Wreaths for all locations and purposes

By Donna Rousseau

Feature Writer

What was an early tradition for the front door can now grace walls and windows, both inside and out. Beyond the holly and evergreen with red velvet bows, imagination reigns when designing the welcoming symbol for your holiday home.

According to Mike Blais of Blais Flowers in Lewiston, a unique wreath doesn’t always require a different shape although his shop offers alternatives beyond the traditional round. Creating a unique look has more to do with the elements used to create the finished piece.

A grapevine wreath is a fresh alternative that holds value as it can move beyond the holidays. Clustering balsam braches and finishing with red berries and a weather-resistant ribbon creates a traditional look with a more modern twist. “Think texture, color, balance, and symmetry,” Blais said.

Blais has some clients who enjoy working side by side with him to customize their holiday wreaths.

“Over the years, choices in materials have changed to include glitter and matte finishes, colors including burgundy, pink, bronze, every shade of green, even tangerine. The natural pine cone now can be white tipped, heavily or lightly glittered, silver and gold. I have one client who comes every year to customize a wreath; then we make five and she sends them to her family members for Christmas,” said Blais.

While flocked velvet is still popular due to its weather-resistant qualities, Blais suggested selecting from a wider range of ribbon from rustic to contemporary for something fresh. Weaving, tucking, looping, and draping ribbon techniques all contribute to different looks that can carry a wreath design beyond the ordinary.

Burlap, gauzy open weave with gold threading, rich printed patterns in every color make achieving a fresh look easy.

“Even a string of red garland beads can be used as an element of surprise in design,” said Blais. “You can hang anything in the center of the wreath to make it unique to you – an initial, something symbolic to family – maybe something relevant to an event that year.”

Beyond pine cones and red berries, a unique wreath might feature artichokes nestled in balsam, clustered with burgundy, brown, and bronze elements including berry vines and nuts. By accenting the design with small Christmas ornaments in shades present within the other elemental textures, there is a nod to tradition without compromising the uniqueness.

Pinterest is an endless resource for holiday ideas and Craftmania in Auburn has seen an influx of novice crafters coming in with directions and ideas from the web.

Jessica Gammon, customer service associate, said, “The possibilities for do-it-yourself wreaths are endless. And Pinterest is a huge factor in what’s trending right now.”

Gammon has seen wreaths made from candy canes, clustered glass ornaments, and feather boas but the most creative was a Styrofoam wreath wrapped in yarn and accented with Styrofoam balls made to look like balls of yarn. “The center ‘bow’ was a pair of mittens,” said Gammon.

Other elements she has seen include snowflakes fashioned from hot glue and set on wax paper until cooled then attached to wreaths or made into garland.

“Primitive and country styles are here to stay for a while,” confirmed Gammon.

Indeed, Pinterest features wreath monograms for your front door. A “wreath” shaped in the initial of the family’s last name is unique yet classic. Highly personalized, this wreath, if protected from the elements, can be accented with family photos and trinkets that reflect family hobbies or pastimes.

A favorite item, perhaps an old skate, could be nestled in bittersweet vines and curly willow then hung with primitive homespunne items found in stores including Marden’s, Joann’s Fabrics, and Craftmania.

Keep ribbons long and weave jingle bells on the ends for a cheerful sound when guests enter the home.

Build a snowman wreath with your children. Link a length of three evergreen wreaths with floral wire vertically. Then find a stocking cap or fashion half a top hat from a cardboard oatmeal canister and black felt or paint. With wire or hot glue, affix the hat to the top of the first wreath.

Where the top and second wreaths are wired, wrap a woolen or fabric scarf. Wire two sturdy twigs to either side of the second wreath then hang mittens on the ends. At the base of the third round, attach a pair of shoes or boots – something without a lot of weight – and attach bells to the lacings. Add more of your own ideas and you have a life-sized snowman wreath that can hang legitimately through the winter.

Finally, and also compliments of Pinterest, support the recycle/re-use philosophy and create a wreath with costume and vintage jewelry. Transform a traditional wreath with the sparkle and interest of vintage pins. Drape pearl necklace garlands and gemstone bracelet baubles. Wrap a foam ring with silk ribbon then hot-glue old clip-on earrings, shiny pearl and cameo buttons, and vintage costume rings; attach a satin bow to create a glittering focal point for any room or door. A great use for those single earrings you no longer wear.

Your holiday wreath greets family and friends before you even open the door. Fill it with your personality and let it reflect your good wishes for all those who warm your heart this season.

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