December Diary

As usual, December has passed in a blur and find myself surprised that Christmas Day is just over a week away. How did that happen?

 Have been trying to find balance between keeping Decorations Barn look reasonably full against not having to carry over too much stock to next year. Shelves looking a little bare but not as empty as Christmas Tree Barn, which has very few trees left (hurrah!).

Very glad to see back of dancing, singing moose from Decorations Barn. Fun to see reaction of customers who walked close enough to trigger moose to wiggle his hips and sing Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Rock but a little wearing when children worked out how to activate him. Again and again. Suspect family who bought him may have already unplugged him several times. Perversely, rather miss his singing now he’s gone. A little.

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 Called the bluff of all the witty customers who saw the sign outside

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 and asked for gin wreath. Not a wreath to hang on the front door if it is to stay intact.

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Reached sparkle and glitter saturation and cut foliage for making natural wreaths. Cut back thyme that had grown leggy and tied woody growth into loose knot to make tiny wreaths. Added extra herbs to make wreath bouquet garni to hang in kitchen and save traipsing outside in cold and wet.

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Decided to entertain two-year old with printing. Made great mess with rubber stamps and ink. Used excess ink on hands to make thumbprint robin prints. Took longer to clear up than do the printing and rather regretted not using washable ink.

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Buoyed with success of autumnal stationery printing, decided to make and decorate Fold & Send Mail letters for Christmas. Subsequently, enjoyed time sitting quietly in the evenings writing letters. Even received letter in reply. Forgot how good it is to get handwritten letters instead of email and texts. Got carried away and masqueraded as Father Christmas. Thankfully, received no reply to that letter so won’t have to attempt sleigh ride and slide down chimney.

Realised that last gift ordering dates imminent and house has no Christmas decorations up. Searched out checklist for Christmas dinner. Wondered if time has come (after twenty years) to change slightly.  Continue to wonder.

Plenty of time to decide.


How to Make a Country Style Christmas Wreath

At this time of year, it’s good to take time out from the frantic Christmas rush and clear your head. My favourites are to get out into the fresh air and to do something creative, so what better than taking a pair of secateurs and snipping some greenery to make a Christmas wreath.

While I greatly admire the glory and perfection of a florist’s wreath, I’m more than happy with a simple, country style wreath using foraged plants. I don’t mind if it’s a little wonky and isn’t made with the season’s must have flowers, as it’s as much about the gathering and making as it is about the finished wreath.

 

Make a rustic Christmas Wreath

 

If you’d like to make a country style foraged Christmas wreath, here’s what to do.

 

making Christmas wreath with fresh foliage

HOW TO MAKE A CHRISTMAS WREATH

BASE

Cut a few willow whippy branches of willow and twist and twine them together to make a circle. Tie them with string if you think your circle might spring apart. Alternatively, buy a wire ring which has the advantage of being round and won’t fall to pieces.

GREENERY

The trimmings from your Christmas tree are excellent foliage for your wreath. I presume you trim and shape your Christmas tree? Snip a little off the back to make it fit close to the wall? Prune back any wayward branches? Haven’t you read our tips at Slamseys Journal for decorating your Christmas tree? Some people worry about cutting anything off their tree, but I always do, just to give it a good shape. Also, the offcuts are very useful.

As well as your Christmas tree trimmings, cut some holly, ivy, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme or anything green about 20 – 30 centimetres long. The larger your base, the longer your stems will need to be.

Binding foliage for country style Christmas wreath

Using florists wire, bind the greenery to your base. Place a few stems on the base, wind the wire around to hold them firm and then lay the next stems on top to hide the wire and continue to wind the wire round the stems and base, working your way around the circle. When you get back to the beginning, gently lift the heads of the first stems, bind the final stems and then drop the first heads back down to cover the wire. Cut and secure the end of the wire.

DECORATIVES

Collect some pretty seed heads, berries (fake or real), fruit, feathers, baubles or anything else that takes your fancy and poke and weave them into the wreath by slipping them under the wire. If you can’t do this, wire them in separately or stick them on with a hot glue gun. This is the chance to cover any bits of wire that may be showing.

FINISHING OFF

Choose how you want to hang your wreath. Are you decorating it with a ribbon? Will the ribbon hang at the top or the bottom? Decisions, decisions. Either wind the ribbon around and tie a bow or make a ribbon bow and attach it to the wreath with wire or glue. If your ribbon is at the bottom, make a hanging loop at the top with a piece of twine or ribbon.

Find a door, hang your wreath …

Christmas wreath from the hedgerow

… stand back and admire.

Simple triangle shaped Christmas wreath

Of course, you don’t have to make a circular wreath. Tie some sticks together in a triangle shape and decorate as little or as much as you like.

twiggy heart shaped wreath

Make a heart shaped wreath.

Giant Christmas wreath hanging from ceiling

Make a giant wreath and hang it from the ceiling. Using the same technique, but on a larger scale, this wreath is a metre across and dangles from above.

If you don’t have the time or the greenery, buy a plain fir wreath and personalise it with your own decorations.

Whichever you choose, have fun.


Almost there!

Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, we’ll close the doors of the Christmas barns at noon and say goodbye to glittering baubles and decorations. I am a little sparkled out and ready to embrace a simpler style of Christmas decorating so we’ll cut down a Norway Spruce tree from the field and gather armfuls of holly, ivy and mistletoe to adorn the house ready for much eating, drinking and merriment.

So far, my only decorating has been to make a wreath for the door this afternoon. I thought it was round, but looking at the photograph, I appear to have made a Christmas tree shaped wreath.

Christmas tree shaped wreath

 

Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Back in 2016.

Anne x