4th July Wrapped Wreath

If you read my post about the Layered Flag Dip, you’ll know that this weekend, we had a BBQ. But not just any old BBQ. My great friend, Bethany, comes from Pittsburgh, in the US and despite living in the UK for 10 years, still misses some of the traditions of home. So this year we decided to host a 4th July BBQ for her, partly so we could experience a true All American Cookout and partly to give her an excuse to make her favourite barbecue beans and Chocolate eclair Cake. Tastes of home on Independence Day.

So between us we had the food covered, but I wanted to try and give her a few little surprises in the decor, turning this event from just a BBQ to a real 4th July celebration. I got some flag bunting and chose a colour theme for the table, but after hitting Pinterest pretty hard, decided I really wanted a wreath to welcome Bethany and her family into our home. While wreaths for every occasion seem popular in the States, they are thin on the ground in the UK. So after searching online I found a few that I liked the look of (like this one) and decided I could make my own.

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Isn’t it pretty? I was so proud of it, that I thought I’d share just how easy it was to make.., err actually if you’re reading Bethany it was tres hard and very fancy, OK?

So I bought everything I needed to make the wreath online (from Hobbycraft as it goes, although I saw similar on eBay and Amazon).

You’ll need:

1 x 350mm polystyrene wreath
591580_1000_1_3401 ball each of red, white and blue yarn

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1 sheet of self adhesive white felt

572837_1002_1_340I started by marking three inch sections around the wreath, for the red and white ‘stripes’, leaving almost a quarter of the wreath for the blue. Then I started wrapping. I attached the loose ends of yarn with double sided tape, but you may find another way works for you.

I found it easiest to cut sections of yarn before wrapping it round the wreath and be prepared for the bottom of the section to be narrower than the top. This meant I either had to overlap some of the yarn, or ensure I pushed it closer together at the bottom of the section as I went along.

Gather the yarn at the bottom of the section as it's shorter than the top.

Gather the yarn at the bottom of the section as it’s narrower than the top.

If I’d had a child free environment it probably would have taken less time to do, but even so it only took a couple of evenings wrapping, alternating red and white and finally the navy blue.

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I went back and redid the little bit of white that’s coming lose in bottom section, but that was the beauty of this, as each section was small, if you messed up, it took very little effort to put it right

You could use anything you have to hand to make the stars; buttons, stickers, craft shapes. As it was, I had none of these so bought a sheet of self adhesive felt. I used one of the boy’s small cookie cutters as a template for the star, drawing the shape on the paper side of the felt and cutting it out. Once I had the star shape, I just peeled off the backing and stuck it to the blue yarn. Et voil!

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I didn’t hang it on the actual door itself as we already had a nail sticking out of the wall at perfect height next to the door. As there was a breeze up when I put it out, I stuck the nail into the polystyrene itself to secure it. Perfect.

Bethany loved the decorative touches and particularly the wreath! Woop woop. Get me! Seriously though I’m so glad I took the time to make it and realising how easy it was has made me want to make wreaths for other occasions. Why just Christmas?

Do you use wreaths for occasions other than Christmas?

I took it down from the door once the party was over, but it's so nice I can't get rid of it just yet. I may even keep  it for next year ;)

I took it down from the door once the party was over, but it’s so nice I can’t get rid of it just yet. I may even keep it to use next year 😉

 

Oh Christmas tree…..

Yeah I know, I’ve been mentioning Christmas for weeks and you may or may not give two hoots about the festive season (the hubster for one would join you in the not camp), but for me it’s a special, beautiful time of the year.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love about the season are the traditions, be they big or small. As I’ve mentioned before one of ours has long been having the tree up by the 12th December (my birthday) and I’ve insisted on a real tree as long as I’ve been able to. Only, for the last two years, what with the curious baby we had roaming the house, I had to admit a real tree perhaps wasn’t the best idea. Instead I resigned myself to a small artificial tree on a table, out of his reach. And it broke my heart. Really, especially the first year. I’ve prided myself on my tree in years gone by, so seeing this tiny little fake thing, well it was better than nothing, but it was just not right.

So this year, now that Oscar’s a bit older, I knew I wanted to try a real tree again. Despite husbandly protestations I’ve rearranged the furniture and made a tree fit in our tiny lounge. And I couldn’t be happier. Yeah Oscar’s had a play with the baubles, but anything too precious has been put up high and anyway he has to learn.

My decorating style is colourful, mismatched and fun. And I love it. I couldn’t begin to have a colour co-ordinated, all matching tree. They remind me of the ones I see in shops and hotels. Mine is truly a homely tree and will only get more bonkers as the years go on of that I have no doubt. I can’t wait for Oscar to start making me things to add to it as the years go by.

So here’s a look at this years tree and a few of my favourite, haphazard colourful decorations.

Here she is a what a beauty

Here she is. What a beauty!

I said I'd get a proper tree in our tiny lounge, and I did!

I said I’d get a proper tree in our tiny lounge, and I did!

One of the first 'special' decorations I bought when Ben and I first moved in together. It came from Accesorize and it's still one of my faves.

One of the first ‘special’ decorations I bought when Ben and I first moved in together. It came from Accesorize and it’s still one of my faves.

Ben's 'Boobie Bauble'. I bought this for him from Ann Summers. It looks fairly innocuous, until you look at it closer. hehehehe!

Ben’s ‘Boobie Bauble’. I bought him this, from Ann Summers. It looks fairly innocuous, until you look at it closer. hehehehe!

Oscar's taken a real shine to this Father Christmas and quite rightly so - he's a beaut!

Oscar’s taken a real shine to this Father Christmas and quite rightly so – he’s a beaut! The pink glitter bauble behind him, is also one of my fave plain baubles

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This is just so American 😉 . Remember the Alamo. From The Alamo. We visited in 2010 and what a fab reminder of our trip.

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My beautiful Welsh dragon, bought when we lived in Swansea. Ben wanted to find one wearing a Santa hat, but alas had to settle for this! I love this dude. Reminds me of some very happy times.

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We made this with Oscar when he was 7 months, old for his very first Christmas. We went to a local ceramics cafe and made this, along with hand print tiles for all the grandparents. I took it out this year and was amazed at how tiny his hand was. I’ll admit. I got a little teary. Yeah this is a very precious bauble indeed.

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And the most recent one is this, Christmas Thomas the Tank Engine. As soon as I got it I knew the Boy would never let me keep it on the tree. Ahh well. He’s Oscar’s decoration for 2014. Every year we’re buying Oscar a decoration especially for him. Each Christmas they’ll hang on the tree, then be put away in a special box. When he moves out, I’ll give him the box, so he’ll have a collection of decorations ready and waiting for him and his new home. So far he has Thomas and an Elmo from last year!

Hope you enjoyed this whistle stop tour through just a couple of my favourite decorations. What’s your tree like? I’d love to know!

 

 

Mama and More