Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wreaths aplenty - and a contest

Posted by Dawn Dalton on 6:41 PM

WIN an epic book prize that includes a copy of Spirited, and debut novels by three of the most talented writers I know - Jessica Bell,  Judith Gravesand Donna Milward.  PLUS, Judith is throwing in a copy of her beautiful CD. Merry Christmas, indeed!

Follow this blog and comment on each post throughout my holiday countdown. The more times you comment, the greater your chances are to win. The winner will be announced Boxing Day - another gift just when you thought it was all over.

*   *   *

I've always loved wreaths. Green wreaths, wooden wreaths, heart-shaped wreaths - the bigger the better!

I just can't afford wreaths, at least not the amount I'd need to satisfy me. Seriously, even a plain Jane, no lights-included fake wreath can be pricey. Especially when you want to have *cough * fifteen of the them in your house. Think I'm nuts? Bear with me...

My sunroom has six beautiful windows that face a busy highway going through our hamlet. They're begging for wreaths.

My dining room has a wood panel wall and is currently bare. It needs at at least one wreath - maybe three. 

Every door in my house is wooden, just primed for a wreath, don't you think?

Sadly, I do not have an unlimited wreath account.

I do, however, have an abundance of pussy willow trees just down the road - and willow wreaths seem the perfect accompaniment to our nature-inspired Christmas tree.

I Google-searched directions on how to make the wreath, and it looked simple enough on the Internet. Deceiving! I didn't expect the project to take four hours. Four long hours hunched over a stack of willow branches, trying not to curse or get frustrated. It isn't easy - but it's so worth it.

Feeling crafty? Why don't you give it a try?

Here's what you need:

  • A stack of willow branches in various sizes, but at least six or seven full length ones to form your base 
  • Thin ribbon or (better) twist ties
  • Accessories
* I used pine cones, leftover pieces from my tree after we trimmed it and thick ribbon for the bow.

Here's what you do:

Your willow branches will bend, and over time retain their shape. But getting them to that point is tricky.

Choose a long branch and bend it to form a circle. (Note: If I did another one, I would make the starting hole smaller.) Twist tie it into place, or use a piece of ribbon tied tight. 

Add branches one a time, weaving each piece around the base (almost like a braid), and tucking in the ends where possible. If it's feeling too loose, add another twist tie. Later, you'll remove the ties so don't worry about them showing.

Continue weaving the branches until you've reached desired thickness. You can allow some of the branches to go wild (as in my picture) or tuck all ends in. Snip off any pieces you don't like. (Be patient. Sometimes the pieces pop out. Tuck it back in and keep going.

Snip off any twist ties or ribbon. 

Add accessories. I just stuck the tree branch pieces into the willow, and used ribbon to tie on the bow and the acorns, but you could use a hot glue gun.

Voila! A country-style willow wreath.

Clearly I won't be making 15 of these, but I will experiment with different styles. I hope you do, too. Happy wreath-making.

- Dawn

PS - 22 sleeps until Santa slides down my non-existant chimney. <3


Hmmm...honestly I think I might have to try that!! Sounds frustratingly interesting! :) Great Job!!!

I happen to have pussy willow branches AND a craft room...just saying. xo

Sooo beautiful...who knew they had so many personalities? I love that idea from Anytime flowers but they are all gorgeous...thanks for the inspiration.

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