Handmade Christmas Wreath from Christmas Cards Past

I have a problem throwing away things, especially paper remembrances – ticket stubs, cards, programs. There is no logical reason to hold onto the Phantom of the Opera program from my high school orchestra trip or the autographed Penn & Teller program from their performance at Duke, but I still have them. I have quite a stack of holiday cards, and I was trying to brainstorm a way to incorporate the cards into a new wreath. (Our previous wreath was nice, but a very plain wreath of greenery with a simple red bow.)

Interior Shot of Wreath

I can’t say that I thought of this idea all alone; my inspiration was a DIY Clock from Junk Mail that I saw on Apartment Therapy. To make the wreath, my only materials were items from the dollar store, old holiday cards, and a few Christmas catalogs to fill in the spaces. (I only had cards for about half of the spokes.) I made a 3″ wide base for the wreath by cutting it out of foamcore with my x-acto. The interior circle was large enough to feature the star ornament; the outer circle was just 3″ larger than the interior. I used my handy compasses from grad school drafting to get the circles right, but a piece of string could also be used to measure the radii. After I had the wreath shape, I stacked foam to about 1.5″ and hot-glued that to the back of the wreath shape in 4 places to give the wreath some depth. Then I covered the whole frame with ribbon. You can see the back here:
Back View of Wreath

The next step was to roll up the holiday cards. I used the entire card for each spoke and started rolling from the plain side, so the end product would have the most color. And I used a dowel to get the initial shape and help keep the rolling even. In my wreath there are 58 spokes; 29 of these spokes are from Christmas cards. The remaining spokes are pages from the West Elm and Blissliving holiday catalogs cut down to a similar size. I wasn’t worried about the spokes being the same length, but it could be easily controlled if precision spokes are your thing.

The last steps were to hot glue the spokes to the base in a radial pattern, add gold ribbon for hanging, add a gold bow, hang the gold dollar store ornament in the middle, and finally I added some bells to up the holiday-ness of the wreath. I thought it was important to keep the wreath accents in the same color (gold), because the rest of the wreath could be pretty busy.
Wreath Hanging on the Door

Now we have a wreath that is inexpensive AND is made from the love and kindness of our friends and family. It’s perfect. As we get more holiday cards over the years. I will probably just replace the catalog pages with real cards.

Halloween Wreath

Semi-Homemade Halloween Wreath

This past weekend, we had a lot of fun getting in the spirit of the season and decorating for Halloween. In an effort to better document my Halloween exploits, I’m going to try to post a project each day.

One of the oldest projects on my Halloween to-do list was to make a wreath. Last year, I bought a spooky-ish (but plain) black wreath from CVS on 60% clearance the week after Halloween was over. The wreath sat in our Halloween bins in the attic all year. I got it out this past weekend and decided to spice it up with some dollar store items: Centipedes, roaches, a fly, spiders, a ghoul, and the dollar store spooky gray cloth. Total budget for this wreath ended up being about $5, and we’re pretty pleased with the effect.

Changing the Curtains for Spring

Our front door has a big decorative glass window in it. To give us the feeling of privacy in the evening, we hung a curtain on the door. At night, we go into “lockdown.” This process simply entails pulling the curtains on the front door and kitchen window that looks out onto our front porch.

In the fall, I hang a gray velvet curtain (matches our couch) from Anthropologie –the Viceroy Velvet Curtain. (One of my splurges with our house). I found a matching gray curtain at TJMaxx and used the iron-on hem tape to shorten it to fit our kitchen window. (There was no way I was going to buy another Viceroy Velvet and massacre it.)

Viceroy Velvet Curtain

Viceroy Velvet Curtain Closed


Viceroy Velvet Curtain Open

Viceroy Velvet Curtain Open


Gray Curtain in Kitchen Closed

Gray Curtain in Kitchen Closed


Gray Curtain in Kitchen Opened

Gray Curtain in Kitchen Opened

When Spring comes, I switch out these gray velvet curtains for something , lighter, friendlier, and more colorful. I found two curtains at Pier One on sale when we first moved in; I loved the colors and snatched them up. I hung the one in the kitchen from it’s bottom hem instead of using the loops (again using the iron-on hem tape to shorten the curtain to fit).

Curtain at Front Door Closed

Curtain at Front Door Closed (Plus Cat)


Curtain at Front Door Opened

Curtain at Front Door Opened (Plus Cat)


Curtain at Kitchen Closed

Curtain at Kitchen Closed


Curtain at Kitchen Open

Curtain at Kitchen Open

Sorry for the poor quality of all the open curtain images; I couldn’t get my lighting settings right when I was taking pictures.

Spring Wreath (plus how-to)

Spring has definitely sprung. This weekend, Rob and I began our spring update to our home and yard. The first item of business was replacing the Winter Yarn Wreath I made in January with an updated spring wreath! I made our new wreath with a straw wreath, yarn, bias tape, paper flowers, and colorful buttons.
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Winter Yarn Wreath (with little owl friend)

I love outside Christmas decorations. We actually start our outdoor decorating in October for Halloween, use our non-carved pumpkins & add some scarecrows for Thanksgiving, then take down all the autumn and put up pretty lights and a wreath. (If it was up to me, I’d leave our Christmas lights up year-round, but Rob thinks it might make the neighbors think that we’re just too lazy to take them down…) Read more

New House Numbers

As part of our labor day weekend bonanza of projects, Rob and I finally completed our house number plaque. Yay!
See the Pictures

Redoing the Front of Our House

I need help choosing the new color for our front door (with the caveat that any proposed changes to our home have to be approved by the Architectural Review Board first!) Below you see the original color (red), and four new choices. I’m leaning towards the lightest turquoise color. To get an idea of the direction we’re going (post modern/beachy/50’s modern with a hint of naturalized), I’ve done a materials montage (as it currently stands)!
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Pumpkins!

Happy Halloween!

Here’s a picture of our jack-o-lantern’s and overall Halloween diorama that sits outside our apartment door.