Questions and Answers
Attaching Wreaths to a Door
A common question is how to attach a wreath to a door. Of course you can use a wreath hanger. If you do, get a metal one, not plastic, as the plastic can break and drop the wreath. Some do not like the look of the hanger "coming out of" the top of the wreath, and use a nail or a screw in the door itself. This is great for doors made of wood.
If you have a metal door like mine and don't mind piercing it, this is what I did to get a sturdy hanger. I drove a 16 penny nail through the outer metal - then removed the nail and inserted a large headed sheet metal screw that had the threaded part just slightly larger in diameter than the nail hole in the door. The nail made a channel for the screw that holds it really well. Paint the screw the same color as your door and it hardly shows.
For glass doors, of course you can use a wreath hanger again, but you can also use a 3M Command hanging strip. Make sure the glass is not greasy by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. Also - make sure you have a 3M Command strip that is stout enough for the weight of the wreath. These strips will not damage the surface they are used on, and when you want to remove them, it is so easy and leaves no marks.
What size arrangement should you get for your door?
And how high should it hang?
What size should the wreath be? It depends on the look you want. Some will like the look of a 24" inch wreath on a 34" to 36" door. Others will like the impact of a larger 28" or 30" wreath on the same door. One has a more reserved, quiet look while the other is an attention getter. I like them both, and will be glad to make a size that appeals to you.
Another factor is how high to hang your wreath. This can vary depending on the size of the wreath and factors like a shadow on the upper part of the door. I suggest getting a helper and experimenting. One of you should stand back and view the wreath from a distance while the other changes the position of the wreath
Please do understand. Full sun, rain, snow and wind will take a toll. For that kind of exposure, I suggest, tough but real looking latex, quality silk, or air dried material with neutral colors or dyed (which can look very natural if done right) and lots of texture. Entrances that are more protected are no problem.
"Everlastings" are flowers and other plant material that can be preserved in some manner without loosing their beauty. Indeed, the preserving process reveals hidden aspects of the plants that make them more interesting and adds to their beauty. Leaves may cup. Grasses and stems may twist. Hidden color may surface. Everlastings delight the eye and give years of service long after they are done with life.
Many "true" everlastings have a dry, stiff, papery feel while yet very much alive and growing. Others are preserved by one method or another to make them last.
The easiest method of preservation is to just let them dry on the plant, but most are usually hung in a very warm, dark, dry place. Today's special techniques of preserving flowers and foliage include freeze drying, using silica gel, and preserving with glycerin. Silica gel is like fine sand. Some flowers dry well immersed in it and come out dried but looking almost fresh. Glycerin is mixed with water in a container in which the plant stems are placed. The plants suck up this mix and become darker and permanently pliable.
Many kinds of plant material, not just flowers, can be used as everlastings. Lots of foliage and seed pods will last and last if correctly harvested and treated. Some vines and berries can be used too, with the artist often placing a drop of hot glue at the base of each individual berry. Autumn leaves can be just as beautiful as roses if tastefully arranged.
An arrangement made from everlastings will be beautiful for a long time. Sometimes years and years. The time it lasts depends on the type of plant material used, how it's treated and conditioned during construction, and most importantly where it's hung.
Words of Advice on Hanging Your Arrangement
1 . Spacing: Give the arrangement a margin of wall or door space that compliments it. Too little crowds it, and too much puts it adrift in a great gulf. Both detract from its appeal. For a large wall, either use a large arrangement, or break the space up with other decor to get a more appropriate display area.
2. Traffic: Hang your arrangement where there is clearance. Doors are fine, just as long as shoulders aren't brushing the arrangement on each pass. Don't forget that these arrangements look really great in empty wall spaces.
3. Lighting: For maximum longevity, try to avoid direct sunlight. Even though my material is treated to resist fading, direct sun will lighten anything. Some people like the effect in everlastings. Over months the colors will not only fade but some will change in hue. If you want to avoid that, hang your piece in indirect light or artificial light. Color lasts longest there. For a really special effect, purchase a small spotlight that can be aimed at the arrangement and draw attention to it. For full sun exposure, a lot of my clients prefer to use quality artificials. Many of my wreaths use a combination of real foliage (treated to resist fading) and artificial flowers. This can look really good, and gives the best of both worlds.
