Happy Holidays too…
What I have been up to these past weeks is having fun making wreaths, swags, kissing balls and garland. When you buy your special Christmas wreath at Erway’s Christmas Tree Adventure, you get a hand-made wreath, by me most likely, using whatever greens and ornament you might choose to fit your inside or outside decor. Plus, you get my special holiday wishes built right in.
When I start a wreath, I go out into the field and gather my selection of natural elements and evergreen cuttings. For the wreath I intend to make today, I gather greens of my choosing. I clipped pine and Grand Fir to add to the Frasier Fir base. The Frasier Fir, Blue Spruce, and holly are brought to me by Santa’s very industrious Helpers.
Three of Santa’s Helpers Assisting the Children and Filling the Baler with Netting
If I add dried hydrangea or boxwood, like the pine and Grand Fir, I pick and cut them myself. I like choosing my own greens. I get to wander around finding new live and dried sprigs to add. I love to be creative and the farm is huge, so much to pick from. We will stay traditional today.
Pile of Accent Cuttings
Next, I set up the wreath ring into the clamping machine, in this case a small 12 inch ring. This sized ring will make an eighteen to twenty-four inch wreath. Small wreaths can be up to 30 inches in some cases, depending on what I add to the mix. That was the case with this wreath and why it was priced at $30.00.
The Wreath Ring
I have my Felco clippers at the ready along with floral wire and small wire cutters. I also have needle nose pliers handy as well for attaching the hanger. For this wreath, I used wire to secure the decorative beads together in a bunch. They are all individual as you will see below. Floral wire is needed for when I use it for adding pine cones, too.
My First Layering
I start my design, in this case, layering Grand Fir over the Frasier, then adding white pine sprigs for texture. You can see these are not going to be big box stores wreaths. They are individually created and as fresh as can be. Minutes ago these greens were snipped. How fresh are those shipped in many weeks ago?
Adding the Pretties
Once I have the greens securely between the prongs, I add an ornament or ribbon loops if I choose. These seem to be a favorite. I found I can clamp many different things into the wreath, it just depends on my imagination. Today it is traditional, yet still different from the big box store wreaths.
Here I used white, pearlized, wired beads; wired to the pine sprig. We were out of red, so white it is. You can not see the clamping prongs until I close them up. They are hidden in amongst the greens. The next set can be seen clearly.
I will clip the pine sprig shorter, like the other greens shown here, so it is not sticking out of the wreath and the wreath lays flatly against your door. Too much bulk makes for a sloppy and lumpy wreath.
I throw in pine cones too on some wreaths. That is another big seller. Boxwood is a holiday favorite. I make full wreaths of boxwood or add it as an accent.
After all the components are in between the prongs, I step on the pedal, which brings the two prongs together very tightly like is shown above.
I move onto the second set of beads after I complete a section without the beads. This alternating saves on materials but makes a nice spacing as well.
Rounding the Ring, 18 Minutes In
It is repetitive until the wreath is completed. I alternate groupings for adding the beads. Some wreaths I change-up every one-third or so adding a few sprigs of a different evergreen . These are very unique. They sell as fast as they are hung.
Sometimes I just come out of the door of my workspace and a customer is waiting for my next wreath. That makes be feel really good and makes my day.
Oh, My Backside is Showing
Then I flip the wreath over to make a hanger. When I make the hanger for the wreath, I use the needle nose pliers to pinch the ends securely to the ring frame. Now we have a hanger.
Setting the Hook, Gotcha Now
I flip the wreath over again and lay it out on the floor. I found when I can step back away from it, I can trim it much more nicely if need be. I usually trim the center, so the hole is opened.
Almost Done, the Floor is Cold
Next I add a bow, if needed, in this case not, and price the wreath for sale. I take it out to hang on the tree pyramid.
I designed these a few years ago. I even figured out how to place the wreaths to maximize the 4′ x 8′ plywood. I made a little model.
Buy Me Please
This was one design which I really liked. But it was more difficult and time-consuming to construct for the farm workers. So it was thrown in the rejection heap. I want someone to build it so here it is…
Wreath Stands By Donna, I see the price increased since I designed these four years ago, opps!
I made it slotted for easy disassembly and storage. The holes were so the wind would not take it down. The pegs held the wreaths. Corner brackets (not all shown) held it secure and stakes anchored it in the ground.
The image above is how the tree pyramid was finally built. The little cylinders are the smallest wreaths, if made to the size of the 12 inch ring. If you include medium and large wreaths, which we do, then only six wreaths fit per pyramid side. The stand is 4′ x 8′ per side.
Below is a close-up so that you can see how all the stems and wires are concealed in the wreath I made today. That is important not to see wires and the ring.
This step is done when I lay in the greens. This wreath, from gathering greens to hanging it for sale, took about 25 minutes. I make over a hundred wreaths a season, twelve or so in a six-hour day, and I have a machine for the clamping the prongs tight. This is invaluable. But it is completely handmade. If you want to bend the prongs yourself, it can be done, but it will never be as secure as using the machine.
Here is a four-foot wreath made with cedar accents, Frasier Fir, holly, and pine.
A close up of the four-foot wreath. They should not have put this wreath over the pillar. When it is taken down, it will straighten back out, but I personally think it should have been hung normally for a better display. It is a really pretty wreath.
Detail of the Cedar and Holly Accents on the Big Wreath
Holly wreaths are very popular. I dressed this one a bit with curled ribbon and red berries. I do like the berries!
Detail of the Holly Wreath
And I make plain ones for those creative souls. We add the ribbon because these wreaths are the ones that usually go to the cemeteries. They are $20.00 which is very reasonable for a full, fresh Grand Fir, Frasier Fir, or Spruce wreath. Come visit the Farm and see if I can make one for you!