This week I've been trying to slow down. It seems like I'm always living for the next thing... dinner (on the small scale), the weekend (on a little bigger scale), the next holiday (on an even larger scale), and it just keeps going. The seasons fly by and I sit counting all the things I said I wanted to do but never did. I keep thinking the future will make me happy as I sit disgruntled in the present. Although I've mentioned living in the moment before, it seems to be something that I need reminding of often — so here we sit again. After all, there really is no future right?...only tiny specks of "now, now, now," all lined up in a row.
Beautiful handmade wreaths have been filling my Instagram and Pinterest feeds lately. I'll save the images, heart them, and often dream of being the type of person who spends the time to create one — filling the home with just a small symbol of comfort and warmth. So what's stopping me? The list of a million things I've told myself I have to do first. But what if I allowed myself to do the small things, what if I gave myself permission to make the things that don't really matter, matter? Another excuse I often come up with is money. We shouldn't spend money on wreath making materials, that isn't a necessity. So this past Sunday I decided not only was I going to use my time to make a festive wreath, but I was also going to do it without spending one dime. Find the steps I took below, although don't be afraid to experiment with the resources around you and work with what you've got.
First, I gathered a bunch of sticks and vines from around the neighborhood. I tried to find ones that had a natural curve to them or were pliable enough to bend into place. I came home with a decent size stack that allowed me enough options to play with and not worry if I broke or discarded a couple.
Next, I positioned the sticks while forming a circle. I tried to work with the shape of the branches instead of against them. I used twine I had on hand to hold the pieces together. I think it would be fun to try another wreath with strong grasses or strips of wood holding the twigs together since the twine was the only element of my wreath that was store bought.
Once my wreath felt sturdy enough to hang on it's own, it was time to decorate. I gathered anything I could find outside, looking for bits of color that were left in the surrounding landscape. We had several flowers left on our rosebush that I picked, leaves scattered about, and pine. I had to get creative with what I could find, but if you look through the lens of a wanderer foraging, there are treasures all around. I gathered a variety of greens, dark maroons, and reds to create contrast within my wreath.
There was no method to my arrangement, I just started sticking my decorations between twigs until it looked right — balancing the two sides the best I could. Sometimes the plant matter fit so snugly between the maze of sticks that I didn't need twine to hold it in place, while other times I needed a bit to secure the ornament. I also remembered we had dried flowers left from our wedding last year that I decided to add to the wreath for extra adornment and sentiment.
For the final touch, I wanted to add something to the center of the wreath for an accent. I first tried a ribbon, but the only one I had on hand was too shiny and seemed out of place — too artificial. Since my one rule was I wasn't going to buy anything, the only other option was to go back outside scavenging. Dustin and I roamed the neighborhood in search of pine cones. We found so many Christmas looking trees but not one real pine cone! Are there only certain pine trees that produce cones? Have all the pine cones already fallen? I would love to know! We did, however, come across small cones that were reminiscent of pine cones. They were the perfect final touch to the center of my wreath.
It turns out I'm pretty pleased with how my wreath turned out. I'm most proud of the fact that I turned nothing into something with my time one evening — no excuses, no day-dreaming about what I wish I could be, but actually being what I want to be.
So tell me, what winter crafts have you been getting into lately? What do you do to fill you home with warmth and love?