Monday, December 2, 2013

Making a Wreath and a Memory

I'd rather spend an hour at Staples than at Michael's. Checking out office supplies excites me a lot more than browsing potential craft projects. I can create a great digital scrapbook, but please don't ask me to make one with photographs, scissors, and sticky-paper.

True story: I got an Incomplete in my college weaving class. I thought it would be so relaxing, but it wasn't. It was not my only attempt to develop my latent gift of craftiness. One year for Christmas I bought hundreds of sequins and covered 6-inch candles with them using straight pins. The candles looked quite pretty when they were finished, but my thumbs took a while to heal. I have jars of buttons -- vintage buttons, decorator buttons, plain buttons, all sizes, all colors -- that are left over from my short career as a designer of button jewelry. I got the idea from a craft project at a retreat, and, come to think of it, that is how I got turned on to bead bracelets, too. I only made a couple before I realized it wasn't the craft for me.

Lest you think I am putting myself down, I don't really see it that way. I'm just not into crafts; they usually make me more distressed than relaxed. I'd prefer to read a good book or write something.

So you may be surprised to learn that I spent a couple of hours on Saturday at Christianson's Nursery in Mt Vernon, making a wreath for our house. And I had a lot of fun doing it!

Karen signed us up for the class. I love being with Karen -- who is quite crafty, I might add -- and am always up to an outing with her. She filled her trunk with greens and we took our gardening gloves and clippers and set off. The class was held in a greenhouse with work benches and wreath presses set up for the class. Besides the greens that Karen brought, I purchased a couple of additional kinds to fill out my wreath.

We chose to make 10-inch wreaths. That means we needed to make ten bundles, each using the same greens, and press them into our frames. I clipped the ends of the greens I wanted -- fir, pine, a little cedar, salal, and two or three other things I don't know the names for -- and made a bundle. Then I put it onto the wreath press, being careful that there were no stray ends that would fall out, and put my foot on the lever, giving it a good couple of pumps. This crimped the frame tips and closed them over the bundle. Only nine to go!

It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but I gotta tell you, it was really satisfying to create my wreath!

A small sampling of the greens available for purchase at Christianson's

Choosing my greens and preparing my bundle

My partially finished wreath in the press. You see that the bundle on the right
has been pressed so that the tips on the frame are crimped to hold them in place.

Karen and I with our finished wreaths. They are both on 10-inch frames,
but they are quite different from each other, just like the people who made them!

So now, just beside our front door, hangs my fragrant, bushy wreath.  I'm quite proud of how it turned out, but I'll probably go to Michael's to buy some ribbon for it, or wire in some pine cones, just to finish it off, though it's perfectly lovely just as it is.

I don't suppose I'll start a wreath-making business, or even make wreaths for Christmas gifts, but I'm savoring the joy of doing something with my hands besides typing and cooking. And the experience was all the richer because I got to hang out with my friend.

Even when my beautiful wreath is dried up, I'll still have this great memory. Thank you, Karen.

* * * * * * *

If you are interested, Christianson's is offering independent wreath making every day until December 24, from 9-4. Check out their schedule of events here.


Karen S. said...

I loved making wreathes and memories with you--someone ready for an adventure or a challenge! I added some lichen-covered branches into my wreath today.

Ginger Kauffman said...

Karen, it was so much fun! Thanks for planning an outing that stretched me! Every part of the day was great.