Just a quick Sunday post to share my last home made wreath and it’s inspiration fromPinterest.
A Close Up of The Second Wreath
My second wreath on the door; I decided to use this egg design.
For the wreath itself I used the same stapling and wrapping technique that I’m going to post about tomorrow, but instead of lace I used the same garden wire to make a loop. This has to have been the easiest securing technique I’ve used on my wreaths, particularly as when I wanted to add additional leaves in the end I could slip them into the existing wire.
For the egg I’d found a plastic hollow egg and sprayed one side on the inside with gold paint. Once it had dried I glued leaves inside to make a nest shape, weighing it with something heavy to make sure it stuck. Originally I was going to decorate it with three, painted, little blue eggs. However they were made of polystyrene and when they came into contact with the glue they semi-dissolved, they ended up as shrivelled, odd looking things. So instead of them I used these larger, plastic blue eggs. Once they were glued in and the egg sealed I glued them with waterproof glue to the wreath.
If you don’t want to put it on the door it looks lovely on a mantlepiece too.
How To Make An Easter Wreath
As I said yesterday I decorated the front of our house with the Easter wreaths yesterday. Well here is the how to for one of them, perhaps you’d like to do one yourself?
1 (or 2) straw wreath/s
1 (or 2) Bouquet of silk peonies (for the symbolism in the wreath and their Christian meanings take a look at this research post)
2 (or 4) silk, leafy branches
Small toy lamb (and optional rabbit)
Wooden letters J (and optional M)
Gold spray paint (if you have it you may want spray paint primer too and some spray glitter varnish)
Waterproof, superglue (about 1-2 tubes per wreath, depending on the glue size)
White lace (about 1 or 2M)
Staple gun with large staples
A small box
- In a small box put a letter and then spray with gold paint. I often use various size boxes when I’m spray painting as they automatically shield everywhere else from the paint. I’ve suggested spray paint primer if you have it as these letters are not treated, so they’ll soak up your paint and can sometimes make the gold effect uneven (this is my second coat above, and you can see that there). I couldn’t find mine at the time of painting, so resigned myself to this and repainted it several times leaving a long gap between successive coats to ensure it cured properly. I had to do the last as I was spraying quite thickly. I went back and forth between the box and the project, leaving it over night as I had other work to do after the initial planning stage (points 2-5). Then when the letter was gold enough I also added a glitter varnish which has a gold tinge to it to finish it off.
- Select ‘off-shoots’ from the leafy branch to form your base – these should be about 3, 4 or 5 leaves, but determine their length based on the branch make up and what they’ll be used for. If you need to use your scissors for this, but I often just twisting and bending works.
- Separate all the flowers and divide them into groupings. As you can see I had 3, darker blush peonies as well as 3 light, blush peonies, 2 buds, 2 flower sprays and 3 leafy sprigs. By separating the flowers it’s easier to see how best to arrange them on the wreath.
- I often start by laying out the arrangement so I have an idea where everything is going to go, although I adapt when I actually make the wreath. The first step to this is to arrange the leafy branches around the outer circle of the wreath and then the inner. To add a little interest I also arranged the flower prays and leafy sprigs to the external wreath, as this will break up the uniform outline.
- I then lay out where the flowers will be, taking into account the gold letter will be going on the wreath as well. I’d already decided I was going to add the lamb or rabbit to the relevant letter (Jesus or Mary, again see this post for the symbolism), so I didn’t need to factor in space for that. As there where 3 of each darker and lighter blush, as well as the two buds it lent itself naturally to this arrangement. Take a photo at this stage to remind you where everything goes – you never know, you might have to suddenly clear up.
- Now you need to undo it all. Back with a bare wreath add a tag for hanging. I did mine with the lace by cutting a 10 – 15 cm strip of the lace and gluing one end to the back of the straw wreath. Then I took another 10 -15 cm strip and tied it in a double knot at the back. The tied strip is placed on the wreath and the length attached to the wreath already circles it and is the placed over the top of the tied, with the knot against the wreath itself, to attach it to the wreath. I then staple and glue it to ensure it’s secure. This means that the loop for the wreath is flat against the surface its going to hung against, rather than having to twist to hang.
- The good thing about using artificial flowers and leaves is that they have a wire base, so you can bend them to form the wreath’s shape before applying. Start with a sprig of leaves, bend to a semi circle in line with the wreath, and secure it to the outer rim of the wreath with two or three staples. The picture top left shows the back of the wreath, not the front, as this is the outer rim I’m working with.
- Continue for about three sprigs of leaf and flower sprays in a similar pattern to how you’ve planned. At this point stop and, with your waterproof glue, add dots of glue over staples and in parts where you think it would be good to ensure they remaining touching (you can see the glue above where the staple and stem are shiny in the images above point 7). It’s also a good idea to push the staples into the straw as far as they can go prior to glueing, as they may have already been slightly dislodged as you place and glue other sprigs. Continue in the same way, stapling and gluing, all the way round the outer rim of the wreath and then, when you reach the bottom of the wreath opposite to the hanging lace, start to lay the sprigs in the opposite direction.
