berkshiregirl

Cooking, Crafting, Creating, Living

The Third Day of Christmas Crafts – Pine Wreath December 16, 2010

This simple Pine Wreath is made from 4 pine boughs, a metal ring, florist’s wire, pine cones, and assorted other trimmings.  I always trim the bottom branches from our Christmas tree to use for wreaths and other craft projects.

This wreath is a bit thinner than I normally like them, but I didn’t have as many boughs as I needed to make it fuller.  You can decide how full you want your wreath to be.  This one is on a 14″ ring and I used three full boughs.  Now that it is decorated I may go back and add a center ring of additional boughs, or vine.

First, choose your pine boughs and wire the largest branches together.

Start bending each bough into an arch.  You’ll want to choose to bend it in the natural direction the branch curves or it may snap.

Once you have “trained” an arch into each of the boughs, then you can decide how best to attach them together.  Always attach the fullest part of the first bough to the thinnest of the second to give you even thickness all around.

Now you can start to attach the boughs to the wire ring.  I like the wavy rings because the wire doesn’t tend to slip around as much.  I simply take the whole wire spool and wrap the wreath in a spiral of wire until it is secure.

Depending on the ring and bough size, you may have thin spots in your wreath.  Just attach a second bough, or filler branch and wrap with wire, stopping once your wreath reaches the desired fullness.

You can also decide how tight you want to wrap each bough.  Work with the natural shape of the branches.

Once your wreath has reached its desired fullness, or you run out of boughs, you can start to decorate.  I used dried pine cones, ribbon, bells, and various other branches and berries for trimmings.

Wrap the trimmings to the wreath the same way you wrapped the boughs, taking care with the pine cones not to wrap them too tight.  I coil the wire around the stem of the cone for more stability.

Finally, tie on ribbon, or attach bows.

Use an over the door wreath holder, or fashion a hook from florist wire.

Use to decorate Indoors or Outdoors.

 

 

 

Second Day of Christmas Crafts – Pine Swag December 10, 2010

Pine Swag

Here is a quick and easy project for the holidays.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just want a natural decoration to warm your spirit through the long winter months.

Whenever we get our Christmas tree we always end up trimming the lower branches off and I save them for other crafts.  If you don’t get a live tree you can trim branches out of the back yard, or go ask a local tree farm if they have trimmings lying around.  They usually do, and don’t charge anything to take them away.  (Make sure you get more than you need for one swag so you can pick the nicest branches, and have leftovers for a wreath* or other decor.)

What you’ll need:

Pine Trimmings    (Any type will do, but choose branches no more than 1/2″     thick and about 3 feet long.)

Hand saw or lopers

Needle nosed pliers

Scissors

Pins

Floral Wire

Yarn

Ideas for additional decorations – pine cones, holly, bittersweet, etc.

Begin by gathering your pine boughs.  Trim the ends with hand saw or lopers, and choose the prettiest ones for your swag.

Once you’ve selected the right ones for your swag, begin by wrapping the two largest boughs together with floral wire.

Now you can start to tie everything together with yarn.  Make sure to put to largest boughs toward the back.  You don’t have to line the ends of the branches up, these will all be trimmed at the end.  Move things around until you are happy with the way it looks and then tie.

Once your swag is the size you want then you need to decide how much of the stems you are going to wrap.  Tie a piece of bright color yarn to mark where the ribbon will begin.

Now you can cut small pieces of bough to fill in around the base of the swag.  This is optional.

Now tie on any additional decorations.  I used cut and dried rhododendron branches that I sprayed with gold metallic spray paint.

Finally you can start to wrap the stems with ribbon.  Use straight pins to hold ribbon in place.

Once the stems are wrapped use straight pins to hold the end of the ribbon.   Fold cut edge over so it doesn’t fray.

At this point you can use an aerosol hair spray to better hold the ribbon in place.

That’s it.  A simple way to make a beautiful decoration.

I prefer to decorate outdoors with natural pine decorations, they last all winter outside where as inside they tend to dry out and last only a month or two.

P.S.  Make sure you have a good hand scrub, or wear gloves because the pine pitch REALLY sticks.

* A sneak peek at the next project.