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The Story of Merry CarMas

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

The Story of Merry Carmas

Bet you didn't know I'm also a wreath designer now!

That makes two of us, I don't think I wouldn't have guessed it either. But I'm wreally (come on, give me a break, wreath puns are hard!) glad I got the opportunity this year to design a wreath for the 30th annual Skagit Festival of Trees!

Alright, assuming you didn’t already read ahead… On with the show!

How did Merry Carmas come to be a thing you ask?

Well, because Merry Automobilemas sounded funny. And - Merry Carmas; Because the garage needs some holiday love too!

Oh, before that. Right.

Whelp, after many years of merely tolerating our Christmas decorations last year my wife challenged me to put up or shut up and make a decoration I’d actually like. I thought she was mostly just kidding around to try to get me into the holiday spirit and I quickly forgot about the challenge. Fast forward to this holiday season where I found out that I had been signed up to design this years wreath donation for the Festival of Trees.

Oh. She wasn't kidding. And she has a really good memory… OK, Let's do this!

We need a theme for the wreath…

Hmmm. Last year "we" (my wife) did a peacock theme for the wreath, I’m pretty neutral on peacocks, what’s something I do really like?

So if you haven’t guessed by now I like cars and trucks. In fact the boutineer I wore at my wedding I made from the compressor wheel of a Toyota MR2 turbocharger (one is also in the center of this wreath). Lets make a car themed wreath!

After a few “malt soda” brainstorming sessions the wreath started to take shape.

The coil springs kind of reminded me of a candy cane and made a good foundation of the wreath. I found the old tire irons in a box of vintage tools and they made a neat vintage looking snowflake to also build off of once I welded them together! You know it's a serious decoration when it involves welding! (Thank you to Skagit Salvage for always having fun and unique items to spark the imagination).

Next, the spark plug snowflake made sense to me because snow is white and spark plugs are about the only white car part I could think of. This is where having a 3D printer is awesome, where else are you going to get spark plug snowflake holders? From there, you need spark and fuel to make an engine run, so the fuel injector snowflake seemed to flow nicely. Those all formed the core of the wreath. If you're interested in making your own car themed snowflakes you can find them HERE.

Now, we're onto “flair” for the wreath. Everyone needs WD-40 and duct tape, so those were a given. BTW, ever tried to cut or drill a roll of duct tape? It’s a lot like trying to talk with your mouth full of marshmallows. I ended up using a hack saw and I don’t think the drill bit I used will ever come un-stickied. A wrench and a screwdriver were also natural flair choices, I really like the old wood handle and the angled vintage wrench.

OK, this thing is starting to get heavy and we still need a way to hang it…

Jumper cables! Perfect!

The cable is crimped and soldered onto the clamps. The clamps had holes drilled in them and they is a screw running between the jaws to prevent them from slipping.

Looking good!

Final touches… hmmm. Well, the turbo compressor wheel is a must and I think we need to name the wreath. Let's keep the snowflake theme going and laser engrave some snowflakes. The clear acrylic disappeared into the wreath, so the snowflakes were scuffed with 800 grit sandpaper and the etching was filled with copper paint to help it “pop” more.

Alright, Good?

Nope, not yet.

I can hear my mom saying “its not a decoration if it doesn’t have a bow or ribbons!” You’re right mom. The bow is the piece de resistance!

OK now we’re done. And we’re probably approaching the maximum weight limit for a wreath… I guess if the person who took this one home ended up not liking it at least pound for pound they got their money’s worth?!

OK, you’re getting long winded. Wrap it up and get onto the pictures Nate.

In summary, I had a lot of fun designing and building this wreath and it is something that I would actually like to hang at my house. We’ll see next year if I get signed up again to design the wreath! In the meantime, Happy Holidays and Merry Carmas!

Hero shot hanging out at the wood pile

A wreath that's at home on the tailgate

Come on, lets roll!

Actual weight of the wreath... Yes, crappy picture, I need more arms sometimes...

(BTW, if you're wondering, yes, in fact I was left mostly unsupervised during the creation of Merry Carmas)

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