Lamb’s Ear Wreath Centerpiece

My lamb’s ear wreath idea turned into a wreath centerpiece! 🙂 Flattening the leaves ended up making my wreath too flimsy. If any of you happened to try this out, here’s another way you can use it, as a centerpiece. I have not tried making one of these wreaths without flattening the leaves, but maybe you would have better success doing it that way and letting the leaves curl up a bit and dry naturally. That will be another experiment for me one day! I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes, but glad that it can be used for something else. If you still would like to know how I ended up creating this idea (by accident), here’s a slideshow of the steps.

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When you start your wreath, layer the second leaf over the first at an angle. Keep layering. When you get to your last leaf just pick up the leaf you first glued and lay it over the last one. Then all of your leaves will have that layered look. I actually like how it turned out, but not as a wreath to hang. This centerpiece could be made with some flattened and dried autumn leaves as well. Have fun!

Lamb’s Ear Wreath Prep.

If you or someone you know has lamb’s ear plants, they can be used to make a wreath for the holidays, Thanksgiving or Christmas. With frost gradually settling in here in the South, this is something you’ll want to take advantage of now before the leaves are completely destroyed. (If you like the idea!) It may be a bit late for my northern friends, though. With only one or two lamb’s ear plants, one can cut more than enough leaves for this project. Of course, you’ll want to snip the leaves that don’t have holes in them. Pruning the plant a little now will not affect its growth later, as pruning will still need to occur in the early spring after the last predicted frost.

Preparing the wreath can be done by drying and flattening the leaves or you can make the wreath immediately. If you make the wreath right away, the leaves will dry out and curl up a bit. I decided to try flattening and drying mine in a big ol’ book.

Any heavy books will do. I unfolded a napkin and laid the lamb’s ear on one side. I then folded over the top half of the napkin over the leaves. As you can see, there are many napkins hanging out of the book. Place some more weight on top and check your leaves every couple of days until you think they’re ready for your wreath. When the leaves are ready, I’m planning on using a free piece of cardboard, shaped like a doughnut, from my recycling bin. I’ll just glue the leaves onto that. A free and cheap craft idea is always nice!

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I’m hoping it may look something like this when all said and done. (Photo of wreath via Pinterest)  Mine is not completed yet because I wanted to give you, my friends, time to gather your leaves before they’re all dead! I’ll show you how my wreath turns out soon. Praise God for giving us beautiful things in nature to inspire us! With the possibilities being pretty much endless, He allows us to create beautiful things for our homes to enjoy.

Wait for Fall Part 2

It worked! The mums have returned! After “pinching” or cutting my chrysanthemums back at the end of July, I wasn’t sure they would be back for fall or not. If you haven’t read Part 1 and would like to catch up, the post is entitled “Wait for Fall”. The best time to start this pinching back process is in the spring, which can result in a nicely rounded, heavily bloomed mum plant. Trimming every couple of months, but not too far past July 4th, will give you many more blooms on your plant.

IMG_0791[1] The only thing I wish I had thought of when cutting back was the actual shaping of the plant. Well, now I can experiment with that next spring. It is possible to get the mum plants looking like those beautifully shaped one’s that are sold in the stores.  Right? We shall see! Below, you can see where I had made a cutting toward the end of July and how many stems and blooms are now surrounding the cutting.

 

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Here is a picture of what the mum plants look like now.

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There are definitely more blossoms this year as a result. I hope this helps give some helpful hints on making your plants look fuller and more beautiful. I think it’s awesome that God gives us ways to make things even more beautiful. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” 🙂

Welcoming Gate

We are blessed with chain link fencing in our neighborhood from the 1960’s. Some may not see this as a good thing, but it does save us money from having to buy new fencing. Part of me almost likes the aged “rustiness” that it holds. In my attempt to beautify areas of the fencing, God has helped me out with some beautiful Morning Glory that just happened to be growing near the gate. Morning Glory is known for its heart-shaped leaves and climbing abilities. If you have a fence, shed, barn, or gate, any of these are perfect homes for Morning Glory and a grapevine wreath.

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The Morning Glories are welcoming a new day as sunlight spills into the yard.

The great thing about these grapevine wreaths is that they are only about $3 or $4, and you can find them at Michael’s and Walmart. The dried grapevine is practical and durable for being displayed through all seasons. Wreaths are used on front doors to welcome others into our homes, but they can also be used outside on an old gate, like this.

After living in our house for almost eight years, I hadn’t thought of this until this summer. One day I was walking up our driveway and thought ‘a wreath would look great on that gate.’  I attached the wreath with a couple of plastic zip ties.I am all for trying to find inexpensive ways to beautify our home. Maybe this little nugget of inspiration will give you some ideas for creating a welcoming space in or outside of your home on a budget. Blessings! 🙂

Wait for Fall

One of the many delights that I love about Autumn is seeing the chrysanthemums (mums) beginning to bloom in my garden. This is the first year, for me, that they have decided to show up early. Don’t get me wrong; I love to see them blooming. But, they’re ALL blooming! Wait for Fall!

Now, it is a joy and blessing to be able to create a pretty table setting such as this. However, I am concerned that the blooms will not show their brilliance this fall. I’m a gardener in training by learning from my own mistakes and experiences. This is another lesson for me, the novice, and maybe a helpful IMG_0796[1] tidbit of information for my other fellow gardeners out there. I have heard of “pinching back” mums, but I literally thought that meant to just “pinch” the dead flower buds off. Apparently, I was wrong. Big surprise! Haha! I did a little research and found that you can pinch the stem underneath the clusters of flowers or simply, cut the stem which is much easier, in my opinion. (See below)

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You basically cut off the base from which each set of flowers are forming. Cutting off the top of the stem should encourage two stems to grow in its place producing double the amount of buds. Now, a lot of people try to do this around July 4th so there is plenty of warm weather left  for regrowth. In the South, I believe there is. This is sort of an experiment for me because it’s obviously past July 4th, but only by three weeks or so. It’s actually kind of scary because I don’t want to ruin the plants. I guess I have to take the chance and just see what happens.

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Here is what they look like now. (Sniffle, sniffle) I still have more to do, but I felt like I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion as temps. are rising into the 90’s today. Haha! I am looking forward to seeing how they will turn out. Hopefully, I’m not too late. After reading a little more information on caring for mums, I’ve learned that it’s best to start the pinching back process in the spring. I hope to give an update in the fall that will be amazing!  For now, we’ll enjoy the clippings as we sit around the kitchen table. 🙂