About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wreathmaking Like Riding a Bicycle?

(During this season of celebration and happiness many people are facing a tough and uncertain future. Our host for this week's Fun Monday, the Wise One over at Mommy Wizdom , challenges us to show a little love to family, friends, or strangers by performing some random acts of kindness. My approach to this assignment is not exactly random, but it is a kind gesture to some dear friends who have been absolute rocks for most of this year. They're all getting a handmade holiday wreath in appreciation. That is, if wreathmaking is like riding a bicycle, something you don't forget. . .)

Last week's Christmas Favorites Fun Monday reminded me of a forgotten holiday tradition, making natural evergreen wreaths. It's been years since I've done this, but a Christmas/birthday gathering this Tuesday evening has inspired me to try my hand again. Several of my best buddies are gathering at my sister's new apartment in a senior citizen's facility to celebrate her 72nd birthday and ooh-ah over all her holiday decorations. We'll send them home with a little token of our friendship, a handcrafted holiday wreath. If you'd like to try your hand at making wreaths, it's a simple process:

Wreathmaking supplies: hit your local tree lots and nurseries and see what they offer in the way of greenery for free (trimmings from Christmas trees) or very cheap bundles of a variety of evergreens. Here on my work table I've got hemlock, cedar, white pine and fraser fir--and holly berries for some color. You may also be lucky enough to have some of these plants growing in your own yard. Only other supplies you'll need are garden pruners, paddles of wire, and wreath forms.

Directions: get an assembly line going, especially if you plan to make more than one (I'm going for 10). Step 1 -- make small six inch bundles of greenery. Step 2-- tie one end of the wire to the wreath frame; with your right hand, lay a bundle of greenery on the frame. Step 3 -- take the wire paddle in your left hand and wrap the wire around the greenery bundle several times while holding it in place with your right hand. Step 4 -- Continue placing the greenery bundles on the frame, overlapping to cover the stems of the previous bundle. Just eyeball the wreath as you make your way around the form to be sure that it's balanced--doesn't have to be perfect. Step 5 --add the holly last throughout the wreath so that you don't knock the berries off, using as much or little holly as you like. Step 6 -- tie off the wire securely and leave enough "tail" of wire to twist into a loop for hanging. Or, if you prefer, lay the wreath on a flat surface and nestle some candles in the middle. Finally, I'll make some simple two loop red bows for these wreaths and my friends can decide whether to use them or not.

This is what my first effort of the evening looked like--a bit wobbly, but quite all right, don't you think? Hopefully, Tuesday night my friends will take these home and be reminded throughout the holiday season of how much I appreciate them. Now on Monday I'm going to be checking out what random acts of kindness other Fun Monday participants are spreading around--or what they have received. I'm sure we'll all be inspired to do more.


karisma said...

What a lovely idea, I will have to come back tomorrow to have a look! I know just how you feel trying to upload under such circumstances, I had about two weeks of it and nearly stopped blogging all together! Have a great Fun Monday!

m (the misanthrope) said...

What a lovely idea! And yay for pics! I couldn't get my act together in time for this FM either. I'm hoping I'll do better next time *sigh*

Ari_1965 said...

I like wreaths a lot. And I like yours.

Gattina said...

We always had an advent wreath with 4 candles one to be lit for each sunday before Christmas.

{i}Post said...

Beautiful! What a lovely way to honor friends!

Heather said...

I'm sure you'r friends will love these! How sweet!

MommyW said...

Wow! I have made wreaths before and it is not an easy task. That is so thoughtful of you to make them for your friends! What a beautiful gesture! They will appreciate them for years to come.

Thanks so much for participating!!

Happy December.

The Church Lady said...

Oh my goodness - that is a gorgeous wreath! It looks like it would not be easy to make! What a nice gesture/RAK!

Cruise Mom said...

these are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the instructions with us.

Sayre said...

Your wreath looks great! What a lovely idea to make them for your friends.

Alison said...

your wreath is beautiful, thanks for the directions. I think this is a perfect craft for my girl scout troop.

m (the misanthrope) said...

