Seasonal Wreaths

Updated May 2018: For my final ‘quarterly’ wreath, I’ve made something to take my door from Memorial Day to Labor day. These are probably two of my top holidays, as I love how they bookend the summer. Also, it probably helps that the hubs’ birthday is right by Memorial Day and mine is right by Labor Day, so those are also a nice way to kick off and then finish a great summer.

My theme is red, white and blue (Americana, if you will). Most of my supplies were Dollar Tree acquisitions (the red/white/blue stars, the ribbon at the bottom, the silver star garland). Come to think of it, the wreath was the only thing I didn’t get there. Anyway, as always, I laid out the wreath first and then we back through to glue everything in place. Here’s the final product:

20180520_132251.jpg

Update March 2018: I hate overly long blog posts where there is endless scrolling, pictures and ads. So, I’ll be brief. If you haven’t read the below, I’m a (relatively) new homeowner and have decided I want to be a ‘door wreath person.’ To minimize the number of wreaths I need to store year round, I’ve identified 4 types of wreaths that will get me through all the seasons and holidays in a somewhat neutral way.

You can see my Fall and Winter wreaths below. Today Spring has sprung and I’m excited to share my March/April/early May Spring/Easter wreath. To start, I selected an oval shaped grapevine wreath. I was tickled to find this at Joann Fabrics as I thought it would lend well to the season and holiday.

I knew I wanted to go with pastels for the color scheme. I found the cat tails and green balls at the Dollar Tree, which is what ultimately led to me choosing a yellow base flower and white accents and finishing it off with a pale blue ribbon. Don’t be afraid to mix and match types and styles. Let’s be serious – if someone walks up to your door and thinks ‘This wreath is a real mashup of flowers from different terrains and seasons.” you probably shouldn’t worry too much about what they think. Clearly they don’t understand creative liberty.

Anyhow, here is the wreath. With all of my projects, I start by laying out my materials and staging the craft. I then like to take a photo of the final product before I pull it apart to build it. The left is my staging (sans ribbon) and the right is the wreath in action!

 

Original Post: I was never a fan of door wreaths – I think it’s because my mom never had them on our front door growing up, so I just always thought they were unnecessary (similarly to yard flags). Anyhow, now that I’m a homeowner, I decided to make 4 wreaths to hang year round:

  1. Fall (mid-September through end of November) – see below for my Fall wreath
  2. Winter / Christmas (December through mid-March) – see below for my Winter wreath, along with two other examples, one of which is more ‘Christmas’ than ‘Winter’ if you like a wreath for every holiday
  3. Spring (mid-March through mid-May) – to be created; I’m envisioning something that feels like Spring / Easter with pastels and some light-hearted decorations
  4. Summer / USA (mid-May through mid- September) – to be created; this wreath will be red, white and blue to honor the summer holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day

When creating any type of wreath, I would highly encourage to follow the below steps:

  • Figure out the ‘top’ of the wreath – place the bare wreath on your hanger (try Command Strips Wreath Hanger) and see how it naturally lays. Mark the top of the wreath so you know where to place your decorations in line with the way the wreath falls.
  • Lay your wreath on a flat surface and start the design process. Don’t get frustrated and try things in different places. I also find it helps to look at other wreaths on Pinterest to get an idea of how to lay it out. Make sure it feels balanced on both sides / top and bottom.
  • Start at the base of your decor and built up. It’s always easier to glue something on top than to try to dig down layers and glue something underneath something else. I would recommend hot glue for wreaths – it does a nice job of sticking to anything and is good at dripping in between the twigs of the wreath to create a strong bond.
  • Don’t overthink it! Sometimes, when I spend too much time staring at a project, I have to walk away because I start to obsess over the most ridiculous things. Take the time to make it right, but don’t go overboard. Otherwise, you could end up screwing up a really good thing!

For my Fall wreath, I started with a 12″ grapevine wreath. I used a big flower from Joann Fabrics (the cream), along with some little glittery pumpkins and spirals and fall colored ribbon I picked up on their Halloween clearance (which, oddly enough, was available BEFORE Halloween). I also snagged a bag of pine cones, which pulled double duty between my Fall and Winter wreaths. Finally, I purchased a wooden S (for my last name….I’ll never tell!), also from Joann Fabrics, and then used some glittery leaves I had left over from another project (these were from the Dollar Tree, my main spot).

