Hey, look–I made something!

Remember when I told you guys right before Christmas that I had actually produced something kinda Martha Stewart/crafty-ish, but I had to wait to show it to you because I made it as a gift? Well, the gift was for Mama June, Russ’ other mother, and now that it has been safely delivered to her (wrapped in a classy black trash bag) I can finally give you all the lowdown!

Ok, here’s what I made– a big ol’ honkin’ wreath!

Isn’t it pretty? It’s made out of pages from a antique book– because seriously, what says ‘Merry Christmas’ to a former English teacher more than destroying a book?! And it was actually fun to make and pretty easy, too. I found a how-to tutorial video from a woman named Jenna de Angeles, who has a great crafting/design website– check it out if you really want to learn how to make one!

Here’s my Cliff Notes version:

You start by finding a vintage book (around 8 x 10 inches to make a wreath this size), hopefully one that has yellowing pages and that great aged look. I found this one for $11 at an antique mall.

It was perfect because it had lots of print and every page kind of looked the same– I think it was a record book of some kind, listing generations of Southern families. I took the book apart at the binding and tore the pages out in sections, trimming the edges with scissors to even them up. Then came the tricky part (at least for me)– rolling the pages into cones and securing them with a little piece of tape. It looked easy on the tutorial video, but it really took me a while to get the hang of it. More than a few pages were sacrificed in my Quest For The Perfect Cone… I finally figured it out and then I rocked it– I sat up in bed watching an old Christmas movie and produced about 120 of them one night!

Next, you staple each cone at the pointed end about 1 inch from the bottom. When you’re up to your hips in stapled cones, you get a piece of foam core board (like  padded poster board, I got mine at Michael’s) and trace an 8 inch circle (I used a plate), then a 4 inch circle inside of that, and a dot in the middle. You get your hot glue gun and after placing cones at the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 points on the 8 inch circle, start filling in and glueing the stapled ends of the cones around the circle until filled. Then do the same thing around the smaller circle.

You can fill the center up with all kinds of things– the tutorial shows one with little red Christmas balls in the middle AND my favorite: some potpourri that had all kinds of natural things like acorns, nuts and little pieces of wood. I happened to have an unopened bag of some that looked almost exactly like the one Jenna used in the video in my closet, and I loved the way it looked next to the yellowed pages. Here I am, carefully arranging the potpourri and hot-gluing my little heart out:

You don’t HAVE to bite your bottom lip while working, but it helps.

Considering I’ve never made anything like this before, I think it came out pretty well! The tutorial really helped, because I could actually see all the steps in the process, and I could rewind and rewind a certain part until I finally got it if I needed to (like those dang cones.) Here’s a picture of my wreath next to a picture of Jenna’s:



See? Idiot-proof!

Now doesn’t that make you wanna run right out and start tearing up antique books?!

13 Responses

  1. carsmith

    Tori, I spotted the wreath the minute we walked in the door. I had to know where she got it and we were told with pride that you made it. I knew that was your secret craft item you were busting to tell us about. You have every reason to be proud because it’s beautiful and Momma June loves it. Jim and I were looking closely and could read some of the names. How cool is that.

    Your gift was made with love and you definitely spent a lot of time on something that turned out stunting. I laugh when I think of you traveling with the wreath, dogs, girls, bags, and other gifts. Tori Martha Stewart ya did good.

    Sorry we missed seeing you and the family.

  2. yondajean

    I absolutely LOVE it…..what an awesome job you did!

  3. Phyllis S

    Tori, keep the crafts coming! I made a pumpkin patch from your sweater tutorial and now I am going to have to make a wreath for Mardi Gras.

    The wreath is absolutely beautiful (actually prettier than the video) and I know so appreciated.

    Just a note: You can copy and paste your bloggy to a word document and keep for future reference, it copies well. I hope it is ok with you to copy and keep some bloggs, if not please let me know and I will delete them from my computer.

    Thanks and Happy New Year.

