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Hodgepodge can create beautiful holiday wreath

By Cindy Simpson

Odds and ends scattered across a tabletop don’t look like they’d turn into much, but Jesse Rittenhouse recently proved he can take the most mismatched items and create something special.

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The owner of Adkisson’s Flowers and Gifts in Harriman was the Harriman Garden Club’s November guest speaker.

To demonstrate his point, he used Christmas items brought in by club members to decorate a wreath.

A red ribbon, angel tree topper, tiny wooden decorations, ball-shaped ornaments and many other items found their way into the wreath.

“If you have five or six types of different ribbons, that doesn’t matter, because what you can do is combine ribbons or use ribbons all over your wreath,” Rittenhouse explained. “And you can also do different styles of wreathes.”

He added, “You know the old saying: When you do something Victorian, when you think you just about have enough in it, add some more.

“The same thing applies to Christmas wreathes.”

One item Rittenhouse used was a silver orb he called a chirping ball. It sounded like a metallic bird when it was plugged in.

“It is amazing this still works,” Rittenhouse said.

When he asked how many people renew their wreaths every year, Rittenhouse fondly remembered redoing the wreath of the late Nannie Scandlyn, wife of Ben Edd Scandlyn of the lumber company by the same name.

“I looked forward to her coming in every year at this time,” Rittenhouse said. “My father-in-law had made this fall arrangement on this straw wreath probably in the early ’70s, and she still had it.

“They lived out on the lake, out on the Little Emory River,” he continued. “She had it sitting outside her door. You can imagine the night air every night off the lake. By the end of the next year, it was covered with mildew. It was totally ratty — bad. I didn’t even like to touch it.”

Rittenhouse loves keeping old things, like the vintage items Garden Club members brought in.

“The older I get, the more antiques appeal to you. The older you get the more you identify to them,” he said. “It is a lovely art to be able to save something.

“We’ve had younger people looking for (antiques), and I just praise them, because what you are doing is saving history.”