FallWreath

For my Winter / Christmas wreath (far left), I again started with a 12″ grapevine wreath and used some fluffy ball decorations and a hanging snowflake ornament from Dollar Tree. The rest flowers and silver balls are also Dollar Tree scores. The pine cones were leftover from my Fall wreath and the green leaves / brush came alongside the flowers I purchased. All in all, this wreath probably cost $10 tops. The middle and far right wreaths are products of my niece, who seems to have been bitten by the same creative bug as me. You’ll see more of her work popping up across the site soon. For the middle wreath, she kept it more simplistic and classic with a grapevine wreath base pre-built with tree brush and pine cones. She added a pretty, plaid ribbon, some small red berry picks, red flowers and a hand-painted white ‘K’ to round it out. The far left wreath, much more ‘Christmas’ than ‘Winter’ was a gift she made for her grandmother and is made entirely out of ribbons and various red and green picks. She used a foam circular base to build the fun ribbon creation.

ChristmasWreaths

Check out the featured image for a easy, space saving way to store your extra wreaths when they aren’t adorning your door!

Q4 Craftiness

Credit where credit is due – I saw a version of this on pinterest and have since created both a copy cat and bastardized version. This is a fun project to make for your own home, or for those of your loved ones. It’s a relatively simple project with just a few required materials (all of which are pretty cheap). And BONUS, it is a decoration for both fall AND winter. Gotta love a good 2-for-the-price-of-1.

Materials:

  • Wood pieces (for the Happy Fall / Let It Snow set, I used 2×4 boards cut into two 6″ sections, two 4″ sections and one 5″ section; for the Happy Autumn / Believe set, I used 2×2 boards cut into two 5″ sections, one 6″ section and five 4″ sections)
  • Sand paper
  • Paint (in whatever colors you want to use – I used primary colors only and mixed all the rest, like brown, orange, etc.)
  • Paint brushes & pallette or equivalent
  • Paint markers (optional) – I used a few paint markers throughout this project to make some of the letters easier; Specifically, I used paint markers for all of the Autumn / Believe letters and the black and silver on Snow

First, figure our your design. If you want to go with a different message, get creative with how to split the letters, how many blocks to use, and how to arrange the pieces. Then, cut all your boards and make sure they fit nicely together and are smoothly sanded. Since you’re creating a double sided decoration, you really need to make sure they’re evenly sanded on all sides.

After you’ve prepped the wood, cover all the blocks in white paint all the way around. This will give you a nice even base to start with and will ensure you have clean lines at the top, bottom and sides (especially if your wood has rounded corners). Once the white has dried, you can mix up your colors and paint the blocks accordingly. *TIP, try to pick something that goes with your house decor while still keeping in line with the holiday color scheme.

Finally, once you’re SURE that the paint has COMPLETELY dried (at least 24hrs), go back through and start to add the letters. If you’re using paint and a brush, I would recommend using a white colored pencil to sketch out your letters. This can also be a good idea even if you’re using paint markers. Then, let that dry and voila, a beautiful new, custom decoration for your house that will last you through ~6 months of the year, depending on where you live!

HappyFallLetItSnow

BelieveHappyAutumn

Brown Paper Packages: Tied Up With String

Christmas 2016, although technically my 2nd Christmas in our new home, was the first year I actually decorated and set out presents (we moved in 4 days before Christmas in 2015). Normally, I buy some cute / festive wrapping paper and just pick out a few patterns or designs that I like and go for it. This year, I decided to do something a little bit different. If you’ve read my post about Thanksgiving crafts, you’ve learned about my giant and mysterious roll of brown paper that I found in the attic of my old house. I used that same role for ALL of my Christmas gifts (and still have a huge amount of paper left – it’s crazy). Since this was my first year decorating, I wanted to have stylized wrapping for the gifts under my tree. And, since we have four kitties who LOVE to eat curling ribbon, I am a bit restricted in what I can put on gifts that I’m going to set out. Therefore, due to a combination of factors, I landed on the below wrapping design this year:

Materials:

  • Plain paper (you don’t have to use brown- you could use any matte paper color you find – so long as you can find a complimentary ink color, of course!)
  • Stamp ink – I used a combination of red, green and black (I bought a multi-pack with these colors)
  • Letter Stamps – I got a great deal on my set by using a 40% off one item coupon
  • Ribbon – I used a variety of designs with the same general color scheme; see below for my thoughts on the best size/type to use

As I’ve said before, I find the most effective way of doing things to be the batch assembly (unless you have others involved and then the assembly line is my preference). So, to start, I would pick a group of gifts I wanted to wrap, go through and wrap them all in brown paper, and then choose what ribbon to use for each. Each ribbon has a coordinated stamp color that I liked to use, so I would batch the same type of ribbon and color of ink to avoid having to clean the stamps a bunch. In selecting ribbon, I found the following things to be true:

