So, as I said in a previous post, I love being outdoors in the Winter. I love being cold, and having an excuse to cover yourself in cashmere (so chuffed for the year I worked in a cashmere shop, and the 60% off that entailed…), hats, wristwarmers, scarves…I will wear any warm accessory.
I have also spent a long time having no money (one gap year plus one year abroad equals five years of student life…), so I have been time-rich, money-poor for a while. So most of my Christmas endeavours cost little or nothing, except HOURS AND HOURS OF MY TIME. Luckily, I love doing them too!
My primary Christmas endeavour is making wreaths.
In October time, I go for a few walks with my crafty shears in hand, and trim any new growth (normally from holly bushes). So I do it in a sustainable way which keeps our local paths clear. Useful, non?
I then weave a base, using only the wood itself. No florists wire, no glue, no weird stuff!! Just branches!!
These frames then sit in my Dad’s shed (sorry Dad) for a couple of months, losing some of their flexibility and settling into a rigid frame.
Then, I wait for Christmas orders, and make them fresh for customers, normally the day of, or day before, collection!
And there you have it – Christmas wreaths! Made from sustainable, natural and responsibly sourced materials. The frame can be re-used year on year, and all the dressing (bar the ribbon, which I take off and re-use) can be composted. One step towards less Christmas waste!
How To Make your own Wreath:
1. Take long, straight-ish lengths of flexible, pruned wood that doesn’t snap when you flex it. Holly is great, and I also use rose. Take one piece and grasp at one end. Take a second piece, and starting just over a fist-length up from the bottom of branch number one, begin to wind them around each other.
2. Wind right to the end.
3. Take a third branch, and start another fist-length up from the start of the second branch. Twine around the two already twined. (If they begin to unravel at the ends, don’t worry – just wind them around each other again).
4. Keep going until you have the required length of wound wood – add probably 7 or 8 branches, depending on length, the size of wreath you want, and the girth of the branches you’ve chosen.
5. Placing the ends that have been in your hand pressed to the floor so they don’t unravel (I often stand on them to ensure they don’t spring away from me too), flex the far end of the branches (all different lengths, but hopefully well-woven into one long strand) and bring it right back round to the end on the floor.
6. Make sure that the ends cross over each other by a good margin – possibly a third of the total length of your woven branch strip should be doubled over.
7. Begin to weave the branches you’ve looped around into their own beginnings, to create a circle – the idea being, that the branches will try to unflex themselves, and if they’re well-bound, they will not be able to. This is what will make your frame good and sturdy!
(If that wasn’t too easy to follow, I apologise. It’s hard to be specific enough! I will try to make a video in the new year which will show you better how to manipulate them).
But for now, you could buy one from me!! I will be selling them at St Thomas’ community centre in Chesterfield on the 7th of December, from 10.30-1pm, and will be taking orders at this time.
Here are some pictures of wreaths I’ve done. If you’re making your own, I hope they serve as some inspiration!
Happy Impending Christmas,