Cindy and I LOVE decorating for this particular holiday. Like many of you, we have bins and bins of goodies to bring out. This is her second Christmas in her new house and my first in my new digs, so much of the enjoyment is figuring out where to place our favorite pieces. Even if you haven’t moved recently, when you unpack your decorations and start placing them, don’t automatically put pieces where they were last year. Shake it up a bit and try new combinations – you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated your decor will look.
Decorating your front door and porch/deck/patio for the holidays is often a source of stress. I’m living proof. It was the last part to be decorated (still haven’t done the lights) because I couldn’t decide what to do, how much to do, etc. As with many things, it’s a work in progress. Maybe sharing my results will help ease your stress.
Front Door Swag How To
I have two huge matching swags that I bought a couple years ago and never used - they are too big, I couldn’t decide what to do, etc. This year I vowed to find a way to use them. I pulled them out and they’re even bigger than I remembered! Hmmmm – I’m thinking front door. They’re already partially done since they’re filled with interesting greens and huge pinecones.
My first thought was …. all natural – I’d go for the woodsy look. Took a quick trip to Michaels on holiday Monday to see what I could find on sale and came home with ….. not woodsy! Here’s my process and how you can replicate this look or adapt it for your front door.
Begin by gathering your materials. Here are my swags, a berry stem each, a wintery branch each and a feather pick (my Michaels find). Cut up all the pieces because they stretch further and you can mix them throughout your wreath or swag.
Silk greens are always smooshed so the first thing to do is fluff – pull those squashed branches apart from each other. Don’t forget to give dimension by pulling some out toward you, just like real branches would grow. This swag is 36″ long, so there’s a lot of fluffing.
Here I’m cutting apart the wintery branch. The little green pick I’m using has a very thin wire attached which is handy to keep pieces together like all these thin needles.
The ribbon I think I’m going to use. Plus my glitzy feather bunch I added – the glitz kind of moved me away from my woodsy theme – but I’m adaptable.
At this point I’ve added my cut up wintery branch and my cut up berries. First I lay things in place to make sure they fit and they’re evenly spaced, then I go back and glue them in place since this is going outside.
This is the ribbon I bought to use so I laid it in place as a trial. I don’t like it – the white is too white and the pattern is too busy. I need something else.
I found a sheer warm gold and a slightly patterned silver that I already had on hand since the feathers have both colors in them. Think I need to see the swag hanging to get a better idea. And because I couldn’t decide, I made florist bows in several ribbons to try out.
I used a door wreath hanger to hang it on my pantry door so I could see how it will be hanging instead of laying flat. It makes a big difference, so whenever you can, work on your wreath or garland in position. That way you’re sure to place your embellishments evenly and so they can be seen from its actual viewing position. Before I decide on the ribbon, I think I need to add feathers so I can see how they’ll work together. Since this swag already has a slightly asymmetrical shape (love that!), I decide to play that up with my feathers.
I cut up the feather bunch and tape them in smaller groups. I also use my fingers to give them a slight arch which is prettier than the perfectly straight shape they had.
I actually made a double bow combining the warm gold sheer and the silver trying to play up on both colors in the feathers. And, the ribbon at 2.5″ wide is actually a little narrow for the scale of the swag so I thought more volume would make up for it. I decided it’s too busy, too much, too conflicted of a design. Do I lose the ribbon or feathers?
I opted to leave off the ribbon. And I clusted the feathers more tightly instead of having them spray all over the top. I really like this simplified version, so out to the front door it goes.
The poinsettias in the natural basket are $1/bush on sale at Michaels so I filled that whole big basket for about $10 plus a spray of berries that I cut up.
Easy Banister Swags
Since I was in messy decorating mode, I kept going and whipped out some swags for my banisters. I started with much smaller scaled, simpler swags and fluffed to get them full.
That ribbon I bought that didn’t work for the front door works beautifully inside in my dim entry. I made a big bow, added a couple of lengths just tucked in here and there, 1 big red unbreakable ornament, 3 smaller ones around the focal point bow then added 3 more silver or gold ornaments – one at each cone cluster down the length of the swag.
I really didn’t want the usual heavy evergreen garland so, working from an inspiration photo I found online, I adapted it to make this ribbon garland. I used about 2 yards between each swag and let each ribbon loosely curl.
I’m happy with my messy morning of creativity – silks, glitter everywhere, ribbon bits, evergreen needles galore, but all ending in a pleasing result.
What Will You Try?
Are you up for a creativity break? Have you always used wreaths because you couldn’t envision how a swag might work? Do you prefer garlands or swags to decorate your banisters? Any tips to share with us? I hope your holiday decorating is off to a solid start and that these instructions will remove one more layer of stress.