Woodland (Simple) Spring Wreath
and a few digressions
There are days when you have to blow the whistle and stop the madness, don't you? And by madness I mean the demands of life. The mandatory list of be here, go there, do this and make 643 calls before 5 pm Mountain Standard Time. Yes, I'm exaggerating on the last one. Drop the 6 and 4, but three calls can feel like that many when you are cooking dinner, rotating laundry, and trying to NOT forget your child at the bus stop.
If life is so crazy hectic, why add a project to the mix? A project like making a new wreath? Deep breath here. It is because life is so full of demands, or rather non-creative demands, that every now and then a DIY wreath becomes an island of serenity in a sea of commotion. Right? Right.
That, and it was late March and I finally noticed the wooden Valentine's Day wreath was still hanging on the door *Sigh* Not saying that love can't be in season at our house year round, but when the holiday is over, it's over. The decorations lose something, like oh I don't know, the point!
So I found the pictures and instructions for the wreath here. These butterflies caught my eye and drew me in. Different from the other florals and yarn wreaths, this one appeared so simple. And yes it is, thought it takes a bit more time than it appears- but who are we kidding, what craft doesn't?
There are two main ingredients. Three if you count the glue, which I don't because hopefully no one will see it when I'm done, if I know how to handle a glue gun, that is.
Grapevine Wreath Base -Hobby Lobby 4.99
Cardstock Cut-Out Butterflies - about fifty of them, I used this template and printed 3 pages onto cardstock.
Glue Gun and sticks
I knew this involved cutting. I did. That didn't stop me because ever since I learned to use scissors in Kindergarten, I've been set. No accidents, no disasters (well as long as we don't count cutting my own bangs on picture day in the 7th grade.) As long as I'm using scissors to cut anything else but hair, I'm safe.
(Confession: I did invest in a good pair of Fiskars Mirco-Tip with a nice little "Ease-of-Use Commendation" from the Arthritis Foundation, because you know, the right tools make for a happy crafter.)
The directions? The list + the picture = a pretty clear idea of what to do, yes?
Well, just to prevent being sent photos of a wreath base with full sheets of butterflies glued to it and asked what went wrong, I will specify a couple of things.
Cut out the butterflies. After you've cut three, you'll decide you don't want a new wreath. After you've cut twelve, you will wonder if you know any good carpel tunnel doctors, once you've cut about fifty, you will feel like naming each and every one of them. Resist that urge because once you are done cutting, you'll be gluing - as many as you want - to the wreath base. I used all of mine. None of that cutting was going to waste, I tell you.
The great news - no pattern here of how to place the butterflies. Think of nature and let yourself have fun. One little tip - place the large ones first and so on until the smallest ones, otherwise you won't have space on the wreath for all of them. (This sounds very much like the sand, rocks and jar object lesson on managing our time and taking care of important priorities first. This has nothing to do with the the butterflies, but maybe it's not too much of a stretch to say this: Create something every day, a craft, a story, even a delicious meal - treat your creativity like the big important rock that it is in the jar of your day. Plan it, look forward to it, and I promise all the other needy grains of sand will find their place. See, not so much of a digression after all.)
Okay, done cutting, done gluing and guess what? It's finished! Hang it up and try to contain the giddy, fluttery feelings you have every time you see it on your door.
One word (or two) about spring and why I like butterflies.
One year that shall go unnamed, I suffered not one, but two miscarriages. The way the dates all lined up, it worked out that around the time of the due date of the first pregnancy, I miscarried again. And it was Spring. The time of year when all the world is draped in pastels, celebrating birth and rebirth, and eating Peeps. Meanwhile, I was grieving. I didn't feel springy. Or chipper. Certainly not cheerful. Mostly I was trying to keep it together and take care of the two children I did have. And living in Arizona didn't help matters. I wanted a two week soaking rain, but no. It was all sunshine, pleasant temps and birds. Lots of chirping birds.
Speaking of birds, on Mother's Day morning of that year, while sitting with my children at table next to our glass patio doors--a bird tried to fly into the kitchen. He flew into the glass and unlike the birds in the Windex commercials, this bird did not live. There I was cleaning up a dead bird on Mother's Day while grieving two unborn babies. How does that happen? If I wrote it into a piece of fiction, critics would say it was too contrived. Given the choice to laugh or cry, I chose to laugh and file it in my folder of life's little ironies. Between the cheerful chirping and ill-timed death by clean glass, I'd had it with birds.
Enter the butterfly. Colorful but quiet, and wings that would flutter, not dive-bomb. Hmm. I could like butterflies. And they reminded me of inspiration, coming and going in quiet, unexpected ways. Like the words to this poem that descended upon me that Spring, in the middle of painfully sunny and disappointing days.
Loss Cannot Own Me
The wind is too gentle, the air too sweet
The sky too blue and filled with flight
For loss to take away all my love and might
My children, they still laugh
My husband, he still looks at me
With his eyes of liquid green,
As if I'm the sweetest girl he's ever seen
Loss cannot own me
It can change me
It can rearrange
My life and dreams
It can deprive me of some peace
For a time
As permanent as it tries to be
It can seize and clutch and grasp but
No, loss cannot own me
It's most gripping power comes in grief
But even it's longest marathon of misery
Is still, after the finish line, too brief
To keep me from this life I love
I will claim my rightful victory
So it will be clear to the conquered
Loss cannot own me
Music for the video from American Authors, Best Day of My Life.
Chirping Birds courtesy of Arizona in March.