This year I accepted a commission from a woman who lives in Bermuda. She is an international flower show judge and also happens to be a friend of my best friend from childhood. Cindy has a home in St. Michael’s, Maryland just a few miles down the road from where I grew up. She delivered 2 big plastic tubs of ornaments to my friend Susie who then delivered them to me. When I opened them up and started to go through them, I had a sinking feeling.
Virtually nothing in those tubs was the kind of ornament I generally use to make wreaths. Instead, there was a massive collections of odds and ends that Cindy had collected in her travels all over the world and over the course of her lifetime.
Most important to Cindy was a little doll that had been made into an angel by her mother the year Cindy was born. Her mother had made wings from tin foil and dressed the dolly in satin that she cut from her own wedding dress.
I spent an afternoon unpacking everything and felt totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff. How on earth could I make something really great out of this tremendous variety of things I was looking at? Plus so much of it was….flat!
I decided that I just needed to sleep on it. Surely, I would think of something! 😳
A few days later I went back and starting going through it all. It struck me that there were certain themes in her collection: travel, shells, Scottie dogs, angels, handmade, etc.
I began sorting things into categories and then began eliminating things which I felt either would not work due to color or material or because they were a duplication of sorts. Eventually I had a manageable group of things collected together.
It was going to require a bigger form than usual, too. Mercifully, I did not have to ship it so I went ahead and started making a large wreath.
It went surprisingly smoothly and by the time I was a little bit into it, I started to really enjoy myself. It was challenging to work with such different materials but I felt like things were coming together really well.
Normally, I end up adding a fair amount of ornaments from my own collection due to color or spatial requirements. But this time, the only thing I added, aside from the glass ornaments ringing the outside, was a pin art bell under the angel on top and some silver foil garland as accents. You can see the finished wreath in the top photo.
I felt a bit trepidatious once I finished, though. I was really happy with it but I was nervous about how Cindy would like it. Did I use her favorites? Did I leave anything important out? As a flower show judge would she like the actual arrangement of her ornaments or would the balance or rhythm be off in her critical eye?
When I pushed the “Send” button on the email I sent with pictures, I crossed my fingers and just hoped for the best.
Shortly, I received this:
OMG OMG I’m in tears!!!
I am thrilled. I haven’t used the decorations, except for the angel, in the last 12 years since my mother passed away so this is very emotional and absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love it!
Love the bright color, the variety and I’m sure I will hang it with great pride and have lots of tales to tell of the various ornaments. I saw my protea angel from Hawaii, my St. Michael’s one, homemade shell wreaths etc. etc. It’s just perfect.
I’m just thrilled!
By the time I read her email, I was in tears, too.
There is nothing in this world that makes me happier than knowing that something I have made has made someone else happy.
It’s why I do what I do and why I love doing what I do. Christmas is such a personal time, filled with wonderfully powerful memories for many of us. To help someone be reminded of their happy memories is the greatest thing on earth for me.
Happy ending all the way around!
Here are some close-ups of “Cindy’s Christmas Memories” wreath so you can see what her fun collection is made up of. Click on the photos to enlarge.