Monday, December 5, 2011

Wreath-Making 2011, Day 1

Every year, the Garden Club of the Back Bay makes and sells hundreds of elegantly decorated holiday wreaths. The proceeds go to support the planting and pruning of the neighborhood's street trees. We work in a church basement that's transformed into a well-stocked workshop where dozens of women are busy decorating, supervising, organizing, sweeping up the considerable mess, and making bows.

I decorate, mainly because I'm fast. I finished six wreaths today, and by #4 I think I was back in the groove.

But, ouch! As usual, I should have listened to Penny Cherubino and tried to get some gloves. But I think they'd make me even clumsier than I am, especially when I have to twist short wires together on the back of the wreath, which I can't see. So, yikes, my hands are very sore and abraded from the balsam needles, and it's only Day 1. But they also smell like Christmas.

I think there's only enough holly to last me for one more day, so my hands will get a little relief after that. Holly causes little stab wounds, and rosehips with thorns can be even worse.

Here's an idea: fingerless gloves! They won't save my fingers, but they'll help keep the rest of my hands from getting scratched and stabbed. I have a holey pair of cotton gloves I can sacrifice for the cause.

My wreaths tend to be three-dimensional; I fill in the basic balsam wreath with other greens, and then I decorate around the sides because you can usually see them when the wreath is hanging on the door. The wreaths look flat and weird in photos, but here are todays wreaths. My iPhone takes better pictures than my camera, but I hate getting pitch all over its shiny-new whiteness....

A bit busy for my taste, but opulence is the GC style.

A matched pair that was supposed to have "minimal" decoration 
and red bows.. Oh, well, for our wreaths, this IS minimal, 
using our best holly and pinecones.

Lacy gold bow, gold and natural accents.

All natural accents and no bow. 
I used eucalyptus pods, cedar, and rosehips for color.
The pods smell like cat pee — for outdoor wreaths only!

A much bigger wreath for the same customer.
This one has holly and eucalyptus sprays with tiny berries. 


  1. Just love your wreaths and blogs. Our garden club can only hope to make wreaths half as beautiful as Back Bay's.
    I too have aching hands and forearms but I've been using terrific rubber gloves. They are like surgical gloves but have textured fingertips so you can work easily with the greens and wires and not get so scratched. They are Diamond Grip (in a blue box) by Microflex Corporation and can be found in some hardware stores, or go to


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