It's getting dangerous at Garden Delights. All of the crafty projects I wanted to create last year are finally coming to fruition this holiday season. I'm not sure how or why this is happening. Maybe it's the fact that I've spent a year obsessing over the projects that I didn't complete last Christmas, like the succulent Christmas tree, that I've been driven to fire up the hot glue gun and wield the wire cutters. Whatever the reason, walking in our living room amidst all of the projects is a bit hazardous. After all, it's cold outside. While I could work in the large greenhouse, we haven't cranked up the heat yet this season, and I don't want to waste propane on a glorified craft room. The small greenhouse is toasty with its electric heater--but it's bursting with tropical plants, leaving no room to work. Instead, I've gathered my tools and supplies, spread a waterproof blanket on the living room floor, and selected classic Christmas movies to keep me entertained while I work.
After all, crafting is less stressful with Olive the Other Reindeer playing in the background.
This week's project combined our daughter's horse obsession with Floral Friday, holiday edition:
Last year, I Pinned several versions of horse wreaths. However, too much life happened, and I never attempted to make it. This year, with extra Fraser Fir branches on hand from our Christmas tree, I decided to give it a try for Floral Friday. Could I find all of the components I needed in our backyard and garden and make the wreath (with the exception of the Christmas tree cut offs)? I decided to give it a try.
Oreo joined me for my forest foraging. It's amazing what things you find when you're on a mission.
Small evergreen seedlings, which I hadn't noticed all summer, suddenly seemed to have multiplied overnight. Everywhere I looked, long-leaf pine seedlings sprouted in the forest and by the river. Perfect. I harvested a few branches from each of the larger seedlings, leaving plenty of branches to ensure growth.
A native shrub, Nandina domestica, provided the red berries for the horse's eyes and nose. While our camellias typically provide gorgeous blooms in December, our early freeze shortened their joy. I found a few blooms tucked near the house, protected from the worst of the freeze, but they'll need to be replaced soon, I'm afraid.
With my harvest ready, it was time to get to work.
Evergreen foliage, two varieties (A short-leaf variety for the head, such as Fraser Fir, and a long-leaf variety for the mane.)
Berries or pine cones
Flowers for decoration (I used real blooms.)
Chicken wire, approximately 2' x 2'
Green floral wire
Gloves (The chicken wire is sharp!)
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Silhouette of horse head
Print a horse head silhouette from the Internet. While my image printed on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, I needed the wreath shape to be doubled in size. You could increase the image size with a photocopier. However, I placed the image on a table, laying the chicken wire on top, and used the image as a general guideline for shape--then I snipped the wire approximately double the size of the image.
The shape doesn't need to be perfect, as it will be covered with greenery. As long as the general shape and proportions are in line with the image, you'll have a good form to use.
Wearing gloves and using pliers, bend the sharp wires inward to avoid scratching yourself when working on the wreath. You'll also want to avoid wearing a bulky sweater while working on this project. Trust me. I repeatedly snared my sweater on the wires, which was not fun.
Once you have the wires bent, cut a 12-inch piece of floral wire, folding it in half. Loop it through the middle of the form, about 1/3 from the top. Secure it, then bend the wire to make a loop. This will be used to hang the wreath.
Now, it's time to get busy and make small groups of evergreen branches. I trimmed the Christmas tree cutoffs to approximately three inches, then made small bundles of about three to four branches, wrapping the bundle together with floral wire 1/2-inch from the top. I cut a bunch of 4-inch long segments of floral wire before I began to speed the process. (See the scratches on my hands? It really is a good idea to wear gloves.)
Working from the bottom of the form, begin inserting the evergreen bundles into the wire form, securing with the floral wire. You'll be layering the evergreen branches, overlapping them slightly to hide the wires. Take four longer branches to make the ear. Secure the bundle to the top of the form, then use a short piece of floral wire to wrap the top into a point.
After you've filled the form with the short evergreen branches, add a layer of the long-leaf evergreen branches to the top of the form to make the mane. Bundle the branches together and position them to create the "flow" of a mane. I positioned some branches to be the forelock, while the other branches were positioned opposite to be the mane.
Add floral wire to the grouping of berries and position them for the eye and nostril. Secure the berries with floral wire.
Using 1/2-inch ribbon, cut three pieces to be the bridle. Initially, I tried to wire the ribbon in place, but it kept slipping.
Thank goodness for hot glue guns! Add a dab of glue to hold the ribbon in place, then add the flowers, securing with floral wire, for the final decoration.
You can add extra sparkle, if you like--pine cones dipped in glitter, or extra ribbons in the mane...whatever you like to personalize your wreath.
My horse obsessed girl was very happy. What do you think? Does the wreath look like her four-legged boyfriend?!
For our next project, she's been challenged by the barn where she rides for the Interscholastic Equestrian Team to decorate a stall. I have this feeling the horse wreath is leaving the house.
Maybe my next project will be a chicken wreath. Hmmm...
Do you make homemade wreaths? If you do, please share a photo on the Garden Delights Facebook page so we can all enjoy it!
Happy Floral Friday!