Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and I are hosting our own Reverb11, a series of prompts to look back on 2011 and manifest the new year.  Please check our Reverb11 pages for details, and join in!

Prompt for December 17: Make: What did you make this year that you’re proud of?  Was it a success, or did it flop and you learned something about how to make it better next time?  Do you have any special handmade projects planned for next year?

I never thought I was very “crafty.”  And then someone pointed out that I have a drawer in my sideboard devoted to craft supplies.  Just the classics — construction paper, markers, crayons, pipe cleaners, glow sticks, a life-sized party poster of Justin Bieber, etc.  For the brunches and dinners that I host, I generally make some kind of party give-away.

I guess I am sort of crafty.

Exhibit A:

(Bags of candy tied with ribbons and fresh gerbera daisies…please ignore the basket of cleaning supplies in the corner)

Exhibit B:

(Mini mason jars of homemade cranberry granola tied with packets of Advil.  These were given out after a fairly boozy dinner.  I didn’t have any fabric so I used some geometric cocktail napkins to top the jars.)

But the thing I made this year of which I was MOST proud was my ludicrous St. Lucia Wreaths for St. Lucia Winesday last week.  We were full up on Swedes and low on wreaths.  What was a hostess to do?


I told eee what I was going to do.  She looked at me like I was nuts.

Just trust my vision! I admonished.

Behold: another tutorial from hell.

In order to make a St Lucia wreath, you will need the following:

Construction paper, pipe cleaners, packing tape, scissors, garland (optional, but worth it), and a willingness to look silly.

Wine helps, also.  Particularly with the “willingness to look silly” bit.  Additionally, if you are located in a country where Pandora is available, I recommend the “Christmas Radio” station, with Michael Buble (holiday); Rosemary Clooney (holiday); and Carpenters (holiday) artist seeds.

If you are working only with Spotify, then Michael Buble holiday is the way to go.

I digress.  We are making headdresses here.

Step One:

Cut a piece of construction paper in half, width wise, and tape the length of it with clear packing tape.

Step Two:

Take a pipe cleaner (any colour; I used up all of my red, yellow, gold, silver, etc.).

Bend it into a teardrop shape.  Twist the ends into the teardrop.

Step Three:

Insert the teardrop into the construction paper candle.  Take a sip of wine.  Admire your handiwork.  Then repeat this four times.  Go easy on the “sip of wine” part as you repeat.  (NB: you will repeat all steps four times.)

Step Four:

Technically Steps Four and Four-and-a-Half.  Fold a piece of packing tape into a loop, and affix to the “candle.”  Wrap it around the candle; cut a length of garland, and wrap it around the candle, making sure it sticks fast to the tape.  (At this point, I was fighting mightily with my DSLR — the Nikon was MUCH more impressed with my advent wreath than the St Lucia Wreath.  Fact: I love candlesticks.  I kept every last pair in my divorce.)

Step Five:

I was out of green construction paper by the time I shot this tutorial.  Fold a length of construction paper into thirds.  Measure your head.  It may take 3 sheets of paper.  Tape them together.  Then cover the paper with garland. (NB: you do NOT have to repeat this step!)

Step Six:

This step is slightly more complicated.  In order to stick the “candles” to the “wreath” you must thread a length of packing tape from inside the bottom of the candle, through the inside of the wreath, and up on to the top side of the candle.  Go ahead.  Give it a shot.  Cut a long-ish strip of tape and try it.  It may take a few tries.

If necessary, to make the candles stand straight, wrap tape around the candle, too.  Adjust tension of the tape as necessary.

If you’ve followed all of these steps, and you’re not too drunk by now, you’ve got yourself one of these gems:

I was so proud of these that eee and I wore them out as she walked to the subway and I walked the dog.

I am good at making things — which I had never believed before.  I can cook; I can make crafts.  I can put together gifts, and dinners, and desserts.  I’d never trusted that about myself.  I’d dated men whose mothers were restauranteurs and I could never measure up.  I’d dwelt in a land where girls scrapbooked and had beautiful things to show for their crafting efforts.

My one scrapbook looks like shit.  I can’t cook a fried chicken, nor do I want to.  But it hadn’t occurred to me, until this year, to make what I wanted, and to trust that what I made was good enough.


Leave a Comment

  1. Despite the fact that I am relatively clueless about what the future may hold, I am 100% positive that I will never, ever be involved in a scrapbooking circle. Trying to find my way around the pictures and the stickers/paper during my college sorority days was a special ring of hell.

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