Make your own Christmas wreath – I did!

Each year I make my own Christmas wreath to hang on our front door. There are tonnes of beautiful wreaths out there to buy, but I always find they are a bit expensive and they are never quite how you want them to be. Plus, I enjoy making my own one and I get a lot of pleasure out of making a gorgeous wreath for everyone to see when they come to the door. You might have found the thought of making your own Christmas wreath a bit daunting, but I promise, if I can do it, anyone can! The main point here, is that you have fun with it, and I’m a fan of anything which looks rustic at Christmas anyway.

I have been doing this for a while now, so I have all the bits I need, but there are a couple of things you will need to buy before you get started:

  • Wreath ring; the one I have is 20 inches across, but it will depend how big your door is as to what size you will need. Take a look at the one I have from Amazon, here.
  • Binding wire; this is the wire florists use to make their arrangements. I tend to go for wire like this, it’s dark so you can’t see it.
  • Wreath hook; trying to hang thig on the front of your door with a piece of string will be a complete nightmare (I promise, I tried) so a wreath hook like this is what it’s all about.

It’s important to have an idea of the kind of look you want to achieve before-hand. You need to think about the kind of foliage you are going to use and how you are going to decorate it. I tend to keep mine pretty simple, but you can add as much to it as you like.

Here are a few photos of ideas I have seen online that I think are super cute:

I mostly use ivy in my wreath, and there are a couple of reasons for this. One being that our garden is full of it, so I don’t have to go trekking high and low to find it. I also really like the different colours in the ivy and the different sizes of leaves – this helps it hang nicely on your wreath ring. It’s also very easy to work with as it’s so bendy and flexible.

I decorated it with a red bow made out of a length of red ribbon and some pinecones. I used to use holly when I first started doing this, but we have a door knocker instead of a bell and I got a few complaints about people being speared in the hand when they tried to knock on the door (all part of the fun I say).

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you can see the holly issue 

Once you have sourced all your bits and bobs to decorate your wreath with, head out into the cold and cut yourself some foliage. If you want to use bits of Christmas tree; head to your local seller and ask if they have any bits you can use that have been cut off or have fallen off. If you notice a holly tree in someone’s garden, knock on the door and ask if you can cut a sprig or two off the bottom – most people have been more than happy for me to do this in my experience. And you can always rummage around in the garden of friends and family for bits of tree.

The first time you do this, you will have no idea how much you need. But, to give you an idea, I used about 20 lengths of ivy which were about 1 foot or a foot and a half long. I headed out to the garden in my sexy plastic gardening clogs and dressing gown, and released a tree from the clutches of a load of ivy, and headed back inside.

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I cut off some lengths of binding wire, between 2 and 3 inches in length. I make sure I have these ready, as by the time you are grappling with branches and wreath rings, you don’t want to be snipping up bits of wire.

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I start off with some thicker bits of ivy to give myself a bit of a base and some coverage. Plus, it’s easier to wind your wire round these big bits when there is nothing else on your wreath ring. I hold the ivy up to the wreath ring, then bend a length of wire around the ivy and twist the wire together at the back to hold it in place.

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I keep going round and round in circles until my wreath ring is completely covered, and I don’t have any bare patches. At this point I then go and put it on the door. This gives you the opportunity to take a step back and make sure you are happy with your wreath. I often see parts that need a bit more added or a bit taking away. If one bit has too many leaves, you can snip off any you don’t want.

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Once I’m happy, I add my decorations. This year I only wanted to add a couple of pine cones at the bottom and a big bow, but you can add holly, baubles, ribbons, or even some battery-operated lights! The opportunities are endless with your wreath! Last year I used holly, some extra red berries and a little robin (who I couldn’t find this year). I wanted it to look a bit wild and unkempt this year, and I think I achieved that. Next year I am sure it will look completely different and I will be coming at you with something that doesn’t even look remotely similar. If you want to make your own wreath and you do have a go at it, please let me know how it goes!

Bonnie

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DIY: ripped jeans

I wanted some ripped jeans, but A) I can never seem to find any I like, B) if I manage to find some I like, they never fit, and C) I feel like paying for jeans with holes in, is a rip off (literally). The other day I bought some new black jeans as my other ones were a bit on the faded side, so I decided I would make my old black jeans into ripped jeans. If you want to learn how to make your own ripped jeans, then I will warn you – this is no comprehensive guide. In fact, this probably more of a description of how not to do it.

