Monday, December 6, 2010

Dressed for the holidays

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like a wreath. There is something so wonderful about seeing a cheery wreath embellished and adorned with personality that makes me giddy with delight during the holidays! A true traditionalist, my two favorites are the classic evergreen with a simple yet lavish bow and trailing ribbon, or the most lovely boxwood simply tied with a gorgeous ribbon.

I am not keen on anything too over the top and I don't really like the over done faux wreaths with busy ribbon, big bows, and silk flowers. I think a wreath, by design, is so classic that it begs for simplicity. It is also the perfect form to be personalized.


While I tend to stay with the classic shapes year after year, my ribbons and embellishments change with my mood. It all depends on how I am feeling that season - some years it's all about the glitz, other years my mood is classic and holiday red with holly is perfect, and then there are years I yearn for a simpler, more natural look and I gravitate towards raffia, burlap, browns and whites.

I find it is fun and easy to take something off the shelf and dress it up to match my style. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of glue sticks! Here are some ideas on how you can embellish a bare bones wreath found just about anywhere!

Embellished Stock Wreaths
Gold ball picks from Michael's and a wide satin ribbon in gold dress up this basic wreath.

Red holly berry sprigs and a wide satin ribbon in red are added to this classic Douglas fir wreath and topped with a dusting of faux snow.

This stock juniper berry wreath is dressed up with a peacock blue satin ribbon - simple and elegant.
One of my favorite 'go-to looks' is the boxwood wreath. This one gets some personality from the monogram letter in shimmering gold.

A colorful satin ribbon (left over from a present from last year) weaves through this inexpensive wreath. Add a large snowflake - viola!

Adding handwritten tags with holiday greetings and your family name is the perfect way to personalize this 'off the shelf' basic wreath.

Small branches spray painted white and snow berry picks have been added to this mixed green wreath. A black and white check ribbon plays off the black door. This theme is carried indoors.

Simple! Simply wrap this boxwood wreath with red ribbon and add a small, tight bow. This would make even that red plastic ribbon look good!

It took me a while to understand that not all wreaths have to be round (a MENSA card holder I am not). In fact ovals, squares, and other unique shapes make for a perfectly lovely wreath!

Red berry holly in a large oval is dressed with a very elegant moire ribbon.


Evergreen myrtle makes a beautiful square, as does boxwood and bay leaves.


These monogram wreaths can be found at Ballard Designs and are super fun for a newly married couple or baby!
The window makes a perfect frame for this star shaped wreath.

And of course, there is the swag - a wonderful alternative to the classic wreath.

Wreaths are not made with evergreen boughs only. They can me made out of just about any material. Fruit (dried or fresh), vegetables, spices, boxed presents, paper, and old ornaments make fun and festive wreaths that showcase your personality. These might take a little more time then simply adding a ribbon, but with a little creativity and a lot of hot glue you can create your own unique wreath for your front door!

Fruits and Vegetables
Thinly sliced and oven dried orange slices are glued to a form and embellished with fir,  few small ornaments. and ribbon.

I am not sure I even know what all these vegetables are, but I have to say, it's stunning....love the artichokes. My mother would dry artichokes every year around this time and display them in a bowl....always ahead of her time my mom.

Faux (a much nicer word than fake) citrus are hot glued over a layer of fir sprigs on a wooden board.
Sweets and Treats
Seriously, how fun is this!
Large and mini marshmallows are glued to a form and tied with a silver ribbon - yum!

Grapevine, Cones, Spices and More

Grapevine wreath from Michael's is embellished with berries, leaves, birds and a pretty gold ribbon.
Pine cones are hot glued to a form, lightly sprayed with white paint, and then embellished with snips of sapphire blue ribbon, also lightly sprayed. The stunning reindeer commands attention and is the perfect addition. 

Cinnamon sticks hot glued to a flat board form is hung by a country ribbon.

Ornaments and other sentimental objects

A wonderful way to showcase your treasured vintage ornaments

Gather together toys, ribbon, or any special collection and combine them to make a purely personal wreath no one else will have
Pages from an old book are glued to a round wire and topped off with a sweet sentiment in the middle.

Small, medium and slightly larger boxes can be wrapped, hot glued to a base and tied with coordinating ribbon. Martha Stewart design
Colorful felt cut in circles are looped through a hanger and tied with a red felt bow.
Peacock feathers are tucked and glued into a foam base.

While wreaths make the perfect adornment for the front door, I love them used inside the home for classic holiday decorations. 

The black and white theme from one of our front door wreaths is carried in to this country kitchen

Preserved classic boxwood wreaths make decorating a breeze year after year.

You will hear Santa, and any eager ones before you see them with this silver bell wreath from Martha Stewart hanging on your door knob

A favorite way to dress up a table - tie small wreaths to the backs of dining chairs

My dear friend and neighbor makes her own cranberry wreath most years and it is lovely! Anne, Martha has nothing on you!
A small wreath dangling off a buffet cupboard keeps it simple, yet festive!

And of course, wreaths are not meant for the front door or the indoors alone. I find them charming just about anywhere!

Cheers up barn doors....
a property gate....


and even your car!
Don't forget gates and windows. 



So, whether you spend hours crafting a truly unique wreath or simply add a bow to an off the shelf evergreen, I hope your wreath makes you smile coming and going this holiday season.

In all my postings, my goal is to provide inspiration and insight into home ownership, real estate, and to provide valuable resources. 

Mail Order Wreaths




Craft Stores (forms, glue gun and glue sticks, flower and berry picks)


How to attach a wreath to your car:
Buy plastic ties at the Dollar Store. These are thin plastic strips that you fit one end into the other for a tight fit.  Attach the wreath on the grill using these ties - the wreath will not fall off. Simply cut the plastic ties after the holidays to remove the wreath.

Ribbon Sources


Until next week,

la chasse au bonheur

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