While the plastic ornaments wouldn't fit on my plant-support form, they fit perfectly on wire hangers. So I scoured my closets for the few wire hangers I owned, and set to work making wreaths using them and my stash of ornaments from the dollar store. The verdict? Great success! I was so happy with how the first one turned out, I got a little obsessed and made two more. As I mentioned before, I followed Eddie Ross's instructions with a few exceptions:
- I didn't hot glue gun the tops to the ornaments (I did do this for my real glass ornaments, but skipped it with the plastic. I have had a couple ornaments come off, but not enough to make me regret this decision).
- Shaping the wire hanger into a circle was simple enough, but untwisting the top of the hanger to get it apart was difficult. Not impossible, but definitely a major pain. If you don't have some heavy duty pliers for leverage and/or hands and forearms of steel, you might want to grab your husband to get the task started. Human hands attempting to undo machine twisting of unflexible wire = difficulty. The hardest part is getting it started, after that it's not a big deal.
- Similarly, re-twisting the top of the hanger together to make a complete circle was not so easy. You'll have a bunch of ornaments flopping around, and you're trying to twist together wire that is really inflexible and hard to work with.
- One thing I noticed after hanging the first finished wreath was that if you leave the top of the wire hanger in its original position (pointed straight up, vertically), your wreath won't lay flat against the wall/window. So I started bending it back, not at a full 45-degree angle, but far enough so that my wreath hung flat against the wall when hung.
While there were a few points of annoyance along the way, I love love love the end results! The final cost of the red and green wreaths amounted to $7 each. You will need approximately 75 small ornaments, so hitting the dollar store is definitely the way to go. I also found that having some smaller ornaments was helpful to "fill in" along the way, so definitely look for a couple of different sizes.
I'm keeping this silver wreath up on the window of my kitchen door for the rest of the "snow" season (more like gray season here in Mississippi, since snow is a rarity here!) so I can enjoy it a little longer. My favorite part of these wreaths is that they are basically double-sided (see below). That makes them perfect for hanging on windows, as they look pretty on both sides (that way you can enjoy them inside and outside!).
Old traditions ...
I always pounce on the $5 amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs at Walmart the minute they put the Christmas stuff out. Not sure if I planted them early enough to get blooms by Christmas, though!
This year I lucked out and got a bulb sending up two flower stalks (!!!). That's never happened for me before!
.... and new traditions! I first stumbled upon the idea of using books for an advent calendar at the cute craft/art/family blog, Jupiter Buttons (she discovered the idea on Ohdeedoh). I've always loved advent calendars, but wasn't into the idea of candy and presents everyday. Books? Now that's a tradition I can wholeheartedly support. I tried to keep them all holiday/winter themed, and have displayed them in descending order so you can always see how many days are left until Christmas by looking at the mantle. We started a few days late this year, but here are the books we're using:
- A Wish to be a Christmas Tree, by Colleen & Michael G. Monroe
- Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn & Mark Buehner
- Llama Llama Holiday Drama, by Anna Dewdney
- Bear Stays up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
- Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, by Mercer Mayer
- Cross-Country Cat, by Mary Calhoun
- Little Critter: Just a Snowman, by Mercer Mayer
- Auntie Claus, by Elise Primavera
- Madeline's Christmas, by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Gingerbread Pirates, by Kristin Kladstrup
- Olive, the Other Reindeer, by Vivian Walsh
- Cajun Night Before Christmas
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss
- Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry
- The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, by Robert Kraus
- Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure, by Aimee White Beazley
- The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Clement C. Moore
- Red Sled, by Lita Judge
- Jingle Bells, by Kathleen Daly
- Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten, by Steven Kellogg
- Morris's Disappearing Bag, by Rosemary Wells
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
So far, it's been a great success! We're keeping the books out in a basket in the main living room, and they're getting read over and over and over. I can see this tradition continuing for many years to come!
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