Holiday Home – Blue Spruce Wreaths & Garland

Making wreaths & decorating for the holidays using greenery from the yard has become a major passion of mine in recent years. I like to try something different each year using what I have available outside or foraged and then I usually add one element that is bought – like Eucalyptus.

Here is a look at our Newmarket home decked out for the holidays in 2018 using Blue Spruce from our yard as the base.

This beautiful, mature Blue Spruce supplied greenery every year that I filled the house with – I can’t believe in our first year living here that I was buying boughs of pine when I had this readily available.

I save all pruning until November and December now so that I will have plenty of material for decorating. In the case of this tree, I actually found that it grew more small boughs thanks to all of the small cutting done each winter.

I also made a 15 foot garland using the Blue Spruce by wrapping it around our Christmas lights making it an easier job to create. This went over the garage door.

The base of the wreath is made on a wire frame and then I added some dried silver dollar Eucalyptus I’d saved from something else I’d made in the summer. The pinecones I collected with my kids when out on walks.

The picture frame moulding made the perfect display area to hang a sash that I sewed from some silk look material I had. Since we choose not to have a large Christmas tree I think I tend to over compensate with fresh wreaths and garlands!

A detail of this table trestle leg – have you seen what it looked like before in this Apartment Therapy feature? It was a big project to refinish the table but so worth it.

Here’s a glimpse at the front of the house with the garland. There is a post showing how this garage door looked before it was painted here.

There is a tutorial on making a fresh wreath like this one here. Also instructions on this shiplap wall can be found here.

How to Make a Fresh Holiday Wreath

This weekend I’m planning to start some of my holiday wreath making using the pine and boxwood that we have in our current yard. I started some clipping last weekend with this simple branch. The wreaths here were made with driftwood I collected in the summer and this fireplace got a paint update last year.

If you follow me on Instagram I have created a hashtag #shibangwreaths to catalogue some of my wreath projects over the years. There’s a lot that doesn’t make it to my blog but it is on my Instagram @shibangdesigns.

Happy decorating & foraging!

Wheat Wreath DIY

Here’s another wreath to add to the tutorials on the blog – this time for a wheat type wreath. I used grasses from our yard (Karl Forester Feather Reed Grass). Last year I was considering making a wreath from these grasses that end up in the yard waste bin but thought it would be too tedious a project.

It’s not actually tedious but you do need quite a bit of material to make. Here is a step by step look at how I made this wheat wreath following the same method at the other wreath tutorials using Eucalyptus, Boxwood, and Blue Spruce.

Materials:

  • Wreath Form ( I used wire to bed a 10″ circle)
  • Paddle Wire
  • Lots of grasses ( I had to go out & cut more 3 times)

Collect your materials, I selectively clipped from our Feather Reed Grasses so that there’s still lots in the yard. The grasses are messy so give them a good shake before bringing them inside the house to work. Better yet, make it outside!

Create bundes of approximately 6-7 grasses and layer around the form, wrapping with wire.

Continue to add bunches. Arrange them and trim before wrapping.

As you approach where the wreath began, tuck the last bundle inside.

A view of the backside.

Here is the finished product – simple & made from materials in the yard. I like the colour combination against the grey door. Here it is against black too.

This wreath could be kept until next year or pull out the grasses, put them in the yard waste bin and make a new one next year when the grasses have grown back again.

Continuing with the Fall decorating from the yard – I added some sunflowers that are blooming in our garden to the arrangement I showed last post. This arrangement also uses clippings from houseplants for greenery.

 

More fresh wreath tutorials can be found below:

 

Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath DIY
Boxwood Wreath DIY
How to Make a Fresh Holiday Wreath

4 Simple & Natural Ways to Decorate for Fall

It’s September already and that means a new season and I have some Fall decorating ideas to share. The colours outside are shifting and there are so many simple and natural ways to bring this look inside.

1. Make a Flower Arrangement

While we don’t have flowers in bloom right now (I miss the Limelight Hydrangea hedge I planted at our last house!) we do have an amazing selection of foliage around the yard.

I clipped some ninebark, japanese maple, dogwood, poppy pods, aster and crabapple from our yard to make an arrangement.

I also added some grasses which was a trend I was not a fan of until we moved to Kelowna, where dried grass is a part of the landscape. For this arrangement I used chicken wire inside the lined box which made it so much easier to build the design.

Whenever we go to the beach I’m always looking for treasures, just like my kids. These are driftwood wreaths that I made by shaping branches I found. The grasses are from a row of Karl Forester grasses we have in the yard. This has been up all summer and I’ll probably keep it up during fall until inspiration strikes.

A couple of weeks ago this was another arrangement made with the same materials from the yard but on a larger scale.

In the background below is a new Eucalyptus wreath with a ribbon made with linen scraps from the mask making I’ve been doing.

2. Cut a few Branches to Fill a Vase

If you don’t feel like spending much time arranging flowers, cut branches from the yard are a quick and easy way to freshen up a room without spending any money.

