On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me.......eight paper holly! Actually a lot more than 8! This wreath is populated by probably a hundred or more paper holly leaves, but it's really simple to make. Find an old book. As you know, I like things made from old books. I used a book by T.G. Wodehouse and I think it was probably a book club edition, because the pages are not very sturdy. I didn't think about that when picking the book, but I'm telling you that you should. I will probably make this over again and use pages from a big book with heavy pages, maybe even glossy. Another consideration is the content. If you hang your wreath, say, on the front door, as people are waiting for you to answer the door they could be reading your wreath, so you probably want suitable content.
Okay, with that out of the way, let's get started. First, you need a wreath base. We have neighbors with grapevines, and some of them were growing over the fence on our side. The season is past now, and the grapes are and the vines are dry, so I cut the ones hanging on our side and wove them into a wreath. Then I made sure to fasten a loop of ribbon for a hanger before I started gluing leaves to it.
Pull some pages from your book by cutting next to the spine with an X-acto knife. Or if they will tear out nicely, you can do that, too. Make yourself a pattern for a holly leaf. Mine is about 4" long, but it could be smaller. I wouldn't go too much larger, though, because then you really have the "flop" problem. (Not enough body in the page to keep it from flopping.) You will need quite a few of these, but you can always cut more as you go.
Fold the leaves down the middle. Now you have to decide of you want you wreath to stay white, or if you want to add some color. I chose to add color, and here's how I figured out to do that. I took one of those little spray bottles you can get in the travel size section of Health and Beauty at Wal*Mart. I filled it about halfway with water and added a little green paint. Shake it up well, lay out your leaves on newspaper, and spritz them with the green paint-water. I also happened to have an old can of green glitter paint, and I used a little of that, too. I wasn't too careful as I spritzed because I didn't want them to be solid green, just lightly colored an uneven green.
Now, start gluing your leaves to your wreath base. Glue the first layer pointing out, and the next layer pointing in. Then fill up the spaces and make the wreath as full or not full as you want. Holly, when it grows, all goes the same way on the stems, so making all your leaves go in the same direction is natural looking, but you can add a few going the opposite way, too.
Finish it off with a nice bow, and I added a sprig of real pine and some pom-pom berries, although I'm not sure I like the berries. I also added a few leaves that had not been painted to give it a little depth. That's all there is to it! It is a very light-weight wreath, so it can be hung anywhere, even from an old curtain rod bracket.
Well, there it is. A nice wreath that's easy to make. Even the kids can make on of these. I think when I make another one, I will use buttons instead of pom-poms, though. And I might keep them more demure by using white ones instead of red. We'll see. Experimentation is the name of the game.
I want to leave you with a story that a good friend sent me.
A woman was Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of walking down row after row of toys and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the store elevator with her two children in hand.
She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year; the pressure of getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, tasting all the holiday food and treats, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.
Finally, the elevator doors opened, revealing a crowd in the elevator. She pushed her way in and dragged her children and all her bags of stuff in with her. As the doors closed, she couldn't take it anymore and blurted out, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot." From the back of the elevator car, a quiet, calm voice responded, "Don't worry. We've already crucified him."The rest of the trip down was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop.
This year, don't forget who started this whole "Christmas thing" and keep Him in your every thought and deed, purchase and word. If we all did this, just imagine the difference it would make in the world. Until tomorrow,