Monthly Archives: May 2012

Not Just Another Wreath

I’ve lived in my house for 25 years.  During most of that time, I have only decorated my front door at Christmas-time — and it’s been the same wreath every single year.  This year, as I pulled out the same old wreath, taking notice of where ornaments had fallen off over time, and gingerly carrying it to the door to avoid spreading dust cleverly disguised as fake snow, I had a moment.  Why exactly was I doing this AGAIN?

So I went out and bought myself a Christmas stocking and a few sparkly decorations, and with 10 minutes, and some tissue paper for bulk, I had a brand new, non-wreath door decoration for Christmas.

A few visits to Pinterest later, I had a plan — some new door art that wasn’t a wreath.  I first came across this site, http://www.completely-coastal.com/2011/06/summer-front-door-decorations.html, and in particular, this sunny little basket.

Inspired, I set out to create my own decoration.  Then I became discouraged.  it’s really tough to find a basket the size I needed, which was no more than 3″ deep, because I have a storm door.

When you can’t find one, then make one.  Right?

Here’s my materials list:

  • 1 piece of scrap fabric, preferably corduory or denim — something with some substance to it.  You’ll need to be able to cut two pieces of at least 9″ x 10″, plus three sides, about 4″ wide, and 10″ long each.  Use your floral foam blocks as your pattern.
  • 4 strips of complimentary softer fabric, approximately 2 yards long each, cut to about 3″ to 3-1/2″ wide to form the handle
  • 1 ball of hardware store jute, braided, or one strip of a second color fabric, so you have a total of five fabric strips for the handle
  • 1 package of blocks of dry floral foam
  • Silk flowers
  • Beads and decorations of your choice

I pretty much made this project up as I went along, so my documentation is a bit sketchy.  I started by braiding some lengths of jute to be used as decoration.  The natural fiber string I used was a $2 ball of jute I found in the hardware section of Wally World.  It is intended to be used as bundling string to bundle branches and other yard waste so that the city will pick it up off your curb.  For the braid I used in the handle of my basket, I cut four strands, 2 yards long each, and did a four strand braid.

You can accomplish a similar look with a crochet hook and a single strand chain.  I just liked the more solid feel of the 4 strand braid.

I then took two blocks of the floral foam and laid them out on my basket fabric and used them for a size pattern.  For this project I chose a leftover scrap of brown corduroy, although any substantial fabric would do nicely.  I cut two pieces of fabric approximately 1″ wider all around than the two foam blocks.  These will be the front and back of your basket.  Then I cut three strips of the same fabric, about 4″ wide and the same length as three sides of the front and back squares.

Stitch together the three side strips into one long strip.   With right sides together and starting at what will be the top edge of your basket, sew your fabric strip to the front side of your basket, leaving the needle in the fabric at the corners and pivoting 90 degrees to create the box.  Repeat to attach the back panel to the now sewn on sides of the front panel.  Use approximately 1/2″ to 5/8″ seams.

Turn your basket right side out.

To make the handle, I took 4 strips of complimentary lightweight cotton fabric, approximately 2 yards long each, and with the right sides together, sewed down the length of the strip, then turned it right side out to form a long tube.  Don’t press your tubes flat after you turn them.

Affix your strips, along with the decorative jute braid, to a steady mount and make a loose, 5 strand braid.  Secure each end of the braid with a decorative macrame bead or other decorative tie off at each end.

Position the handle to the side panel of your box, then fold the top down on all four sides, to form a finished edge.  Topstitch all the way around, catching your handle braid on both sides.  Your handle is attached.   Insert your floral foam, shaving and trimming the foam to ensure a good fit.

After inserting flowers, my final basket looked pretty good, albeit fairly blank.  It needed something.  I had envisioned a “welcome” applique, and I searched Hobby Lobby high and low for what I wanted, but came up empty.  As I was leaving the store though, I ran across some really cute clear, colored acrylic message ornaments.  I picked “peace” from the selection of “love”, “peace” and “hope”.

My ornament didn’t show up well against brown fabric, so I created an applique of my own.  I used the bottom of a serving bowl in my cabinet for the oval shape, then I zigzaged the outer edge of the oval to limit fraying.  Then, to tie the applique to the basket, I crocheted a single strand of jute into a chain long enough to go around the outside edge of the oval and whip stitched the jute chain in place, adding a finishing bead to anchor it.  I used fabric glue to affix the “peace” to the center of the oval (which I’ll reinforce later with some invisible nylon thread) and allowed the decoration to dry.  Once dried, I whip stitched the applique to the basket to complete the project.  Total time was about two hours from start to finish and the cost was less than $20.

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