Making It Personal

custom (1) This January, I am spending some time making wreaths. I did not have the time for it in November or December, but late is better than next year. I enjoy all manner of making, whether it be a garden, a garland, a flower arrangement, a container planting,  a drawing of a landscape design, or the building a moss topiary sculpture. There is a lot of personal satisfaction in what I can make with my hands. Two hands driven by what I call reverie are hands at work-this I like.  A call for all hands on deck is routine for me, in the spring, summer, fall, and early winter. During the gardening season I need help. Hands on can be an adjective, but for me it is a way of professional life. Making wreaths in January does not involve gear, dirt, shovels, weather or others. I can be on my own. I can make them wearing my slippers. I can walk away when I want, and resume when I feel like it. I asked Sunne when the shop was due to close January 9 if she would please leave all of the grapevine, magnolia, and honeysuckle wreath forms, and all of our natural materials on the ground floor. All of what we had left from the fall and winter season is packed away on the tool room roof, but I have 25 square feet of materials not far from my layout table. I am delighted with this arrangement.

custom (2)A wreath requires an armature.  I do not make these grapevine wreaths, I buy them.  Though they are handmade, they are remarkably similar, one wreath to the next. There are those places where this plain hand made grapevine wreath would be perfectly stunning. But they could be just as beautiful as the beginning of something else.  Tinkering involves a span of time, and a pair of hands in concert with a point of view.

custom (3)Why be personal? I doubt I truly need to address this in any detail. Any personal expression is genuine. Any genuine expression is to be at least respected, if not admired.

DSC_3871I have always strongly subscribed to the notion that one can find interesting and noteworthy examples of personal expression anywhere and everywhere. But that aside, the best part of making something is the making.  It is absorbing and satisfying. That someone else might like or appreciate it is not the cake part of this. That would be the icing part. Cake with no icing tastes just as good as cake with icing.

January is the perfect time to make something that takes a long time to fuss over. As a gardener, it always seems like the winter stretches out in front of with, with no end in sight.  It’s good to have a project that benefits from having a lot of time for the making.
wreath making (2)A landscape design that looks rushed on paper will look even more rushed once it is implemented. A request for design during the garden season doesn’t always come with the luxury of a lot of time. A shorter amount of time means a need for a greater amount amount of focus and discipline. January offers the opportunity to be less focused on the end result, and more focused on the pleasure of the process. I welcome the reverie time.

wreath making (3)whitewashed acorn caps

wreatha layer of preserved gypsophila

wreath making (5)I am not sure if either of these are finished, as I don’t have to be sure. I have them hanging where I can continue to look at them. Maybe something else will occur to me.

wreath making (1)This is the wreath I am working on now. A few days ago, I removed the pair of split pinecones in the top center.  That took a fair amount of time, and they were both wired and glued in. But I had the time. It occurred to me that the cut surface of the pine cones would be more interesting than the intact surface. So I took that time.

wreath making (6)putting up the split sides

wreath making (7)My winter holiday comes after the holiday.



  1. Linda Horbal says

    LOVE…LOVE …LOVE it all!!!

    Every season is so well done and absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!

    THANK YOU for sharing your creative and gorgeous work!!!

  2. Gabrielle West says

    Originally from the MidWest(Milwaukee)I’ve since slept around with a lot of beautiful, visually satisfying states-(Colorado,Washington, Montana)and now reside in lovely Bend Oregon.
    One constant with all these places was foraging for lovely Mother nature to create with.
    I never even thought about dissecting a pinecone laterally like that!
    Thank you so much for taking the time for this Blog—I really enjoy your thoughts, creativity and
    great pics of ‘making’.

  3. Cathy Peterson says

    I’ve been waiting for your next blog entry. . .beautiful!

  4. ” 25 square feet of materials not far from my layout table” I’m so jealous! Love the whitewashed acorn caps, they have such a “beachy” look to them.

  5. Beautiful and inspiring.

  6. These are fabulous, and I love the split pine cone; revealing the different textures looks fantastic!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Bec, I did not split those cones myself-I bought them that way. That split side is beautiful. best, Deborah

  7. I really enjoyed this Deborah! Thanks for sharing your process and progress. Enjoy your creative renewal time!

  8. Loved your insightful words! Enjoy your Holiday!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ed, I am enjoying it. I did my first landscape design presentation of 2016 last weekend, but no more of that for a while. I just want to plug in my batteries. best, Deborah

  9. Wow!!! These look really intricate!
    What are the yellow seedpod/flower petal type in the first three photos? The designers here are all arguing over the I.D. and would like to settle the (friendly) dispute! 🙂

  10. Janet McGovern says

    where do you get your wreath-making materials from?

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says

    Nothing like a little down time to stretch and create. Fabulous!

  12. Is anyone talking to you about a book?

  13. Dianne Young says

    I loved your comments about how the joy of making something, particularly something you know is going to require time, is in the making. It allows your mind to have some time of its own, almost independent of the hands, while also seeming to focus on learning the immediate task and doing it better as you go along. I find your ideas and use of colors and materials to be very creative and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

  14. Thank you so much, Deborah, for making the winter doldrums much more bearable. I, too, wonder can a book/s be in your future. I certainly hope so. I can truthfully say there is no one out there with your aesthetic, experience and wordsmithing ability.

  15. Kathy Klaus says

    I have been enjoying your website for many months but have never left a comment. Everything is just beautiful and inspirational for a gardener, especially in January. Everyday I look at your website I continue to be amazed at your creativity.

  16. Love it. You always have fantastics idees, using natural part of nature.

  17. I find your thoughts so profound. I agree, a book, if you could take the time, would be amazing.

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