When Life Gives You Vines

There’s this shop on the drive home from our favorite Napa picnic spot which sells dried grape vine decorations – wall-hangings, baskets, reindeer, etc., but especially beautiful wreaths. We like to stop and look, but since these are wine country souvenirs, made from real grape vines from the Napa Valley, the prices are, shall we say, more than I’d like to pay. The idea has been tucked snugly in the back of my mind, though, and so a few weeks ago, when our taller-than-I am and completely un-fruitful grape vines needed to be brought back under control, I had a plan. I whacked the vine back pretty heavily and ended up with a nice open space in the garden and a big pile of vines and leaves.

Not quite sure how to start, but figuring that since my goal was just to make a circle it didn’t matter too much, I bent the first vine into the right size loop, and then twisted another around that and tucked the ends into the twist that was forming.

The pile ran out pretty quickly (I was trying to stretch them out to make four wreaths) so I left them in the sun to dry. It was surprising to see after a few weeks that instead of the vines shrinking and tightening the wreath up, it seemed like they expanded and made the whole thing looser. We have a potato vine (a flowering vine, not a vegetable plant) which conveniently needed pruning, so I twisted those around the dried grapevines  to add some bulk and strength.

Then last week, with fall upon us and the house ready for a wreath, I pulled one inside and looked around for decorations.


The long strands of leaf garlands looked like a good candidate, and I strung the rest of the old buttons on thread to make a button garland – this turned out very cute, but be very careful if you make one, its a nightmare to untangle!

Then with the garlands, some leftover pieces from sister’s wedding flowers -those yellow polka-dots are an amazing flower that the florist called billybob (not sure that’s how its spelled) – and three paper leaves, it was ready for the wall. Thanks for the idea, pricey vine-wreath-store!


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