Bittersweet and Broomcorn Wreath

I’ve made a lot of broomcorn wreaths over the years, usually using a metal coathanger or the premade 12 and 18 inch metal hoops. This week, however, I had a request for a larger wreath, which I knew would be the perfect time to experiment with adding bittersweet to the broomcorn.

To begin, you will need a 24 inch grapevine wreath to use as the base. Cover it with broomcorn, using 22 gauge wire to secure the broomcorn to the grapevine base. Normally I go around the edges with brown thread (which is pretty much invisible against broomcorn) to keep the broomcorn tight, but since this wreath was so big, I thought it looked better with the edges loose, so I left them alone.

Tie a large, two loop bow from some autumn wire-edged ribbon. I found that plaid looked very nice. Secure it to the wreath with wreath wire.

Make four bunches of bittersweet stalks, each piece being about 4-6 inches in length. Fasten them to the wreath with wire putting two bunches at the top near the bow, and two bunches toward the bottom, but leaving several inches of space in the middle between them.

Make three bunch of dried roses (yellow or red work best as they’re autumn colors). Use wreath wire to fasten the rose bunches on the wreath, in between the bittersweet bunches.

Hang this wreath on an indoor wall or outside under an eave.

Broom Ladies

Broom LadiesThese cute little brooms are functional as well as decorative. Made of broomcorn, they are excellent as hand brooms.

You will need:

  • Broomcorn (also called ornamental grass/sorghum)
  • Material for dress, face, and hands
  • Cotton
  • Yarn
  • Markers
  • Raffia
  • Needle and thread
  • Glue

Before the invention of nylon brooms, broomcorn was (and often still is) used to make corn brooms. It is not actually a type of corn, but in fact a very large grass. The nickname of broomcorn was derived from the fact that the grass stems are so large they closely resemble cornstalks.

Begin by shucking the seeds from the broomcorn heads (if your broom will be merely decorative, the seeds can be left on for the colorful effect) Tie several of the shucked broomcorn stalks together with raffia just above the heads, and again about an inch from the broom’s top. Form a raffia loop, and attach this to the top tie.

Cut 2 identical dress shapes from material and sew them together. Make sure the neck hole is large enough to fit over the broom handle. Cut a head and a pair of hands from material. Stuff them with cotton. Sew the head to the front half of the dress. Sew the hands to the sleeves of the dress.

Slip the dress over the top of the broom handle, sliding it down until the skirt part of the dress covers the heads of the broomcorn. Leave about an inch and a half of the broomcorn peeking out beneath the dress. Using the markers, draw a face on the broom lady. Cut a few pieces of yarn and glue them to the top of the head as hair. Embellish the broom ladies with miniature baskets or tiny brooms of their own glued to their hands.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf