An Australian Christmas Wreath

As it comes into the festive season here in Australia, I always feel a little strange. Rolls of wrapping paper with snow flakes, $2 Christmas cards outside the newsagent picturing children sledding down a hill and magazines with amazing decadent warm food for Christmas day and there I am wrangling 3 kids while sweating in a summer dress. While many people around the world will be celebrating Christmas in their winter, we’re always smack bang in the middle of our beautiful (albeit hot) Australian summer. Rather than a roast on Christmas day we’d be better chowing into a large pineapple before jumping in our nearest ocean.

At night while we’ve been working through our Christmas themed book advent I’ve been further reflecting on the imagery our children are taking in about Christmas. Even I, having never experienced a winter Christmas, inadvertently associate snow flakes and scarves and a crackling fireplace with the Christmas season. Wanting to ensure their Australian edification I decided we should try and create for ourselves some culturally and seasonally realistic Christmas decorations and traditions.

While scouring the OP shop for some more Christmas books earlier this month I came across some beautiful 1994 diaries with illustrations by May Gibbs featuring her well-Australian-loved gumnut babies. I would have bought the diaries had I not been so indignant that the OP shop was trying to charge $15 for a second hand diary but I went away thinking about eucalyptus and banksia’s and when we found ourselves in Spotlight later that day I knew what we had to do.

A native Christmas wreath! For my overseas friends, you too can make one native to wherever you are celebrating this year.

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You need:

A wreath frame

Some flora you picked outside your house

Some florists tape and or wire

(or sticky tape or twine if you are desperate).
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We found this wire frame for a wreath in Spotlight for $7.99. I did resist the urge to buy several so that we could each make one because I hate sharing my craft projects so the kids could each enjoy doing their own. We decided to stick to one however based on the change in my wallet and limited wall space in our home.

First step would be to clean up your table to have a clean workspace and make sure no one reading this blog post knows that you’re a real person who lives in a real (and often messy) home too.

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We used florists tape and wire for binding the leaves and flowers to our frame. These are two things I make sure we always have in our craft drawer and which we use surprisingly often. You can buy these online (ebay) however I have had good success with inquiring at our local florist for some. Documenting Delight Wreath-6Documenting Delight Wreath-7

Once you have these you can head on out and find whatever is growing nearby to make a wreath. It rained softly while we searched but we three brave souls soldiered on.

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This is my favourite kind of morning with the kids, walking, talking and learning together. The conversation flowed from the origin of the word “flora” – talks about Goddesses and mythology, their baby brother named Florin, if humans are fauna, if hibiscus’s are native, if I would carry their umbrella’s, the difference between a plant and a fungus, who invented google (directly related to the proceeding question), why uggboots aren’t made for outside, how good eucalyptus smells, how essential oils are made, if she could be a botanist, if he could be a spy and if I would make them toast when we got home.

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Once home with our botanical supplies we set to work.  Documenting Delight Wreath-22

If you’ve never used florists tape before it needs to be stretched thin to become “sticky” and adhere well. Our children use it frequently but I always remember it was very tricky to begin using for them.

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One of our children who we won’t name *ahem* has a short attention span and assisted intermittently between reading to himself and eating vegemite bagels. Also. Vegemite bagels = YUM and a very appropriate snack for this craft project.

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For our wreath we chose to make a base of gum leaves and add the flowers & gumnuts we had found after that. The gumnuts we used florists wire to attach as they were quite heavy.

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And 6 vegemite bagels, some terrible Christmas music courtesy of Glee and an hour later: she was done! Documenting Delight Wreath-34Documenting Delight Wreath-39 Documenting Delight Wreath-35

The kids and I really enjoyed this and I think we’ll make them throughout the year, not just for Christmas. I’d love to make another when the yellow wattles bloom near our house. The good thing about this is you can also make a wreath native to where you live – nearly anywhere in the world you happen to live.

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Merry Christmas ya cheekas, have a bloody good one x

  1. gravatar for kate @ livinglovinglaughing kate @ livinglovinglaughing

    Oh, I love this! Wonderful project and so pretty. Will be gorgeous as it dries too. So true about the Aussie xmas experience. It was surreal and wonderful to experience a white American xmas once, but I love our summery one too :)

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  2. gravatar for Ellen Ellen

    I’ve been thinking about similar things lately – we have a lot of jacaranda trees in our area, and although they bloom in November and are over by Christmas, they’re always the first sign that Christmas time is coming!

