Monday, December 8, 2008


I took this from the county property down near Haven Beach. It was a beautiful day, one of the last days I had before I became permanently encrusted with pine sap.

Welcome to the very first installment of Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Guide to Home Decorating. Today we begin with how to make a homemade wreath in 17 easy steps.

1. Procure the greenery. This is the most fun part of all. Take your clippers and march out the door to the pine and cedar trees in your yard and start snipping away. Do not wear gloves, and do this on the coldest day of the year.
2. After the greenery is cut, drag it to a central location, such as your front steps. Sit and stare at the pile for ten minutes realizing you have no idea how to make a wreath.
3. Decide you need some string to tie the greenery together. You see that you have none.
4. Go to the internet and do some searches on homemade wreaths. See that most instructions call for some flower wire and a glue gun. Realize you have neither and refuse to go out to get some.
5. Go back outside and stare at the pile of greenery for another five minutes.
6. Go back inside into your closet. Cuss like a sailor when you trip over an Easter basket or a vacuum cleaner cord or a dead body but be thankful that the mounds of clothes on the floor serve as a safety net to cushion your fall.
7. Grab two wire coat hangers. Pat yourself on the back because you have a grand idea, and you’re starting to think you’ve turned into Martha Stewart!
8. Go back outside. Pull the wire hanger into a circular shape. Except it will not form a circular shape, so just be fine with the oblong diamond shape that it forms. This is a primitive wreath, after all.
9. Take the pine limbs and start wrapping them around the wire. Keep doing this until your eyes are crossed and there is no feeling left in your fingers.
10. Look down and realize there is pine sap on your shirt, your pants and all over your hands. Ignore it for now.
11. Look at the finished product. Declare yourself a Martha Stewart. A Martha Stewart who has sustained severe trauma to the head.
12. Go back in the house and leave the pile of cedar and pine limbs right where you put them, which is on your front step. Leave the clippers there too. Leave the ribbons you brought out thinking you were going to put them on your masterpiece. Leave the extension cord and the outdoor lights you thought you might put up. Leave it all and dash inside because your hands are about to drop off.
13. Wash frozen hands to get pine sap off. Dry. Wash them again with Joy Ultra because regular soap does not get pine sap off. Dry. Wash them with sulfuric acid because nothing gets pine sap off.
13. Realize after the soapy water hits your arms that the cedar and pine needles have scratched them to pieces.
14. Sit down at the computer to ease your stress.
15. Realize there is now pine sap all over your keyboard.
16. Make note to self which says this: Dear Self, never again.
17. Call Chesapeake Bay Mother and ask her to make you some homemade wreaths.

The End.


abb said...

Think I'll just call the florist and suffer the cost, 'k?

Val said...

You Are The Best.... hehe... thanksx

Angela said...

Hahahaha, can`t stop laughing!! That`s just what I did when my kids were little and I tried to impress them with home-made decorations...and I learned NEVER even to attempt it again. There are so nice things you can buy.

Ellen said...

FYI - baby oil will take the sap off - I've made a lot of wreaths.

I must say, I loved your description of wreath making. Next you should rate the pain level based on the type of greens used. My dad always uses the blue spruce from the front yard - it's like trying to work with razor wire.

Anonymous said...

I just stick with running cedar. You can wrap that stuff around anything.....and it's easy to pull out of the ground. No sap.

Wanna come over for a day of wreath making & wine drinking??? Maybe we'll just skip the wreath part....

Meg McCormick said...

MUWAHAHAHA! Wish I had been there. Do we get to see a photo?

We marched out in the bitter cold on Saturday to Saw Down a Fresh Christmas Tree. Success! Inside, where we paid, there was a wall full of fresh ("fresh") greenery wreaths, but upon closer inspection of one tag, it turns out they had been trucked in from... Maine. So, I think I will have to make one of my own. Got any extra greenery??

Mental P Mama said...

For some reason, this post made me want some wine.

Unknown said...

I too have cuts and scratches all up and down my arms from wrestling with my wreath and tree.

Cant't they make artificial trees and wreaths out of softer materials?

Bear Naked said...

I have had a terrible wreath experience in my life also.
Perhaps one day I will be able to blog about it also, but not yet----still too painful.

Bear((( )))

tj said..."Hallelujah!" to this one CBW! lol... :oD Gosh, I did this yeaaaars ago thinkin' "makin' your own Christmas wreath, it's a good thing" - NOT! I wire wrapped my evergreen boughs together along with red ribbon, dried fruit and cedar boughs and when I was done I stood up on the front porch looking down on my creation only to go to pick it up and it kinda went into a figure-8... Why? Because bein' the big dummy that I am I wire tied the entire thing with no form on the back...sure it was in a perfect circle layin' on the porch floor but just don't try to hang it! lol... Lookin' back I prob' should've just scooted it over to the front door and left it lay there. Visitors would've remarked "oh, what a beautiful wreath but I wonder why she left it layin' on the porch?" lol... Needless to say it ended up on the ;o)

...I feel your pain here girl... I only wished I had a kind, sweet, endearing Mother livin' next door to me who would make my Christmas wreath (*wink*wink*)... ;o)

...Great post! Blessings... :o)

tj said...

