How to make a festive place setting

The three rustic designs

The three rustic designs - Credit: Archant

These gorgeous napkin rings are easy to make and bring nature inside to your table 

Barbara gathers some greenery in her garden

Barbara gathers some greenery in her garden - Credit: Archant

This year the focus continues to be on our homes, being safely ensconced and taking stock of our lives and finances.

Take inspiration from nature to bring some seasonal joy into your haven, no matter the size of your Christmas celebrations. Personalizing your Christmas by adding creative touches using material gathered from your garden is an enjoyable activity for all the family. Something you have taken thought and time over, even the smallest touch, can make all the difference. Sourcing your décor from the garden has the added benefit also of being eco-friendly and economical.

These elegant, yet rustic napkin ring ideas from garden designer Barbara Brooks, who works in Surrey, London and Sussex, are super easy to make and will be sure to set the festive mood at your table. If you don’t have access to these exact materials, use them as a basis to add what you have available in the garden, sourced responsibly from hedgerows or from your local florist. You can even give each person a special message with your choice of greenery, berries and flowers.

Materials – for 6 rustic napkin rings

Materials for napkin rings - raffia, rosemary, olive, cinnamon sticks and reel of wire

Materials for napkin rings - raffia, rosemary, olive, cinnamon sticks and reel of wire - Credit: Archant

· Reel of fine wire

· Raffia

· Two twigs of olive

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· Four sprigs of rosemary

· 2 cinnamon sticks

Rustic simplicity

Rustic simplicity - Credit: Archant

How to make

Step one – select pliable stems of olive and rosemary

Step two - twist wire through each stem to reinforce and bend into a circle around the four napkins – two with olive, two with rosemary

Step three – place a sprig of rosemary and a cinnamon stick on two napkins and secure with a raffia bow

Further designs to try

Further designs to try - Credit: Archant

READ MORE: Learn new ways to cook your sprouts this year

Top tips

· Pick fresh greenery as close as possible to when you will be laying the table

· Add a Christmas decoration for an extra festive touch

More ideas

· You are using tiny bits so look closely in your garden for interesting seed heads, berries, leaves, flowers and pliable stems

· Other materials to use – rosemary, pine, fir or any evergreen foliage, bay, skeleton leaves, dogwood stems, willow, hydrangeas, crab apples, snowberries, sorbus, callicarpa, holly, viburnum flowers and berries, honesty, physalis, ornamental grasses flower heads, mistletoe, tiny pine cones

· Remember, collect fallen cones, but never remove from the tree

· Dry things like seed heads and bark can be collected early as they store well (and may go soggy/get eaten by birds if left outside), but rosehips and foliage needs to be picked nearer the time.

· For skeletal husks of physalis it is most likely to happen (but not guaranteed) if they’re left outside somewhere sheltered for a coupe of months. Alternatively try this great idea of soaking them in washing soda, created from simple baking soda and heating in the oven.

· A glue gun and double-sided tape is really useful

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