Central staircases, windows, fireplaces, cabinet tops and door frames often have natural ledges, varying in width from 2 to 24 inches. Fresh or artificial greenery gives these overlooked spaces warmth and visual appeal. Fresh greenery also adds scent to your room, such as peppery-sweet leaves and blooms of lavender and marigold, or the clean scent of pine, cedar, spruce and fir boughs. Desert-dwellers have hickory-scented mesquite, green-barked palo verde and the purple flowers and gray-green lamb's-wool leaves of desert sage.
- Pine, fir, spruce and cedar boughs
- Paper towels
- Measuring tape
- Clear, flat plastic oasis
- Floral foam
- Hot-melt glue gun
- Clear glue sticks
- Large, medium and small hurricane lamps
- Bearberry or holly trimmings
- Mini glass-ball Christmas ornaments
- Bead strings
- Curling ribbon
- Coping saw
- Bamboo skewers
- Trailing ivy
- Floral wire
- Florist's green and white tape
- Miscellaneous seasonal knickknacks
- Palo verde branches
- Purple sage spikes
- Mesquite branches
Fill your bathtub with 6 inches of water and add 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach. Soak all pine, fir, spruce and cedar boughs for one hour. Remove the boughs and pat them dry with paper towels.
Measure the ledge you wish to decorate. Find a clear, flat plastic oasis — which is a shallow dish florists use to hold water for floral arrangements — with a width and length at least half the width and one-third the length of the ledge.
Cut a piece of flat floral foam to fit the oasis. Run a bead of clear, hot-melt glue along the center of the oasis and press the floral foam onto it. Allow the glue to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
Wash several large, medium and small hurricane lamps with hot, soapy water and allow them to dry overnight. Unscrew the reservoir caps and fill the bottom third of each reservoir with bearberry or holly trimmings. Fill the remaining space with mini glass Christmas balls, bead strings and curls of ribbon.
Tie a satin bow around the neck of each hurricane lamp and place the largest one in or beside the oasis, wherever it fits and looks best to your eye.
Select the longest, fullest pine, fir, cedar or spruce boughs. Cut each bough 1 inch shorter than one-third of the length of the ledge.
Trim the ends of each branch to a point and stick them horizontally into each narrow end of the foam in the oasis.
Select the next-longest boughs. Cut them 3 inches shorter than the full length of the ledge.
Stick the next-longest boughs into the long sides and narrow ends of the oasis foam at a 15-degree angle. Repeat for slightly shorter boughs, until you fill all available, visible space in the oasis foam.
Cut bamboo skewers to 6-inch lengths, including the point. Use floral wire and floral tape to attach trailing ivy to each skewer.
Stick the skewers into the front of the oasis in three to seven somewhat evenly spaced places. Allow the ivy to trail down over the ledge.
Pour 2 cups of water into the oasis. Add your remaining hurricane lamps and seasonal knickknacks to the ledge in eye-pleasing positions, partially hidden by the greenery.
Fill your bathtub 6 inches deep with water and add 1/4 cup of bleach.
Soak palo verde branches in bleach water for one hour. Remove them from the bleach water and pat them dry with paper towels.
Cut sage spikes to one-third the length of the ledge. Cut palo verde branches 1, 5 and 7 inches shorter than one-third the length of the ledge. Cut mesquite branches 2, 4 and 6 inches shorter than one-third the length of the ledge.
Prepare the oasis as you did for the traditional greenery arrangement. Insert sage spikes horizontally into each short end of the oasis foam.
Stick the longest palo verde branches into the oasis foam at a 15-degree angle, at the short ends and along the long sides.
Stick the longest mesquite branches into the oasis next. Alternate palo verde branches and mesquite branches until you fill all available visible space in the oasis foam.
Add knickknacks in Southwest colors, such as turquoise, yellow and red ocher, tan and palo verde green, in an eye-pleasing display.
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