Creating a simple, natural looking fall wreath is as easy as cleaning up the yard. Lucky for us, the talented artist and designer Matt Lanci came by the other day to show us how it’s done.
A quick survey of the brush and tangle growing at the edge of the yard revealed a key ingredient for a festive fall wreath: grapevine. That, coupled with the bag of pine cones that Matt rescued from the forest floor and we had the makings for a beautiful wreath.
After pulling a pile of dying vine down off the back trees, Matt set to work.
Simply pick a vine, find an end and form it in to a ring about the size of the wreath you wish to create. Sometimes you will be wrapping one piece, other times several branches at a time will be wrapped around, it just depends on the way the vine grows. Fold the vine in and out as you go, creating a tight twist. When you come to the end of a piece just tuck it inside of the tangle to secure (see images below).
If pieces are jutting out or making points instead of rounded edges you want to shape them back into place. You don’t have to be gentle. Every few wraps around grab the edges and make sure they are continuing to form a circular shape.
To accent the completed wreath, we affixed a few pinecones with twine and weaved some bushy pieces of field grass from the wetlands near the yard. String to hang with a piece of ribbon or twine and you have the perfect handmade holiday display.
This last weekend was a craftacular activities weekend. And while there are some pretty awesome projects coming up on the blog, these simple Astro Rocks were like an added crafting bonus. I mean, when your outside with an awesome can of 24K Gold spray, paint it’s easy to get carried away.
These astrological symbol stones also make great gifts for both the upcoming holidays and, of course, birthdays.
All you need is an outdoor workspace (for spray painting), a few rocks, gold spray paint, black acrylic paint, a brush and a chart of simple astrological symbols. Have fun and make tons…. literally.
Last week, at a Trim the Tree party, a friend brushed me up on my origami skills and re-taught me how to make paper cranes… for this, I am grateful.
A Holiday Story (within a story within a story)
A few days ago, while watching the news, I was touched by a story of David Heard, a young boy with neuroblastoma, who, inspired by an ancient Japanese legend, started making paper crane mobiles to donate to pediatric cancer centers around the country.
The crane has been long revered in Japanese culture as a symbol of devotion and honor. It is said that a crane can live for a thousand years and when they mate, they mate for life. As the legend goes, whomever folds 1000 paper cranes is granted a wish.
After World War II the story evolved to embrace the theme of world peace through the story of a little girl named Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
As it was her wish to live, Sadako spent the days of her illness in bed folding paper cranes in the hopes of fulfilling the legend and being granted her desire by the crane. And while she died before being able to complete the task, her friends and family carried out her last wish, completed the cranes, and buried them with her.
In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Children’s Peace Monument was erected in memory of Sadako and other children who died as a result of the bombing. On the statue there is a plaque which reads, “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.”
While you are spending time with your friends and family this holiday season why not start a new tradition, make some cranes and mail them to: The Heard Family at 130 W. Lafayette St. in Easton, PA, 18042 and help make David’s wish a reality.
* * * * some resources * * * *
There is a wonderful article about David Heard and his inspiring and ambitious project, here.
To learn how to make your own origami cranes you can download instructions, here.
The official Hiroshima peace site has a great kids section for those interested in sharing the story of Sadako with youngsters, here.
Help your feathered friends make it through the cold season with this Icy Winter Feeder.
The steps are quite simple…
1. Take a winter nature hike and gather dried flowers, berries, herb, twigs, leaves, pine cones, evergreen, or any other thing found in nature.
2. Arrange your trimmings on a plastic lid or container (see picture below).
3. Sprinkle generously with birdseed.
4. Fill almost to the top with water (leave room for it to expand as it freezes).
5. Drape a piece of string into your creation, making sure to press each end down into the water so it will freeze into place.
6. Freeze until solid, then hang it up outside and wait for your flying friends to discover their frozen feast.