Quick Wreath from Back Yard Greenery

DIY greenery wreath

I got inspired to make a quick wreath after reading this blog post over on decor8 the other day.

I’d been planning to do something for our front door since our old wreath was so decrepit, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I’d never considered using live greenery since the only ones I’d ever seen looked like they’d take a master’s degree in wreath artistry and a few months to create. Hello, Martha Stewart!

But the blog post made me see how pretty a quick, natural wreath could be, and I realized we had plenty of greenery in the back yard. I bought a form at Michael’s (about $4) and clipped various bushes: magnolia, Yaupon holly, rosemary, and wax myrtle.

Sadly, the regular floral wire was out at Michael’s, so I bought this stuff that’s kind of like a never-ending green twist tie. It’s not so bad. And I basically twist-tied the greenery on in a haphazard, overlapping circle. It took me about half an hour. The best part was not having to follow any directions.

Personally, I’m kind of smitten with its exuberant cowlicks. I would totally do this again. What about you? Have you made a wreath of your own?

In other news, with this being the last day of school for the year, I’m winding down my latest draft of my young adult novel and am readying it to send to a reader/ writer/ friend. Scary and exciting at the same time.

Hopefully I’ll be around a little bit over the break, but if not, Happy Holidays to you!

and p.s. We’ve been watching this hilarious show called Lilyhammer. It’s about an American mafioso-turned-informant who chooses Norway as his relocation destination. All kinds of funny cross-cultural issues come up. It stars Steven Van Zandt, of Sopranos and E-Street Band fame. You can find it on Netflix.

Fiber-Wrapped Spring Wreath

Fiber-Wrapped Wreath

The front door needed something, something that was NOT the red berry wreath that has seen better days. I wanted to make a wreath that wasn’t permanent, not too fussy or prim, but would give us a burst of spring color.

Also, it had to be easy and quick. I pictured something along the lines of the ribbon wreath my daughter made last year. Or maybe a little like the Anthropologie thread-wrapped bricks I saw on Pinterest. Or the yarn-and-fiber wrapped rabbit I’d seen at the Ackland Museum Store in Chapel Hill. For the life of me, I can’t find the name of that artist or a link to her work, so let me know if you know what I’m talking about.

I bought a straw wreath form at Michaels and pulled out a bunch of spring-colored scraps: leftover strips from this quilt, scraps from this dress and this one, and Kool-Aid dyed yarns.


I started wrapping and pinning on the darker color strips, hoping a little dark poking through from the bottom layer would keep the color scheme from getting too saccharine. Though in the end there’s actually very few darks to be seen.

Fiber-Wrapped Wreath

Next came the lighter and brighter strips, then the ribbons. Last, I started wrapping the yarn, but my five-year-old was really into that part, so I let him wrap until the whole thing had a good spreading of yarn.

In the end, I’m fairly happy with the results. It hit all my requirements, though it didn’t quite match up to my vision. Hubs wasn’t so sure about it at first, but it’s grown on him, he says. Either that or he just wants to make sure I make his favorite chicken salad this week.

For more of my posts about crafts, click here.

Is it spring where you are? We had lovely weather over the weekend, and things are sprouting up in the garden.

Meanwhile, I’m still inching along with the revision on my novel. I’m remembering something Katherine Paterson once said/ wrote….something to the effect that she had to sculpt her plot out of granite, using straight pins. My process is feeling something like that. I keep making headway but then realizing there’s so much more to do. What are you up to?

A Peek into our Hall Corner

I thought you might like to see a little corner of our home. We live in a German altbau(old building) apartment. Our building dates from around 1900.

This little corner is where our front hall meets our very long, narrow, bowling-alley-like main hall. I can’t remember if it was intentional, but the collection of images is a little homage to my home state of South Carolina. It’s the focal point of our entryway.

The top photograph, entitled Foggy is by South Carolina photographer Robin Smith (find him here) and the bottom photograph, of the Hutchinson House on Edisto Island, is by Susan Roberts (find her here).

The painting is by me, a gift to my husband before we were married. I painted it in Boston, and I remember someone asking me, is there really such a thing as Spanish moss?

