I love the deep, rich, colors of fall, but I am reluctant to begin decorating with orange leaves, pumpkins, and acorns, too, soon. After all, it is just the beginning of September, and there is still a lot of green left where we live. So, I decided to try my hand at some "transition" decor for late summer to early fall. Pale blues, creams, and apple green are the colors I have chosen, with pops of yellow sunflowers and black grow grain ribbon with white polka dots.
Where to begin? How about with the wreath on the front door? The above wreath from Yvonne of Stone Gate was my inspiration piece. I adored this wreath with its green apples, sunny sunflowers, and that very fun, striped, burlap, wired ribbon. Yvonne has an excellent tutorial on creating this wreath and some great tips for making an elegant, expensive looking wreath for minimal cost in materials. She is my hero! Please check out her post HERE and consider following her blog, on Pinterest, and Facebook. The Stone Gate blog is one of my favorites!
Even with Stone Gate's excellent tutorial, I had a difficult time recreating the beautiful wreath. The problem was me. I fell in love the the burlap ribbon she had use. I became obsessed with finding the exact ribbon she had used or at least something close to it. I searched and searched online, for days. Secondly, I loved the apple green floral and greenery she repurposed from her summer wreath. I went on a hunt at all the local craft stores for such greenery. I came up short in that pursuit, too. I even purchased some bluish, green faux eucalyptus greenery, and dusty miller that I thought might work as the greenery. I brought them home and paired them with the sunflowers. Epic fail is too, dramatic, to describe the look, but the two definitely didn't compliment each other.
Low and behold--I already had these materials! (At one point, I had even considered taping off the burlap in long stripes and spray painting the exposed stripes in black. Even I thought that was a little extreme! Thank goodness, I came to my senses and black ribbon with polka dots was the solution!)
Finally, I stopped all the madness of my perfectionistic obsessing over finding the "same" materials as the inspiration piece, and reoriented myself. I reminded myself of two of my core decorating principles: 1.) What did I already have available to me, that I loved? 2.) How can I achieve what Yvonne had accomplished, with what WAS available?. I needed to step back and analyze the elements of the inspiration piece that I liked, and that would help me create my own wreath. The elements that I liked were:
That's when everything started to fall into place. I had burlap ribbon. I had black, grow grain ribbon, with white polka dots. I love that polka dot ribbon! It adds a little whimsy to anything it graces. As for the apple green greenery that I was looking for---it was already hanging in my front door wreath! (Just like the original inspiration piece! The right greenery was right under my nose!) All I had to do, was dismantle the summer florals and I had the base of my new front door wreath. From there on, the wreath design easily came together.
First, I began my experimentation with burlap ribbon and the polka dot ribbon. I realized I could attach the black grow grain ribbon, with white polka dots with a permanent iron-on adhesive, no-sew tape. I used Heat 'n Bond Ultra Hold iron on permanent tape. The burlap ribbon and black grow grain ribbon were not wired ribbon. I had to work a little harder, twisting the ribbon combination to form the bow, but ultimately, I was able to fashion a bow to my liking. (Design principle: Use what you already have!) I think it turned our pretty well!
For a brief moment, I considered just attaching the new bow to my summer wreath. After all, the new bow gave the wreath new life. That thought lasted for about five minutes, after which, I decided to forge ahead.
I did a little shopping, and found some lime green mum, floral stems on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. The original lime green florals on my summer wreath were showing some wear from the summer sun and rain. I thought the mums would be the perfect filler, to hide any weariness.
Next, I followed the tutorial on Stone Gate. She wired two grapevine wreaths together to give the wreath more presence and depth. This was a trick she does to make her wreaths look similar to the more expensive custom wreaths you find in floral design shops. I would've never thought of that, so I gave it a go. I couldn't find the grapevine covered wire that she used, so I used a brown wire that I already had to secure the two wreaths together. (I am still going to search for the grapevine covered wire. I think that could have many uses.)
With the wreaths secure, the real fun began! I added 2 bushes of lime green mums and then 2 bushes of sunflowers. I trimmed the stems into individual flowers and workable lengths with wire cutters. I didn't use hot glue to place my florals. Instead, I poked the stems of the florals into gaps in the grapevines. In most cases, the florals stay securely in place.
(Tip: Since I forgo the hot glue, I can easily dismantle the wreath and rework it for future seasons.)
When needed, I bent the wires and intertwined them among the vines. I repeated the process for arranging the sunflowers at the top of the wreath. I attached the bow to the top center.
I continued to follow Stone Gate's tutorial for hot gluing the green, faux apples in place. I had a little difficulty with hot gluing the apples to the wreath, and had a few false starts. This was where the double wreath was an advantage. Using the hot glue gun, and one of the larger green apples, I lodged the apple into the crook between the two wreaths. Then, I added another green apple next to it. It helped to glue one apple to another and the wreath. This added stability to the apples. I did glue a small green apple to the front of the wreath, but once again, made sure I also glued the smaller apple to the other apples on the wreath.
