A (Happily) Simple Olive Branch Wreath

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

This is probably the simplest project in the book but it’s my first go at using a wire wreath form so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Win for the home team! I was so surprised and happy with how quickly this wreath came together that I might ditch all of the artificial wreaths we have around the house and replace them with live greenery next year. For now, this guy is making our kitchen feel just a bit merrier.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

I picked up a wire wreath from Joann’s a long while back (they’re only $2-3 each) and had it in my Christmas stash. I think that what made this project so easy is that it wasn’t just a wire form but actually has the wire ‘claws’ built in (here’s a similar one). My understanding is that simpler wire forms require floral wire as well (sort of like this technique but on a more heavy duty scale).

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kevin was pruning our olive trees and it was the prime opportunity to collect fresh branches. Moving in the same counter clockwise direction, I just began to wrap. And wrap. And wrap. And wrap.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

I was going for something a little crazy.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

Then I stole a few ornaments from the Christmas tree and strung them together on a strand of floral wire. I used wire hooks (the type you use to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree) to position them in a little bouquet at the bottom right of the wreath. It was sort of a trial & error process of wiring, stepping back to hmmm about it a bit, wiring, stepping back.

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

The old frame for the chalkboard in the kitchen eventually found its demise… I’m working on another one right now but it’s on the back burner this holiday season.

My wreath is making up for the pretty!

DIY Olive Branch Wreath | PepperDesignBlog.com

love when projects work themselves out this way and end up being much easier and quicker than you’re expecting. Our house is pretty much done in the decorating department, I’ll pull together some photos very soon. Happy nine-days-till-Christmas :).

Lavender wreaths, our Christmas cards this year and a bigger look at this kitchen chalkboard/breakfast table nook area.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: for the Kids

Kid's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

musical instruments | pram | dovetail horse & alligatorred cowboy shoes
PBS toys that give back shape sorter | giant lionslope sliders | mini Ergo doll carrier
programming for 5-7 year olds, ScratchJr|  infinite tree | doll house
the Alchemist Matter kit | striped baby pants | knit sweater

Have you finished up your Christmas shopping? I’m almost there. It’s one of those years where you think you’re done and then you realize that you’re still missing gifts for under the tree. The best part about this Christmas? We’re hosting it at our house again so the girls get to wake up Christmas morning to our own cozy living room and we have that many fewer gifts to ship or box up for traveling (let the traditions begin!). Most of our family is coming to visit at some point between the weekend before Christmas and New Years and I’m really excited about it.

A few ideas for babies and kids: I love that PBS is teaming up with Wholefoods to bring a line of toys to their stores that are sustainable and that give back to those in need. This shape sorter (which is great for motor skills, learning shapes and colors, stacking) is one of the toys on shelves this year. I’m surprising Liv with a mini Ergo doll carrier when baby #3 arrives in January – I can’t think of a better mommy & me gift while I tote around the newest little one :). As a website designer, I’m also really excited to introduce Liv to programming for beginners – I’ve been doing some research and I think that ScratchJr is where we’ll start! This is a skill that kid’s need to grow up with. Any little scientists in the house? Check out this kickstarter for the Alchemist Matter kit. I love toys that grow with kids and we have this adorable Mishi Design push toy for the girls (they use it as a baby carriage, shopping cart, ride along…) but I think this pram from Land of Nod is equally adorable. Finally, I have a mini dollhouse for the girls in the works (diying it to sort of collapse in on itself so that it’s super small for their shared room) but I’m using all of the Hape toy furniture – their wooden houses are adorable!

I have one more quick Christmas gift idea to share with you. A friend of mine here in San Diego has an Etsy shop that specializes in dinosaur and shark sweatshirts (she rebuilds the hoodies with spikes and teeth!) and asked me to take a few photos of the girls one afternoon wearing her adorable designs.

Kid's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014 | Dinosaur Sweatshirts | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kid's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014 | Dinosaur Sweatshirts | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kid's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014 | Dinosaur Sweatshirts | PepperDesignBlog.com

The girls were movin’ and groovin’ and it was so difficult to snap crystal clear pics, but they loved those warm sweatshirts! Learn more about them here. I had a pink one made for Liv last year (she loves Dinosaur Train on KPBS) and ordered two more for friends this year.

PS a quick link to the guy’s gift guide and ladies gift guide for this year, and a roundup of all gift guides posted on this site from the last several years! I still love everything shared and it’s great for last-minute perusing. I look for a LOT of my favorite gifts on Amazon and use that as a primary link just in case you’re as addicted to Prime 2-day shipping as I am. Thinking of going handmade? Here are all of those posts for those ideas, too.

Two Step Lavender Wreaths

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

If you’ve been following along since Monday, you know that we have an abundance of garden lavender that’s no longer blooming that I’ve been using up for different little projects. This cranberry lavender infused simple syrup for holiday cocktails (and mocktails) is still at the top of my book :). So, so good.

I have a stack of embroidery hoops in my garage that I had hoped to use for a craft project (with yarn, lots and lots of wrapped yarn!) for the girls’ room. After 2-3 attempts at ‘my vision’, I just couldn’t make it happen. But I pulled those embroidery hoops out just recently and found a new temporary use for them. Love that after the holidays I can take the lavender back off of the wood and use the hoops again for something else.

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Any sort of craft, beading or floral wire will work, I am using a really thin gauge in gold for this project as well as five wooden embroidery hoops (each hoop is actually only half of one hoop since embroidery hoops come with an inner and outer circle. You can use both. I bought several of these deeply discounted because they only had one piece of the hoop left in the craft store – perfect for me!).

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

This is a super simple project. Simply wrap lavender (or rosemary) along the hoop and secure at various places with wire.

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

A couple of hints: keep lavender moving in the same direction, start one piece where another stops (to help hide the stem) and then fill in littler sprigs where there are some sparse spots. Use the wire to help correct any funny angles in the lavender and to shape it as closely to the edge of the hoop as possible.

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

I probably went around each hoop 2-3 times to keep the wreath simple and thin, though a very full version of this wreath would be beautiful!

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Lots of little mini ones would be pretty as present toppers (or hostess gifts – a friend made us one out of just rosemary without the hoop last year and I kept it over our stove range all season).

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

I hung the wreaths over pictures in our dining room by tucking ribbon around the wreath and then right behind the anchored picture. The color has begun to fade a bit as the lavender leaves dry, but the smell is still wonderful :).

Lavender Wreath DIY | PepperDesignBlog.com

Happy weekend!

An embroidered Christmas pillow (for the non-sewer), pretty holiday gift tags for $0, above feathered Christmas tree DIY and lots of carefully crafted gift guides to peruse for last-minute shopping. 

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