Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Making a dogwood wreath

I have made this dogwood wreath so many times over the years. I have hosted workshops making them at Country Living Fairs and local events and even with the Brownies - and they never get tired.

Every one is slightly different, every one a response to the maker and the materials. They will last for years and years and you can add in decorations and ring the changes.

You need

  • Heart shaped copper wreath - 12" size (available from florist supplies shops). Studio Members can buy the frames from us - please email.
  • Dogwood prunings (approximately 18 pieces - though it obviously depends on how full they are.)
  • 18 pieces of stem wire or flexible wire cut into 20 cm lengths
  • Secateurs

 

How to make

Pick the 6 sturdiest prunings - they should have straight flexible stems and then some brush bits at the top.

You are going to wire these onto the heart shape to form the base for the rest of your stems.

Jam 3 stems into the square of copper at the base of the frame them wire it in 2 places so that it follows the curve of the frame.

Jam another 3 stems going the other way and wire in place to form a heart shape. This is the most difficult part of the whole thing so take your time. Don't worry if the wire is showing at this point or if it isn't exactly heart shaped.

Wire in all the twigs so that you have a heart shaped dogwood framework on top of the copper frame. It doesn't need to cover it at this point.

wiring dogwood heart

making the framework dogwood wreath

Now use the rest of your dogwood to cover the frame, jamming the end of the stem in to secure and then wrapping round and round, tucking ends into the existing sticks.

adding in more twigs

weaving in dogwood sticks

Continue until you are happy with the fullness and shape of your heart - it can be as messy or neat as you like.

finished frame

Cut the stem ends neatly

cut stem ends

Add a hanging loop to the back by threading wire through the copper frame and twisting together to form a circle.

You can make the frame into more of a heart shape by forcing the centre of the top part down a bit - the copper will bend.

You can also add on decorations - ivy and berries or dried flowers - anything with a stalk will simply poke through the layers of dogwood and it will be held securely - something like ivy can be attached by making little hairpins out of wire and securing it with that.

dogwood heart with hydrangea

dogwood heart with ivy

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Small runs.⁠⠀
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The single thing that has made the most difference in Snapdragon Life's eco-footprint over the past 9 months has been choosing only to make small runs of products.⁠⠀
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I know that can be frustrating sometimes - people get upset when something sells out.  @amandabanhamceramics wrote about this recently - how she received frustrated, sometimes even nasty, emails after every online sale of her houses.⁠⠀
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Once upon a time I would make 100s, sometimes even 1000s, of a single design. ⁠Now I make 10 or 20 or 30 of something. ⁠⠀
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And that is it. ⁠Once they are gone they are gone.⁠⠀
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⁠The photo is of some allium embroidered lavender cushions, embroidered onto C19th handwoven linen - part of the Just Breathe gift set - a limited edition of 20. ⁠⠀
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Half have sold.⁠⠀
A big sky and a bright pond for the end of the working week.⁠⠀
#lochlomond
This week I've been setting aside time to make things.⁠ It has felt grounding in the way that gardening is when we aren’t ankle deep in mud. Carefully chosen materials, working with my hands, concentrating. ⠀
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These patches of antique linen, embroidered with the dark lines of allium seed heads, are for a new batch of the 'Just Breathe' gift sets which should be up on the website tomorrow.⁠⠀
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years before I learned to draw with a pen. ⁠⠀
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In many ways I still find it easier - as though there were something backwards in my head that is happier thinking in reverse.⁠⠀
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At the weekend I read Anne Lamott's 'Almost Everything: Notes on Hope' - a book written in 2018, ⁠⠀
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I copied out this quote ⁠⠀
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Oh this linen from @scottishlinen is wonderful to embroider on.  It has inspired me to try something I have been meaning to do for ages.⁠⠀
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All Summer I have been decorating order boxes with mugs and flowers.  I must have done a few hundred by now, the initial of the customer on the mug, fine liner on card.⁠⠀
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This rustic version - with a tie make from linen offcuts - is the 15 minute activity going out in tomorrow's Studio Club email.
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Earlier this year, I moved back into the Studio full time and she came with me. To begin with it was fine, she was mainly outside and the doors were open.  She spent her days lying across the Studio threshold and watching out for trespassing pheasants.⁠⠀
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Birds stripped the orange rowan berries within a couple of days, but these yellow ones were still hanging bright against the grey.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

Learn more about why here

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