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Tuesdays in the Me and Martha series is dedicated to crafts. Like last week’s wreath, this week’s pecan garland is from Martha Stewart Great American Wreaths book. I sort of combined 2 of her “wreaths”. The Missouri one and the Georgia one. Here is a pic of both:
I thought either of these would make nice autumn decorations. They are both actually garlands or swags, but I guess that falls under the wreath category. The Missouri one is made of walnuts and is hung over a fireplace. The Georgia one is pecans and hangs over a door. I wanted mine to be made of pecans, but I knew I’d be placing it on the mantle so – whatever works, right? I think they are both so classic and pretty! Here are the specific directions I followed – it’s really not difficult at all.
The number of pecans you’ll need depends on how long you want your garland. I wanted mine to go all the way across my mantle and then hang down a bit. Then you need extra for the “flowers”. I used around 130 pecans or about 2.5 lbs. If you have a pecan tree in your yard or in your neighborhood, lucky you! We don’t… I purchased the pecans – they run about $6-$7 a pound. During Fall/Christmas you can find them in grocery stores in big bins, I bought mine from nuts.com – not even kidding. That site is fantastic. I bought 3 pounds and had quite a few leftover. You’ll also need gold wire. The directions call for 20 gauge, but I bought 22 gauge because it was cheaper (I found mine in the jewelry making section of the craft store). I think it was around $3 for the “spool”. I didn’t even use half. You’ll also need a 5/64 drill bit and needle nose pliers.
The first step is to coat the pecans in tung oil… I have no idea what tung oil is but the book says it’s a hardware staple. I do however have Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil because I polish some of our furniture with it. It’s food grade and perfectly safe so I used it. I think I maybe used a teaspoon for ALL of the pecans. I’ve used that bottle for several furniture projects and haven’t even put a dent in in it!
Milo helped with this project. He “painted” the pecans with oil then handed them off to me and I wiped them down.
We let them dry for a while… Here is the difference between the oiled ones and the plain ones. I’m not sure if this step is REQUIRED, but it makes them look so much nicer!
Next up, Matt showed me how to drill a hole in them. He bought me a brand new drill bit for the project (about $2). I suggest this for two reasons. 1. It will be nice and sharp and that makes drilling the hole easier. 2. It will be clean so you can eat the pecans that break – I’m always thinking about food!
Honestly, at first I was using that wrench to hold them (like he is doing in the pic above) but after a while I just held them with my fingers. Just be careful and take your time. And Matt brought that scrap piece of wood in for me to work over. Thank goodness he did because there were several times I drilled all the way through the pecan and into that wood. ha! That would have sucked if it would have been my table! There will be times when you crack your pecan and you won’t be able to use it. That’s ok, just put it in a pile to eat later – another reason I was glad I used food grade oil to polish them. Not that you eat the shell, but still. And there will also be times when a little chunk of the shell breaks off the bottom when you drill. As long as it’s not too big, I still used those.
Then you string them on your gold wire, using your pliers to twist the ends of the wire to keep them in place. The pictures in the book are great, click on that image I posted earlier and you can see it more clearly. Here it is a bit zoomed in:
After I finished the long part of the garland I started making a bunch of these little 2 piece sections. Then I wrapped them around where I wanted them to form the “flowers”.
Martha’s pecan swag had pretty brown silk bows, but I actually went for these more rustic beige ones. I’m going to change them out next month for red silk ones so it will look Christmas-y.
I love how it turned out!
What do you think? I have such fond memories of gathering pecans with grandparents and cousins when I was a kid. Then we’d use those old fashioned crackers to open them up and snack. That’s what I think of when I see pecans in their shells – and that’s why I chose this particular project.