Hey Faye, thanks for visiting! Sorry you're having trouble commenting though :-(

The blog should be set up so that anyone can comment; however, if you include one or more URLs with your comment, it will hold the comment for moderation (due to suspected spam). I will fix it ASAP so that it only filters 2 or more URLs, and that should make it easier.

That said, I hope that's the only issue! I enjoy reading your blog too (is it OK if I put you on my blogroll, incidentally?) and I love getting your comments on mine!

Tracy said...

Nice job on the wreath. I know the people receiving those wreath's will appreciate your time and heartfelt thought.

karisma said...

They are absolutely gorgeous Faye, so much nicer than those store bought ones. Sorry it took me a couple of days to get back, we had a shocking experience on Monday night which saw me at the hospital all night with CG. She is okay and I will try to blog about it later but at the time and all the next day I was in too much shock to be on the computer.

I also wanted to let you know that Peter does still keep his blog up and running if you wanted to visit him. He just does not play Fun Monday any more. You can get the link on my side bar!

Hugs xxxx

Lane said...

Beautiful! And you've explained it so simply.

Your friends are very lucky indeed:-)

Lane said...

Doh, pressed that publish key too soon.

Meant to say 'Happy Birthday' to your sister. I hope her first birthday in her new apartment is a happy one.

Faye said...

karisma--thanks for the heads up about Peter--I thought he stopped blogging all together.

m (the misanthrope)--I'd love to be listed in your blog roll. I need to figure that out and publish my own. Right now I keeping going over to Angela and the Lurchers because we read a lot of the same blogs. Keep expecting her to tell me to quit lurking because I check her webpage so often!

ari--it's the fragrance that I love with real wreaths--especially the cedar.

gattina--after finishing the first wreath, I remembered photos of your advent wreath--and a couple of others--and thought mine would make a good start with just the addition of candles.

ipost, heather,mommyWizdom, sayre, and tracy--delivered seven wreaths today to my friends. What a satisfying way to spend a snowy, icy morning.

church lady, cruise mom,alison--making the wreaths is pretty straightforward. The key is to set up the assembly line, especially if you're making several.

lane--the teacher thing came out when I was writing the directions. And thanks for inquiries about my sister. She's been in her own apartment since the first of October. It's very comfortable and safe and she's making friends with other seniors in her building. Plus, I'm only ten minutes away so can zip over to her place to help with any of her care issues. When we were going through this re-location there were many dark days, wondering if things would ever get back to normal for both of us. We're getting there.

m (the misanthrope) said...

Yay, I'm glad you could comment! Let me know if it messes up again. I've added you to my blogroll - and yep, I'd be honored to be added to yours if you like!

Swampwitch said...

Oh, I can smell that wreath from here...love the scent of evergreen. Oh wait, that's dinner burning.
Gotta go.

laurie said...

really beautiful. way too much work, but really gorgeous.

Molly said...

Hi Faye,
I have been away from the blogging world so I am busy catching up with news. I am happy to read that your sister has a new home. My sister had a life thretenining illness earlier this year causing a move from a small mountain to a home on flat ground.

Your wreaths are beautiful.

ChrisB said...

Your wreathes are beautiful and I'm sure your friends will love them.

I see you have volunteered to host FM on 5th Jan, so I will add this to my side bar.

Happy Christmas.

Faye said...

Swamp Elf-- if you smell evergreen and something burning, I'd forget about dinner and assume the house is on fire? Just axin! Yesterday I did put orange peel and spices on the stove to boil up to make the house smell festive and burned the pan so badly that I'm still scrubbing it today, so I speak from firsthand knowledge. . .

laurie--thanks and you're right, wreathmaking is work, but very satisfying. I went over to my sister's apartment this afternoon and her neighbor had her wreath up for all the other neighbors to admire. I'm trying to cultivate some good will for my sister.

molly--good to hear from you. I had just checked you blog recently for any new posts. Sounds like you may have been dealing with some sister care issues as well.

chrisb--thanks for spreading the word about my hosting the first Fun Monday of '09. Your webpage is the go to spot when we don't know.