When it comes to January... I feel like a mole popping blinded, stunned and broadsided into a new year, after the sudden withdrawal of the over-stimulation of the preceding Christmas season. The abundance of seasonal decor needs to be packed away, at the same time as I surface from my food coma, in order to refresh and renew for a new month and year ahead. While part of me feels sad to leave behind my favorite festive season, another part of me loves clearing it all out and starting with clean and simple lines, symbolic of turning a fresh page. Breathe.
The once lush and fragrant pine-needled Christmas wreath had to go... it had lived past it's due and had become a fire hazard. Its space looked so lonely and bare though. So something had to be done ... This year I decided to play around with something simple, clean and fresh to brighten up the home.
wooden embroidery hoop, preferably in 12 or 14 inch diameter, but sized depending on where you want to place it
faux flowers, in any variety you love
eucalyptus, boxwood or evergreen branches- you can use preserved or artificial
18 or 20 gauge wire with wire cutters
a strip of linen fabric
extra fine sharpie
Tearing the linen, instead of cutting it with scissors, gives it the whimsical frayed edges. With a very fine sharpie, I hand wrote WELCOME on it in cursive. If this part intimidates you, you can always use a stencil with fabric paint. A unique option in a home with lots of kids, would be to get one of them to hand write it in their cute random penmanship.
Creating the faux-calligraphy is a lot simpler than it looks. That said, it helps to practice on paper first. Draw a double line on the downward strokes to mimic what a blunt-edged calligraphy pen would do.
Color within the double lines and run over the thinner connecting lines and twirls with the sharpie to get a heavier, darker look.
Insert the linen into the embroidery hoop and tighten the screw. Cut off any long edges. but not too close to the hoop. When your wreath is complete, you can trim it up and add some hot glue to secure it. I like having the option of removing it to change the word or leave the writing out altogether.
Take your greenery and, using the wire cutters, trim off the branches you want to use. You'll only need 2 to 3. I'm not the biggest fan of artificial foliage, but this eucalyptus sprig looked pretty good and was easier to work with than preserved eucalyptus leaves, which tended to break easily.
Play around with the placement of the leaves to see what works for you. You can be off-center or perfectly aligned... whatever makes you feel happy to look at for the next few months! Mine started off perfectly aligned and then I re-wired it to get an unsymmetrical look.
Cut the wire into 4-6 inch lengths. This really helps for ease of attaching stems, without getting all knotted up in wire... and lesson learnt ... it also makes it easier to move sprigs later on, if you're not too happy with the final placement. I decided to move one of my branches and it was so much easier to do with a short length of wire, instead of having to unwrap the whole wreath!
18 or 20 gauge galvanized steel wire work perfectly and aren't too intrusive. You could even use green florists wire or colored beading wire.
Wrap one part at a time. Clip off any excess wire. Once you've attached all the stems and are over the moon excited about placement, then you can use your pliers to press the ends down flush against the hoop and tidy up the wire to be a close as possible to the leaves.
Place your flower and glue on with hot glue. I had a few floral options on hand, but due to my small hoop, I could only really place one of them for a simple look. More would have been too overwhelming. You can even craft your own flowers out of filter papers or use dried hydrangeas, which have retained some of their color. If your flowers are delicate, you can wire them, inclusive of stems onto the hoop, just like with the greenery. You can secure any flower heads and wayward leaves with a tiny dab of hot glue.
Add raffia or jute or any other accent bow. String or raffia can be wrapped all the way around the wreath, for a different look. I like the simple wooden frame, but to add more color or to hide your wire, you could definitely wrap the lot.
The bow was too heavy for my small hoop, so I undid it, and used the raffia as a loop to hang my wreath instead. I loved the different natural textures.
My 8 inch hoop really was a bit on the small side. I would use a 12 or 14 inch hoop next time. It looks dainty and clean in it's new place... it was too diminutive to appear in proportion on my front door, but I found a home for it, where some Christmas decor had blessed the wall, just moments before.
Have fun with it! I loved creating it and hope you will too. For the fresh sent of natural foliage, I'll wrap some sprigs from my garden into the wreath... ivy, rosemary, thyme, evergreens, even lavender... whatever I may come across.
Wishing you much enjoyment in this simple and elegant project!
Create. Enjoy. Repeat.
THREE & ME