But, I was pretty sure this was a good idea, because it’s thrifty, I could have them exactly how I wanted them and they would be one of a kind, and I really like wearing and having things that no one else has. Making my own ripped jeans – what could go wrong?

I had no idea how to go about this, so instead of looking it up or watching a helpful Youtube video on the matter, I decided to go straight in with it and “use the force”. I thought about using scissors to do it, but I decided a Stanley knife would probably be easier and work better. My thinking on this was that I would end up with strange angled, and very straight slices on my jeans, and I wanted more of a “rough” look.

Original jeans

I got up a photo of some ripped jeans I liked the look of and used that as a reference, and I just started attacking my legs with a Stanley knife (clearly safety was not a concern for me). I started off with the rip on my right knee. I pinched the fabric so I didn’t slice my kneecap off, and punctured the fabric with the Stanley knife. I widened the rip so it was nearly reaching the seams, but not quite. I wanted the hole to be quite big and to have a fair bit of knee on show (oioi), so I made another puncture a couple of cm down and extended that until it met up with the sides of the previous rip. I kept doing this until the hole was big enough and basically my entire right knee was out.

Next, I did the rip on my left thigh; making sure it was in the right place, I pinched the fabric and made the incision. At this point, I got a little bit more nervous about actually hacking into my flesh and puncturing a vital blood vessel, but that still didn’t stop me. I informed a few mates that I was doing risky things with knives (just in case the worst case to the worst, they would at least know what happened and would be able to tell my parents it wasn’t intentional) and I felt a bit better. I kept widening the rip until I had achieved the desired size, and I moved on to the next rip.

The next one was the top of my right thigh, and I repeated the process. I then decided I wanted to be pure gansta and make a rip where the front pocket on my left thigh was, so I could be super cool and have the pocket lining poking out the hole. This needed a much bigger hole than I had ever thought (turns out there is quite a lot of pocket). I took it a little bit too far, and now I need to be a bit careful about which pants I wear – because if I wear my Bridget Jones knickers you will be able to see them through the pocket hole… But no matter, I shall wear uncomfortable pants, because I am told fashion hurts. And I am a fashionista to the core (I’m not).

I decided I needed a bit of hole action in the shin area, because it was all looking a bit smart below the knee, so I poked some holes (very haphazardly) in the shin area. I had to take off my jeans to do this, because there was no way I could poke holes with a knife without poking holes in myself. I expanded the holes a bit and made sure they looked nice and rough. Perfect!

I made some more small holes on the back of my right calf, because I always think ripped jeans look insane when they are perfectly preserved at the back. It looks like whatever caused the rips at the front just didn’t bother to scuff up the back. Like, you got mauled by a bear and at no point did it come into contact with the back of your jeans? I think not. Anyway, I did another rip on the back of my right leg in the thigh area, about half way between my knee and my butt.

I thought I would go all out and make these super saucy jeans (no ketchup, just sauce), and make a rip pretty close to my right butt crease. It’s not high enough up so you can actually see right butt crease, but it’s closer than not close at all.

I’m not going to lie, I am pretty damn pleased with how these turned out. I had visions of accidentally ripping too much, and ending up with a strange pair of shorts. Or one normal leg and one really short leg. Yeah, I probably should have done a bit of research before I started, but I was confident in just going for it. This was probably down to these jeans being super old, and the fact that they would have ended up in the bin anyway, so if it went horribly wrong, it didn’t really matter. I almost think that if I had thought about it too much, it probably would have been a whole lot worse, and I took it slowly, so it was fine.

My top tips for making your own ripped jeans:

  • Have a photo you can copy
  • Make small rips at first – you can always make them bigger but you can’t make them smaller
  • Add some rips to the back so they look a bit more original

I am looking forward to wearing these – I think I am going to team them with my new burgundy fishnet tights. So, I will probably look like a very festive prostitute (ho ho ho), but equally I don’t care, because I have my very own ripped jeans, and you do not. Please, refer to me as the new Alexander Mcqueen from now on, as I am pure fashion and sooooooo extra (not).

Alex