Get in to the festive spirit by making our own wreath as part of Meadowhall Christmas sessions
At this time of year, I often see lovely festive wreaths appearing on people's doors as I walk home and as I admire them I wonder how they are made.
When I realised that Meadowhall shopping centre has teamed up with Sheffield-based florist plantology to offer people the chance to learn how to make them I was keen to have a go.
The class is being offered as part of Meadowhall's Christmas Sessions, which see people being able to sign up to classes to learn how to do a few seasonal activities, including wreath making, gift wrapping and ginger bread house decoration - all from a dedicated stall.
The session I attended was run by the owner of Plantology, Jill, who welcomed everyone with a friendly smile and invited us to watch her demonstrate just what to do before we all had a go ourselves.
I was one of ten women who had signed up for the class, most had some with a family member or a friend. We all watched with admiration as Jill expertly put together the wreath, from attaching the specially grown moss to her wreath ring to expertly cutting various bits of foliage to the same length to them attach over the top. She finished with some decorations, a seasonal pine cone and green bow, and then provided us with all we needed to get going ourselves.
I, along with most other people it seemed, was a little apprehensive about getting started. Jill had carefully explained exactly what we needed to do, but it's easy to be unsure when you are not used to doing something.
Jill, who was obviously used to helping people and had a calm and kind manner, made her way around the group and showed everyone how to make sure they were starting correctly.
With this help, I started on my way; first attaching circular bunches of moss to the wreath ring with wire to form a base and then choosing what types of foliage I wanted to use to create my wreath.
There were many different types to choose from, including the seasonal spruce and holly, and it was good to have the chance to start to get creative and think about how I wanted my finished product to look. Not only that, the smell was wonderful.
We all cut small stems of foliage to use, and then Jill went patiently around the group to ensure everyone knew what to do next.
The trick was to choose three different types of foliage, put them together in a little sprig and lay them at different angles to create texture. Then, when you were happy tie them around the wreath ring using the wire and continue layering that up until you had a full wreath.
For someone who had no previous experience of doing anything like that, it felt like it took me quite a while to create my wreath, however, I did really enjoy doing it.
Once I had got used to how to do it, I enjoyed the rhythm of it. Yes, it was repetitive, but with each new sprig attached the wreath took better and better shape and that was rewarding to see.
Jill was on hand throughout to help anyone who needed it and gave everyone lots of guidance and positive feedback.
It was great to see the work that everyone else was doing as well. Even though we had the same basic materials to work with, every wreath looked different and it was great to know we had all created something handmade and totally unique.
When the wreaths had been made, it was time to add the decorations. Jill had brought a wide range of lovely things to suit all tastes; green ribbon, red ribbon, pink ribbon, orange ribbon and green ribbon along with pine cones, wooden stars, dried orange and lemon slices and cinnamon sticks.
This was the time when everyone got to show off their creative flair, and there was a happy atmosphere about the group as everyone chose the decorations they wanted and set about placing them on their wreaths - using a combination of glue and wire pins.
I opted to use pink ribbon, pine cones, wooden stats and cinnamon sticks. I must admit my craft skills are not the best, so I was struggling to make a ribbon bow that resembled anything like the beautiful one Jill had made earlier during her demonstration.
I'd worked so hard to make the wreath, I must admit I was worried that my less-than-perfect looking bow would let it down somewhat. I needn't have worried, however, as Jill very kindly offered to make me one - which she did with even more impressive speed - and also showed me how to ensure it was securely attached.
I added some other decorations and then, I was done. It had taken me a good couple of hours, but I was extremely pleased with the end product.
Jill was a great teacher who was kind, patient and very helpful throughout. I left the class feeling happy and proud of what I had done, and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.
You don't need any prior knowledge or a particular high level of craft skill do to this, (I certainly don't), Jill gives you all the guidance and help you would need.
The wreath is now hanging on my door and I've had many compliments on it from visiting friends and I have a great sense of pride in telling them I made it myself.
The next wreath making class is on December 5, from 6.30 to 8.30pm.
Visit https://www.meadowhall.co.uk/news-events/wreath-making-workshop for more information or to buy a ticket to the class. Classes cost £40.