Good morning, all! I don’t have a ton of time to write this morning, but I did want to share a little project I did at home over the weekend, which I’m actually pretty proud of. Now, this may not seem like much of an accomplishment to all you veteran crafters out there, but to a novice like me, this was a pretty major endeavor. I should also probably point out that I did this on a Sunday afternoon with a very rambunctious 1 year old to keep entertained at the same time, so I suppose getting anything done under those circumstances is a pretty big deal.
So, what did I actually accomplish this weekend? Well, I’ll tell you – I made my very first Christmas wreath using leftover branches from our tree!
Before I get into the actual process I used for crafting this beauty – can you tell how tickled I really am over this? – let me first say a few words about this tree, which in and of itself was another big deal for me. Why is that, you may be wondering. Well, I haven’t actually put up a tree of my own in over a decade, that’s why. What with being a student and traveling a lot, I either a) wasn’t going to be home much over the holidays anyway or b) simply couldn’t afford it. As you can see in the photo below, I am a REAL tree girl all the way – does it get much better than a house full of fresh fir tree aroma? To me, it does not. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of making a trip out to the local Christmas tree farm – yes, even before it was trendy to go local. This has been a family tradition as far back as I can remember, and I’ve always looked forward to continuing it. The only issue with this tradition, though, is the price. A real tree from the farm is generally going to run you somewhere around $20 higher than the version in town on the lot (and I don’t even care to know what a fake tree would cost – in my world, Christmas trees simply have to be real). This may not seem like a lot to some folks, but to a very broke college student, that money might as well have been a fortune.
But this year, even though things with a baby are still pretty tight, we decided to splurge a little and revive this family tradition. And let me tell you, even though my son does get rather perturbed from time to time since he isn’t allowed to touch the ornaments, when he sits there in front of it and points at it in wonder or even lightly pets one of the lowest limbs, this just reaffirms how totally worth it this decision was. Oh, and I guess you could say I like it, too. Wait, what am I saying – I absolutely LOVE coming home from a long day at the office to those colorful lights, that heartwarming aroma, and my son learning something new about the world and our various traditions.
Anyway, back to my original goal for the post – my adorable little wreath. (Don’t you just love how writing quickly without much of a plan can lead you anywhere but where you originally wanted to go?) To fit the tree snugly in its stand, we had to remove a few of the bottom limbs. While a lot of folks would just chuck those out back into the woods or burning pile, I unfortunately live in an apartment without either of those handy. And since I certainly did not want to just throw them into the trash, I decided to put them to good use. Now, since I had no idea whatsoever how one goes about crafting one of these, I did some quick googling and then headed on over to Michael’s for a small wire wreath base (I did see some wreath plans that used wire coat hangers for the base, but this seemed a little too advanced for the likes of me), some 26-gage green-colored wire, some needle-nose pliers, and some pretty little red berries for decoration. I’m definitely a big fan of the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to decorating, so I wanted the Frasier fir to be the real centerpiece with the red just serving as a necessary accent.
Making the wreath actually couldn’t be simpler. You just remove the best looking smaller branches from the larger limbs – I liked the ones that were in the neighborhood of 6-7 inches long with just a few smaller branches on them, since they help camouflage the wire base underneath better than the straight ones. They also make for more interest around the edges, as you can see in the photo. Once you have these cut – you’ll probably go through way more than you think you will – you make little bunches of them as wide and as thick as you need to cover up the wire frame. They’ll look like little fans that will eventually be arranged end to end around the frame to create the final wreath. Between 5 and 7 in each bunch worked for me, and I simply connected them with as many pieces of 26-gage wire as necessary to keep each branch in its desired place.
Once all of my little fans were created, I attached them to the base with more 26-gage wire – probably using WAY more than more experienced wreath makers, but what can you do? I then cut my little berry branches to size and once again attached them with wire – are you seeing a pattern here? These little red accents were not only great pops of color, but they also helped cover up any thin or oddly shaped spots.
And my little wreath was born! It now proudly adorns my front door, wishing “Merry Christmas” to all who pass it by.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention exactly how I was able to get this project done while minding my toddler. Well, after his favorite PBS show no longer entertained him, and after letting him play with the leftover branch pieces stopped doing the trick – which ended in my entire house being covered in fir needles – I put him in his high chair next to me and let him play with his favorite food – green bean purée. I was able to get my project done, and he couldn’t have been happier!
I guess that’s about it for now. Please, if you have any questions about the wreath – I’m not sure how well I did at giving the instructions – post them in the comments section below. Or, if you just want to share your own family Christmas traditions or holiday craft projects, please share as well! Merry Christmas!