How to make a willow Christmas door wreath
- Credit: Pics; John Cocks
Dee Ballard of Willow & Hare Country Crafts shows you how to make a stunning wreath for your front door
Take a long piece of willow (thin "whippy" pieces are easier to work with). The base should be no thicker than your little finger, flex and bend it to encourage it into an arc. Then with the base end pointing up to the left, wind the tip round and in front of the base and secure it with a zip tie. Wrap the tip end around the willow ring you have created.
Take your second piece of willow, start by putting in the ring centre, with the base end pointing up the left and put your first wrap at roughly the opposite place of the zip tie, wind round, tuck in the tip and thread though. Continue the same process with further pieces of willow until you have reached your desired thickness. Secateur the thick ends at the back of the wreath. You may wish to leave some of the untucked for a "Catherine Wheel" effect.
Decide which part of the wreath you wish to have on show or cover with foliage. Wrap the floral wire round three times and pull tight to secure. Then create a sprig of foliage with a long stem of 2-3 inches. Lie your first frond pointing into the wreath, wrap over three times at the base of the foliage and top of the stem. Take your next sprig and alternate lying them diagonally across the wreath, in and out. Stop just where you want your bow. Leave a space of maximum of one inch where the foliage stops and the stems meet. Any larger and the stems and wire work will be visible.
Repeat the process of wiring foliage onto the wreath at the other side so both sides nearly meet. Trim any visible stems. Finish with your bow, ribbon and battery powered outdoor lights if you wish, hang and then get ready to bask in compliments about your beautifully decorated front door. For video guidance on how to make professional looking bows visit Dee's website, followthehare.co.uk
Dee Ballard didn't like farms when she was a young girl; the family would stay at a caravan at Carnforth and she'd gag at the farmyard smells. Even when she'd grown up she showed no sign of a desire to live a rural life.
But all that changed when she turned her back on a career in accountancy to marry a Lancashire dairy farmer and she now lives in the farmhouse he built at Ellel near Lancaster.
As a lifelong crafter, she has thrown herself into countryside life and leads workshops using natural resources to create beautiful things for the home and - at this time of year - a range of festive decorations.
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'I never dreamed I would marry a farmer, it was a true 'love in the countryside' style love affair,' she said. 'When I became a farmer's wife it was to the total amazement of my city friends and professional work colleagues.
'The country life is stealthily addictive. I'm currently growing my own flock of sheep from two orphan lambs we adopted the other year. My nose has become accustomed. I no longer notice any smell and find it amusing when visitors find it hard to deal with.
'At the farm we have plentiful natural resources and an appreciation of age old techniques and traditions. Living at the farm, my crafting developed into a love of using nature to create something beautiful, using the wheat from our fields to make wheatsheafs and using blackberries from our hedgerows to make jam.'
Here, Dee shows you how to make a stunning wreath for your front door. Much of the greenery she has used came from the grounds of Ellel Hall and the willow is from a community field, but the materials can be found in garden and by countryside paths all over the county, or at garden centres.
Dee is running wreath making workshops on December 8th at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe, holmesmill.co.uk. For more information on Dee's talks, demonstrations and workshops (with discounts for PTFAs and charity organisations) go to followthehare.co.uk.