I managed to get myself there at 8 (okay, 8:06) because I was asked to help out the organizers as "quality control czarina," making sure finished wreaths are up to the Club's standards and helping anyone who could use a hand or another eye. There are lots of guidelines as well as rules, and our wreaths all have a certain look even though we all have different styles and degrees of skill.
I could have slept an hour or two later (and I really wanted to: Harris was lonely last night and spent hours nursing on my ear). Very few people were working at the hour, and no one needed quality control until closer to 10. But there was a tub of two-bite cinnamon rolls, so I survived.
I decorated six outdoor wreaths (two matched pairs and two singles) and pruned and puttered with many much-prettier ones, made by my fellow decorators. Here are my first efforts, heavy on the pinecones and bushy with extra greens, as usual.
Wreaths always look better in person than in photographs, which tend to flatten them.... trust me.
My hands stayed busy from 8 to 5 without pain this year — last December, I hurt my hand making my first wreath as I stabbed pinecones wired to wooden picks into the branches. I developed tendinitis, or something like that, and my hand was painful and swollen for weeks afterward... perhaps because I kept decorating wreaths through the pain for another three days. Stupid me.
So I don't need an ice pack (so far), which is wonderful. And no one brought us any decent holly this year (only stuff without berries) so my fingers aren't covered in tiny stab wounds. But my hands were black at the end of the day from pine pitch, as usual. Most of it came off after I rubbed them down with solid Crisco and scrubbed them with dish soap and a special surgery brush donated by Penny of Boston Zest. The brush worked wonders. I usually have black nails for days after wreath-decorating but this year I will only look slightly grubby.
I'll be back at it tomorrow, although I plan to escape to spend time with the kittens. Harris is flourishing and he and Possum are eager to meet the new guy. Both of them like sticking their white paws under his door. But the new guy still isn't as healthy as we'd like, with an upset tummy and occasional wet sneezes. But the good news is that we think we've settled on a name. More on that soon.