It made me laugh, considering that I’d had Spanish moss in my backyard my whole life. Yes, people, it’s real. Not made up for the movies. It’s nice to be able to have a little reminder of it here with me in Germany. We’ll be seeing Spanish moss again soon!

The desk and rug belonged to my husband’s grandparents.

We’re sorting our things, getting things in order, and I’m trying as best I can to stay on my writing schedule until the last minute. This novel has got to happen.

Simple Ribbon Wreath

There’s a nail on our kitchen door that suddenly cried out for a wreath. Hang something cheerful here! it said. What with this week’s cold front from Siberia (what? Siberia? that’s what they’re saying but I don’t know if this is metaphorical or not) we can use all the cheeriness we can get.

Seems like I saw some kind of fancier ribbon wreath somewhere, I can’t remember, so that must’ve given me the idea of wrapping the ribbon. I wanted it to be really super simple, though, and have my daughter do it using a styrofoam form with my random re-useable ribbon collection* and straight pins. I like knowing it can be rearranged whenever we feel like it, and maybe we’ll try it with cloth strips another time.

My seven-year-old took the project and ran off with it, literally. She did it almost entirely by herself, color choices and all. I love it. I think it looks kind of mod, and I like the layering she did. It’s a perfect kid project because it only takes a few minutes (maybe 15 tops) and the immediate payoff is big. Now my four-year-old wants to do one. For other low-key kid crafts and art stuff that we’ve done, look here.

*I’ve had a random re-useable ribbon collection for many years. It has often been snickered at by roommates (formerly) and then husband, but then who comes to me needing ribbon when it’s present-wrapping time? Hmmm? I find it immensely handy, and when the presents are ones given to immediate family, the ribbons go right back to their nest after clean up. Currently the ribbons live in a clear plastic travel toiletries case, organized by color. I highly recommend getting a collection of your own.

Simplest Christmas Craft Ever

I had to come up with something easy for the kids to do at the school holiday event. This is about as simple as it comes. You can do it using recycled cardboard and without glue. I got the inspiration here (this blog, by artist Patricia Zapata, has all kinds of great recycling crafts as well as other awesome goodies, like printable pdfs). My version uses a simpler shape that can be cut with scissors, so it’s a perfect project for young kids.

You could always add further decoration: sequins, glitter, paper ornaments, yarn. You could also sew a loop through the tip and hang it on your tree. Personally I like the simplicity of the tree without decoration, especially the way the packaging becomes decorative out of context, when you almost don’t know what it is anymore. You can certainly do this with other shapes, too (circles, stars, hearts).  I think a whole forest of trees in different sizes would be awesome. Let me know if you make some. I have included at the bottom a template, just in case you want one. For personal use only, please. But if you can bear it, I recommend letting the kids make their own tree shapes or whatever shapes they like. I found cutting the slit just a little bit further than halfway made for easy assembly.

Our three-year-old has been singing “We Miss You, America” to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”—-completely unaware that these are not the real words.

Smurfy Christmas


It’s always fun to pull out the Christmas ornaments and to reminisce about where and when we got them. Both my husband and I have several from our childhood, this being one of them. I just love it. It makes me think of third grade. Evidently the kids love it, too, because they kept stealing it away and playing with it, and when I asked where the Smurf ornament was, they looked at me like I was speaking Sanskrit. I tried to describe the Smurf, and my daughter said, “You mean the little blue elf?”

Mr. Smurf is now safely at the top of the tree. Unfortunately several others did not make it safely there and are now in the ornament hospital for repair and convalescence.

Back-to-School Pencil Bouquets

My firstborn starts kindergarten this week. For the teacher’s back-to-school luncheon, I was drafted to create a decoration for the tables. I prefer decorations that are useful, reusable, or recyclable, so I came up with something simple using school supplies that the teachers could then use in their classrooms.  


I started with a straight-sided vase. In the center are three rulers tied up with a ribbon. Around that I arranged a rubber-banded bundle of markers, then wrapped the bundle with one flat strip of paper and one fringed strip, both in blue (the school color). Around the marker bundle I just stuck in a bunch of pencils, and they began to fall in that fun arrangement.

Copy edits are in on Slowpoke. Next I should get a peek at the artwork!