Dec 022014
 
Inspired by a designer wreath, my Thanksgiving wreath design.

Inspired by a designer wreath, my Thanksgiving wreath design.

I have needed a wreath for my front door to fill the holiday gap between Halloween and Christmas. I have my black tulle wreath for Halloween and usually try to find a fresh pine wreath for Christmas but November has a gap.

Early this fall, while flipping quickly through a design catalog, I came across an unusual wreath of ruffled burlap with orange flowers. I thought the materials and colors perfectly reflected November. It was quite expensive but I tore out the page for inspiration, wondering if I could make my own version.

I began by making a base for the wreath from two wire coat hangers, leaving one end open.

Two wire coat hangers became the base for my wreath.

Two wire coat hangers became the base for my wreath.

I then cut simple long rectangles of burlap about 13″ wide and a yard or two long, folded them in half and sewed tubes.

Stitching the burlap tubes.

Stitching the burlap tubes.

I used two tubes and slid them onto the open hanger, stitching the tubes together by hand.

Adding the burlap tubes to the wreath form.

Adding the burlap tubes to the wreath form.

At this point, there was some creative hand sewing to get the ruffles just right. I don’t really have instructions for this. I just made stitches where necessary to keep the ruffles bunching correctly. (I also realized that in most craft projects there probably is a lot of this “fussy” behind the scenes detail work, which is why most of us never end up with a result that looks exactly like the instructions we are following.)

Then, it was time to make the flowers. I was inspired by some handmade flowers my artistic aunt recently created. I googled how to make them and came up with this video.

I used leftover polyester fabric from our Halloween costumes. The first step was to cut out circles from the fabric, which I did much of while waiting for my children’s soccer lessons.

Cutting lots of circles of various sizes from orange and yellow polyester fabric.

Cutting lots of circles of various sizes from orange and yellow polyester fabric.

The next step was FIRE! You hold the edge of the fabric near a candle flame, just long enough to melt the edge and curl it but without singeing it or burning it. It took some practice before I stopped burning the fabric.

Burning the edges of the circles with a candle to make them curl and seal the ends.

Burning the edges of the circles with a candle to make them curl and seal the ends.

The YouTube tutorial suggested cutting small slits in each circle to create petal shapes. These were rather difficult to burn and I singed the ends of most of my first few flowers. When I looked at my aunt’s example, it seemed that she did not cut the slits and just used the circles whole. I tried this technique and it was far easier and just as beautiful.

Two options for burning patterns: on the left, the result of burning the circle uncut.  On the right, cutting small slits in the circle before burning to create more of a petal shape.

Two options for burning patterns: on the left, the result of burning the circle uncut. On the right, cutting small slits in the circle before burning to create more of a petal shape.

I then had a whole stack of petals on the table. I started showing my daughter how to stack all the orange together and all the yellow together to make the flowers I had in mind based on the tutorial.

A large collection of burnt  petals.

A large collection of burnt petals.

My daughter took one look at my examples and the huge collection of petals and informed me that I was being far too restrictive in my combinations. She quickly pulled together the most beautiful combinations of yellow and orange and also told me to make some with just the small petals so I had flowers of different sizes. Her artistic talents amaze me sometimes.

My daughter inspired me to combine the the petals in various combinations to create more interest.

My daughter inspired me to combine the the petals in various combinations to create more interest.

The next step was to hand sew a few stitches to keep the petals together in the finished flowers. My youngest daughter informed me that she wanted to learn how to do this. We sewed the first few together, with me pushing in the needle and her pulling it through. Then I gave her a threaded needle and told her to try it herself. She did a beautiful job!

Sewing flowers with the help of my daughter.

Sewing flowers with the help of my daughter.

The pile of finished flowers.

The pile of finished flowers.

My daughters had big plans for these flowers. They wanted to sprinkle them all over our Thanksgiving table as decorations. Fortunately, we had some left over and their plans were realized. They looked amazing!

A simple but elegant touch sprinkling the flowers all over the Thanksgiving table!

A simple but elegant touch sprinkling the flowers all over the Thanksgiving table!

