Friday, December 7, 2012

Wreaths and Trees


Hello, chickadees!  Just wanted to touch base, because I've been away for so long.  I'm planning a holiday post to show you a few pictures of the new house all decked out for the season, but today I thought I'd share a teeny sneak peek of a little bit of the tree plus a pinecone wreath I made from the gazillions of them we have in our backyard.  Some people might not like having to pick up all those cones, but I consider every last one of them a gift from our massive white pine.  And when I say massive, I mean it's branches begin higher up than the the tops of many of our other trees.

I promise not to post a tutorial on how to make the pinecone wreath.  Why not?  Well, because when I set out to make mine, I did a Pinterest search and a Google search (I like to be thorough) for pinecone wreath tutorials, and guess what?  There are almost as many pinecone wreath tutorials online as there are pinecones in my backyard, so you don't need me to add to the pile.  I will say this: while a pinecone wreath is simple to make, it is time-consuming, and it takes many, many cones to create a full wreath.  Oh, and yards and yards and yards of wire.  I used a very thin gauge wire, so I didn't hurt my fingers too much, and I used a grapevine wreath as the base.  Some tutorials I read said to sort the cones by size first, but I just eyeballed them as I went along, using larger cones for the outside ring, smaller cones for the inside ring, and cones somewhere in-between for the middle ring.  This approach seemed to work well with the longish cones of the white pine.  If you had shorter cones, you'd be making a very different kind of wreath with very different results.  Equally pretty, but quite different.  

Okay, I said no tutorial, but the above paragraph was starting to veer into tutorial territory.  Sorry about that.  I just get so excited about Christmas.  It was my father's favorite time of year, and it is still a magical time at my mother's house.  Last weekend, Mr. Magpie and I went and bought a tree for my mother to have outside on her back deck where she can see it when she's in her kitchen as well as when she pulls into her driveway.  This has become an annual tradition for us.  We brace it with twine to hold up during storms, string it with white lights, et c'est tout!  Beautiful simplicity to enjoy through the New Year holiday.  Of course she has her inside tree, too, and her amazing collection of vintage Santas, all of which I love.


Back here at home, our annual tradition is now to cut down our own tree.  If you're local and like wild-looking trees rather than perfectly pruned ones, I'll let you in on our secret: we go to Staples Tree Farm in Windham on Christmas Tree Way, just off Webb Road.  It's $30 for any size tree, no matter how tall, and they have gorgeous specimens to choose from, plus handmade wreaths and kissing balls at prices well below any others I've seen in the Portland area.  True, some get a little Dr. Seussical, as you can see in my Instagram photo, but that's just part of the fun!  

I'll be back soon with holiday musings and other news, but in the meantime, I wish you a Happy Holiday Season, whatever you celebrate, and however you celebrate it.  

xo Gigi

P.S. I'd love to hear from you about your favorite annual holiday traditions, especially the ones that kind of snuck up on you and became traditions without your even realizing it at first.  



20 comments:

  1. Oh how I miss having a real tree. There is nothing quite like it and the smell...I miss the smell! As for traditions? We seem to have thrown them all to the wind. It certainly wasn't the way we planned it or ever dreamed it would be. However, when you have a child move 1000 miles away who works on Christmas, you go to her. So, what was once big family dinners of parents, sisters and cousins...is now my husband, my daughter and her fiance and me...in a restaurant at Disney. What was once snow angels is now swimming pools. The rest of the family is together (including my son and my dad) in cold Illinois. My motto these days is to "go with the flow" and hopefully, one of these days we will move south and I'll have that big family dinner again.

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    1. Oh, Sue, I'm sorry you don't have a real tree anymore. I know just what you mean about the smell. I'm allergic to evergreens, but I still love having one in my house, clogged head and runny nose be damned! :)

      As I read your description of all the big changes in your Christmas since your daughter moved, I wondered if maybe some of those new unexpected traditions will grow from these changes! I lived far away from my family for many years, and I found that I had to make new traditions so I wouldn't miss the old ones quite so much.

      Wishing you and yours a beautiful, sunny :) Christmas! xo

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  2. Your second photo is absolute breathtaking Gigi, I noticed it yesterday and wondered if it was a painting.
    Gorgeous. xx

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    1. Thank you, Sande! All the beauty is due to the gorgeous tree farm! xo

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  3. I agree with Sande, there is a magical quality to that second photo, Gigi! I have been looking for a tree, will get one this weekend. When my kids were little we used to drive up to the mountains and cut our tree down while sipping on hot cocoa with marshmallows - sweet memories! xxoo

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    1. Now that's a holiday memory to savor, Cathi! xo

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  4. Merriest of Christmases to you in your new home!!!
    mcr

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    1. Thank you, mcr!!! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, too!

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  5. The shadows in the first photo...so lovely Gigi...and I truly love the pine cone wreath! I've been buying bags of pine cones to play with!!!! So glad you have a ginormous pine in your yard!!!

    Two traditions that Mike and I keep are some of my favorites, we set aside several evenings to eat in front of the TV and watch Christmas movies...even singing along to all the songs in White Christmas and Holiday Inn :0
    And every New Year's Eve we order Chinese Food and snuggle in for the night...I'm pretty easy to please I suppose :)
    xoxo

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    1. Wish we lived closer so I could just give you a giant bag of cones, Robin!

      I laughed when I read the traditions that you and Mike share each holiday, because Todd and I sat beside the tree the night before last and watched Elf together! That's just about our favorite kind of thing to do during the holidays . . . and Chinese food on New Year's Eve sounds just about perfect to me. xo

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  6. Oh I love the wild look of the trees, they are beautiful!!
    A tradition that snuck up on me was a Christmas tea I served 11 years ago and now do every year with one on a Friday night and the next one that Saturday. Whew! It is a lot of work, but oh so fun. I am expecting a new tradition to begin this year with a new grandson to share it with. Not sure yet what that will be, but I will be looking for it to sneek up on me. Love your tradition with the tree on your mom's deck and her glass Santa collection.

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    1. Not one, but two Christmas trees! Wow, Marilyn, that's wonderful! Congratulations on the birth of your new grandson. I can't imagine a better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new little one in the family, xo

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  7. We are going to cut ours down tomorrow morning. Sloane is just beside herself with excitement. We usually go to a tree lot.

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    1. Oh, yay! Sloane must have so much fun picking out the tree and then decorating it. xo

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  8. Your holiday decor is looking so pretty! My holiday post should be out soon. It's a challenge to get all this done! Your tree farm looks so fun and, living in the pacific northwest, it's common to cut your own. My last post is a visit to the tree cutting farm :)

    Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the festivities of the season!
    xxleslie
    www.trouverlesoleil.blogspot.com

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    1. I will have to come by and see your post about the tree farm, Leslie! Hope you are having a beautiful holiday season!

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  9. Beautiful tree & wreath, Gigi! I also like the shadow play on the wall. I know it will be a wondrful Christmas for you & your family there in the new cottage! All the best in the New Year, as well.

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  10. Thanks, my friend! Wishing you very happy holidays as well! xo

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  11. I have zillions of pinecones but you have put me off making a wreath if it takes a long time and lots of wire, I am lazy. I love your tree and wreath on the wall.

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    1. Hah! I'm lazy, too, Cait, which maybe explains why it took me sooooooo long to make. I'd wire a few cones, then drift away for a day, then wire a few more. I took over the dining room table for a whole week just to make one wreath! :D

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