Wreath Making Time

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I hear the wind blowing outside as I type this – Yup, I’m an early bird. Lots to do, wreaths to make, and holiday gift orders to create.

If you are local and interested, please feel free to reach out regarding my custom hand-made wreaths with a fresh mix of greenery, bow and some décor, or bow-less, which some people prefer.

2021 Wreaths Made to Order for Porch Pick-ups, Broad Brook, CT

I started humming Christmas tunes the other day as I was gathering up my beautiful fresh greenery materials to make a wreath. Usually, I start watching or listening to an old classic holiday movie while I make the wreaths, because watching is not really possible as I’m looking down as I work to create a wreath, adding decor and items after I assemble the wreath itself. But hearing the holiday themes of a good movie provide me that uplifting feeling of the holidays coming up and decking our halls with greenery!

Hubby Holding Wreath

I have to admit, I do think about the crowd of attendees at my former Holiday Wreath and Kissing Balls Workshops from time to time. There was always a “spirit of good holiday vibes” with me when I would setup my workshop space for the annual workshop tradition, but alas, those have ceased (when COVID hit and also because I think Cathy T KB Clause got a bit worn out.) Setting up the space was very time consuming. It was almost like throwing a mini wedding, but I’m so happy to create custom wreaths and other items since I ceased the workshops! My offerings are outlined on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com for more information.

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The next best thing is making custom orders for everyone. I’m still here working at it, so if you need a wreath and are local, contact me – while supplies last. Ho-Ho-Ho, let’s Go-Go-Go!!!

Thank you – Cathy T.

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy CT
Broad Brook, Connecticut
For More Info about Holiday Products at www.WORKSHOPSCT.com

The Transition Zone

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The start of November, as we await Thanksgiving Day, and move quickly into the Holiday mode, is what I feel is a transition zone.

I really don’t want to bombard people with what I will be offering for the holidays until a bit later in the month, but then again, many people plan ahead to decorate and get into the holiday spirit.

We also have a few days of decent weather coming up, so this is when we will wrap up our outdoor clean up for sure. For example, my husband is planning to clean up the gutters this weekend, and I will be removing last minute summer items into my garage or basement during the rest of this week between appointments and orders.

As far as transitioning, the following are some items I’ve been doing:

Updating my Galleries on SmugMug. Been creating a Holiday Folder to show custom orders and my holiday greens coming up.

Updating my 3 sites to be more current. Yes, I have 3. It is a long story but each is dedicated to my service offerings: WorkshopsCT.com, ContainerGardensCT.com, and this blog site, ContainerCrazyCT.com.

Ordering supplies for my upcoming custom holiday wreaths, kissing balls, and loose greens orders. Taking inventory, writing instructional documents, and more.

Taking any last minute orders – still – for handmade Succulent Topped Pumpkins which make beautiful centerpieces for the Thanksgiving decor and your table!

Making hanging succulent filled glass globes to add to the autumn decor for custom orders. Making terrariums with succulents and fall decor too.

Checking my greenhouse daily to ensure all systems are working property, looking over the plants moved in and making sure none have issues. Making sure the heat is working and all that jazz.

Cleaning the house! Yes, part of my fall transition zone. I’m so busy in spring with plants of course that I never have time to do the big clean in spring. It tends to happen in the fall or early winter.

Trying to decide on the Thanksgiving dinner plans. I think it will be just me and my honey this year, and that is the week I start making wreaths and kissing balls, so just as well be home. Just too risky to do large gatherings due to the COVID rises across our country.

Sorting my holiday home decor and donating the old or unneeded to free Facebook pages in my town.

And finally, taking walks in the brisk cool air as much as possible before it gets too cold out there – but then again, that just reminds me – get those snowshoes out so when it is colder, I can transition to that!

Happy Wednesday everyone. Hope you are okay while we wait to hear the results of the election, and transition through whatever they may be!

Cathy Testa
Broad Brook, CT

Search Terms for Holiday Crafting

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  • how to attach a birdhouse to a post
  • how to with mesh ribbon
  • can i move vegetables in the boot of my car?
  • can you make a snowman from buffalo snow
  • how to make a kissing ball for christmas
  • outdoor christmas containers + how to make evergreens last
  • storing container grown canna
  • decorating with mesh ribbon ideas

The “search terms” listed above are exactly as typed by the searchers on my blog recently.

I am thankful you stopped by to look around for information and answers on Container Crazy CT’s blog .

Many seem to be looking for ideas about holiday decorating, so here are some tips on some of the questions above…

How to use Mesh Ribbon

I wrote about this last year, or was it years before? Not sure. Time is flying! Mesh ribbon seemed wildly popular last year and a few years probably before that – but, I don’t see the trend “as much” this year – but that is me.

However, I watched Scot Haney of Channel 3 put a mesh ribbon wreath around his waist yesterday. It made me laugh!

Mesh ribbon is incredibly easy to bend, use, gather, staple gun to projects, and is super festive – However, it does FADE in the sun. FYI on that but I’ve used it and still enjoy this wonderful ribbon that is amazingly easy to use.

Here’s another link on my blog about mesh ribbon uses:


How to make a Kissing Ball for Christmas

Ah, will be doing so with a very large group of attendees tomorrow. If you are located in Connecticut near my area – check out WORKSHOPSCT.com for information on that. This will be our 7th Annual Workshop – and we not only make the kissing balls, we make wreaths, candle centerpieces and more creative items with fresh greens. It is a great kickoff to the holiday decorating season for many – and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Additionally, we have a weeknight workshop coming up on Dec 7th, Wed., 5:30-7:30 pm. There’s still time to sign up if interested, just text me 860-977-9473 or use the links on our WORKSHOPSCT.com site to get in, Registration and pre-payment is required.

