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December 19, 1996|TRACY CROWE McGONIGLE

Twiggy

Decorated holiday wreaths can be costly. If you start with a base wreath and decorate it yourself, you save money and have something unique for your home.

Pine bases are easy to find. Even better are twig wreaths, which can be saved and recycled for another project next year. Decorated with fresh leaves and dried citrus, the wreath will give off a subtle holiday fragrance.

The twig base and dried citrus for the wreath pictured were purchased at Biaggi's on Wall Street in downtown Los Angeles. We found fresh eucalyptus leaves at the downtown Los Angeles Flower Mart, also on Wall Street. Check your local nursery as well. And if you're lucky enough to have citrus trees in your backyard, the pickings are easy.

You will need:

1 large bunch of eucalyptus branches, with leaves and pods

Rose clippers

Paint brush

1 small jar gold leaf paint

1 twig wreath base

1 roll 22-gauge florist wire

8 upholstery tacks

2 dried whole oranges

1 dried whole lime

2 dried whole lemons

1 dozen dried orange slices

1 cinnamon stick

Trim groups of eucalyptus leaves and pods from branches with clippers.

Paint the pods with gold leaf paint and let dry.

Starting at the top of the twig wreath base, place a group of eucalyptus leaves with the pods hanging down into the center. Place another group of leaves under the first group, tucking the branches under the twig wreath and securing both groups of leaves with florist wire.

Repeat on the right side of the wreath until you reach the bottom. Starting again at the top, repeat the process on the left side.

Wrap a 3-inch piece of florist wire under the flat top of an upholstery tack and push the tack into a whole dried fruit. Place the fruit on the wreath and secure it to a twig with the wire. Repeat with remaining whole fruit, spacing the fruit around the wreath.

Thread florist wire through 2 orange slices and wrap the wire around the wreath in a spot that shows off the slices. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Place the cinnamon stick at top of the wreath.

To make a hanger, cut a 12-inch piece of florist wire and make a double loop, wrapping the ends around the back of the wreath.

Fruit Loops

It's not unusual to decorate a tree with food--popcorn strings and cookie angels are among the most popular ways to trim a Douglas fir. Between your traditional glass bulbs and keepsake ornaments, try ribbon-adorned dried fruit. Pomegranates are especially beautiful. You don't need to go out and buy special ribbons either; see what might be on hand. And if you don't have upholstery tacks, ordinary thumbnail tacks should work well too.

POMEGRANATE ORNAMENT

You will need:

Tacky glue

1 yard thin metallic cord

1 yard thick scrolled metallic cord

1 dried pomegranate

8 inches green silk ribbon

1 upholstery tack

8 inches gold silk ribbon

Glue metallic cords in vertical sections around pomegranate, alternating thick and thin cords.

Glue 1 piece of thin metallic cord in the center of the green silk ribbon.

Make a loop with the green silk ribbon, overlapping the ends. Press the tack into and through both ends, then press into the top of the pomegranate.

Tie the gold silk ribbon into a bow around the top of the pomegranate and trim the ends.

LIME ORNAMENT

1 yard green silk ribbon

1 yard gold silk ribbon

1 dried lime

1 upholstery tack

1 bead wire with a flat top or 1 Christmas ornament hanger

3 beads

Tacky glue

Place 1 ribbon on top of the other, then tie the ribbons as 1 around the lime.

Push the tack into the bottom of the lime through the ribbons, securing the ribbons.

Tie 3 small bows with the double ribbons.

Gently thread bead wire or ornament hanger through the bows.

Place the beads on the wire and bend the end of the wire around a pencil to make the hook. If using ornament hanger, wrap bottom of hook with extra piece of ribbon to hide curved end.

Squeeze a little tacky glue on the top bead to secure it.

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