But we decided to up the game. Our guests would meet first for a crafty project -- something that could be done in a couple of hours, something that would be more or less finished by that time and something where everyone's would be unique.
Barb found a twig hanging on the blog Design, Dining and Diapers. After creating a couple of samples (and being convinced that it could be taught in the time allowed, we chose that project. Lunch, an English tea, would follow.
This is part one of a two-part post -- the Making. The Tea post will appear as part of Vanessa's annual Mad Hatter Tea Party and post on July 11.
We started out with piles of twigs/branches. The secret to this (and you can find complete directions at the original link) is to 1) determine the size you want your wreath and its orientation (vertical, horizontal or square) 2) determine if it is to be indoor or outdoor 3) decide its purpose (a welcome, a simple hanging, a photo frame, etc.)
|Jeanie's sample photo frame|
Then cut the twigs -- we used red dogwood, since Barb had tons of it, but it could be any interesting not-too-thick branch.
The main thing to consider is that the twigs much be about two inches longer on each end to allow for connecting with the twine or string that will hold it into shape. For example, for my photo frame, the mat was 8x10. My twigs had to be 10x12.
It helps to bundle them with a rubber band to hold them together as you wrap the sides in a criss-cross. (Tie a knot on the back with a long piece of twine, then wrap diagonally for a bit and do the reverse diagonal.) If you screw up and mix up back and front, never mind. That's what glue guns are for. (The rubber bands keep the twigs from "branching out," so to speak -- and from your twine getting caught up in them like a spider web!)
Once you get everything lined up into the proper shape, then you're ready to connect them.
|Getting everything positioned well helps make the wreath look more professional!|
Once it's together, start choosing your embellishments and glue to your heart's content. This is where every hanging becomes different. Pat had a wine theme, with grapes and corks. Jan decided to use hers as a "lost and lonely jewelry display" hanging. Lots of us used moss and even dried hydrangeas, like Jane's.
Julie, a gardener, reflected the natural world in hers. Kate decided to create a photo frame and finish it off at home. Anne also reflected the natural world of the garden.
Mine was sort of a springy, gardeny mix!
Many of us used a bird's nest which Barb showed us how to make. I'll give instructions for that in a future post.
|One of Barb's mossy nests|
Some used paper clay eggs tinted to the chosen color. (I put a terra cotta star in mine.)
|Julie painted paper clay eggs blue for her nest.|
The joys of this were numerous. This particular project was great for people that really aren't into crafts since it can be so original and unique.
And it has purpose. Don't you hate doing a project you may never have use for?
And, the set-up brought about camaraderie. Some of our guests knew each other, but no one knew everyone. By the end of the day, they were talking like old friends. We gave the guests plenty of room (no more than three at a table, since the branches were a bit unruly to start) and then set up stations for hot glue, paper embellishments and other embellishments like lavender, moss, birds, butterflies and eggs.
If you are hosting, our hints!
- Use dollar store plastic table cloths that you can easily wrap up all the loose twigs and bits for fast clean-up.
- Consider old books, encyclopedias and the ever-popular printer for words to tuck in.
- Feel free to tuck in branches and bits after you are glued together for a wilder, more rustic look.
- The Dollar Store may well have the best deal on Spanish Moss ever. (Dollar Tree) Reindeer moss is fun, too.
- If possible, do on an easy-sweep surface. We were on carpet in the basement and it's OK and much more comfy but the clean-up is a bit more difficult unless your vacuum is into twigs.
- If hosting a group, suggest that if possible guests bring clippers, which is easier for everyone. But have extras.
- Also, with a group, having two or three gluing stations is useful as well as stations for your embellishments or paper. This lets people work at their own pace and avoid too many people around too small a space.
A successful project, lots of smiles. Then it was on to lunch -- but you'll have to wait a few posts for that one!