Fun with lining things up

Amidst all the shopping and cooking and driving out to fetch people and trips to the market and other sundry holiday activities, there are a few quiet spots in my holidays. I recently made a Clove-Orange, a sweet-smelling object sometimes used to scent closets or wardrobes. The fruit eventually dries out, leaving the cloves stuck in a leathery-hard sphere. If kept someplace dry, it will remain in this fragrant condition for months on end.

It’s a simple task to stick whole spice cloves into an orange (or in this case, a Clementine) if first one uses a thin tool to pierce the skin of the fruit. I usually use a pointy Japanese chopstick (hashi, pictured) but one could also use a darning needle. The purpose is to just pierce the skin, not impale the fruit, to more easily plug in the cloves without them crumbling. Naturally, I like to line up my cloves, but they may be placed in any pattern. The finished orange can be tied up with a ribbon to be hung up, if desired.

I find the activity to be very calming, and a lovely sensory experience. I’ve done it as a horticulture-therapy activity with students as well. It’s one of the few crafts that doesn’t worsen for having been forgotten in a locker for a few days. They do not, however, survive being dumped in backpacks with textbooks, so plan ahead by having some small cartons for transporting them home.