Easy homemade wreaths

I love a good wreath on the door, but quite honestly, paying for them can get pricey and certainly do not fit in a graduate student budget.

Wreaths bring up fond memories of the holidays growing up. My Mom would go out into our backyard and pick trash bags full of greens and sit in front of the fire-place with a football game on the team and put together wreaths. They were always so fragrant.

I have to give credit to my bro for this tutorial as he is the one who passed the “art” on to me two years ago. I had just recovered from my first broken foot and we were looking for something to do as a family the day after Thanksgiving. So, he, his girlfriend, my Mom and I headed up the hills of Boulder for a short, mellow hike and along the way picked greens.

 

Out on our hike picking greens

Out on our hike picking greens

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We came home and put together the wreath together. Honestly, the beauty of it cheered me up every time I came up to my front door and I kept it up until the days turned to night around 7 and I started wearing shorts again (ok, maybe I was too lazy to take it down).

Since then I have made a wreathe every year. Here are the easy steps:

1. Find a metal coat hanger. This sounds harder than it is as most of us only have plastic hangars these days. I start “shopping” around for them in October. And by shopping I mean looking in my Mom’s closets. Last year we found a metal hanger on one of JWail’s suits that were in bags from the dry cleaners. This year his grandfather gave him Hawaiian shirts and they came with metal hangers to last the next 5 years of annual wreathes, since that is how many shirts he got.

2. Go out and pick your greens. It’s such a great excuse to get outside and go tromp around in the woods. I took the dogs with me. There are two things you want to look for: pine branches and delicates. Delicates are the smaller items like dried up wildflowers, berries, pine cones, colored leaves or even bare sticks. I love this part because I it forces me to stop and acknowledge the dormancy of the earth during this time of year. Everything is still alive, yet looks listless and colorless such so that it takes on a whole new beauty of its own.(I know I’m getting all philosophical on you).

Getting ready to go pick. Don't forget to bring a box. Way easier.

Getting ready to go pick. Don’t forget to bring a box. Way easier. PS I look huge because it was 5 degrees out and I had two pairs of pants, two shirts, a sweatshirt and a jacket that I could get sap on. Just so you know.

My little green pickers. Actually they didn't help at all. They tried to take my sticks out of my box.

My little green pickers. Actually they didn’t help at all. They tried to take my sticks out of my box.

3. Come home and heat up something warm to drink. Preferably with rum, baileys, or whiskey. But, plain nog does the spirit good also.

The goods.

The goods.

4. Undo the hook at the top of the metal hanger and shape into a circle. Close the metal hangar off at the top with a quick twist. Be careful, don’t break the metal hanger. Have I told you that they are tough to find?

5. Using about 4 inches of craft wire, start tying on the big pine branches. This is the part where you begin making the symmetrical circle shape of the wreath, so try to place the branches in such a way that they form a circle and tie on where necessary. Keep adding on and tying the green to each other and back to the coat hanger.

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6. Once the wreathe is full, begin adding in the “delicates.” At this point you should be able to stick them in snugly to the wreathe, but you may need some wire here and there also.

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7. Hang wherever you like.

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Each year the wreathe looks completely different depending on where we picked our greens. The first year was down on the Front Range of Colorado and there were more colorful items like berries and red leaves leftover from the Fall. Last year we picked our greens west of Laramie in the mountains and this year I just went to the foothills of our backyard. Things were drier and with more browns then reds and whites. Either way they are still beautiful.

Any easy crafts or recipes that you make every year? Do tell. Link us a recipe or how-to.

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