Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Wreath Primer

It’s just not Christmas until I get the wreath made for the front door. I finally got one fashioned last night and hung it up after dark.

Each year I marvel at the beauty, variety and versatility of evergreen cuttings. I cut some smoky blue cedar from the windbreak, with plenty of berries attached. The bottom of the Christmas tree lent bright green fir bows. I trimmed the arborvitae in Mom’s yard, whose cuttings look straight from the florist shop, deep green and supple. I also cut a few sprigs of long needle pine for contrast.    

I've heard there's lots of crafty blogs out there. So not to be outdone!

A spool of wire from a craft store, a glue gun, and small hand held pruners are the only tools needed. I start with a vine base. I wind my own from wild clematis that grows along the fence lines, but store bought vine, wire, or straw bases work well too. Protect your working area with an old vinyl tablecloth. Bundle 3-4 evergreen cuttings, varying in length maybe 5-8 inches long, and lay them on the base. When you have anchored the wire to the base, wrap it and the ends of the cuttings snugly together. Keep laying bunches on top of each other, covering up the cut ends as you go, and wrapping with wire. Be generous with materials so the wreath is full. When you’ve completed the circle, fill in any holes with extra cuttings stuck in with a dollop of hot glue.  

Add a fabric bow. I like to use the 2.5" wide ribbon that comes on cardboard spools in 3 yard lengths. You can find them in the seasonal section of many stores. It will take all three yards for one bow. Make a loop with the ribbon and twist it at the base, pinching it between the thumb and forefinger of one hand. Make six loops, twisting each time, and finish with one just a little smaller for the center of the bow. Trim the ends on an angle and leave tails on the wire to anchor to the base.  

Use hot glue to attach anything else you want to add. I always add a nest, pinecones and other odds and ends. One year it was pheasant feathers, this year it’s tansy seed heads and store bought berries. 

My mom always made a wreath at Christmastime. Her base was a fir tree branch bent in a circle. Her wire was salvaged from a spent window screen. It's a family tradition I'm happy to keep alive. And there’s nothing to compare with the beauty of nature for decorating our homes.

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