...Oh btw, glad you enjoyed the "cookie recipe" CBW. Just lemme kno' if you would rather not receive that kind of stuff...m'k? :o)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie, Roger that, you're far better off.

Val - Thank YOU for taking the time to read.

Angela - In conjunction with the light fiasco, which I'm telling tomorrow (I think, I haven't checked yet), this hereby ends my home decorating career.

Ellen - Thank you for that tip on the baby oil. I knew there had to be something to get it off. The pain was excruciating - cedar is the worst. Splinters.

BHE - I'm in. Definitely.

Meg - Love the new 'do. I've got more greenery than you can shake a stick at. Or a raised fist.

MPM - You and me both.

GJ - Everything is difficult, nothing can be easy. I've decided.

Bear - You must tell us.

TJ - As talented and gifted as you are, I find it hard to believe you struggled with a wreath. You are artistic beyond words. And the day I am no longer on your distribution list is the day I'm driving to Missouri....I love hearing from you. That cookie recipe was classic.

OK. Time to feed animals who are getting ready to revolt since I was running late this morning before work and didn't have time to feed them....

Anonymous said...

My fingers hurt just reading this. I have made wreaths once. Once was enough to cause permanent trauma for the rest of my life. I now gladly pay someone else to suffer the trauma for me, so I don't have to.

I think Big Hair Envy has it right...skip the wreath making and make merry with the wine!

Golden To Silver Val said...

Trying to be 'like Martha' almost did me in one year. Never again. I either get it ready made or we don't have it. Its good for the economy. Yeah, yeah...that's it...good for economy. This post was a hoot. Sorry about your war wounds though (ouchie).

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Auds - I definitely learned my lesson. Never again. Same with outdoor lights, which I'll talk about tomorrow.

GTS Val - Martha is really harmful to one's health, I've decided. She needs to lower her standards to a more reasonable level. I think I need to start a TV show, book series and product line for the Un-Marthas amongst us. I'm perfect for the job. Nobody's more Un-Martha than I am.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Baby oil gets pine sap off? Oh, and to think I've been using gasoline all these years!


Meg McCormick said...

PS, we're gonna need Chesapeake Bay Mother's phone number so we can place our wreath orders... kthxbye!

Karen Deborah said...

awh sweetie with the right tools making a wreath is easy and pleasant. Your idea of gathering from the natural splendor around you is fabulous! If you start with a wreath mold, or a grapevine wreath something you can pick up cheaply at a hobby Lobby or a Michael s and you do need a little glue gun also cheap.
The main thing is not to burn your fingers! You simply add some hot glue to each piece as you stuff it into the mold, going around and adding as you like. It's a great idea and you DO have the eye of an artist. Just think maybe you can add some shellacked Fiddlers Crabs for a truly nautical theme! Try again!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Allie, I'm as surprised as you, and had never heard the baby oil remedy. Rest assured I won't forget about it though, especially the next time I go wrestlign with a pine tree.

Meg - I am not kidding when I say that Chesapeake Bay Mother can take magnolia leaves, cedar and pine clippings (from her yard) and make works of art. She wouldn't charge a dime. Ask me how I know....

KD - See, you have talent. I actually had one of those grapevine wreaths and was prepared to start shoving greenery into it, but I already knew what it would look like: something you'd place in the wood chipper.

Anonymous said...

Well, I made my own wreath this year out of artificial materials and I must say it looks terrific! And it sparkles with gold and silver.... Now, let's get back to the grand canyon thing....there I was by myself....needless to say, I grew up willing to tackle anything. I will not be left at the Grand Canyon....along... ever again!!

_Middle Sis

Anonymous said...

Meant to say I will not be left "alone"...not along....

Middle Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Dearest and Most Beloved Middle Sister,

You have far more talent than I in the category of art, and there is no doubt in my mind that your wreath is precious. I still wear the T-shirt you gave of a person going over hurdles, and I am seriously not kidding when I say I love it. In fact, y'all can bury me in it over there at Smithers. But this is neither here nor there...we did not leave you at the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon was indeed a very traumatic --and unforgettable --experience. You might be confusing your fear of being left alone with the fear of DROPPING OVER THE EDGE INTO THE ABYSS OF NOTHINGNESS THAT IS THE GRAND CANYON SINCE THEY HERD YOU LIKE CATTLE OR MULES DOWN A NARROW PATH THAT A TIGHT-ROPE WALKER COULD NOT NAVIGATE and let me tell you, I was afraid of falling over myself.

Now, let's not forget that Dear Dad slid down the mountain in Yellowstone, so Lord only knows how close he was to slipping down in the Grand Canyon. You may be confusing all that fear with the trauma of being left alone in a roadside stop in another state, which was not Arizona.

Chesapeake Bay Mother has announced that she will provide HER version of events. So the debate continues.....

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

You're not the only one...I meant to say the T-shirt you MADE (as well as gave)me.

You hand-painted a person going over the hurdles on a t-shirt that I absolutely and positively LOVE.

Except I can't find it. At the moment. It's here somewhere....hopefully y'all can find it prior to Foster-Faulkner/Smithers.