|not my house, but definitely a dreary day in early December|
This year, I've returned to a project that has been lying fallow since last year or the year before or - ok, let's face it, a lot longer ago than that. It has lain very fallow indeed for a very long time. If I make even a few moments' "progress" on it when the mood strikes of a rainy November night, well, I'm not going to say I'll feel that I've made life more worthwhile, but just that I haven't totally sat around like a lump while the Season of Crowds, Markdowns and Sales thunders ever closer.
In past years, I've provided directions on how to decorate with cut-up J.Crew or Anthropologie catalogs. Some of you may remember my justly famous Home-Made Paper Eucalyptus Trees. (takes bow) And the lesser known but still impressive Volcano of Sprinkles, Shreds and Sighs with Noises, Steam and Smoke is still discussed in awed voices in certain London streets. (looks for back-street exit. just in case.) Sadly, recent catalogs have not inspired festive thoughts. Recent issues of Vogue have struck me as a legible substitute for prune juice.
So I sat, gazing sullenly at my set of Six Decorative Scissors Suitable for Cutting Paper, grabbed from a clearance rack at my local Target because it was a great buy and also because one never knows when Life will require one to produce small pieces of paper with assorted decorative edges.
And then a project began to take (imaginary) shape. For as long as I can remember some of the cards we get each Holiday Season have been impossible to dispose of. I don't mean the ones with friends' babies in cute elf suits or their 6 children in plaid shirts or puppies in antlers - I love those too. Who wouldn't? But something about a moon shining on a deserted icy skating pond, or a Giacometti-like harp, or a fierce constellation, for example, speaks to me. Or a rabbit. So, I admit, we now have a few shoeboxes full of these cards, and I've always thought I should find a way to reuse them.
Um, just realized there are more than a few such boxes,
and the "tuck 'em away" thing has been going on
for more than 5 years. Oh, well.
above: not a covered dish but the beef stew
I made the other night. Looks good, right?So, anyway, our teeny but public-spirited village library out at Flintstone Manor was organizing its usual seasonal festivities - covered dish plus It's a Wonderful Life, covered dish plus Miracle on 34th Street, omg that was Natalie Wood sniffle sniffle, Late Book Return Amnesty Week, Late Book Return Amnesty Week Extension, Late Movie Return Amnesty Week, Fund-Raiser with Lecture for Amnesty International late returns optional, Cookie Decorating, and - wait for it - Wreath-making Seminar with Refreshments. I didn't even need to go to the seminar, the flyers were so clear. This was Destiny. You affix stuff to a Wreath Base and add a bow. This was what the Decorative Scissors Suitable for Cutting Paper and the Hours of Short Gray Twilights were meant for. And of course my famous Seasonal Refreshments - the world's best bourbon balls. A brief moment while we contemplate what makes them so fabulous: I put rum and cognac in the cookies and we drink the bourbon.
When I got back to the city, I looked over my collection of shoeboxes/cards. Clearly a wreath made of whole cards was unworkable - but a wreath made of holly leaves cut from whole cards, or at least from the colorful spangly portions - well, if there's one thing this apartment has, it has doors and fences. The fences are on the terrace. I hang flags and decorations on them when so moved, and it has happened that I've hung smelly merchandise awaiting return out there too. Now in my spinning brain, several dozen imaginary card-based wreaths awaited assembly.
Why holly leaves? Because I can. That is, while I don't consider myself artistic, in 6th grade I learned to draw holly leaves, the travelling art teacher being of the belief that everyone should be able to draw a few simple and useful things: bunny at rest, bunny sitting up, back of bunny (like back of cat with change of ears & tail). Holly leaf, pair of holly leaves with berries. Stuff like that. We drew circles - using coins - to kick off the creative process. My mom, who could draw, felt that the desperate art teacher was stifling my artistic creativity. I will tell you, however, that my artistry with Views of The Bunny delights small children, and I'm glad to have this small skill. So - on to the holly leaf. On to maybe hundreds of holly leaves.
And so another Christmas passed, and more cute cards were added to still another shoebox. It had become a dumb habit - one of, alas, many.
Still more time passed, and then I came across a shoebox stuffed with cards and a few pairs of funny-looking scissors. The light dawned. The leaves didn't have to be holly. They didn't need to look like any particular species. I mean, who would believe they were from a tree or a holly bush anyway? In fact, the final project, whatever it turned out to be, would look better if the leaves were all different random sizes. As they have turned out to be.
During a breather from cutting out leaves, my creative efforts in making a Wreath Base drew me back out to Flintstone Manor where there lurks a craft shop in a local mall, and - 'tis the season - they sell Wreath Bases! Effortless, as they say.
|this is not a wreath that was covered at the library lecture.|
I mean, who has household scraps that classy lying around?
One look at the wreath bases and I decided that rather than painstakingly glue each leaf to another leaf or to the base, I'd tape short lengths of wire to the backs of the leaves and connect the wires to the wreath base. After taping a few I decided to save time by using small file folder labels instead of tape. The creative process is slow but inexorable.
noise-makers & food color optional
just so you know,
this not a neat & tidy project
PFFT BANG WHIZZZZ
Question: is it even possible to make a plan to do/be/act "random"? Consider the implications of your answer as regards the attachment of leaves to a Wreath Base.
Part II of the Christmas Crafts post will include at least one picture of the completed wreath. Spoiler alert: there will only be one wreath. Enough already.