Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wreath-Making 2011, Day 3

I once wrote an article for a health magazine about Blackberry thumb. I may be the only person alive with wreath thumb. A cold pack, Advil, a couple of hours' rest, and cotton gloves helped me finish five wreaths today. My left hand is swollen and sore between the wrist and base of my thumb, an area I've never thought about before. I think it's called the "carpal metacarpal joint," a silly name; I guess the early anatomists ran out of clever ideas. 

But, boy, it can hurt. I suppose this is what getting old is like — parts of you that you never even noticed before start bothering you, and sometimes toes and ears just fall off and are never seen again. There's plenty about getting old that no one ever tells you because it's too awful to know, and there's nothing you can do to avoid it except fling yourself from a parapet.  For example, it never occurred to me that eyelashes turn white. Whoops, I think it's forbidden to mention that.

But I digress.

One of the things I like about working on wreaths is that I'm still considered a "younger" member by much of the group, an increasingly rare, desirable thing at my age. But I felt like the senior member today, favoring my hand while everyone else raced along as usual.

I started off with indoor and outdoor wreaths for somebody who wanted traditional red and gold bows and some gold accents. Okay:

Outdoor, with holly.

Indoor, with cool lotus pods that look better in person.

Then I worked on a pair of big outdoor wreaths for my fellow juror, who requested sheer gold bows and all-natural materials — tasteful choices. These wreaths are mirror images of each other, meant for handsome double front doors. Juror #13 here loaded them with blue spruce, cedar, holly, eucalyptus pods, and pinecones.

I find that using five materials will usually make a wreath lush and interesting without seeming busy. I always tuck material along the sides, too; I don't decorate only the front. Wreaths aren't flat surfaces, they're 3D objects.

Then I went home to ice my hand and catch up with life in the non-balsam world.

The lure of cinnamon rolls at tea time drew me back.

After 16 wreaths, I finally got an order that said, "Decorator's choice bow and accents," meaning I can do whatever I want. Oh, boy. I ultimately decided against covering the wreath with all the fun-sized Halloween candy bars that someone had brought in. (I found another use for that.) Instead, I picked out my favorite golden-bronze ribbon and gathered up everyone's leftover gold pinecones. I normally love spray-painting stuff in the alley, but it was raining hard. 

This wreath has large pine sprays for a fluffy base, a zillion pinecones, plus lotus pods, some kind of deep purple grass, and glass balls in bronze and purple.

I make a mess as I work.

Wreaths seldom photograph well...

Possum and Snalbert were glad to see me when I went home. (Wendy and Snicky were hiding or sleeping, as usual.) They all can probably intuit from the smell on me that a Christmas tree will soon arrive in their living room. They like eating the needles and throwing up. When that gets old, they take turns hanging out underneath it, pretending they are Furry Woodland Creatures.


  1. Your decorator's choice shows why it is a good idea for to give the incredible talent in the wreath week workshop freedom to create what they feel. It is just beautiful!

  2. The others are also gorgeous and I've had the pleasure of seeing your work in person but this one has your clear mark on it.

  3. I dreamed about wreaths, thank to you! Ditto to Penny - all of your wreaths are breathtaking, but your APB free to be APB wreath is stunning!

    This calls for a walking expedition in the near future to see all of these up close and with any luck, to get a whiff of cedar and balsam.

    If you can elevate your wrist on a somewhat firm pillow and continue to ice, you may have some more relief. You might also consider getting a carpal tunnel splint - they are very comfortable and allow you to work with them on.

    WV: wirappei apropos of wreath wrangling


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