Embroidering and Upcycling for the Holidays – Wreath


I will admit that I am a garage sale, estate sale,and auction addict. My love for fabrics and crafts provides fuel for that sales addiction. One of the ways that I rationalize my addiction is to believe that, with every purchase, I am saving items from becoming landfill.  The only problem with that rationalization is that by saving the earth from additional landfill, I am creating a personal landfill in my own home.

The creation of this holiday wreath is an example of how I am putting my collecting landfill to use and – in my mind – saving the planet by beginning the landfill reduction within my own home. (anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it)

To create this wreath, I dug in to my collection of buttons, sequins and beads. I also unearthed some old stained damask napkins (you know … the ones that you find at estate sales where the proprietor always assures you that there are no stains on the carefully taped napkin bundle??? I fall for that hunk of malarky every time!) from the fabric stash. I also dug through the embroidery floss for some greens and some browns.

After starching and ironing a napkin, I discovered an area that was about 6 inches of stain free fabric. (use good light for this, some stains with not show themselves readily)  I found a 4 inch diameter circular lid that I used to draw a wreath base.

After hooping the napkin in an embroidery frame, I stem stitched in the brown floss over the wreath base line.  Varying the shades, I then used random fly stitching and back stitching to create the greenery of wreath.

Beginning with my focal point (which in this case was the rhinestone button) I overlaid and stitched buttons and sequins around the wreath.  (I used a North – South then East – West approach to better balance the design)

Since I decided that this upcycle was going to become a wall decoration, I needed a much more substantial drape to this piece.  So I used a combination of spray adhesive and a craft stabilizer sheet to give this piece the stability that it needs.

Circular items are so attractive, but circular frames are difficult to find.  You can always create your own by stitching you finished work to some plastic canvas, felt or other stable background. I have seen frames created from mason jar lids, embroidery hoops and and grapevine branches. Personally, I crochet, so I created the crochet frame that is shown with this wreath. The frame is available as a paid pattern in my ravelry or etsy shop  (links provided below)

As Creatives, we often find inspiration reading and seeing the projects that other people create.  Hopefully this little post inspires you to enjoy and create from your collection. Happy Holidays!

Links to frame patterns;







Curly Cue Christmas Trees to Embroider

Christmas Tree pictures

I am in constant amazement with the brain and how it works.  At the age of 55, I am absolutely dependent on my “to do” lists (yes, plural). As the day progresses and new things want to wander into my brain, I have to rely on my reminder post it notes to keep what wanders in from wandering back out. (It has been stated that I do use post its as a decorating theme.)

 While I may not be able to remember what I did yesterday or what I need to do in ten minutes; I can clearly remember a Christmas card that I fell in love with some fifty years ago.    Glitz and glam ruled the decorating roost in the early 60’s.  Everything was either pearlized, flocked or glittered … or some modernized combination of the three.   The card that has had such a grand place in my memory was a pearlized green that was bordered by a frame of glittered holiday red.  The image at the center was a swirling, curling flocked and glittered white Christmas tree.  This is the tree that inspired the embroidered design that is being offered in this writing.

 I believe that most crafters have a common DNA code that makes us all upcycling, garage saling, multi – crafting stashers.  With that in mind, I believe that most crafters have the items needed to create either of these trees.  The items that I used were:

Background fabric – The burgundy red fabric was once a table cloth.  The blue fabric is a painted linen napkin (you know how you pick up a stack of napkins only to find that some have stains? Linen makes an excellent embroidery fabric and you can definitely dye over or wet paint over any stains)

Single side fusable lightweight interfacing

Carbon or transfer paper

Embroidery floss and needle – The green tree was embroidered in size 5 perle cotton and the white tree embroidered in 6 strands of embroidery floss

Assorted buttons, beads and charms to your liking.

Sewing thread, needle and glue and / or spray adhesive.

Masking or art tape

8 by 10 inch frame and optional 8 by 10 art canvas board (you can use cardboard cut to size, but I had a really good coupon that I needed to use before it expired, so I bought art board)

To create the trees;

Copy and resize the design as you like.

Back the desired fabric with the interfacing

Transfer the design to your fabric.  The dots and stars were my schematic of where I “thought” I wanted the charms … as you can see, I didn’t follow that schematic. 

Embroider the design.  I used a back stitch with the green perle cotton. The white tree needed a bit more “oomph,” so I used a split stitch.  After completing the embroidery, lay the fabric face down on a padded surface and lightly press.

Sew / glue on charms as desired.  Raid your button stash, jewelry finding stash, broken jewelry pile, ect.  Nothing is beyond the boundaries of the glitz that you can add to your tree.

Adhere to the art or card board with a thin spread of glue or with spray adhesive (which I prefer)  Cut until there is about 1 inch border of excess fabric. Fold over excess fabric and tape to back of board (I used an archival art tape)

Insert into frame.  Note that this will create a very thick piece and sliding it into some frames may take a bit of patience and creative finagling. 

Enjoy your lovely creation!

Christmas Tree Embroidery