Many years ago a lovely lady called Pauline started to run a Holly Wreath Class in the community hall of Llanasa. She advertised it through the W.I. and it was incredibly popular. Obviously, being near Christmas, the weather was cold, and the hall was equally cold and totally charmless! We huddled near the wall heaters, sat on hard benches etc.. but came home with some beautiful wreaths.
Pauline ran these for many years and then took the odd holiday (from the UK and from the classes!) and so, when she phoned me to say she was doing another one last December I jumped at the chance of going again. Although I know how to do the assembly myself, and certainly could manage without her tuition, the very act of sitting in a nicely decorated and warm room (same hall having had some money spent on it) with a bunch of other ladies making holly wreaths is a great start to the ‘Season’ and sooooooo much fun!
So, on December 18th Jan and I drove along to Llanasa, met up with Denise and Sue and sat in our ‘naughty corner’ ( I don’t know why Polly – she’s changed her name – thinks we deserve to sit at the back of the room on our own, we’re not really disruptive 🙂 ) and were met with the usual strange collection of items.
………is used to wrap around the hoop as a base for the greenery. It was cut into strips, tied on at one end, wrapped and then tied off again when completely covered. Once that was done then the fun starts. A huge mound of ‘green’, foliage which smelt wonderful but which I can’t remember the name of!!! was added in smallish bits around the whole of the plastic-wrapped wreath.
I almost forgot! Before we started anything we had to have a cuppa and a warm, handmade mince pie and Mum, sorry – Polly – insisted we drank the bottle of water she’d provided too!
So, after the base layer of green was firmly attached then we got to add some holly. The variegated leaves and the lovely red berries made a super contrast to the plain greens of the base.
The Holly and the Ivy, now they are……
sorry, must remember that it’s January and I shouldn’t be singing Carols any more 🙂 Obviously, the next step was adding some ivy, Polly and her family managed to find some lovely pieces with the berries (seeds? not sure what you call them really) and although they didn’t look awfully exciting at first we knew that with a few squirts of paint later on they would really stand out proudly.
………did look very serious but it was purely concentration, there was a lot of laughter and chatter. There were far fewer ‘students’ this year than previously and it was lovely – so much more intimate and it gave Polly time to visit all who needed her.
The first year or two we took a packed lunch, then Polly started providing soup and rolls for our lunches. We used to have to clear a space in front of us and eat there but now…. how upmarket is Llanasa? 🙂 A separate room, tablecloths, tureens and posh soup bowls! The soup was every bit as delicious and it looks on the photos and there was masses of it. We had to follow this with a cuppa and mince pies.
Back to work
……all refreshed and ready to go. Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices got wired and nestled in amongst the foliage. Again, these looked so very different when sprayed with paint but lovely in their natural state too.
….is all that’s needed to finish the wreath. I am notoriously bad at making bows and have always had to have help but this year I arrived with mine all prepared! I have some glorious ribbon from CostCo and a bow-maker so mine came ready tied in my basket.
Chaos versus Calm
…try as she might, Denise cannot be untidy or unruly with hers. I am the opposite – my wreath is always rather wild! It really doesn’t matter, each and every one of the wreaths was different and each beautiful. A quick blitz with some gold or silver spray paint and the cones and berries got a lovely highlight.
Then, we were forced to have another cuppa and eat more mince pies!
That was before making a table centrepiece using a candle which we had been told to bring with us and more foliage etc… unfortunately, I don’t have a single photo of any of them! Must have been too busy trying to get it right that I totally forgot to chronicle it.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Polly/Pauline, the day was fantastic. Also to her family; two daughters who helped us all out with everything and to her husband, Peter, who knows his place is in the kitchen and stays there brewing-up and washing-up with the odd foray out into the cold for more supplies when requested!