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"!