It’s May Day! Did you leave little secret gifts for your friends and neighbors? I still remember receiving an anonymous basket made out of orange construction paper filled with popcorn at our front door with a sweet little handwritten note that said Happy May Day. I think we heard our giggling neighbors running back across the street to their house so the secret was out, but the tradition over the years went on. Every year on this day, I can’t help but think of my dear friend Johnny and that homemade construction paper basket he made me. For years I had almost forgotten about May Day and the tradition of leaving little gifts. But then when we lived in our first house and our sweet neighbor left us a little gift out of the blue without a note or any reason, I remembered what day it was and back to my childhood and the reason for the sweet little basket of goodies. Every year after that, the girls and I would construct some sort of little gift for our neighbors. They are never anything big or expensive, just little things to say hello and we’re glad you are in our lives! Our youngest daughter thinks it’s just a day all about her since we call her Mae for short. She’s been so excited all week for May Day. I keep telling her it’s the first day of the month of May, but she insists the day is all about her. With May and springtime and flowers on the mind, I thought I’d share a little wreath I made for some friends of ours. They just moved into their first house and I thought I’d surprise them with a wreath for their front door. It’s such an exciting time for them and they deserve a warm welcome each time they walk up to their front door.
I’m not trained in floral arrangement, I’ve just always made my own wreaths and floral arrangements over the years. I learned from my momma who pretty much finds a way to do anything herself. From building and laying stones on an outdoor fireplace to making her own floral designs, she does it all. I love that about her! In keeping with a Clark W. Griswold type of quote, “Mom, you taught me everything I know about floral arrangement.” The main reason why my mom has always made her own floral arrangements is due to the cost savings. If you check out the prices on those pretty little pieces in craft stores, in gift shops, and online and realize how easy it is to make your own, you’ll be ready to make your own creations too!
For this wreath, I chose a grapevine wreath as the base. It’s pre made and all ready to be enhanced by whatever flowers and items you choose. I also like a grapevine over a wire wreath base because you don’t need as many flowers and filler on a grapevine wreath. This helps speed up the project time and keeps the cost down. I knew I wanted to have burlap on the wreath since it’s classic and goes with anything, but I didn’t want the entire wreath to be made out of burlap. So I picked up a grapevine wreath, the burlap ribbon and then had to decide on the colors and flowers. I also picked up a letter ‘A’ to add to the wreath for their last name. I had never seen my friends’ house so I did a little drive by stalking view last weekend. Turns out, their front door is very similar to the color of our front door. A deep, warm brick red color. I decided to go with light yellow, white, and hints of bright green in the flowers. I decided to add more green and a little sassy black and natural chevron printed ribbon to keep the wreath fun and tie in with the black letter ‘A.’
Here’s a list of needed supplies:
1 Grapevine wreath. Mine was 18 inches.
Flowers of your choice. I try to get multi stemmed flowers rather than individual stemmed kinds due to cost and it makes it easier to construct the wreath. Smaller, bendable stems are easier to manipulate through the grapevine.
Ribbon of your choice. A ribbon with a little wire along the edge is easy to work with and create bows and designs. I did not care for the rigidness of the green striped ribbon I bought. It was very stiff, does not bend or crease when you need it to.
Good wire cutters
Scissors and a knife for separating flowers and removing price tags.
Jute or a good twine for your loop to hang the wreath.
Initial in wood or metal – optional
Little decorative pieces like birds, nests etc if you like that in your wreath – optional
For the wreath’s design, I wanted the flowers to kind of be on one corner of the wreath, and the letter ‘A’ to be on the opposite corner so I started by separating out the different stems, cutting them so they were mostly individual stems instead of a large bunch.
Once all the stems were cut, I laid them on the wreath in a rough draft of how I wanted it to look.
Then, I began weaving each stem or small bundle into the grapevine until it was secure. If needed, you can secure the stem in place with a little floral wire. I did this on a few that wanted to stick up instead of lay how I wanted them. I like to use short pieces of wire folded in half and doubled up so it’s quicker to secure the stems and the wire is a bit more sturdy.
Then, I added the burlap ribbon. I just wrapped it kind of loosely around the wreath, intertwined it through the stems and flowers and grapevine, covering some of the flowers, going behind other flowers until I had it right. I only wanted the ribbon the same side/corner as the flowers.
Then I folded the rough ends of the ribbon and secured both ends of the burlap ribbon to the grapevine on the back of the wreath with wire. Burlap is an easy ribbon to work with since you can just poke the wire through it to attach it to the grapevine.
Now it’s time for the bows. I’m not a big bow person but I think they help the overall look of the wreath and tie the ribbon and floral aspects all together. Using multiple types of ribbon helps add more color and texture to the wreath, as well. I liked the green ribbon because of the color, but had I known how rigid it was before I opened the package, I would have chosen something different. It worked out, but next time I will choose a different type of ribbon. I just made a loop a couple times with the green ribbon and made it wide enough that I would be able to put another bow in the center of the loop and tried to cinch it in the center as much as I could with floral wire.
Then, I made a bow with the thinner black and natural chevron burlap ribbon. I just did the same thing making a loop and cinching it in the center. I made this bow have longer tails hanging down so they would hang off of the wreath.
After I secured the center with wire, I wrapped a piece of the same ribbon around the center and tied it in a tight knot on the back side of the bow.
I separated the loops and “fluffed” the bow and trimmed the tails at an angle.
I secured the chevron bow to the larger green bow with wire.
I wrapped a final piece of chevron ribbon around the center of the bows and around the wreath to hide the wire and I tied it as tight as I could in a knot on the back of the wreath.
I then attached the letter ‘A’ to the front of the wreath. It had a picture hanger attached to the back of the letter so I wired that to the grapevine where I wanted it and added a little Jute twine at the top of the letter for looks and to help hide the wire.
After I attached the letter, I wasn’t happy with the placement so I took it off and re attached it.
The final touch is to add a little hanger to the center of the back of the wreath. I just looped a little Jute twine and secured with a strong knot. I’ve also used wire here before, but the Jute seemed strong enough.
Here’s the finished wreath!
I hope they like it! I had planned to make a little flower arrangement with my leftover flowers since I bought extra and a new pretty vase. The plan was to place this on the desk somewhere, but I liked how it looked on my little entryway table so I think I’ll keep it there. Below, I just sat it on the floor for the picture so the flowers would stand out better against the wall color.
I just separated some of the stems, some I kept in small bunches. Trimmed off the bottoms to the desired height and added them to the vase. I had laid some rocks in the bottom of the vase to help prevent it from tipping over.
Here it is in it’s resting spot. This is a special spot indeed. This table was my grandma and grandpa’s. In their house it was in their upstairs bathroom. For many years, that drawer held my grandma’s sponge rollers and head wrap that she wore every night to bed. Sometimes I stick my nose in the drawer and sniff as hard as I can and I swear I can still smell traces of their wonderful memory filled house. I feel so lucky to have this table and it will always have a special place wherever our home may be.
Have a wonderful May Day!
Here are our little gifts to be delivered to our neighbors this morning!