This is some Ninebark that is in my studio. The dark, almost black foliage is a new favourite of mine and it lasts for at least 2 weeks in a vase.

In my studio I have been focused on making linen masks. I started using linen since that is what I use for screenprinting tea towels. Linen also makes a more breathable mask so now I am choosing more fabrics & creating colour collections to work with a fall wardrobe.

This is what I am making (more photos are on Etsy). Flower arranging is a creative outlet that is my break from sewing.

3. Make a Wreath to Welcome the Season

Wreath making is one of the most popular topics on the blog and I love making them so there will be more to come soon. If you have a metal wreath form and paddle wire it is so easy to grab it and start wrapping fresh material. I always save my wire when I remove old leaves and keep the wire in a bundle attached to the form.

A few months ago I was out after a big windstorm and there were willow branches that had fallen all over the beach. I collected the fallen branches – never cut from a tree unless it’s on your property or you ask for permission – and made a wreath from them. Even though I knew this would be temporary I enjoyed the process and saw it as extra practice and even therapeutic!

4. Gather Interesting Sticks & Pinecones to Display

Driftwood, pinecones & interesting branches find their way to our doorstep for display. These plants are Swedish Ivy that I chose since the fuzzy leaves would hopefully be unappealing for the deer and also to clip for arrangements indoors.

Bringing the season indoors is easy with a few natural elements that can be found all around.

As we learned in Design 101 in my Fine Arts Education, in nature all colours go together. I’m paraphrasing but the idea is that naturally colour coordinates and it is evident as you look around at the changing season.

More projects that I’m currently working on are often shared on my Instagram @shibangdesigns if you’re not already following. I share projects & ideas there more often than I blog!

Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath Part 2

This post from December 2017 about making a Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath has been getting lots of traffic lately so I am adding a new version to the post.

Now that I’ve made 3 versions with different varieties I will share what I’ve learned in case you are thinking of giving it a try this year.

I made that first wreath using seeded Eucalyptus on a 10″ wire frame. It dried out nicely and lasted about 3 months until the green started to turn a bit brown.

I saved the wreath and the following year I took it apart and used the dried leaves as an accent in my holiday wreath mixed with evergreens (as pictured below).

This summer I came across a large bunch of Eucalyptus in the grocery store and couldn’t pass up the chance to try to make a wreath out of it.

baby blue wreath ingredients Shibang

It was a bit tricky to work with and my hands were all sticky but the house smelled so good. I also added some lavender from our garden. I used the same process as for the other wreathes linked above.

These photos were taken in November. The wreath has dried out very nicely, doesn’t drop leaves and has kept it’s colour.   

And since I love making wreaths, here’s another one I made last year. This was with seeded Eucalyptus and lavender and it stood up well to a cold Toronto winter out on the front door. Again I didn’t take pictures of the process because I was making it late at night but it was the same process as in my original Fresh Eucalyptus Wreath Tutorial.

Since I love making these wreaths I ordered several bunches of a variety of Eucalyptus and sold these wreaths locally. Here are a few process photos.

Baby Blue Eucalyptus dries well and lasts more than a year.

Holiday Greenery: How to Make a Boxwood Wreath

How to Make a Boxwood WreathHave you ever been to Chicago during the holiday season? The first time that I ever noticed urns full of evergreen boughs and pretty branches was when I went to Chicago. For three years I went to that gorgeous city around this time for the One of a Kind Show and a highlight was always seeing the elegant displays on every corner.

Ever since then I’ve been working to improve my skills to make my wreaths, garlands and urns. I’m still figuring it out, but I have learned some techniques along the way for beginners.

By purchasing the boughs from the grocery store (or collecting them in the forest after a windstorm) and having a couple of basic supplies to reuse every year makes it less expensive to do it yourself.

These are very basic instructions for how I made my wreath.

Materials Needed:

  • Wire Wreath Form
  • Florist Wire
  • Garden Shears or Scissors
  • Greenery – Cedar & Pine is $5 a bunch at the grocery store and boxwood or oregonia is $10. I used one bunch, but for a fuller wreath you’d need two.

Time to complete 15 – 20 minutes.

Oregonia/Boxwood Wreath Detail

Cut off pieces of the boxwood to shorter lengths and bundle about three together with wire, leaving some extra length of wire. How to make a boxwood wreathAttach the bunch to the wire frame using the extra wire at the end.How to make a boxwood wreath After you layer all of the bunches together around the frame loop, the spool of wire around to secure everything. IMG_8157The key is using a wreath form to work with to get the nice round shape. I have tried in the past without a form, and they were not as successful, and they were more frustrating to make.

How to Make a Boxwood Wreath// Shibang DesignsLast year my wreath lasted more than 4 months, and when it was all dried up, I pulled out the old leaves and saved the wire to use again this year. Of course, if you like ribbons and embellishments you could add them afterward but I prefer to keep it simple.

How to make a boxwood wreath

UPDATED & IMPROVED BOXWOOD WREATH 2016 

I have an improved version of this wreath to see here:

Boxwood Wreath DIY // Shibang Designs