Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wreath Making 101

There has been some interest in how I make a wreath (OK, one person but that's a biggie for this blog). So I made another wreath to give as a gift and took some pictures to share with you.

Here is what you'll need:

An old wire hanger, florists wire, wire cutters and a pair of garden clippers. This hanger happened to be wrapped in some sort of green coating so all the better. Snip off the hook and bend the wire into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, the greenery will hide any wonky parts. Snip off the excess wire and twist the ends to join:

Clip sections from your greenery and make a little bunch, like so:

(Keep in mind that mistletoe is toxic if you are using it for your wreath, so it should be kept away from little helpers and hung up high)

Place the bunch along the wreath frame and wrap it a few times along the length of the stems with florists wire. If you are not dexterity-challenged like me, you can leave the wire on the spool and wind it around the frame; I find it easier to work with 12-inch sections of wire. Make a new bunch of greenery and lay it along the frame so it is covering the stem ends of the previous bunch and keep wrapping with the wire as you go:

Working around the frame and covering the wire on the previous bunch as you go:

(Yes, that's blood on my finger. I thought about GIMP-ing it out, but I'm all about keeping it real. I should probably add a band-aid to the list of things you'll need)
Until you are back where you started. Then tuck the ends of the last bunch up under the first to hide the last of the wire. Snip off any greenery that is hanging out and messing up your circle-y shape:

The back:

For larger projects that carry a bit more weight, I have a little different method. That ugly thing on the left is a "real" wreath frame like you might find on a wreath that you've purchased. I mocked up an example of a frame that I've made in the past using heavy wire that I scavenged off something. That's what you see on the right, just two circles wired together at intervals with a lighter gauge wire. It can be made standard-sized for your door or ginormous for a space like over your garage doors.

Again, clip sections of greenery until you have a nice full bunch. Cut a 5-inch section of florists wire and form it into a hook:

Put the loop of the hook over the ends of the greenery:

Give it a couple twists to secure and lay the bunch along the frame. Use the ends of the florists wire to attach it to the frame:

Keep making bunches and layering them on the frame as in the previous example. Tucking in sprigs of different evergreens or random berries looks lovely too:

Keep going until you get all the way around (I didn't have enough fir, the neighbor ran me off his property) and clip the stray ends to clean it up. Wrap it with pretty ribbon, tie on a bow or just hang as is.
Any questions?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mistletoe Wreath

Its nice to be known.
Mr. SH was walking in the woods when he spied some mistletoe in the top of an oak tree. He knew that I would want it to make something, so he brought a bunch home.
And, of course, he was right. I made it into a little wreath that afternoon. Its the first Christmas-y thing I've put up and it looks lovely hanging from the door of my china hutch.
And how do you get mistletoe out of the top of an oak tree, you ask? With a shotgun, silly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That's not what I said

I said I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, not a white... oh, nevermind. I'll take it.

If you live somewhere snowy you're probably thinking 'whoopie-doo". But snow that sticks to the ground is a big deal in this part of Oregon.

Other exciting news around here: my "baby" is two. I'll see if I can find her birthday dress and take a picture to show you.
You won't be seeing the cake. I took my eyes off it for two seconds and she took full advantage. Up until that point it was a bear.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bookish Bag

A birthday gift for someone who always has a lot to carry (literally and figuratively):

I was inspired by this tutorial, but made mine a little larger because I wanted it to accomodate books in addition to being handbag:

I was determined to have the topstitching along the front and back, but I must have ripped it out 8 times before I gave up that dream. I'm guessing it had something to do with the way the wales of the corduroy fed through the feed dogs, but I could NOT sew a straight line. So I stitched something like it by hand with embroidery floss.

Pockets for pencils and one for a gadget. I put some ribbon on the top of a couple pockets after I realized they blended in with the lining so well, they became invisible.

And a big pocket on the other side for...stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brush Embroidery Cake

If the question of whether or not you can do brush embroidery work on Italian Meringue Buttercream has been keeping you up at night, I'm here to tell you its possible (names have been smudged to protect the innocent):

Well, my recipe is really a combination of IMBC with "regular" buttercream to make it a little easier to work with, but still. Its not as clean looking as it probably is on crusting buttercream but its pretty and a bit out of the ordinary, so I'm glad I tried it.

It was somewhat time consuming and I don't recommend that you drink a lot of caffeine beforehand as it does require a steady hand with the brush.

I was aiming for clusters of hydrangeas, but I think I missed the mark.

Its hard out here for a squirrel

There are no acorns on our trees this year. None. Someone told me that acorns are biennial, which would explain the problem but I'm not sure if that's true or not. If that's so you'd think the trees would talk it over and decide to how to stagger their vacations so we aren't left hanging.
This is annoying for me since I had planned to enjoy some acorn craftiness, both the grown-up kind and with my girls.

But I imagine the poor squirrel has that same sick feeling I get when I check my bank account balance.