4. Exposure: For real dried flowers and foliage, weather of course is also a concern. So are jumping dogs (one of my wreaths was knocked down by one). You can't expect exposed dried flowers to survive a hail storm either. You must use common sense when deciding on a wreath. For those clients who have problem exposures, there are quite a few options. Some real plant material is very tough, and of course artificial material is too. Quality silks and the new latex material are surprisingly real looking. If you can't make up your mind, just give me a call and I will help. Many of my clients want real dried material no matter what. They don't care if weather takes a toll. They want the look that only real plant material will give. But others want longevity, and today there are plenty of options for accomplishing that.
5. Cleaning: If your wreath becomes dusty, cobwebby, or even mildewed, don't trash it - at least not until you've tried a bottle of silk plant cleaner. This stuff works wonders. Just hang the wreath where it can drip and start spraying it. You will be surprised.
6. Glycerin Preserved: If you live in a very humid climate, for an exterior application, you want to stay away from glycerin preserved material, at least in the summertime. Although glycerin preservation keeps foliage flexible and tough, in high humidity it will sweat out of the leaves and drip off the wreath. For high summer humidity, air dried material or artificials (or a combination of the two) are best.
Yes, I will and do use fine silks and other artificial material in my wreaths if my client wants them. I began doing it at customer demand, but with the passage of years, artificial flowers and foliage have come a very long way. Sometimes you have to touch them to tell. The look of real fresh with the toughness to withstand outdoor exposure makes artificial ingredients very attractive to some. Much of the time I combine artificial flowers with real flowers and/or foliage. That way the irregular qualities of the real material keeps the piece from looking perfect and fake.
One Woman Operation
I used to grow most of my material myself, cutting and preserving it in a number of ways. Sometimes I would let it dry while on the plant. But most were cut, then hung in my specially modified attic to air dry there. Some were silica dried and a few others - glycerin preserved. I also would press one or two for special effects. Then, once dried, the material was stored carefully so it would not crush under its own weight or be mashed together in clumps or boxes. There is quite a science to all of this which accounts for all my books, I suppose, but still I learned through my own experimentation and from trial and error. I have to spend my time now more for creating and less for growing and preserving. Although I do still grow and cut some of my product, much of it is purchased from a supplier that does only the growing and preserving. They use all their time for it and their product is superior.
No Mass Production Work
I used to think a day would come when I would have it all down pat, but I know better now. Learning it never quits. And so my art will never quit changing. That's one reason my arrangements are all different. But the other is me. I don't like repetition. Don't get me wrong. I can do a matched set or a duplicate. I just can't do mass production, like the ones you buy from catalogs or department stores. I understand their problem. They have to turn out high volume, and so turn to the unskilled, giving a formula of instructions and hoping for the best. But I just won't do slap-dash, fast, blobby, polka-dotted, arrangements over and over again. I can't. I think it would somehow kill me.
Detail Makes the Difference
So I put my all into each arrangement. With mother nature as the first artist, I work to preserve and accentuate her original creations, and make floral designs that are both stunning in appearance and practical to use. It's the detail that makes the difference.
Prime time harvest for premium plant material
Careful preservation and storage
Careful construction for long lasting beauty & shape
Thoughtfully designed for ease of handling and care
Each flower and leaf placed individually - no clump & clamp
One on one customer service
Convenient shipping with handling & care instructions included
Gift service available with card & special message
When I actually construct, my first job is to make sure the arrangement gets to you undamaged. The base is prepared and then a box is made to protect the arrangement. This alone can take an hour or even longer. Then careful attention must be paid to the mechanics of the arrangement and the different plant requirements. You can't just do anything you want with any plant if you want the piece to last. Each piece of plant material is individually placed according to its requirements and to maximize it's artistic effect. Many times berries and seed pods have to be individually glued. I treat all my material to resist fading and wilting. I build the arrangement to hold its shape over time. Gravity has to be considered. Sometimes sagging branches can be attractive, but if not meant to sag, they just look droopy and ratty. Then finally comes shipping it to you by Fed Ex who by now have come to recognize my boxes, and there has been no damage for years.