Orange, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Garland

Last Christmas I made Orange, Cinnamon, and Bay Leaf Garland as gifts for our neighbors and Keltys' speech pathologist. I have to admit they turned out pretty darn cute and I realized after I made them that they can really be used year-around ... bonus! Who doesn't love the smell of cinnamon! I was pretty proud of myself for using an alternative to cinnamon sticks ... using a recipe for Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments, I made hand-rolled spacers! Super cute, super easy, super CHEAP, and they smell FABULOUS! I had everything on hand ... so I guess you can say this project cost me nothing to make!

Here's what you need ...

5-6 Oranges
1 Package Dried Bay Leaves
1 Container of Ground Cinnamon
String ~ I used beading cord
Ribbon ~ Whatever you like!

Making Dried Orange Slices

I chose Clementine Oranges because I didn't want to "lose" the cinnamon spacers between huge orange slices. You can use a dehydrator to dry your oranges slices, but I don't have one ... the oven method worked great.

(1) Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees.

(2) Slice your oranges about 1/4 inch thick and pat with a paper towel to soak up as much moisture as possible.

(3) Lay orange slices in a single layer directly on oven rack (or place on a wire rack and put rack on cookie sheet). You want to expose both side of slices to the heat and air flow to prevent burning.

(4) Leave in oven for 4-6 hours ... turning occasionally. Ok ... I cheated a bit and turned up the oven to 250 after the first 2 hours .. they didn't burn so just use your instincts!

Voila! You have dried oranges slices!

Making Cinnamon Applesauce Spacers

(1) Dump the entire container of ground cinnamon in a bowl (I used the 4.12 oz container but we also made ornaments).

(2) Add just a tablespoon or so of applesauce to the bowl of cinnamon and mix. Add applesauce one spoonful at time and mix after each spoonful ... you want to end up with a "dough" that you can roll out and handle easily. I also added in a bit of flour to help make the "dough" easier to handle. I ended up using about 3/4 cup of applesauce and just a smidge of flour. It doesn't take much!

3) For "round spacers" ... pull off a small chunk of cinnamon dough, roll in the palm of your hands to form a ball, use a toothpick or thick needle to poke a hole through the ball so you can "thread" it onto your garland when it's dry. I also made "disc" spacers by rolling a ball then smushing it with my thumb. Super cute, super easy!

4) Lay your ... umm ... "balls" on a wire rack and let dry overnight. Flipping over as needed.

Voila! You have cinnamon spacers!

Assembling The Garland

Take your desired length of cord/wire/etc. and knot it at the bottom. Thread on your orange slices, cinnamon spacers and bay leafs in any order that makes you happy! (Don't forget to poke a small hole in your bay leaf so you can thread it too!). When you've reached the desired length (I made mine about 10 inches long) ... tie off the top with a loop, add a bow using your ribbon and stop to admire (and smell) your garland!

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