Here are the new wreaths using the ivory and gold bows. I knew these wreaths would be hung on dark wooden doors on Marlborough Street and I wanted them to to look lush close up and to have some "pop" when viewed from the sidewalk:
I sprayed pinecones and lotus pods gold, and added big fan-like sprays of pine for texture while my gold stuff was drying outside. Someone told me there had been a new delivery of holly, and it was gorgeous and thick with berries. I used it all over the wreaths. That holly was too beautiful to ignore. Then I added gold pearls and called it a day.
These wreaths are "identical" rather than being mirror images of each other. I didn't find it any easier to work that way, although some people do. I'll go back to making mirror images from now on.
I still felt these were nice but not as interesting as I would have liked. I could have done any number of designs using the massive amount of glittery sprays and glass balls and other natural materials we had piles of... but I didn't. I was stuck in a rut; it was time to break out into new territory.
My last wreath of the day was another "designer's choice." I chose a plaid bow in odd shades of rose, orange, and olive green. I added texture with pine sprays — we were running low on everything else — and arranged several magnolia leaves around the bow. I'd dusted them lightly with gold paint, and showed both the shiny green fronts and the velvety brown backs.
Since Monday morning, I had been hoarding a few unusual pinecone clusters that were still attached to branches. I lightly sprayed them gold and criss-crossed them on the wreath, adding a couple of velvety brown magnolia sticks for color. Then I used rosy-orange statice flowers and loose clusters of fake berries. Finally, I added a few tiny, fake branches covered in gold glitter. I like the result. It looks old-fashioned and woodsy, but with touches of sparkle. The colors are rich and unusual.
This wreath was supposed to go to a Back Bay customer but it was deemed perfect for a long-time customer on Beacon Hill instead. I was glad it was a departure for me, but it still wasn't anything like the incredibly inventive creations of some of the expert designers around me. They layered on dozens of materials, often oversized, glitzy, and tricky to work with, and mixed colors and textures in ways that dazzled me. My work is extremely simple and pedestrian in comparison.
By the end of Wednesday, there were only about 12 orders left for Thursday. It looked like we might be finished and all packed up by the early afternoon. In other years, we were kept busy working, cleaning up. and packing until 9 o'clock. Packing up is a big chore, since everything from easels and folding tables to the many tubs of leftover materials have to be moved to a rented storage area to sit until next year.
I made sure I got one of the last orders for Thursday. I got lucky with another "designer's choice." I would have many hours to work on this wreath. I was going to experiment with a different look and try some different techniques, hoping to achieve a design that looked closer to what the brilliant designers around me were doing. It was my last chance. I chose an apple-green bow, and headed for home and my neglected cats, thinking about a plan.
Walking in the dark, I passed this:
Tree half-empty, or half-full?