Monday, September 8, 2008

4-H 4-Ever

This has been a very 4-H few days! I found some great old 4-H manuals at a garage sale. They were on a table full of cookbooks with no price and I totally expected them to cost far more than the 10 cents each I was asked to pay! Bonus, one of them had 4-H meeting notes and a ribbon inside! Mary Ann, the books' owner, made steak kabobs from the outdoor meals handbook. My favorite is Teen-Time Food Fare, where we learn how to go on a date, take a quiz about "Vin, Vigor and Vitamins" and get the recipe for cheese crackers, choco-mint fluff and bacon and pickle spread!

Were you in 4-H? Did you know 4-H even existed? Or that it still exists? Well, I was in 4-H for most of my childhood (ages 9-18) and though we have no children, I am still involved in 4-H. This week I have been grading 4-H Record Books. A 4-Hers record book is like their yearly log of projects. What they accomplished, how much they spent and won, what they learned, what community service they participated in and more! At the end of the 4-H year, they turn their record books in to the county office and leaders like me grade them, award the top record keepers and encourage everyone to keep up the good work next year. Looking through my own record book, you learn that in 1992 I raised a lamb, sold her at auction at 80 pounds and lost exactly $31.50 in the process.

I also teach 4-H dog training classes for 4 months every spring. It's a tough thing for me, because the kids are so varied in age, experience and their dogs are varied as well. Small child + big dog = disaster for the first few classes and if they aren't persistent enough, sometimes it's sad to see them just stop coming to class. Sometimes parents are the problem, especially parents who compete in dog sports and are all about winning, even if it means training the dog themselves. (NOT what 4-H dog training is about! 4-H dog training is much more for the kids than the dogs.) And when July rolls around and we've sweated our way through another dog show, sometimes I am so glad it's over for another year. But inevitably, later in the year, I start thinking of ways I could improve the class, ideas to make it more fun and pack more skills into each lesson. That happened last week, so 4-H is on my brain. I hope each year to improve as an instructor so any tips are always appreciated!

And now, a craft! If you were in 4-H (or Pony Club or FFA or competed in any kind of activity where ribbons were awarded) you no doubt have a surplus of ribbons. I know I did, boxes and boxes of them! I made this wreath and now I'm going to tell you how!

Wire or grapevine wreath form in the size you'd like your wreath to be
Rosette ribbons
floral wire or other fine gauge wire

Prepare your rosettes:
No one wants to clip off those wonderful streamers from the ribbons they worked so hard to earn! No worries, you don't have to. To prepare each rosette for attaching to our wreath, we roll up the streamers and paperclip them in back to the cardboard backing. Should you ever want to remove them and display them on all their streamery glory, just remove the paperclips and iron on a low setting to remove the folds.

Plan your layout:
Once you have a bunch of rosettes, practice your layout on your wreath form. See how many rosettes you are likely to need, how many layers you can fit on and how full you like your wreath to look.

Attach rosettes to wreath:
When you have decided on placement, it's time to begin attaching. Secure your wire to your wreath form as an anchor, then choose your first rosette. There are two ways to attach rosettes. If they have a hole for hanging already, you can simply thread the wire through and twist the wire to secure it to your form. This will give your wreath a dangle-y look and it is harder to arrange and re-arrange your rosettes though since they hang where they like. The way I prefer to attach them is to secure your wire to the form as before, then wrap the wire UNDER the cardboard backing all the way around the rosette a couple of times and then securing your wire to your wreath form in a second location. This makes for a much sturdier construction and the flexibility to rearrange by twisting them a bit and snugging the wires. The wire is also completely hidden by this method! These pictures show some examples of how to fold and paperclip your streamers and how the rosettes are arranged on the wreath.


  1. I was in 4-H too! I got best in show for my geneology research (ha). Also took either best in class or got blue ribbons for my cake decorating, cross stitch, snickerdoodles, and photography. I was 12! The beginning of my craftiness. Heheh.

  2. This is so pretty and colorful! I'll be linking to this. I LOVED 4-h!
    Was it health, hands, head, heart?

  3. I wasn't in 4H but I enrolled my kid because I couldn't cope with the single-gender aspect of the scout programs. Anyway, my kids and I met the most wonderful people. My daughter liked it more than my son. She ended up competing in horse events. I would encourage any family to get involved.

  4. I love this wreath! I have lots of ribbons from when I was younger--thanks for the idea.


  5. The city where I grew up was once a cattle ranch and there were orange groves everywhere before it was developed into housing tracts and shopping centers. I remember two brothers from this one family we knew, raised a pig for 4-H and my mom bought some of the meat. That's all I have ever known about 4-H.

  6. I loved 4-H so much, I work for the program now! I think it is such a great program for kids. I wish I could still be in it!

    This is a really good idea for the over-abundance of ribbons I had. We had always talked about making blankets out of ours.

    Also, I love your Corgi. My boyfriend and I are new Corgi parents. They are so full of love. :)

  7. I started in dogs through 4-H as a kid. I owe SO much to dog 4-H, as my family could not afford AKC events, so I was only able to enter in AKC Jr showmanship, and obedience when I had made enough money as a teen to do so.

    Now I volunteer as much as I can, but can't so much with a 3 year old daughter. When she's old enough, I really hope she wants to join 4-H, as I'd love to make that a big part of my life again!

  8. I was in FFA all through high school... While all the other kids had livestock I had a black lab that had a litter of pups. Then I went on to show several of the pups.

    FFA and 4-H are two of the most incredible programs that are getting smaller and smaller every year. Soon no one will know what FFA or 4H were.

  9. Oh, this would look ADORABLE in my rat room! I have BOXES of rat ribbons from assorted shows around the US.

    Thanks for the idea!

  10. Haha, I just noticed I'd commented on this in the past... guess it's relevant now, that I just pulled out keepsake boxes, and combined the rat ribbon boxes this week! haha

    Back in september, seems I didn't care about the rubbermaid containers stuffed to the brim with ribbons *giggle*

  11. That wreath is fabulous. What a great idea for these ribbons that are everywhere.