    I actually did my own Australian Christmas DIY the other day – Christmas gift tags with native flora wreath illustrations… great minds think alike hey? My project is posted here: http://faith-in-fools.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/printable-gift-tags-for-christmas.html

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  3. gravatar for Sharolyn Sharolyn

    I am absolutely with you and your thoughts on an Aussie Christmas and that is a beautiful wreath indeed. We lived in Vancouver, Canada for a couple of years, and even though we never had a white Christmas (they were cold and wet), we were able to experience a little of the Christmas I grew up dreaming about- the Christmas we see in classic movies – which I loved. The bizarre thing for me was that (as just one example), supermarkets in Canada sold platters of tropical summer fruits for Christmas celebrations. So while Aussies are dreaming of a cold Northern hemisphere Christmas, our North American friends love the idea of munching on fresh pineapple (which of course, has to been imported 100’s or 1000’s of km’s from South America…raising a whole pile of other issues).

    Coming home to Australia, I am more convinced than ever that we need to celebrate in a way that is distinct and meaningful to us, in Brisbane, Australia – or for others – wherever they may be. As romantic as they seem, I am not interested in snow scenes and one horse open sleighs, a hot roast, holly, mistletoe, and so on as we sit around in our swimming togs shooing flies away. I want to celebrate Christmas (and live all of my days, years, life) in an authentic and meaningful way. I like to think this is connected to my desire to live sustainably, eat locally, support small businesses and know our community. Being in touch with our land and our place is so important and so enriching.

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Alfie & Nina Swimwear

Well, I’ve been a little more than slow in blogging these but better late than never, right?

Last year I had the pleasure to take some photos of the gorgeous swimwear by Australian label Alfie & Nina.

Here are some photos I made for them.

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x Georgia

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  1. gravatar for Sarah Sarah

    Ehm…can we talk about Florin for a second? Oh my! Cutest baby ever. His everything is still so small!

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  2. gravatar for becky mcintosh becky mcintosh

    I sent my mum the link to Alfie & Nina and said a rashie would be nice for Christmas for my littlest one. Couple weeks later she told me she’d nearly bought a rashie from Aldi for him but not sure if I still wanted one… oh mum its not quite the same ;)

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  3. gravatar for Sarina Sarina

    Woow, I love this photo of Priya where she is sitting in front of Florin. The photos and the swimwear is very chic.

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  4. gravatar for Jessica Jessica

    Aaahh! Those tones!

    The sandy brown against those gorgeous blue/grays and reds? <3

    Beautiful photographs Georgia.

    They make me want to make some babies solely for the purpose of buying them bathers like these ones.

    Also, as an aside, how much have they grown!

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Georgia Brizuela-8

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In Canberra we stay with Kate and her lovely little family. Six little one-sie clad babes line the couch.

Posted In: 365 2013

  1. gravatar for becky McIntosh becky McIntosh

    Ooooooo I’ve been waiting to see your versions of your stay with Kate!! Such cuties!

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Georgia Brizuela-7

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A long time coming, I was finally able to introduce my family to my Grandma. This was the first time she had met any of my loves, including Errol!

Grandma had moved house since I last visited her and the home of my childhood memories that my grandfather built wasn’t there. But my soft and funny grandma and many of the things that I remember in that lovely old home were. The strange things that trigger your memories of childhood like a spinning wheel and half finished tapestries and the soft, happy chuckle of my grandma, cooing at my children exactly in the same way I remember her doing to me.

Posted In: 365 2013

  1. gravatar for Emily Emily

    One of my favourite things since having kids is getting to see all the people I love give their love to my kids! The memories and feelings it brings to mind about my own past and watching these new memories be created sometimes I think my heart will burst with joy!

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Georgia Brizuela-6286/365

We drive from Sydney to Canberra and stay with online friends become real life friends. On the drive Florin is unsettled so I move back to sit with him and watch him, wondering what he’s thinking about. Sometimes I feel so perplexed by this son. Someone I love so much but don’t know so many things about. The older two I’ve gotten to really know, I feel in sync with how they might respond and what delights their hearts but this one? A mystery in many ways yet. As his character emerges and he grows more like his boy version and less like his baby version I feel almost enraptured watching him wondering quietly (and affectionately) at his side “who are you?”.

Posted In: 365 2013

  1. gravatar for Julie Julie

    Do you do the midfreeway slip between the seats to the back? Or do you pull to the side of the road? I know I often guilty of the first, which leaves me wondering how many passing motorist see our butts? Okay my butt.
    I have one child who is almost 22 and one who is almost 3, both are still mysteries to me. However the eldest being a girl I think I understand a little better.

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  2. gravatar for Jessica Jessica

    He is so beautiful. I keep going back to stare at that gorgeous little face and those chubby cheeks! He’s changing so fast eh. <3

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  3. gravatar for kate @ livinglovinglaughing kate @ livinglovinglaughing

    oh he is so lovely. this visit feels like sooo long ago, but what a delight it was to become IRL w your gorgeous family :) it was such a fun visit especially to distract me while hubby was away (sometimes i think back in shock – did i really have 5 ppl come stay when i was solo parenting?!) – it was the best distraction xx

    ps i so relate to this. these 3rd children are such little mysteries and i still feel shocked when a real person keeps emerging from the baby days!

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