In my life before children I used to do things like go on courses to improve my cookery or learn how to make bouquets, or in fact Christmas wreaths. I learned to do things with moss and proper rings like florists do. I could moss up a wire ring and cover it in beautiful spruce and then weave it full of delightful things.
Then I had two children (who I adore - obviously), who suck away all the time for the mossing of wire rings and such. So at Christmas in the recent past I have been cheating. I've bought a plain wreath - or even one of those hideous things sold at markets with awful wax flowers and plastic bows - removed anything offensive and started from there.
This year I've gone one step further and bought a fake wreath! I know! It cost £10 from the flower stall and was of course decidedly dull. But it can be used again and again. Each year I can decorate it with something else until it finally falls apart in about 2023.
So how do you make a dull wreath beautiful?
You will need:
One terribly bland wreath Foliage - I used eucalyptus, viburnum, ivy, bay, pussy willow and hydrangea - some bought, some stolen from the garden. Secateurs or florist scissors Floristry wire (I got the green one from Wilko and I found it far superior to my silver wire that I've used in the past.)
All in all the supplies cost me about £20 - next year without the wreath it will only be £10.
Spruce up your, ummm, spruce wreath by straightening any bent stems and making sure it's even. Then start making little foliage posies - there's probably a proper name for this but I'm going for foliage posy.
Gather together a few different bits of your greenery and berries and wrap a little wire around them to hold them together, leaving a tail of wire long enough to go through your wreath and out the other side. You can make up a load of posies all at once or make them and attach them one-by-one. I do the one-by-one approach so that I can see what I need where.
Take one posy and position it on your wreath, poke its wire tail through and out the back of your wreath and wind around the ring on the underside of the wreath to hold it in place. Repeat this the whole way round your wreath. Don't put all your posies in one direction because it looks unnatural. Face some into the middle. Hide the stems under the spruce and other foliage and snip off any obvious excess stem.
Once you're happy with your foliage and berry base you can add in your pussy willow. Cut them into manageable lengths. I just stick the end through the wreath and then secure the piece of pussy willow in the centre with a loop of wire pushed through and twisted on as before. I usually leave the tip free or tuck it in somewhere depending on what looks best. Do this all the way round over lapping pieces to give an organic look.
You could leave it at that and congratulate yourself. But I had some hydrangea in the garden that was crying out to be used. I just cut off one big flower head and divided it up into smaller sections. I carefully wired them like I did the posies and then attached them to my wreath as before.
It took me about an hour to do my wreath and by far the hardest bit was attaching it to the front door. I'm sure there are florists everywhere cringing at the thought of my fake spruce - but actually when the rest of it's wired in I don't think you can really tell - not unless you're poking about - and that's just rude.
If you want to learn how to make wreaths properly then sign up for Miss Pickering's newsletter - her flower school is legendary. If you can't be bothered to make you own you can buy one from her too.