I’m no domestic goddess but every year come late November I channel my inner Martha Stewart and get very excited about all the sparkly, glitzy, razzmatazz that comes with Christmas.
This time of year reveals our nostalgic preferences and petit snobberies. Some are for goose, lamé and post-prandial present opening, others are for turkey, tinsel and frenzied unwrapping at dawn!
My personal tastes are pretty catholic, a cocktail of tradition and kitsch - think evergreens, Diptique candles, coloured lights and plenty of tinsel. I find myself coming over a bit Margot Leadbetter and filled with festive urges that result in me donning a kimono and making handmade cards on a Sunday evening whilst listening to Abba.
My favourite festive tradition however, is wreath making. I make on every year and like to do something different each time. I've started from scratch before i.e. making the foundation around a wire base but this year I was lazy and bought a large blue fir wreath from Columbia Road flower market, along with big bunches of holly and eucalyptus and a few sprigs of thistle for ornament. You could use pussy willow, lavender, ivy- whatever takes your fancy really! Personally, I always like to include a few red berries for their colour.
Firstly, I found some old ribbon, one red and one blue. I wrapped the red ribbon around the wreath at equal spaces, tying it at the back and knotting the blue ribbon at the top so the wreath could be hung. The rest was very simple as the fir had been attached to a moss and straw base using thin wire meaning I could slip sprigs of my chosen foliage onto the base. It's worth having some extra wire on hand just in case! the best method I've found is to work in a clockwise motion from 12 o'cock, starting with the evergreens (eucalyptus in my case), then the berries (holly) and finally the thistle. Adding the ribbon early proved a good trick as it divided the wreath into manageable portions making it easier to decide where to place the next sprig for a plump, well-balanced effect.
Voila! You can finish here and I did for about a day until I was told it might be nice to add a bit of gold which was a red rag to a bull....
And out the Liquetex came. I sprayed the whole thing, ribbon and all, and added a trio of golden pinecones on the lower left because sometimes more is more!
Two looks- one for purist and one for magpie. Which do you prefer?
Moss wreath base
Foliage (e.g. eucalyptus, holly, thistle)
Wire (ideally florist stub wire but any thin wire will do)
Gold spray paint (Liquitex Antique gold)