It was then time to attach the flowers to the burlap base. While you could glue them, I like to be able to wash my wreaths before I put them into storage so I sewed the flowers on by hand. This was another part of the process where there aren’t specific instructions but a loose method of figuring out how many to use and where to put them. In the designer example I was following they bunched them all on one side.

To finish it off, I added a tulle hanger loop and a tulle bow. I also used more hidden tulle as ties to help with bunching the burlap together attractively.

In the end, I had something similar to my designer example but a bit more simplified. I love how it came out and it means even more to me seeing the work of my daughters reflected in it too.

Our Thanksgiving friendly front door.

Our Thanksgiving friendly front door.

 Posted by on December 2, 2014 General Tagged with: , ,
Oct 132010
 

Having beaten readers up enough about storing emergency water supplies, I’ll take a break from emergency preparation to have a little holiday fun.

It’s October and here in the United States October generally means the official start of fall (in terms of cooler weather and gorgeous autumn leaves) as well as a little spookiness in preparation for Halloween.

It was time to refresh our front door décor so I found/created a little project to add some stylish spookiness. Not too ghoulish, not too sugar-coated and not too time consuming either!

I have always liked people who have seasonal door decorations. The front door of your home is your visitors’ first impression of your space and it is fun to give people just a little taste of who lives inside. I have not been entirely successful at keeping my own door decorations up to date but am hoping this project will give me new inspiration.

So first, I was looking for an October-appropriate door wreath. A great way to get decorating ideas is to check etsy.com, the paradise of handmade items. You might find something there that you just adore and buy on the spot. I found this wonderful wreath by webvanessa and used it as my inspiration piece.

A black wreath? Yes! It’s fantastic. A bit dark and spiderweb-looking perhaps but I think of the overall effect as hanging a black tutu on my door. Tutus work well in our girl-filled household. Tutus also remind me of my friend Regina Bogomolova and the Fall Festival ballet performance she is putting on next weekend (October 24-25).  If you are in the Fredericksburg area, be sure to check it out!

If a black wreath is not your style, tulle comes in practically every color of the rainbow. You could also use orange, white, purple, or green for a Halloween look or mix together a variety of fall colors for an autumnal look. Brief instructions below.

Halloween Tulle Wreath

Materials

  • ~50 yards 6” black tulle netting (mine came from eBay seller jdr_favors who is currently away until October 24)
  • wire hanger
  • scissors
  • ribbons, etc. of your choosing for decoration

Directions

1. Bend the main part of the wire hanger into a shape of your choosing. I chose an oval but you are limited only by your imagination! A circle, square or rectangle would also be chic. (Don’t worry about the hooked hanger part right now.)
2. Cut the tulle into 6” square pieces.

The Tulle Spool - 100 yards of black tulle netting.

3. Scrunch the tulle square into a narrow width and tie it tightly on the hanger. I just did a single tie, no knotting needed! The tulle seems to grip well and is even a little difficult to untie.

Tie each square onto the hanger with a single (right-over-left) tie. No knots needed!

4. Scrunch a second square and tie it diagonally around the first tied piece. You end up with an X shape.

Tie the second tulle square diagonally across the first to form an X.

5. Repeat until the wreath is covered. Push each X close together to give a full, bushy appearance.

Tulle wrapping finished.

6. Bend the hook/hanger part of the hanger in a way that will accommodate hanging the wreath on your door. My door has a screw drilled into it for hanging wreaths so I bent the hanger down and into a small circle for hanging. If you use an over-the-door wreath hanger you might just cut off the hanger part.
7. Tie on festive accessories. I just scrounged for ribbons in our wrapping paper box.

Use creative accessories to give the wreath some personality.

8. Hang and enjoy.

My Halloween-ed front door.

This project took me only one evening to finish, mostly done while watching a movie. It’s fun. It’s simple and it gives an impressive look that should hold up to the elements well.

Top off your door décor with some of the wonderful pumpkins from your local farmers market. This year there is a fantastic supply of unusual pumpkins in colors like forest green, red and white as well as “warty” pumpkins with little bumps on them. These pumpkins are art in themselves and apparently are doing creative farmers a good business this year.

Artful pumpkins at the local farmers market.

How are you decorating for October and/or Halloween this year? Please share in the comments.

 Posted by on October 13, 2010 General Tagged with: , , , , ,