By Danielle French

Decorating for the Holidays

Decorating for the Holidays


Winter at South PondToday I’m working on holiday decorating and gift ideas. It seems early to me, being only the first week of November, but I need a lift since it’s been a miserable weather week. In fact, I feel like it’s been virtually dark and gloomy the last month. But right now it is snowing and it looks absolutely beautiful outside. It’s the perfect day to plan some holiday decor.



wealth-making storage

I have two situations – one is that my flower cave is a total disaster.

Things I’ve dried and hung everywhere. Parts of the fall wreath-making that I haven’t put away, and another decor from one of our last events – also not put away.

This is partly because I wanted to re-organize everything before it got too cold, and then didn’t get it done so now these materials are on every available workspace and all over the floor.

The second is that the shop is not as lovely as I would like. It needs not only a holiday lift but a general re-organization too. We have all these beautiful products that we make and want to show off. However, it looks busy and … here is the word that makes me cringe – it looks cluttered. Nothing pops out. Lights will help for sure. And some greenery and bulbs. Some signs may also help.


Creating a Festive Mood

My plan has always been to have a gift store to sell things we make like pies, bread, jams honey, aprons. Then I would add in other makers in the area who create beautiful things, like an artist guild or collective. I do have products from my friend Leslie’s Walton Wood Farms cosmetic line. And Dave Brett’s charcuterie boards and of course, Barb and John’s wood spoons and soaps. It is a start and we’ll see how that works out.

In the meantime, I am procrastinating on all cleaning and organizing, so I’m going to make some potpourri for the shop.

South Pond Shoppe


DIY Recipe for Potpourri

This is a really easy treat to make for yourself and to give away! Here is how I make potpourri.

Dry oranges. I do this by thinly slicing them either in half or whole and laying the oranges flat on a cookie sheet. I put them in the oven at about 175 degrees for a few hours until they are dry. You can collect a lot of greenery like cedar, things that won’t’ dry and fall off. I also use flowers that I’ve dried from the summer. If you don’t have flowers, no worries –  even dead-heading some of your frozen flowers now might be a nice addition. Or you can just use cedar bows and pine cones. Just make sure they are dry before you mix them in.

Take a large mixing bowl, add all your potpourri ingredients and mix in drops of essential oil that you love. I’m a more savory, spice person – so I love using cinnamon, clove, pine. Choose your special scents. Use several hefty drops (about 20) to mix in and then if you can’t wait – put it out right away in a nice bowl (that would be me). Or you could leave it secure without air in a ziplock bag for a couple of weeks to allow the oils to penetrate all the lovely things you’ve collected and then package it up in little bags to give away.

This is a perfect activity for snowy weather so I’ll do this today, and then I’ll help in the shop, rearranging things to make that look and smell like the holidays are coming.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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