Wreath, or, something from nothing

This past weekend I helped out at the annual Christmas Bazaar at our parish.  This year I was in charge of coordinating the white elephant (the premise of this is that people give us their junk for free and we re-sell it.  One person’s junk is, after all, another person’s treasure.)

One of the final items to come in was an old Christmas garland.  I took one look at it and thought, “Yuk, who is going to want that!”  And nobody did want it, it just sat there under the Christmas table.  Near the end of the day I saw another person checking out this garland.  There was something about the way she was looking at it that got me thinking. She didn’t end up taking it, so I went back for another look.


It was pretty bad. Just a length of burlap twine with faux berries and pine bits, pinecones, and bunches of sticks wired on at regular intervals. The sticks, in particular, were pretty gross.  The garlands still had the price tags on them, so obviously they had never been used. and for good reason.  The whole set up was just very, very awkward.


I feel compelled to point out that they looked a lot less attractive in real life.

Obviously I ended up buying the ugly garlands in question.  My Master Plan was to unwind the various components from the burlap twine and then use the leftover bits and pieces to create something nice and Christmassy. And I actually got around to doing it.  I bent a wire coat hanger into a circle, de-stringed all the pinecones, etc, and started attaching the stuff to the coat hanger.  All the slim cones went on the outside and all the mini cones went on the inside of the circle.  Once i had them arranged properly I glue-gunned the heck out of them.  Next, I attached the fake berries with wire and then filled in all the empty spaces with the faux pine bits.

I didn’t take any ‘in progress” photos, but this is what all the bits now look like, minus the gathered stick bits. Those got thrown in the trash.


Isn’t that nice?  And doesn’t Darren do a lovely job of holding the wreath?  Such a gentleman.


Seriously though, I am really pleased with how it turned out. Much better than the random burlap string garland. And I should note, I didn’t glue on the berries and pine because I thought that when the time comes to change up the wreath, I could just take off all the extras and spray paint the pinecones underneath.


Now that’s just silly.


And here it is, in action, outside in the dark. Hmmm,  really must get a shot of this during the day.


One of the more exciting parts of the project is that I still have ALL of the plump, round pinecones left to use.  I’m thinking about dipping them in white paint and making – you guessed it – a garland. Oh, the irony.


2 thoughts on “Wreath, or, something from nothing

  1. Neat Jen:
    Happy to hear that was not your arm in the picture–too hairy!
    A number of the authors I am reading in researching the “happiness” book point to the loss to our lives and culture that comes from buying everything ready-made: there is no “you” in it.
    I was in a specialty wood store this morning looking for materials for the cabinets I’m proposing to build and ran across a fellow working there who built the kitchen cabinets in his own home for his family. He gave me very useful info on what woods to use, etc., including how to economize and get a better cabinet for less money. When I told him I was semi-retired and want to do this for the experience (like a hobby) rather than have someone else do it, and that I want to use better materials than I would get from custom made, he got pretty darned enthusiastic, showing me lots of neat things I could do. I think it’s refreshing for people to make things for the love of it; true amateurism.
    So Bravo to you for putting your personal stamp on your surroundings. I’m just at the beginning of doing this with the cabinet project, and it’s starting to look like it might be a funnish proposition.
    (“funnishing carpentry”–might start a new trend).
    Anyway, great wreath and philosophy. (Zen and the art of wreathmaking?).
    God bless:

    • Aw shucks, thanks Dad!

      It’s funny you should mention the stuff about happiness, because I was so contented and happy while I was making the wreath. I really like working with my hands and I love to find solutions to problems, so this type of project was perfect. And I actually accomplished something too, which was great! I have a bunch of unfinished projects lying around (I tend to think that thye are mocking me) so it was very nice to actually get something done.

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