- Then start with a rose bud, or whatever flower you have chosen, to start of the internal, flowered pattern. Use the same method as the external – stapling and gluing. Once you have reached on their of the way round stop. At this point I had a full rose, a rose bud and about 3 leaf sprigs left.
- Liberally put glue on the back of your letter and place it firmly on the wreath. As at this point I was working with the “Jesus” wreath I then glued and applied the lamb onto the letter. On both the letter and the lamb I added globs of glue whenever the item being glued touched what it was being glued to, to ensure that it was extra secure (again you can see this in the picture, the shiny sections). You may want to leave the wreath for a while at this point as you don’t want to disjoint the work you’ve done because you’re too eager to carry on.
- When the glued parts are sufficiently dry add the final rose and rose bud so the two final flowers almost touch each other, but have a space between of about 5 cms (or whatever is appropriate for your width of ribbon.
- Then make your bow. I started mine by tying a relatively loose not about half way down the length and then continued tying a bow that I felt was the right size. It needs to be relatively loose so that you can staple secure it to the wreath. When I did that I stapled on the outer rim of the wreath, so that the bow wouldn’t overwhelm the flowers. As it was too low down I just grabbed more of the loose material and re-stapled until I was satisfied. Obviously you may want to use a form of ribbon with wired edges to secure a shape, but I had this lace already and somehow it’s delicate nature said ‘spring’ to me. When the bow was in place I diagonally cut the ends, one shorter than the other, to finish it.
- Move the bow lengths out of the way and, once the wreath is completely dry, add the left over sprigs of leaves to the inner rim in the same manner as above. You then may want to take a good look round the whole of the wreath, stapling and gluing, to make sure everything is secure.
Let us bring hope to others – Hallelujah, He is risen!
I’d love to know what you think, or if you have any queries let me know.
Feast of the Ascension 2018
Blessed Feast of the Assumption to all!
I must confess that, having spent far too many years away from the Church, I have only recently become aware that there are such things as holy days of obligation! As a result I’m not aware of which feasts are prescribed such a day, and I’m even more often surprised at which aren’t. So, having finished a morning cardio workout and suddenly becoming aware of what day it was, I was on Duck Duck Go for an answer at 9.30. The mass was at 10.30. I looked at the children still in their pyjamas and I confess, my heart dropped.
I don’t know how I managed it, it could only be by God’s grace, but they were dressed in HDOO finery, I got showered and looking not too shabby myself and in the car with time to spare. That never happens on a Sunday when I start getting ready a considerable amount of time before hand. Like I said, grace in action.
As we arrived at the church there was a small procession of youngsters in white forming. There numbers were too many for alter servers, although their clothes were very similar. Then it occurred to me; this profession du foi that I’d seen in the newsletter was their confirmation.
It’s a blessing here in France that feast days align with national holidays, so when you’re out of practise you get a reminder (as in this morning). But also Catholicism is still in evidence in the culture. So during this time of year you will see large photos of youngsters in their robes, candle in hand in photographers windows, the robes themselves hung outside dry cleaners, cake toppers of confirmation and communion in bakery windows… This is because these events align with the liturgy and therefore are celebrated, or at least have their presence felt, in the wider society. Yearly reminders that Someone is waiting for you.
The church was full and the atmosphere celebratory. My youngest has grown, of course, since we moved here 20 months ago and I was struck by this as I watched her twirl and dance to the opening hymn. It felt like a heartbeat away since her presence in the church meant we felt compelled to sit away from others.
The evidence of her’s and my eldest’ evident maturing have left me a little sad. I felt myself longing for more children which, unless an actual miracle happened, is sadly impossible for us. They love each other so much, kissing and hugging throughout the day. I’m sure this devotion will remain as they continue to grow, but this time and its innocence is so short. Sometimes I have to stop and force myself not to be too busy with life and things, this time is too precious.
It was such a joyful mass and my girls enjoying Bible stories on CD in the car home made these thoughts of their development continue. How do I dig deep furrows to ensure that the Gospel is implanted profoundly in their hearts, where no weeds of doubt will settle and separate them from God?
I’ve spoken a few times of what I want to achieve with this blog (here and here) and at present I’m satisfied that I’m starting to introduce joy of the faith through decorations and devotions to God, Mary and the Saints. Nevertheless I want to extend this in the coming years so that the joy of our faith is never far away.
I’ve decided that this year I will be celebrating Joan of Arc, Therese of Liseaux, and the archangels to add to my celebration last year of All Souls, All Saints and the feasts of Advent prior to Christmas. In that time I want to continue to develop their prayerbook as well as other little Catholic practices. However now I’m starting to think of not just these medium turn plans, but longer term ones as well.
Today should have been a Feast Day. I mean a physical as well as spiritual feast. Why didn’t I prepare one? I‘ve already said that with the prayer book I wanted to start a family recipe collection that specifically celebrated the feasts and when the new liturgical year begins I’m going to start then.
I’ll be focusing my first year on the HDOO and will be planning in advance – just as I do for my wreaths. If you have any way of celebrating feasts through food please let me know in the comments section. I love to learn from others!