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Handmade Wreaths

frequently asked questions

All dried flower and artificial wreaths on this site are handmade, unmatched originals, created at Everlasting Life Decor, a one-woman cottage industry in the Ozark's Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas. I'm here for the intention of serving those who want the distinctive look of original artistic design, and the longevity of high quality craftsmanship. No mass production and no machine production; placing each ingredient one at a time, I hand make each wreath in my studio located in the hills you see at the top of this page, and then I post them to this web site. You are not viewing assembly line, formula made crafts. You are viewing handmade one-of-a-kind creations. The wreath's appearance and longevity reflects that, as does the price. Click on the "floral, rustic, or holiday" black tabs at the top of this page to see the current offerings. Click on the "custom" tab at the far right above on any page or right here on this page to see my custom portfolio. Keep reading to learn more about dried flowers and how I hand make all my wreaths.

teddy bear sunflower for drying

Everlastings - What are they?
Plants that have a beautiful hereafter!

"Everlastings" are flowers and other plant material that can be preserved in some manner without loosing their beauty. Indeed, the preserving process reveals hidden aspects of the plants that make them more interesting and adds to their beauty. Leaves may cup. Grasses and stems may twist. Hidden color may surface. Everlastings delight the eye and give years of service long after they are done with life.

Many "true" everlastings have a dry, stiff, papery feel while yet very much alive and growing. Others are preserved by one method or another to make them last.

The easiest method of preservation is to just let them dry on the plant, but most are usually hung in a very warm, dark, dry place. Today's special techniques of preserving flowers and foliage include freeze drying, using silica gel, and preserving with glycerin. Silica gel is like fine sand. Some flowers dry well immersed in it and come out dried but looking almost fresh. Glycerin is mixed with water in a container in which the plant stems are placed. The plants suck up this mix and become darker and permanently pliable.

Many kinds of plant material, not just flowers, can be used as everlastings. Lots of foliage and seed pods will last and last if correctly harvested and treated. Some vines and berries can be used too, with the artist often placing a drop of hot glue at the base of each individual berry. Autumn leaves can be just as beautiful as roses if tastefully arranged.

An arrangement made from everlastings will be beautiful for a long time. Sometimes years and years. The time it lasts depends on the type of plant material used, how it's treated and conditioned during construction, and most importantly where it's hung.

dried flower wreath

What makes my wreaths & DOOR WREATHS different from the rest besides the price?

One Woman Operation
I used to grow most of my material myself, cutting and preserving it in a number of ways. Sometimes I would let it dry while on the plant. But most were cut, then hung in my specially modified attic to air dry there. Some were silica dried and a few others - glycerin preserved. I also would press one or two for special effects. Then, once dried, the material was stored carefully so it would not crush under its own weight or be mashed together in clumps or boxes. There is quite a science to all of this which accounts for all my books, I suppose, but still I learn through my own experimentation and from trial and error. I have to spend my time now more for creating and less for growing and preserving. Although I do still grow and cut some of my product, much of it is purchased from a supplier that does only the growing and preserving. They use all their time for it and their product is superior.

No Mass Production Work
I used to think a day would come when I would have it all down pat, but I know better now. Learning it never quits. And so my art will never quit changing.That's one reason my arrangements are all different. But the other is me. I don't like repetition. Don't get me wrong. I can do a matched set. I just can't do mass production, like the ones you buy from catalogs or department stores. I understand their problem. They have to turn out high volume, and so turn to the unskilled, giving a formula of instructions and hoping for the best. But I just won't do slap-dash, fast, blobby, polka-dotted, arrangements over and over again. I can't. I think it would somehow kill me.

dried flower wreath

Detail Makes the Difference
So I put my all into each arrangement. With mother nature as the first artist, I work to preserve and accentuate her original creations, and make floral designs that are both stunning in appearance and practical to use. It's the detail that makes the difference.
  • Prime time harvest for premium
    plant material
  • Careful preservation and storage
  • Careful construction for long lasting beauty & shape
  • Thoughtfully designed for ease of handling and care
  • Each flower and leaf placed individually - no clump & clamp
  • One on one customer service
  • Convenient shipping with handling & care instructions included
  • Gift service available with card & special message

Workmanship

When I actually construct, my first job is to make sure the arrangement gets to you undamaged. The base is prepared and then a box is made to protect the arrangement. This alone can take an hour or even longer. Then careful attention must be paid to the mechanics of the arrangement and the different plant requirements. You can't just do anything you want with any plant if you want the piece to last. Each piece of plant material is individually placed according to its requirements and to maximize it's artistic effect. Many times berries and seed pods have to be individually glued. I treat all my material to resist fading and wilting. I build the arrangement to hold its shape over time. Gravity has to be considered. Sometimes sagging branches can be attractive, but if not meant to sag, they just look droopy and ratty. Then finally comes the hard part: photographing it -- so you can tell how pretty it really is. Two dimensional photos can never fully represent three dimensional beauty. So if you like it on the screen, you're going to really love it in your home.

