We are lucky to have some truly amazing parks and nature preserves in and around Lewis Center.
Not only are Delaware county’s Preservation Parks all beautiful places to hike, immerse yourself in nature and take photographs, but the parks district also offers wonderful hands-on programs and events.
(I may be a tiny bit biased since I am on the Preservation Parks Foundation board.)
This week, I got to participate in the Preservation Parks’ annual wreath-making workshop with our almost 13-year-old daughter.
While Z and I used to take classes and do crafts together all the time, it can be tough to find fun activities to capture the interest and engagement of a discerning tween or teen. That’s why I’m so delighted that I signed us up for this Thanksgiving weekend wreath-making workshop.
Z and I both had a great time learning how to make gorgeous wreaths with fresh and dried natural materials like fir branches, holly sprigs, greens and many other snippets of local foliage.
Z immediately gifted her wreath to a family friend while mine will grace our dining room table throughout the holidays.
These fresh fir wreaths look and smell amazing! Our Preservation Parks instructors said they will likely last until February if kept outside in the cold, or just through the month of December if brought into our warm, dry homes.
I love that not only did we get to make these gorgeous wreaths in the beautiful setting of Shale Hollow park‘s community room, but we’ll keep the skills we learned and be able to make more natural wreaths in the future.
To make the wreaths, we started with wire wreath frames and a few simple tools: floral wire and pruning shears. We used white fir as our base layer because it is both soft and fragrant; I will say, though, that it was pretty sticky work. The resin or sap from the cut branches got all over us, but it is easily cleaned up using hand sanitizer.
We spread our first layer of fir branches on our wire forms and began wrapping with the floral wire, about half an inch between each wire loop. Our instructors told us to wrap loosely, rather than too tight – that’s because after we wrapped each branch, we then untucked bunches of soft pine needles to cover up the wire and give the wreaths a “fluffier” look.
After making it all the way around our wreath, we didn’t cut the floral wire. Instead, we kept on going around again, wrapping and tucking as we went. This time, we added another layer of fir as well as other natural materials to bring in color and texture.
Adorning the wreaths with finishing touches was my favorite part – and everyone in our workshop did it a little differently! There were no two wreaths the same. Z’s looked as perfect and symmetrical as something purchased from a floral designer, while mine had a relaxed, Bohemian feel to it.
To finish up the wreath, you simply fasten the floral wire at the back and add a loop for hanging it if you want one. It’s a pretty simple process and one I can’t wait to do again soon. The wreath-making possibilities are endless – just take it from Martha Stewart herself!
If you’re interested in taking this popular “make and take” class from Preservation Parks, mark your calendar for next fall and be sure to watch the website or pick up the seasonal programs brochure at your favorite park. The cost of the workshop is $15 per person and you do need to register in advance. We signed up in October for the late November class, as it fills up pretty quickly each year.
Have you ever made your own wreath from natural materials, or have you taken other fun classes from the Preservation Parks naturalists? I’d love to hear your nature craft stories in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.