Sorry to neglect you guys. There have been some HUGE changes in my life the past few months. HUGE.

1. My sons were diagnosed with sensory disorders (autism, developmental delay, and ADHD & Asperger's Syndrome, respectively. More info here and here).
2. My mother is battling breast cancer. So are two of her three sisters (she's out of contact with the third).
3. We bought a house.
4. Honestly, many more things that I just don't want to think about right now :P

I haven't abandoned the blog completely, and even hope to post some advice on frugal home buying and frugal home improvements in the relatively near future. But right now I'm just TIRED.

Valentine's Wreath

*I still have a few Christmas posts to catch up on--I got sick on Christmas Eve, and there hasn't been a SINGLE day since that every person in my house was healthy! In any case, I'll come back to it eventually, but I wanted to get this wreath up before Valentine's Day passes!*

I was inspired to do this one after reading Tabitha's post over at Happy Cake Crafts. I saw her post around the time I was packing away all of my Christmas decorations, and I was having some trouble throwing away all those ornaments we made. So I thought, "I wonder if I could recycle some of those into my Valentine's wreath?" And away I went . . .

This was the base wreath I used. I have had this $1 wreath since 2001--the beads and whisps of silver vine wrapped around it were left over from my wedding! And No, I didn't take them off. It might have looked better if I had, but I didn't want to. I can occassionally be stupidly sentimental :P

These are the items I kept from our Christmas tree for the wreath--Applesauce & Cinnamon Hearts and metallic chenille stems bent into the shape of words. I had also laid aside some of the adorable paper birds we made, but SOMEONE decided those were trash.

All of these materials were salvaged from Christmas gifts I received, and would have otherwise ended up in the trash. There are some wide red satin ribbons with velcro on them that were on pajamas that I didn't end up using for this project after all, but I'm sure they'll find a place in a future project. The narrower red grosgrain ribbon over on the left came from a small bath set Santa left in my stocking, and the red cardstock is a tag that was on the pajamas. I wish I had taken better pictures just of the card, because I'm very proud that I used it again rather than just toss it out.

And this is my ribbon stash, from which I pulled a two-yard piece of red ribbon. I bought these ribbons in 'sachets' at Joann fabric (they are also available at Hobby Lobby and most other craft stores). The sachets usually contain about 30 pieces of ribbon, each 2 yards long, and they sell for $1-$2 a bag usually. I always look through the side of the bag to see if there's anything in there I want--the gorgeous ribbons in the picture were sharing a sachet with what look suspiciously like bra straps :P. Still, though, Joann was having a sale, and I bought all of these (plus my rejects, which filled another tote this size) for about $3. The pink ribbon I ended up using for the hearts is not pictured-I bought it on clearance for $0.10.

See how I did such a good job of taking pictures of my materials? Well, then you should forgive me for not taking pictures as I went along :P Since I don't have photos, I'll do a quick overview of the steps, then show you the finished product.

1. Assemble all materials you may want to use. Having some thin florist's wire, glue or hot glue, and double-sided tape on hand might also be useful.

2. I cut the piece of cardstock into the shape of a heart, punched a hole, and threaded the grosgrain ribbon through it. If you look closely, you'll see that the cardstock is embossed with a bird surrounded by vines--I tried to make sure the bird was roughly centerred.

3. Next, I threaded some of the pink ribbon through the Applesauce & Cinnamon hearts, being careful that they were suspended in the opposite direction as the cardstock heart (ornaments from the left side, cardstock heart from the right side). This isn't necessary, of course--just personal preference.

4. I wrapped the sheer ribbon around the wreath, then tied it and tucked it into the back. I didn't glue it or tape it to make it easier to change the wreath.

5. Next I suspended the hearts from the wreath. I hung the ornaments from the backside of the wreath first, then the cardstock heart from the front side to give it a bit more dimension. You can't see it in my less-than-stellar picture, but I tied a large floppy bow at the top of the wreath with the excess grosgrain ribbon.

6. I tucked the words (and a heart) around the wreath.

That's it! Easy as could be, cost me nothing since I had everything around the house, and now I have a touch of girly on my front door. With three little boys, it's about the only touch of girly in this house :D

I do think it is a bit bare, and adding those three little birds would have taken care of that. But with just a tiny bit of tweaking, you could do the same thing with a tired wreath around your house!

Other ideas:

I don't have time for my favorite spring wreath project this year, but if you manage to do one, please send me some pictures so I can post them on the blog!

Materials: Wire clothes hanger, either two boxes of clear sandwich bags (not ziploc, the fold-over type) or a box of white kitchen trash bags, decorations.

Bend the clothes hanger into a rough circle. If you chose white trash bags (my favorite, but definitely more work), make yourself a cardboard square template about the size of a sandwich and cut the trashbags into squares (don't worry about perfection at this point--you can do clean up later). If using sandwich bags, unfold the 'lip' on each bag as you go (You could also cut each one into two squares by cutting all the seams and across the bottom, but that's a lot of extra work, and the wreath looks about the same whichever method you use). Tie each square onto the hanger, making sure you turn them slightly as you go to create fullness. As you go along, occassionally push all of the tied squares to one side of the wreath, both to give you room to work and so you can see the progress you're making. When the entire wreath is covered, grab a sharp pair of scissors, hang the wreath on a wall or door, and step back from it. You'll easily see any ragged edges that need to be trimmed. Once trimmed, decorate as you wish. For Valentine's day, you can easily bend the wreath into a heart shape--though I suggest doing this AFTER tyying the plastic on!