  1. 1/2″ thick satiny ribbon is probably the best, even with designs on it. It’s easy to tie and make pretty bows with. You will need to spend a little bit of time to get the bows right, but once you do, they’ll stay in place really well, which is helpful when you need to transport gifts to other places
  2. Glittery ribbon is a pain in the butt. You won’t see this in any of my photos because it was the hardest to work with and get it to look good. I would not buy this ribbon again for future projects.
  3. Really thick (2-3″) wired ribbon can also be a great choice, but use for smaller gifts because it takes a lot of ribbon and it can be more expensive than other thinner ribbons

I hope you’ll give this design a try!

Treeandgiftwrap

Thanksgiving Crafts (for Hosting)

This past year my husband and I were drafted to host Thanksgiving, which was coincidentally our first Thanksgiving in our new house. With a guest list of about 20 and having never prepared a turkey, I started to feel a little anxious. But, rather than freaking out, I decided to calm my nerves by planning some crafts for the big day to make things fun!

Invitations. Although my guest list was pre-defined by the ‘regular crew’ for Thanksgiving each year, I decided this would still be a nice way to set the mood for the day. I used 5 simple materials: plain yellow and orange printer paper, dark brown card stock, silk leaves (I bought mine at the Dollar Tree for $1), some string or ribbon, and some permanent markers. First, I cut the brown card stock in half so that each invitation would be 5.5″ x 8″. I used my paper cutter, but you can easily fold in half to cut a nice edge. Then I cut the yellow and orange sheets to be a little bit smaller than the card stock. If you don’t have a paper cutter and aren’t good at cutting straight edges, try using some wavy scissors. These are a lot more cost effective than a paper cutter and will hide the fact that you’re edges aren’t perfectly straight. Finally, I hole punched two holes at the top of each invitation. With a little glue between the card stock and paper and paper and leaves, plus the string or ribbon tied through the holes, the whole thing comes together very quickly. After mocking up what I wanted to write on a scrap piece of paper (event, date, time, address, R.S.V.P.), I proceeded to knock out all the invitations by hand. I did use a straight edge to keep my dots in a (relatively) straight line. See below for the finished product:

YellowandOrangeInvites
Place Settings. Because of my guest list, I needed to have more than one table in a not huge area. So, I decided to dress them up to add to the cozy and inviting dining area. For the ‘adults’ table (aka, our parents and grandparents), I used a white table cloth I bought on Amazon for $10. This was a great find for me because I have a 5′ square wood table that is pretty challenging to find linens for. Anyhow, I also picked up some silk fall flowers from the Dollar Tree (at the same time as the leaves above) for around $4 and made a little arrangement in a glass jar I had. (Jars also available at the Dollar Tree for…you guessed it…$1).  Sorry, this picture came out a little blurry 😦 I’ll do better next time.adultstable

To identify the seating assignments, I grabbed some twigs from my backyard (well, my husband did), cut them down and hot glued them together with some small name slips to make super cute place cards. Simple, yet charming.Place cards

For the ‘kids’ table, I was contending with a 6′ folding table, so I decided to get a little funky. I have a huge roll of brown paper that I found in the attic of my old house (it’s a long story) so decided to use that to make a brown paper table cloth like they used to (and maybe still) do at Macaroni Grill. To spice it up, I used a paper plate to trace circles in front of each chair and wrote the seat assignments in the center of each ‘plate.’ The great thing about using the brown paper as a table cloth was that it made cleanup a cinch! Finally, I finished both tables off with cutlery wrapped in fall napkins and tied with string.kidstable

Banner. Since I had all my supplies out for the invitations and place cards, I decided to also make a nice banner to hang over my fireplace. We don’t have a mantle over it (yet – hopefully I will have a post on this in the not too distant future) so I couldn’t put up candles or a swag of some kind, but I figured a banner would do quite nicely. Using the brown card stock, yellow and orange plain printer paper, and my permanent markers, I cut my paper, drew my letters, punched my holes and added some leaves. This one took a little longer because I tried pretty hard, and I think it came out just fine. Once I finished with the paper crafts, I took some 1/2″ white ribbon and strung through the holes to make a cheap, easy, and pretty banner.

banner.jpg

To learn more about the centerpiece from the photo above, read Dead Tree Centerpiece with Candles.

[Updated 11/21/18] For more Thanksgiving ideas, read Thanksgiving Crafts for All and Thanksgiving Food Fun. Or, check out how to gear up for Black Friday with my Black Friday Shopping Team Shirts post.