  4. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh, I love it…..it is so pretty. Besides, I always appreciate hand-made gifts. They just radiate love and that always makes them even more special. Then, when they grow into being really stunning works of art in later years they still have that feeling that comes with those little gifts our children make for us while growing up.

  5. Shella

    Wow – is that fabulous or what. I love books, but wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to tear up (or, let’s say, disassemble) a vintage one if it could look like that when I got done. I’m pretty sure the book wouldn’t mind either, as it would then be the prettiest one on the block (or at least in my house). How fun! Are you going to make one for yourself?

  6. LindaB

    Well, Tori, your wreath is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! What a great idea! How do people think of these projects anyway? Such creative minds!

    I’m sure it means so much to Momma June that you made it yourself and put all that time and glue into it. That was so thoughtful of you. You are a nice person!

    (Is Russ, the book collector, getting nervous? ;) )

  7. LindaB

    Whoops! My parenthesis dropped!!! Well, I’m in my sixties and it’s just one more thing that’s dropping. Sigh.

  8. Phyllis S

    Make sure you watch the video, quite funny and love her idea of the chocolates.

    Tori, did you have the chocolates?

  9. LindaB

    I watched the video and you’re right, Phyllis, Jenna is very funny! It was cool.

    Tori, I think your cones are better than Jenna’s—-they look more like cones.

  10. rachelbaker

    I think its beautiful. I also think if I tried to make one it would not turn out like that.

  11. bettyrwoodward

    It is lovely. I hope Rachel doesn’t think of using her Christmas present to try this! OK I know she wont seeing they have pride of place in her lounge..
    I certainly couldn’t imagine making anything that beautiful.

  12. auburn60

    Oh my. I’m ( * breathes deeply * ) still trying to get used to the idea that you TORE UP an antique book! And especially one that lists ‘generations of Southern families’. I would have carried that thing around like a holy chalice and laid it on the altar of the Confederate war dead while singing every verse of ‘DIXIE”. I fear retribution for you from the ‘haints’ of General Robert E. Lee, Scarlett O’Hara and Dixie Carter.

    BUT…I’m thinking a wreath with sheet music and musical items in the middle would be really cute. OR! I’ve got it…a ‘Russ Taff wreath’ with Russ Taff sheet music and RT stuff in the middle..maybe medals, a guitar,a Starbuck’s magnet…the ultimate in RT memorabilia. Momma Lloyd could put it in her kitchen!

  13. tori

    carsmith: SO sorry we missed you guys, too– how did that happen?! I’m so glad June was pleased, I had so much fun thinking of her while I made it.

    yondajean: Thank you! (And is this your first comment? YAY!!!! Welcome!)

    Phyllis S: Yeah, I STILL haven’t made a sweater pumpkin yet… But I PLAN on making a velvet version– maybe by next fall! Of course I don’t mind that you keep my blog posts, makes me feel good.

    MommaLloyd: Speaking of handmade gifts– your red velvet cake was a huge hit, as always! Thank you so much!

    Shella: I MUCH prefer ‘disassemble’– well put!

    Linda B: I do admit making quick search around the house for raw materials and gazing longingly at some of his beautifully well-worn collections of sermons/concordances/preacher biographies… But I was afraid I would go to hell.

    Phyllis S: I didn’t have chocolate, but if you look at the corner of my marble table you will see some of that old fashioned ribbon candy…

    Linda B: I will definitely be checking Jenna’s site regularly to see what else she comes up with!

    rachelbaker: Seriously- if I can do it? Anyone can!

    bettyrwoodward– I think you’d have to hold a gun on Rachel to get her to part with her dictionaries!

    auburn60: OK, not ‘tore up’– RECYCLED! Also, it was so not a lovely SOuthern family tome, more like a census list! I did see a wonderful old one on French operas that had lots of musical scores and stuff– maybe my next one. And sadly, we probably have old Russ Taff memorabilia in the garage that has yellowed to the desired texture, and would definitely qualify as vintage!

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