Friday, May 24, 2013

Patriotic Rag Wreath

It's almost Memorial Day!  I love Memorial Day.  I love the cookouts and the kick-off to summer, of course, but I also really love the flags and parades (I ALWAYS cry when I see the veterans march by - thinking about what they've given to us and what they've been though to keep us free and safe) - just the whole patriotic spirit and sentiment of the holiday - honoring those who serve and keep us safe.  To all the service men and women out there - thank you.  My husband and I have not served ourselves, but we have a long history of warriors in our families, from my husband's grandfather who was a D-Day paratrooper in WWII and my grandfather who served in the Air Force in Korea, all the way back to ancestors in the Civil War (we have ancestors who served for both the North and the South, actually) and Revolutionary War (again, we both have ancestors on both sides - I find that so interesting).

So in the spirit of the holiday, I decided to try my hand at a patriotic rag wreath.  I choose this style because I am trying to be very frugal (we are saving for a trip to the Southwest this summer and a renovation to the outside of our house - looking forward to not being the ugliest house in the neighborhood anymore!) and wanted to use only items I had on hand all ready.  I'm feeling very frugalista.  I didn't have any wreath forms, but I did have an embroidery hoop.  I thought that a rag wreath would really fill out the hoop nicely.

For the rags, I pawed through my fabric bin and found some muslin scraps, a red calico with white hearts, and 2 blue calicos - one royal with a subtle leaf print and the other more of a cadet blue with vines.  I went with both, thinking that the slight differences in tone would add some more visual interest.  I ironed all the fabrics and cut many, many strips of each.  Each strip was about 7 inches long and 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch wide.  I wasn't precise with the cuts.

On a whim, I also pulled out my bin of wooden shapes and was rewarded with the perfect find - several star cut-outs in 2 different sizes.  I used 5 and painted them red, gold, and blue.  I wasn't thrilled with the red and blue, so I tried to do an antique-y layer of gold over top.  I was going for a streaky, weathered look and was only marginally successful.  But hey, it works.

After supplies were assembled, I parked myself on our soon-to-be-demolished-and-replaced-with-a-screened-porch-and-concrete-patio-deck with a frosty glass of iced tea and my rags and went to town.  Each strip was knotted once on the hoop.  I tried to be random with the colors (which is hard to do, btw.  I find myself wanting to make a pattern in spite of myself).  Every few rags, I would smoosh the ties closer together to ensure that the wreath ended up nice and full.  Be careful with the smoosh step - you could get a splinter!  I did and it was not fun.  :(

Once all the rags were tied, the painted stars had dried and I simply hot glued them on.  I used a bit of red-edged cream ribbon tied to the top to serve as the hanger.  This ribbon, incidentally, was saved from an Anthropology gift bag.  When I recycle those sorts of bags, I always save the ribbon handles.  Depression-Era-Chic, baby.  Thanks to my handy ribbon storage system, it's easy to see what I have available and I'm MUCH better about not buying the same colors over and over because I can't remember that I have them.  See that post here.

There you have it - a fun, full, free(!), patriotic rag wreath.

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