Sunday, November 20, 2011

Advent Wreath!

I realize it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems Christmas is on everyone's mind already! Including me! :-)

Everywhere I turn I see Christmas decorations up and I am anxiously waiting for this weekend so I can put my up. One of the things that I am lacking though is an advent wreath. I have nativity scenes galore, stockings, reindeer, and santas, but no advent wreath. And lighting the advent candles on the Sundays leading up to Christmas is a tradition I love and want to incorporate in our home each week as a family.

It seems however, that no one else is in agreement with me. At least the higher ups that decide what Christmas decorations to market and sell each year. I have seen very few advent wreaths in years past and none that I was crazy about. So I decided I should try making one.

Some would argue that engineers are inherently creative, but it's a different kind in my opinion. We are creative in solving problems (my decision to make a wreath when I couldn't find one!). However, my creativity fails in that I am a very visual person. Show me a picture of something and I can probably take a good stab at re-creating it. Ask me to artistically create something on my own and I laugh at you. So I started this project on Google images - trying to find a picture of something I could create. I looked and looked at various advent wreaths, searched for blog tutorials on DIY designs, etc. and came up with nothing tangible. Enter creative mode.

On Saturday I took a trip to Hobby Lobby hoping for inspiration and having a few scattered ideas in my mind of what I wanted. I saw plenty of circular hanging wreaths things that could easily be converted to a table advent wreath once decorations were added or even used as-is as an advent wreath since they were decorated (and a bit $$ for the decorated ones). However, either of these would require using separate candle holders sitting around the wreath and be completely independent pieces. I wanted one cohesive piece that's sole purpose was an advent wreath - not 4 votives and a wreath all sitting together on a table in the pattern of an advent wreath. Call me picky, but it's not the same to me.

So I wandered around and was able to start putting together the makings of a wreath - a circular green foam from the floral department, a long piece of garland, little pine cone thingys (that's the technical term), and a random assortment of other Christmas-themed florals used for wreath-making. I bought everything I thought I might use knowing I would keep the receipt and probably return a few things.

Here's what I ended up purchasing for this DIY advent wreath:

I fully intended to take progress pictures along the way...and then the next thing I knew I had put all of the garland on. And I definitely wasn't taking it off for a photo op!

First, I measured and marked where the candles would go (yes, the engineer in me required a ruler for this project.) Then I cut small lengths of the garland, stripped away a small part of the branches, and bent the metal to push into the foam core. I did this along the side and the top. I used the extra small branches I cut off to help fill in open spots and bent and fluffed the garland around the foam core.

Here's the result:

I liked the simplistic look so much at this point that I debated just leaving the wreath be as-is, "undecorated", to really emphasize the candles. That or I was tired of craft time - one or the other. All joking aside though, I do like a more simplistic look over one of extravagance. I played around with some of the decorations and decided to use just the gold accents. I plan on purchasing one or two more "strings" of the gold balls that you see in the photo and add them, but then I think I will be done. And I will have accomplished my goal - to create an advent wreath. Not too bad for an engineer if I do say so myself! ;-)

Here's the final product!

(PS. Overall this wreath cost ~$13. I feel accomplished! :-) )

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