Sunday, December 11, 2011

Because Nothing Says "Merry Christmas" Like Giving Something That Has Needles on It

There are times when crafts or decorations inspire you as you go, and there are those that inspire you because you know if you try really, really hard there's something you could do with these ingredients.

Pinecones are in the second category.

When my family froze to death enjoyed camping in northern Arizona over the Thanksgiving weekend, my sister and I diligently collected beautiful pine cones when they fell from the ice-covered, frozen bowers beautiful trees surrounding our igloo motorhome. It was a great idea, since pinecones can be used in countless Christmas decorations and Michael's charges something like 30 cents apiece. But now it's the middle of December and the bags of pinecones were still bouncing around in the trunk of my car, so this weekend I decided to tackle an early Christmas present for my sister: a pinecone wreath.

The good news: it's beautiful and my sister likes it. The bad news: I won't be able to feel the tips of my fingers for weeks. When Martha Stewart says to use leather gloves, she's not kidding or being melodramatic. Those sweet little woodland creatures have more needles than a cactus. And I'm from Arizona, so I'm an expert on these things. (We eat scorpions for breakfast, you know... ;)

I started with the basics, which were much cheaper than I'd feared. I got a wire wreath form from Michael's for $2.50 (it would have been cheaper if I'd noticed that their stupid promise of an additional 20% off my entire purchase was good for only one day -I'm anti-Michael's this week) and a never-ending spool of floral wire for $2. I already had the pinecones and wire cutter, and I'd bought a roll of ribbon to match Anna's kitchen at the dollar store weeks ago. Ready, set, go...

The rest of the process was repetitive: pick good pinecone, cut floral wire, get poked by pinecone while wrapping wire around it, find good spot for pinecone, get poked by pinecone and cut by wire as said pinecone is wired to the wreath frame. I got to watch a lot of West Wing episodes throughout this process so the rather boring process wasn't boring at all. The end result isn't as full as Martha's wreath, but I didn't really want it to be - you have to have a Martha Stewart-sized home in order to make that work well. This little wreath is perfect for my sister's not-millionaire-sized home. Plus, I needed to keep some feeling in my fingers so I could type this blog post.

Have you ever thought about how many kinds of bows there are in the world? There are lots, and I am certain of this because I googled "tie bow" this morning. After weeding out the bow tie demonstrations, I still didn't think any of the fancy ones worked well because I wanted to keep long tails on the bow and unfortunately only had one roll of the ribbon. So I went with the good old-fashioned shoelace bow I've been doing relatively well on my shoes for years now...and voila! here's the final result.


  1. I have been very wreath happy this fall/winter and I am very impressed with your pine cone wreath!! And I love your scorpion comment!! Well done on both :)

  2. The wreath is so beautiful! And the memories of a fun family Thanksgiving (okay, so it was freezing) are entwined!

  3. Looks so pretty! I love the ribbon on it!

  4. Wow! You are a Christmas crafting genius! So glad I found your project via Centsational Girl.

    Please stop by for a visit to my blog. I am currently in the midst of a Gifts to Make series.

    Be Merry and Bright!

  5. It wasn't THAT cold, wimp. The wreath however is amazing and stored oh so carefully because I want to cherish it for years to come...after all, you lost fingers over this. Thank you for hearing my random mumblings about what I HOPED to do, and actually making it happen.