Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mistletoe For Christmas

It is Christmas season. I like to make something to share with those around me. The memory of mistletoe in a plastic baggy sold by Boy Scouts at a tree lot forever ago inspired this post.
I am a hiker of the canyons. Local mountains have oak and sycamore trees that are hosts for mistletoe. They appear low enough to pluck but- I know better.What appears within reach from a distance is going to be a project. In Wyoming we used to shoot them down with a 22 to stop the parasite from weighing down apple trees. Here in California, I don't think the rangers would let me go without some monetary fine for shooting in designated natural areas.
In my mind I am still sixteen. I decided to climb the sycamores and knock down mistletoe for my project. The first attempt failed. An owl watched me without laughing.
My second trip I was prepared. I brought my ten essentials and: climbing rappelling ropes, a scythe for cutting and a short pole. The trick was to appear as any normal hiker ( using the stick like a walking aid).
I got up the tree easily but dropped the cutting tool in the first attempt. Wish I brought extra paracord to tie to the moon shaped cutter and just toss it over a branch before I started my second ascent. The scythe would be hanging ready like a Christmas ornament if only I had more rope.
After successfully gathering the green boughs I quietly carried them to the back of my car. It began to rain. Rain in California is a blessing. I placed the branches and leaves on my front porch to enjoy the clean off from the mist that evening. To my surprise the next morning the mistletoe had begun to turn light brown. Within a day it turned charcoal.
There must be some secret emerald glycerin those Scouts used... I brought the branches into the garage and experimented with left over gold and silver metallic spray paint. I wasn't that pleased with the first results. 

 I had some plaster of Paris in the craft bins, some glitter, iridescent modge podge and old grocery bags for the next part of my "project." I believe mistletoe is poisonous or so the Nordic legend with the arrow goes, but that's another story... I covered my kitchen counters and saved a few trimmings to keep the mistletoe from sticking to the paper.

See how dark and brittle it became in two days--
Old paint brush, recycled plastic container and recycled plastic spoon and fork. Keep the spoon dry and use the fork for stirring in the plastic cup. I ended up using my hands. Using my fingers was better because I could judge the plaster to be more liquid than toothpaste and firmer than cream. I did not measure. This is fun not work.

Above is a photo (all pics from my iphone) of my snowy white and green mistletoe. When they dried they were less fragile. I saved even the brown paper- I will use it as wrapping paper. The stencils of the mistletoe on the brown paper were graceful. The shadows of the mistletoe on my printed papers (saved from when I printed two parts of the Bible for my son Carson's school project) might also make some pretty cards.
If you receive one of my funky crafts this Christmas you will know they are made with love and a process like no other. My Pinterest friends would be proud. When I get them into glass ornaments I will post some more images. 

I read this formula that if you sell something on Etsy that costs X 2 plus labor X 2 = wholesale value. I spent a little on gas driving there but all my materials are from recycled things or left overs. But my time well that's priceless times two
For more mistletoe stories, Nordic lore, Christmas meaning of mistletoe - The Farmer's Almanac is very helpful
see here

In case you need a home mortgage : baby needs new shoes for Christmas
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