The last day of wreath-decorating was often frantic when we had lots of orders to finish in time for the last deliveries. Besides decorators, organizers and general helpers, many members of the Garden Club also deliver wreaths around Boston in pairs. I've always wanted to try it but I'm not allowed.
Last year, we stopped fully decorating giant wreaths (bows only) and only do the 12" ones (and no more matching triples or quadruple — just singles and pairs). That helped make wreath-decorating fun again. We've been able to complete our orders at a comfortable pace.
In fact, I only had to decorate three wreaths on the last day, and I was able to take my time and still participate in the clean-up and knock-down that happens afterward.
My first customer wanted a cream bow and "designer's choice accents." I'd hoarded loads of little scrub pinecones, either in picturesque clusters or attached to branches with lichens, so I sprayed the best ones,, and some lotus pods with silver glitter. I covered the wreath liberally with both. Then I added pretty, glittery sprigs that were an unusual shade, somewhere between pale gold and silver. I also had a huge pile of rose hips so they went onto the wreath, too. And that was enough:
Even with just four materials it was a lively wreath:
When a wreath is finished, it gets approved, photographed, checked for quality (shaken, checked for protruding wires or the sharp ends of picks), and checked off as done in the book. Then we take them upstairs to the church's courtyard where they're organized for delivery or pickup. If we're efficient we pick out a wreath or two for our next order while we're up there shivering without a coat.
Finished wreaths usually look much better up there, out of the fluorescent light:
Have I mentioned that I'm kind of a slob when I work?
I try to clean up as I go but I fail. Since I use the same items on many wreaths, I hoard piles of my favorite greens, berries, and pinecones. I hate running low on picks and wire so I stockpile those, too. I try to be good about returning other materials to the general supplies after I'm finished with them. But this year my table was covered messy piles that didn't get sorted until we were closing doqn. Other decorators behave similarly, but I admire those who start each wreath from scratch with an empty table, a brand-new theme, and a fresh collection of different materials. While I stick to my favorites, there are decorators who rarely using the same materials twice in a row.
My last pair of wreaths were to have gold bows and all-natural materials. Wreath pairs have to be matched, meaning that if you add a pinecone in a certain spot on one wreath, you have to add one in the same spot on the other wreath — you can choose to make them mirror images or both "identical." I always make mirror images. When you're working with natural materials, which vary in size and shape, this can be challenging.
These were outdoor wreaths, I was able to use up the last my variegated holly, which dries out too quickly indoors. I also used much of my stockpiled rose hips and giant pinecones, so I felt rather virtuous. Deep in my roasting pan full of greens, I discovered pale eucalyptus sprigs with tiny berries and some long-needled Japanese pine, which I'd snagged on Monday. I made little corsages of rose hips and eucalyptus (no two identical but it didn't matter), which filled up the wreaths in no time.
I sprayed the pinecones with glitter, along with some peony stems (I think), which someone gave me. I usually break dried flowers, grasses, and pods, but these were hard and strong, with tops that look like four-petaled flowers. I was going to add some small magnolia leaves (their velvety brown backs contrast nicely with green and gold) but I realized the wreaths were loaded and finished:
And that was another week of wreaths. Click here to see amazing wreaths created by my fellow decorators, who never fail to impress me. I have so much to learn! The Wreath of the Day feature runs on the Garden Club's website until Epiphany.