I trimmed the ribbons, so the apples could easily be viewed. This is something I learned from studying Stone Gate's wreath. I have a tendency to leave the ribbon tails long, but often times, parts of the wreath are covered. I noticed her ribbon tails were trimmed to show off the entire wreath.
Lastly, I hung the wreath on our front door. What do you think?
I removed the nest from the center of the frame. It was very well anchored, but with scissors and patience, I was able to remove the nest and trim most of the bits and pieces away. Any excess remains, would be covered by a green apple and sunflowers. I wanted to keep it simple, The simplicity of the piece was one of the elements that pleased me. Even still, the apple with two sunflowers seemed a little stark. I glued additional pieces of sunflower leaves on the piece and added a sunflower in the corner. Now, the "Welcome" sign was complete.
Tip for hanging the wreath: Since I wired two grapevine wreaths together, the wreath is heavier. I use Command hooks to hang my wreath. This wreath requires the wreath hooks made to hold up to 5 lbs.
Once again, I want to thank Yvonne of Stone Gate for her excellent tutorial. Her wreath was the inspiration for my wreath. Once I gave up my obsession with the materials of her wreath and analyzed the elements of it, I was able to be true to my decorating sense: use what I have, and use what I love! I learned a lot from the tutorial and learned even more about myself in creating this wreath.
Now, that I have some of the elements defined for my late summer/early fall decor, I can move forward with making a new table runner (accented with black grow grain ribbon and polka dots). I predict there will be more burlap in the future and neutral accents in pale blue, creams, and pops of apple green! I will keep you "posted"!
Do you have a vintage piece of needlework, favorite photo, decorative plate, or piece of artwork stashed away in a closet that doesn't fit your current style? You know, the one that you can't seem to part with, because your really did like it and still like it, but it doesn't "fit in" with your current decor? I had just such a piece. My brother, Tom, gave me this sweet, Hummel, needlework kit of two children peaking over the fence over 30 years ago. I had moved to Pittsburgh and was very homesick. I suspect it was his way of helping me keep myself occupied. (He's a good brother!)
I have always like this image and I spent a lot of time and effort stitching it together. It hung in our home for many years, and then it got packed away in a closet. It wasn't fitting in with our decor, but it was too, good to throw away. I came across it again recently, and began to think about what I could do to update this piece. Want to see what I did? Check out the updated, very functional, and dare I say, beautiful bulletin board in my sewing room!
After perusing some blogs and pinning some pins, I came up with the idea of giving this sweet, little piece more presence. Posts such as the one above was the inspiration for the upcycle.
Originally, I was going to get a frame from a thrift shop, paint it, distress it, cover a backing piece with burlap, and attach the needlepoint to the center of the newly created frame. Then, I happened upon this white painted, distressed, bulletin board, with a burlap background, for $20.00 at TJ Maxx. It was perfect and all ready for me to implement my plan.
I realized the one thing I didn't like about the framed needlework, was the cheap looking frame. Round frames can be pricey, there seems to be a limited selection, and then there is the whole issue of finding the right size. I decided to paint the frame to match the purchased bulletin board. Paint can totally transform a piece, and it certainly made a big difference on this frame. It went from dated and a little cheap looking, to vintage and glam!
Now that I had a plan, to bring more presence to the needlepoint image by framing it within a frame, the rest of the project was very simple and quick to assemble. Waiting for paint to dry, was literally the longest part of the project.
I was delighted with it. I debated about printing a clever saying or inspirational word on it. For now, I decided against it. This board will be used to keep post-it notes, receipts, and other items organized in my sewing room.
At first, I was going to hang the bulletin board above my sewing machine. It seemed like a perfect spot to view it and appreciate it. But, I already have my great-grandmother's, hand sewn quilt hanging there. It, too, is an inspiration piece and a connection to my past. I like the scenario I have going on here. Time to check out another wall!
Ultimately, I decided to hang it on the wall perpendicular to my cutting table. I spend a lot of time at the cutting table, so the the board is still in my full view most of the time. The burlap background really made the bright colors in the needlework pop. Once again, it has become a treasured piece!
Before hanging it, I found this Parisian styled, hanging shelf on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. It was a perfect addition to accompany the bulletin board.
Now I had two pieces that are very functional, decorative, and are more in line with my current design sense.
I am so happy to have updated this sweet piece of cross stitch, that was a gift from my brother, so many years ago. I am glad I held onto it and updated it.
Do you have a needlework piece, decorative plate, photo, or piece of art work that could use a a little TLC? This technique of "framing" a smaller piece within a larger piece can give added presence and a new personality to an old favorite. I encourage you to dust off your treasures, and try your hand at up cycling. To paraphrase a saying, "what's old, can be made new again!"