One of my favorite things about Halloween is that it's one of those holidays where obnoxiously loud and bodacious decorating is not only accepted, but encouraged. At least I like to encourage it!
The bolder, the better, right? I enjoy limited color schemes in general, but the black/orange/white combination is especially appealling to me. So very striking. Of course, I'm probably biased because black and orange also happened to be my high school colors, but even beyond that I just LOVE to decorate with black and orange. Not that anyone who has seen last year's posts here, and here, and here, or here, or here, would have ever guessed.
I also love to make large wreaths for my front door to hide its bedraggled appearance. I'm an expert at the art of visual distraction (which is why my friends never seem to notice the huge dustballs or dirty floors in my house - they're too busy looking at the decorating...at least that's what they tell me. It always cracks me up when they say I usually have a clean house...it's SOOO not true. And no, I'm not going to divulge how infrequently I dust. It's way too embarrassing).
Back to the door: my kids pulled off one of the horizontal pieces of wood separating the panes (it was already split and broken before we moved in) and my wreaths conveniently hide the gaping wound in the door's window. Our sad door is also pitted with bubbly rust spots (inside and out), the trim is pretty much shredded, and the current door handle is a round knob like you would find on an interior door. The sidelights on either side of the door are single paned, the caulk is cracked and damaged, and during the winter months it lets in so much cold air that I get the chills just standing in the front entryway. Yes, we need a new front entry system. Yes, we're still paying off our kitchen and backyard remodels. So no, we're not getting a new front door (yet). In the meantime, my giant and loud wreaths will have to camouflage the ugliness as diligently as possible.
This one is particularly effective, in large part because of these giant fabric/ribbon/button/fake flower doo-dahs. The following tutorial teaches basic techniques and uses one of these flower bows as an example, but keep in mind that it is only an example. The possibilities for variation on these puppies is endless.
Note: This tutorial is for the bows, not the entire wreath. I don't have step-by-step photos for the wreath, but in a nutshell, here's what I did: I made the wreath by wrapping the beaded vines around a wire circle armature and hot-glued little clusters of ribbon in the bare spots. I made the ribbon clusters by looping 3 or 4 loops together and hot-glued one end of each "loop group" together so that they were pinched shut on one side. The clusters were then hot-glued to the wire frame or the vines. The flower bows were also hot-glued to the frame.
FOR EACH FLOWER BOW, YOU WILL NEED:
1 fake gerbera daisy flower, with the stem pulled off
1 strip of fabric, 3" x 42"ish, which is cut with pinking shears on one edge
3/4" ribbon cut to 6" lengths (cut 6)
3/8" ribbon cut to 4 1/2" lengths (cut 3)
3/8" ribbon cut to 7" lengths (cut 3)
1 fairly large button (fabric-covered or regular)
needle and thread
hot glue gun
1) If you have a sewing machine, use a large basting stitch and sew all along the unpinked edge of fabric. If you don't have a sewing machine, use a needle and thread and sew a gathering stitch along unpinked edge. In either case, pull thread and scrunch up fabric to create the gathers (for machine basting, pull either the bobbin or the top thread, not both at the same time).
Put the ends of fabric together to create a circle. Stitch ends together so that the raw edges are to the backside of the fabric. Distribute gathers evenly around circle. Set aside.
2) Turn flower upside down. Hot-glue one end of each 3/4" ribbon to backside of flower, close to stem. Try to glue the ribbon in equal sections, making sure the ribbons opposite eachother create a straight line (they should look like 3 long ribbons instead of 6 short ones if they're properly lined up).
3) To create the V-tipped loops, take a ribbon and, without flipping it over, move the outer end to the left and on top of the end which is already glued to the center of the flower. It's hard to tell with this ribbon, but if your ribbon is printed on one side only, both ends of the ribbon would be facing printed-side-down at this point (so that the printed side would be viewed properly when the flower is turned over). It may take some practice, but with a little fiddling you'll be able to consistently get a V-tipped loop when you bring the ends of the ribbon together.
4) Hot-glue the 3 long ribbon strips in the "gaps" between the V-tipped loops. Glue the ribbon right over the center stem area.
5) Hot-glue the fabric circle over the top of the ribbon, making sure the good side of fabric is face down so it will be viewed properly when the flower is turned over. Align fabric so that it is centered around center stem area. Set aside to let glue harden thoroughly.
6) Meanwhile, create loops with the ribbon which is 4 1/2" in length. Overlap edges slightly, center the overlap on the underside of loop, and push needle up through bottom of loop. String all three loops in same manner.
7) Arrange loops in equally spaced segments and secure with a few stitches of thread as shown. The stitches do not have to be pretty - they will be hidden by the button.
8) Sew button on, pushing needle through all the ribbon layers in the center to secure entire bow.
9) Flip over flower bow and hot-glue button/ribbons into center of flower. Trim the raw ends of the ribbon in the back (the white ribbon in this case) as desired and seal with a stop-fray product to maintain a clean cut edge. And that's it!
This would be a fabulous accessory to a hat, the front of a Tshirt, on the front of a pillow, attached to a headband, purse, bag, etc. Would also be a super accent for a wedding; on the backs of chairs, at the upper peak of garlands/bunting, part of table centerpieces...you get the picture. Or Christmas ornaments, even. So many options! In many cases it could just be safety pinned on so that when the item needed to be washed you could remove the flower bow. Now go make some fantastically bodacious giant bows, and have fun!