Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday and Seasonal Wreaths

Happy New Year!  I wish everyone a productive, healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.   I have noticed that my wishes for the New Year have changed significantly as I have gotten older.  Perspectives change and awareness of what is really important and what is not becomes much clearer, thank goodness.  Being older and wiser is true, if you push yourself to think beyond yourself.  Not always easy!   I have four main goals for the New Year, and will try to keep these in mind in 2013.

Now, on to wreaths. November and December were very busy this year, primarily due to my work schedule and preparing for Christmas.  I really like to make Christmas gifts for those I love.  But, I know that a hand made gift, is not always  a recipient's first choice.  So, I try to be careful to keep this in mind when planning our gift giving.  On one side of my family, we exchange names for our gift giving.  This side of the family rarely gets together as we are spread throughout Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, and New York.   There are 4 age brackets:  my Mom the matriarch in her 80s, 4 of us in the over 50 generation, 6 in the 25-33 age bracket and 1 delightful one year old!  I was lucky to receive my niece as a gift recipient.  She is married and the lucky mother of the one year old.  I had several ideas for her for a gift, but decided to text her for a few ideas, just to make sure.  She surprised me with a request for a hand made gift.  She said that she loved wreaths and really wanted a big one for the front door of their new home.  She wanted a wreath that she could use from October through the Christmas holidays.  I was thrilled to make her a wreath, but was a bit stymied with how to make a wreath the would cover Halloween, Autumn, and Christmas.  After a bit of texting back and forth , we decided that I would make three wreaths (Halloween, Thanksgiving/Autumn, Christmas) for her and she was thrilled!  (And so was I).  The only problem was that I had a time crunch.  She and her family would be in the area over Thanksgiving and I could either give her the wreaths then or mail them to her later.  Mailing a wreath, especially a big one, is not easy, so I had to get to work and get them done before Thanksgiving!  We also have a spending limit for gifts, which meant that I needed to get my Michael's and JoAnn Fabric coupons organized.  Please keep in mind that her front door is a charcoal gray, so the wreaths will look better on her front door than mine!

Halloween Wreath:

I had soo much fun making this Halloween wreath and just love the way it turned out.  It also took me the longest to make!   It is a bit creepy, but hopefully not too creepy for a one year old!  The wreath is made out of a Styrofoam wreath form and blaze orange fleece.  I wrapped the Styrofoam wreath in strips of blaze orange fleece, then I cut out about 2 zillion scalloped circles and attached them to the wreath.  I attached each one using a pin and glue to make sure that it stayed in place. I crowded them on the wreath to make it as full as possible.

Now the creepy Halloween part;  I made eyeballs out of Polymer Clay.  I formed small balls of white clay, added a flattened circle of either green or blue clay (irises) and then a smaller flattened circle of black clay (pupils) to complete the eyeball.  I stuck a tooth pick in each eyeball (that doesn't sound good, does it?) and stuck the eyeballs in a thick slice of raw potato on a small cookie sheet.  The potato holds the toothpicked eyeball suspended and allows the clay to bake in the oven and maintain it's shape.    

When the eyeballs were cool, I painted the irises, and added a small white reflection dot to each pupil.  I painted a clear coat on each eyeball to give them a bit of a shine.  I removed the toothpick and glued the eyeballs in a random design inside of the scalloped circles.

Ooooooo, creepy, huh?

Lastly, I added a hanging circle hook at the back of the wreath and a very shiny black bow on the front.  The blaze orange does not photograph too well, but looks great as a Halloween Wreath.   

Thanksgiving/ Autumn Wreath:

I wanted to make a  different (not fleece)  kind of wreath for Thanksgiving and decided on a grape vine wreath.  We are lucky to have an abundance of grape vines on our property.  My husband and I used to make grape vine wreaths all the time, but we haven't made one in a quite a while.  He looked at the grape vine wreaths available at Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics, and went out in the hard and started pulling vines together to make a beautiful wreath.

In keeping with the Autumn colors and using the beautiful sparkly ribbons and floral stems available this year, I added dried leaves, silk flowers and a pretty copper ribbon to the grape vine wreath.

Voila, Happy Thanksgiving!

Christmas Wreaths:
I decided a make a classic green Christmas wreath for my niece.  Because she specifically said that she liked big wreaths, I decided that her Christmas wreath would be the big one.  I bought a large basic green (fake) wreath at Michael's (40% off) and added embellishments.  When buying a "Fake" green wreath, keep in mind that once it's "fluffed",  it will look beautiful even without embellishments!  ("Fluffing"means to take each branch, straighten it and fluff the needles.  It makes a huge difference!)

First, I picked a  focal ornament and added it to the center top of the wreath.  I thought that the toy soldier would be perfect for a classic adornment and would also be enjoyed by my great nephew!

The bells were the perfect color (same as the toy soldier) and I thought that my great nephew would enjoy the "jingles."

I finished the wreath by adding poinsettias, red ribbon, a lighter green holly, and holly berries.  I was able to complete the wreaths by Thanksgiving (whew!)  and my niece let me know how happy she was with the results.  And by the way, they look even better on her gray front door!

Another Christmas Wreath!
My son, who has recently moved into a beautiful rental home, saw the wreaths and told me that he would love a big Christmas wreath for his new white front door.  Since I had so much fun with the first three wreaths, I jumped at a chance to make another one.  However, I wanted to make his a little more "rustic."  So, I bought another large green fake wreath 
(40% off cha-ching).  I found this Santa ornament with the plaid hat, pine needles, pine cones, and long white beard which I thought was a perfect focal point for my son's wreath.  He loves plaid, has his winter beard, and loves the out doors.

I added a plaid ribbon to the bottom of the wreath, on each side of the Santa.

More embellishments included pine cones, holly berries, and holly leaves.

He was pretty happy with his first wreath and it looked great on his front door!

Winter Wreath:
After making other people wreaths, I decided to make one for our front door, it definitely  needed a little sprucing up.  I decided to make a winter wreath that we could use for the Christmas holidays and through January.

I went over to Michael's again and the green fake wreaths were now over 40% off without a coupon!  Woo hoo!  I added white poinsettias, white berries, and white lacy stems to the wreath.

I picked up some brush animals for the focal point, and added a white bow on each side of the animals..

I think that the white wreath will work throughout the winter, even though we haven't had much of a winter so far.  

In fact, it is very gray outside at the moment, we have about 4 inches of snow on the ground with more predicted, but it is not too cold out (27 degrees), and interestingly, a deer just walked by my window.  

The great thing about wreaths is that you can make them throughout the year, for any season, any event, or any holiday.   Have fun and Happy 2013!


  1. LOVE the wreaths... can't wait until I have a nice outside door so you can make me one someday!!

  2. Great wreaths..I was a little tired of reading of "applesauce" Yes, I know you are busy, but..LOL..Abby, how about wreaths for the INSIDE of your doors or closet/bathroom doors? Just a hint for your Mom.... Blessings & Happy New Year!
    Grmma Sally