As Halloween grows to be a bigger and bigger event in this country, I can’t help worrying that Remembrance Day will become less and less significant. I suppose the traditional view is that it exists specifically to remember those who fought and gave their lives in the two World Wars, and as the generation that lived and fought through those wars are lost to us, so too is the connection with those event, and their significance.
And yet members of our armed Forces continue to lose their lives daily overseas: are they any less worthy of an annual moment of gratitude and remembrance than those that went before them? Of course not. Today is All Hallows’ Day, All Saints Day, El Dia de los Muertos, events in the calendar which exist specifically to honour the memory of those who are no longer with us.
This year Remembrance Day falls on a numerically satisfying day: 11.11.11. I am a huge fan of symmetry, which I can only assume appeals to my OCD side, and decided I’d like to be able to bring you a series of 11 posts leading up to Remembrance Day. To my utter astonishment and delight, when I asked a collection of bloggers whose writing I greatly admire and envy to write something on the topic, they all said yes. Thus over the next few days, they will be sharing their thoughts with you.
I happily buy a poppy every year, and tend to keep them on my coats for as long as they survive the elements. This year they even have ones with adhesive on the back so you don’t have to run the gauntlet of inadvertently stabbing yourself with the sharp end of a pin. When we bought ours from the young Army Cadets outside our local supermarket, my girls asked if we could make more flowers when we got home. Never one to turn down a chance to get covered in glue, we set to it and now I can share with you how to make a Poppy Wreath, ‘pinspired’ by this beautiful wreath made from napkins.
You will need:
- red crepe paper
- a paper plate
- black beads
- lots of glue
Firstly fold your crepe paper into a concertina. Then, using a poppy as a template (in my case it was a large one), cut out your crepe paper. If your concertina has worked well, you should have cut several at once. Repeat until you have enough.
Spread your poppies out on a tray, or mess met, and spray with water. I should ‘fess up at this point and admit that I didn’t look at the bottle I grabbed and inadvertantly sprayed half of my poppies with kitchen cleaner. The bleach in the cleaner turned the poppies a lovely orangey colour. So you could do that if you wanted to. Leave your wet poppies (they will be absurdly fragile when wet but the water alters the texture slighty and makes them seem much more lifelike) until dry.
Cut the centre out of the paper plate so that you have a hoop.
Taking each poppy in turn, pinch in the centre to create a more flowery look for your poppy, then stick to your wreath. I found that the best technique was to start from the inside, going round the circle sticking the flowers so that one’s petals went over the top of the one before, then the next under, and so on, before moving on to the outside and then filling in all the gaps.
Leave to dry.
Finally you will need to stick the black beads (you could also use buttons or rolled up pieces of black tissue paper if you don’t happen to have a damaged bracelet to hand!) to the centre of your poppies.
Finally, hang your wreath and feel a deep sense of respect and gratitude 😀