Private parties upon request at our studio location in Broad Brook/East Windsor is an additional option for small groups. Advance notice is required however. And I also offer custom orders starting next week, if you are local.

And of course, you may find information on how to make them just by browsing this site. Use the search field and type in Kissing Balls.

Outdoor Christmas Containers and How to Make Evergreens Last

Ah, this IS the magic question – and I go over tips in my workshops on this based on my experiences creating and installing containers filled with lush greens – but there are three basic ingredients – cold weather, Wilt Pruf Plant Protector spray product found at local stores which may be used on some greens (not all apply so read the instructions on the bottle), and getting fresh quality greens. I have some other little secrets I use – shared with my regular and loyal attendees and followers.

Starting tomorrow, I officially turn into Mrs. KB Claus, greeting and teaching my attendees. They are in for a GREAT workshop.

Oh, BTW, here are more items coming up – hope to see you there!

Book Club Bookstore & More – Pop Up Vendor’s Day
December 11, 2016 – Sunday
December 17, 2016 – Saturday
Various holiday items made and custom designed by Cathy T

Ellington Winter Farmers Market
January 28, 2016  from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Demonstration on “Growing Nutritious Soil Sprouts”
Kits will be available for purchase

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
Owner of Cathy T’s Landscape Designs and Container Crazy CT
Located in Broad Brook, CT
860-977-9473 (texts welcome)





The Unexpected Advantages of Using Boxwood to Make Wreaths


There is no doubt mixing various fresh evergreens cuttings, snips and tips makes a beautiful wreath or kissing ball.  It will add texture, color differences, and scents to your holiday creation – but using a single green, such as Boxwood, is also stunning because it creates a classic look and is easier to assemble, taking less time if you are in a hurry.  And using Boxwood has some other unexpected advantages.

Six Advantages of Using Boxwood:

  1. No sap = No sticky hands
  2. Elegant dark green color = Classic look
  3. Faster Assembly = No need to wire batches
  4. Lighter weight = Easier to hang
  5. Easy to re-hydrate = If dry after harvest
  6. Can be Preserved = Lasts forever

Minor Downfalls:

  1. No fresh scent like Pine or Balsam
  2. One of the more expensive greens to buy
  3. May yellow a tad over time if gets wet outdoors

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To make, you will need:

  1. Snips or pruners
  2. Green florist wire
  3. Boxwood greens (4-6″ cuttings)
  4. Wreath frame (13″ and 9″ used here)
  5. Ribbon (1.5″ width used) and ornamental decor
  6. Green zip ties (cable ties)
  7. Holiday background music (and perhaps a glass of wine)

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Prepare your batches of the boxwood greens first, cutting them at equal lengths.  About 6″ tips were used.  One of the other benefits, not mentioned above, is usually the boxwood pieces are full so you can easily get good cuttings of a decent fullness per each stem.  For the 16″ wreath, about 12-15″ pieces are needed.  The more you use, fuller the wreath.  It is easier if you get them all lined up a ready before you start attaching to the wreath frame.  For the 9″ wreath, about 8-10″ pieces are needed.

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Wire the first piece of boxwood to your wreath frame with the florist wire.  Tightly secure to the wreath frame.  Once attached, move the wire down the wreath to the next position.  You may have to twine the wire between the first batch and second batch on the wreath, but this is optional.  It just makes the wire more smooth as you continue.

Be sure to put the next batch over the stems of the first batch so they are hidden well, and do not show.

Do not cut the wire as you work.  Keep the roll going as you move across the wreath frame.

Continue around the wreath, spacing equally each boxwood piece, and being sure to cover the prior batches stems each time.

When you arrive to the final batch where you started on the wreath frame, tuck the last batch under the first batch to hide the stems.

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Back Side:

This part is optional, but if you wish to hide the back part of the wreath frame, preserved Spanish moss works well.  Heat up your glue gun and melt the glue on the back.  Attach bunches of the moss around the back side.  You could also attach felt, or some other decorative material.  Because this frame is not green, it showed up a bit but still worked very well.

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Attach a piece of ribbon to the top of the wreath (about 10″ long).  Make a bow and string the ribbon through one of the loops on the bow then pull tightly closed to attach the bow.  This will attach the bow, and create a place to attach a hook on the back.  You can either attach a hook to the bow ribbon on the back side, or attach a hook by using several zip ties.  The hook can be attached in the beginning or at the end – because sometimes you will find one position of the wreath looks best after it is finished.  Or if you have a place where it doesn’t look full, you may want to position the bow there to hide it.

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Go crazy or simple.  For this wreath, some simple weather proof small decor apples were picked in and a dab of hot glue was put on the back side to secure each apple.

Cluster glittery ornaments right under the bow to hang in the center.  Use a zip tie or wire to attach them to the base of the ribbon.

Because the Boxwood greens are a nice dark green, bright red looked amazing against this dark green color, so a bright red ornament was selected, along with two green ornaments.  On the smaller matching wreath, only one red ornament was included.

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Matching Wreath:

A second smaller wreath was made to match the first.  This will be adorable for the recipient of these wreaths.  And because the Boxwood greens is simple, having a second smaller wreath adds that special touch.

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Re-hydrating or Preserving Boxwood Greens:

If you have harvested your Boxwood greens and they appear a bit dry, you can rehydrate them by soaking in water for about an hour, and then lay them out to dry on towels.  Do not assemble the greens when wet – this will cause rot.

And did you know?  You can preserve boxwood greens!  Here is a link on the technique:  Preserving Boxwood Greens by CraftingRebellion blog.  Also, boxwood can be treated with Wilt-pruf to reduce drying of the greens prior to assembly.

Written by Cathy Testa

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