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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Heart-shaped Boxwood Wreath for Valentine's Day

It all started when I convinced the Mister to paint our front door (doors, actually) a beautiful soft blue-green. We painted the door (okay, doors) a high-gloss red shortly after we moved in, and while I love the punch of a red door on a black and white house, I was ready for a change. The Mister, who is a saint when it comes to yard work, had planted lots of hydrangeas, ferns and boxwoods at my request. (The planting itself probably wasn't so bad, but the ripping out of the original multi-colored azaleas and dilapidated tea olives was a big job!) I imagined guests walking up to our front door and being met by billowy hydrangeas, airy ferns, and stately boxwoods, and the shock of the red door seemed wrong. We needed a door that would harmonize with those beautiful blue and green tones.

First, I have to say that I love the aqua-colored door, but I second-guess myself whenever I try to do any kind of holiday decorations outside. Bright orange pumpkins have to be tempered with blue-green pumpkins and ghost gourds. Christmas red ribbon, which I love, somehow seems a little garish against the pale blue-green shade, so I decorated with lemons and limes and a dark green velvet ribbon at holiday time. For Valentine's Day, I decided I needed a heart-shaped boxwood wreath. I googled same. Hmm, $15 - $45, plus shipping.

I searched on Pinterest for some diy tips, and then this morning while Charlie was out for her constitutional, it occurred to me that I had more than enough boxwood only steps away. So, without further adieu, here are my directions for making a heart-shaped boxwood wreath for zero dollars in less than an hour.

You'll need:

boxwood - I used two very full handfuls of boxwood trimmings 8- to 12- inches in length.
a wire coat hanger
floral wire
good clippers

First, shape your coat hanger into a heart. To do this, you'll need to untwist the wire at the hook part of the hanger, bend the ends toward each other, and re-twist back together. This takes a little bit of hand strength, so you might want to use pliers.

A perfect heart shape isn't necessary, thank goodness, because the boxwood will cover irregularities. Fresh boxwood will also create its own irregularities, which suits me fine. I kind of prefer the handmade look.

Next, begin wiring your longest boxwood clippings to the frame. Don't worry about errant sprigs; they can be trimmed later, if you like. After you've covered the frame with longer stems of boxwood, you'll want to create a wire loop at the top center point of the heart, so it will be easy to hang.

Now, it's time to add shorter, fuller clippings to fill out the wreath. I cut my remaining boxwood into smaller six-inch long pieces. I discarded any woody, or forked, stems at this point.

Gather the smaller trimmings into groups of three or four and begin wiring them to the wreath frame, starting at the bottom point of the heart and working your way on the lefthand side to the center point of the top of the heart. Then, repeat the process on the righthand side.

Your wreath will probably look something like this. I actually like this unruly look, but I was afraid it might not "read" as a heart on the front door, so I trimmed some of the more raucous stems. I also flipped the wreath over and trimmed the wires, so they wouldn't scratch the door.

And, truly, less than an hour after I started, this boxwood wreath was hung on our front door. In cool weather, the boxwood will stay green for several weeks. 

After all, tomorrow's February 1st, so Valentine's Day isn't far away. Please let me know if you make a boxwood wreath or if you have any tips to pass along for wreath making. I'm contemplating making a smaller heart to hang from the key on the stepback cupboard inside the house.

Thanks for reading!


  1. NICE!I received your email and here IAM!
    I too have a CORGI.................. named WINSTON.
    Nice to know you have a handy husband!I do too!The empty nest thing is not an easy least for me!GOOD LUCK and hope to see you at!!

  2. Winston! I love it! Thank you so much for commenting. I love the Vintage Hen House; I feel as if I know you from reading your comments on Ellie's Have Some Decorum blog! Thank you again!

  3. The Viral Site best idea , loved it. Thanks for sharing

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