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DIY Lowcountry Gifts

Locals share a few creative ideas for holiday decorating

Story by Becca Edwards

We know we live in a special place that abounds with Lowcountry flora and fauna. Outside your door you can see kamikaze pelicans kerplunking into the water for food. You can see palm trees rising up from the ground like fireworks. And you can use many of those natural elements to give or to use as gift wrap this holiday season. Here are just a few fun, easy, DIY ideas from locals:

Bird-Seed Ornaments

Local interior designer Sidney Pierson makes bird-seed ornaments for friends to hang in their trees to attract native birds.

1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
2 packets of gelatin
2 tablespoons of corn syrup
2 1/2 cups of bird seed
Cookie cutters
Straws cut in 2” pieces
Parchment paper
Twine or other kind of string

Steps [1] Mix the gelatin with a half cup of cold water until dissolved. [1] Add a half cup of boiling water to the bowl and stir it slowly until it’s completely dissolved. [2] Add two tablespoons of corn syrup and stir until dissolved. (Tip: Spray the tablespoon with a non-stick spray.) [3] Mix in the bird seed until the gelatin/corn syrup mixture evenly coats each seed. (Tip: Let rest for a couple minutes if the mixture seems watery.) [4] Spoon the seed mixture into the cookie cutters. [5] Fill the cookie cutters about half way and use a small piece of parchment paper to press the seeds firmly into the mold. [6] Fill the cookie cutter to the top and press again. [7] To make a hole for your twine, push in the straw. (Tip: Leave plenty of room between the straw and the edge.) [8] Press around the straw to ensure the seeds will hold shape around the hole. [9] Place the cookie cutters in the fridge to set overnight. [10] Once set, remove the cookie cutters by gently pushing at the edges until it falls out. [11] Pop out the straws and thread the twine.

“This is a great project to do with kids and grandchildren,” said Pierson.

Wrapping Paper

Local artist Lynn Parrott, whose artwork can be found at Camellia Art Gallery, makes her own wrapping paper with found objects from her yard.

One can of gold spray paint
One roll of butcher paper or brown paper
Natural items like ferns, leaves, vines and sticks from your yard

Steps [1] Place the found objects on the paper. [2] Spray the found objects with gold or silver paint. [3] Let dry and then wrap.

“Now you have gold wrapping paper with negative shapes of your found objects,” said Parrott. “You can also use the gold or silver leaves, vines and sticks as holiday decorations like a Lowcountry-themed wreath or centerpiece.”

Mason Jars

Leisa Cram admits she is not a Pinterest fan. Instead she believes in going outside and getting inspiration from her Bear Island property. “My husband Peter is a beekeeper. One of my favorite presents to give is local honey from our farm. I put it in a mason jar and think of clever, all-natural ways to decorate the jars,” said Cram. “You could put just about any locally inspired treat in your jar.”

Mason Jar Decorating Ideas
Group red berries, holly, herbs like rosemary or sage, and/or cedar into a bundle. Tie the top of the jar with twine and incorporate the bundle.

Convert a magnolia leaf into a label. Pierce a hole and attach to the jar with ribbon or twine and address with a gold sharpie pen.

Find a large leaf, wrap the jar and cinch with twine or ribbon.