Thomas J. Story
4 EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT WREATH
"I especially like simple, monochromatic wreaths made entirely from one material and accented with a satin ribbon for hanging," she says. Fragrant bay leaves and sculptural oak branches are among her favorite indigenous materials. The effect is fresh and welcoming ― seasonal decor that showcases the bounty of the landscape.
Step 1: Gather the greenery
Choose long-lasting materials that grow in your area ― cedar or Douglas fir in the Northwest, spruce in the mountains, or pine in the Southwest, for example.
Feller's favorites, in order of preference: eucalyptus (it stays fresh-looking the longest), oak (for its branches), bay, and magnolia.
For subtle accents, she uses berries, seedpods, and herbs. "Rosemary grows almost wild in our area," she says.
Step 2: Bundle the foliage
Cut greenery snippets about 6 inches long, then gather them into 10 to 12 small but full bunches.
Wrap the stem ends of each bundle tightly with 24- or 26-gauge paddle wire, available at craft stores.
Step 3: Attach bundle to ring
Feller prefers 10-inch wreath frames, called clamp rings ($2.99; save-on-crafts.com or 831/768-8428); they're strong and have 10 evenly spaced clamps to hold bundles of greens in place.
Secure one bunch at a time, closing the clamp over stem ends with your hands or a pair of pliers.
Step 4: Work around the ring
Continue attaching greenery, one bunch at a time, to the ring, moving in one direction around the circle.
Each bundle should slightly overlap the previous one.
Attach ribbon or raffia for hanging the wreath.
Resources: Mercedes Feller's wreaths (from $49 for 15-in. circle) are available at Tiller Digs, Corte Madera, CA (415/927-1266; no mail order), and Organic Bouquet.