Use slender branches about the length of a walking stick to hang curtains. Smooth the surface with sandpaper to prevent snags.
For a centerpiece, set a thick candle in the midst of small pinecones on a platter, or trail pine boughs and pinecones down the center of the dining table, adding candles for warmth.
Save colorful fall leaves in layers of waxed paper. Use them throughout the season in glass containers or running down the center of a dining table. Need place cards? Write each guest's name on a leaf with a felt-tip pen and place it on the plate.
Gracefully shaped bare branches or tall grasses look dramatic in a glass vase.
Grow plants in your garden that will dry well for arrangements, including strawflowers, alliums, grasses, and hydrangeas. Pick a few not fully opened and hang them upside down in a warm area for several weeks.
Arrange grasses, berry branches, and seedpods in an earthenware container.
Grow small containers of fragrant herbs in terra-cotta pots to set around the house. English clay pots are available from greatstuffbypaul.com.
Find an alphabet made of twigs—an exciting long-walk challenge to a child. Look for shapes about 6 to 8 inches high that mimic the letters of the alphabet. Put them up as a border where the wall meets the ceiling in the dining room.
Ideas for the Holidays
There are so many ways to add natural touches to your interior decor.
Save dried hydrangea blooms, alliums (Allium cristophii is particularly nice), and pinecones for their natural beauty. Display them in rustic containers or small garden pails. Pinecones stand out in a ceramic bowl or handwoven basket.
For a more festive display, use gold or silver Krylon spray paint (spray outside) on the blooms and pinecones. Pile the pinecones in clear glass vessels; bunch the alliums and attach them upside down from a hanging pot rack.
Tiny holiday lights wrapped around a bare branch make an instant chandelier (tie fishing line at various spots and attach it to small hooks in the ceiling) or candelabra when placed on a table.
Use wild grapevine to create a wreath. Attach small pinecones with a glue gun. Magnolia leaves also lend themselves to the design of a wreath.
Wrap gifts in brown paper and tie with raffia, then glue on tiny gold and silver pinecones or acorns.
Fill vertical glass containers with small stones. Place them on the mantel with large pinecones and pine branch swags, punctuated by thick candles.
Set a pot of cider on a back burner on low heat. Add cinnamon sticks and let the fragrance of the apple harvest fill your home.