Silks and Other Artificial Ingredients

Yes, I will and do use fine silks and other artificial material in my wreaths if my client wants them. I began doing it at customer demand, but with the passage of years, artificial flowers and foliage have come a very long way. Sometimes you have to touch them to tell The look of real fresh with the toughness to withstand outdoor exposure make artificials very attractive to some. Much of the time I combine artificials with real. That way the the irregular qualities of the real material keeps the piece from looking perfect and fake.

Placing & Caring for everlastings

Words of Advice on Hanging Your Arrangement
1 . Spacing: Give the arrangement a margin of wall or door space that compliments it. Too little crowds it, and too much puts it adrift in a great gulf. Both detract from its appeal. For a large wall, either use a large arrangement, or break the space up with other decor to get a more appropriate display area. For advice on wreath size for doors click on the following link: http://www.everlastinglifedecor.com/advice4.htm.

2. Traffic: Hang your arrangement where there is clearance. Doors are fine, just as long as shoulders aren't brushing the arrangement on each pass. Don't forget that these arrangements look really great in empty wall spaces (click here: http://www.everlastinglifedecor.com/advice.htm).

3. Lighting: For maximum longevity, try to avoid direct sunlight. Even though my material is treated to resist fading, direct sun will lighten anything.Some people like the effect in everlastings. Over months the colors will not only fade but some will change in hue. If you want to avoid that, hang your piece in indirect light or artificial light. Color lasts longest there. For a really special effect, purchase a small spotlight that can be aimed at the arrangement and draw attention to it. For full sun exposure, a lot of my clients prefer to use quality artificials. Many of my wreaths use a combination of real foliage (treated to resist fading) and artificial flowers. This can look really good, and gives the best of both worlds.

4. Exposure: For real dried flowers and foliage, weather of course is also a concern. So are jumping dogs (one of my wreaths was knocked down by one). You can't expect exposed dried flowers to survive a hail storm either. You must use common sense when deciding on a wreath. For those clients who have problem exposures, there are quite a few options. Some real plant material is very tough, and of course artificial material is too. Quality silks and the new latex material are surprisingly real looking. If you can't make up your mind, just give me a call and I will help. Many of my clients want real dried material no matter what. They don't care if weather takes a toll. They want the look that only real plant material will give. But others want longevity, and today there are plenty of options for accomplishing that.

5. Cleaning: If your wreath becomes dusty, cobwebby, or even mildewed, don't trash it - at least not until you've tried a bottle of silk plant cleaner. This stuff works wonders. Just hang the wreath where it can drip and start spraying it. You will be surprised.

6. Glycerin Preserved: If you live in a very humid climate, for an exterior application, you want to stay away from glycerin preserved material, at least in the summertime. Although glycerin preservation keeps foliage flexible and tough, in high humidity it will sweat out of the leaves and drip off the wreath. For high humidity, air dried material or artificials (or a combination of the two) are best.


photo of Sally
quality guarantee

My floral designs are built for maximum visual impact and longevity, with every leaf, flower, vine or berry carefully chosen, preserved and placed to give you nothing but the highest of quality in floral wall decor.

If you are not satisfied with a purchase from the current offerings on my site, call me (1-479-677-2679) or email me (sally@everlastinglifedecor.com) to arrange for a replacement or a refund. To see the full refund policy, including that for custom work, go to the upper right of this page and click on "return policy."

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Large Wreaths?
Look for the Green Elephants

big wreath elephant symbol
1 Elephant =
24" - 30"

2 Elephants =
30"- 36
"

3 Elephants =
Over 36"



custom work
custom work available

 

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1-479-677-2679 | Fax: 479-677-2679 | 1530 Madison 4785 - Pettigrew, AR 72752