11. Your patterns have given me so much comfort this year, I don’t know what I would have done without the company of my tiny rag doll and her elegant friend. I am living in an alternate universe with them. And then there are the birds! The boats! The mice! And your patient help when my spam folder hid your PDFs from me. Can’t thank you enough.

  12. Ruth Hoefert

    Somehow I had missed the snowflakes the first time you posted.
    Cute idea!

  13. Victoria Orem

    Dear Ann, wishing you a peaceful Christmas and healthy happy new year. Thank you for patterns, wool, and inspiration over this past year. God be with you always!

  14. Yvonne Mary

    Your tree is so lovely, the orange slices look like stained glass and such delicate ‘snowflakes’ too. Thank you for all you share. Wishing you a peaceful, healthy, productive, creative 2021.

  15. lieve Ann

    ik wensje een gezond en een gelukkig nieuwjaar.


  16. Greta Frusha

    I was inspired to do orange slices. I had beautiful slices ready to be taken out of the oven. My husband, wanting to help, felt that they were not done yet and “dried” them longer. When I got back to them expecting beautiful transparent slices, I found crisp brown rounds. I will try again next year and make sure that my husband has another Christmas job to do!

  17. Hi, Ann,

    I love the Norfolk Island pine as a Christmas tree. We did the same when we still owned a house. I can imagine how fragrant those orange slice ornaments must be!

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