Yesterday I went to my supplier to get holiday decorative items for an upcoming class. I love going to this place, it feels like Christmas there. There are aisles and shelves filled from top to bottom with everything you need to create amazing decorations for the holidays. Ribbons styles by the hundreds are lined out and tons of other items for floral crafting are available. Everything from glittery holiday picks with berries and cones to shimmering embellishments are abundant. Laid out on tables are orders of fresh cut flowers waiting for pickup by floral designers. You can smell the fresh evergreens in the warehouse packed for deliveries and the staff is as busy as ever preparing everything needed during this busy season for their customers. It feels almost like entering a winter wonderland for crafters, designers, and business owners that sell décor to the public for the upcoming holiday season.
I really have to hold back from going crazy there. Once again, I daydreamed about owning my own store where I could sell these items. But for now, I have to focus on what is perfect to offer at one of my upcoming DIY classes, being offered on December 3 at my home. We will be creating three holiday items with fresh evergreens and decor, and 13 ladies have signed up so far. I can’t wait.
This particular class is becoming more than a ‘how-to’ event. It feels like a tradition being created in my home. Holiday cheer and food is shared as the attendees take the class and create their item of choice. We get to relax and chat before the onset of the holiday rush when other commitments such as shopping to get presents and making food for gatherings consumes our free time. This class is a bit of “me time” for the attendees. There is something magical about working as a group. Our minds are distracted from other busy thoughts as we use our senses to express our underlying talents. By the end of class, everyone takes home their own creation using the materials provided in the class.
Another benefit of this class, for me at least, is I get to see everyone’s own unique style and preferences revealed as they work on their product. Everyone has a different appreciation of colors and textures which results in an individual piece. And I’ve been spending some time recently getting ready to teach this class and collect the necessary tools, embellishments, and décor of various types. Yet going to a supplier is not the only avenue for materials.
Over the weekend, on Sunday, I spent the day dipping long branches donated to me by Mother Nature’s last snow storm (you know the one in October), in white paint. Stringing a cord from one pine tree to another, I dipped, painted and hung them out to dry. Next on the list is to do dip other branches in bright red paint. These will be used as natural elements in container gardens stuffed with a mix of evergreens using Fraser Firs, Boxwood, Junipers and White Pines during class. Balsam is one we won’t be using for many fields up north have been effected by a needle rust and gall midge due to three years of climate changes, warmer winters and cold damp springs. But this doesn’t concern me for we have so many other evergreen choices. And I will have them all ready for the class attendees.
I also collected pinecones and seedpods recently, and began to cover them with glitter paint. I have a secret spot where I collect the pinecones every fall, and some pods I found by a big Kentucky coffee tree during a walk. Where I get the cones is a restful place, quiet and peaceful. I feel when I gather them up from the ground my presence is known only by those that may notice me there, or those resting there. Regardless, I feel lucky that I can take time out of my day to gather up items from nature as I look forward to the holiday season of creating with evergreens.
If you pay attention, you can find items in your own yard or during a hike in the woods to use as décor. Fronds of ferns standing in dry state now in the woodlands, stems of tough plants that hold up well, acorns dropped from oak tree tops, even strands from ornamental grasses can be used as embellishments. One year, I saved the stalks from an invasive purple loosestrife plant to use; they were as hard as bamboo and perfect to stake items in container gardens. Grape vines are also very useful and other items such as rosehips if you have roses in your gardens. Mature seed heads from your perennials that became hard and dry are perfect. Berried branches obvious choices too, just make sure they are not exposed to children or pets if they are poisonous. Many red berries are, so be sure to research or ask about anything you are unfamiliar with as you gather nature’s treasures from the great outdoors. Even sections of torn bark, dressed up right, are nice touches to container gardens, adding that natural feel to the design. Just use your imagination and look for items that are dry and easily painted or modified.
Because our recent October snowstorm, which I referred to as Snowlloween, many good finds are littering the grounds in the woodlands or near your home right now. Thin birch limbs are beautiful when cut and grouped just the right way with twine, add a red ribbon – and you have a décor element to work with. Or you could paint some small limbs of other trees white as an alternative. There are many choices, and you just have to look around. Take a look right now before our next snowfall covers them up or they get too wet. That is if you have time before your Thanksgiving gathering. And if not, sign-up for my class on December 3. There are just a few seat remaining. Cathy T