Friday, April 19, 2013

A Year of Ladders

I am approaching the one year anniversary of my branch ladder. This simple structure has provided me a base for a year of creativity. Here I have pulled together here the entire series as an inspirational resource. I especially like the concept of seasonal decor that is individual and changing yet based on the common structure. My base was a handcrafted rustic ladder.

It all started last April, 2012....

Building the Ladder - April 29th, 2012
I went into the woods and, from a patch of saplings that needed thinning, I cut down two similar sized tiny trees and constructed a simple, screwed together, tapered ladder proportioned to fit in the corner of the front portico.

April - Begonia Ladder
The first arrangement incorporated metal pails from IKEA and begonia plants from the garden store. I had dreams of the begonias getting larger and filling the space with yellow. They caught a fungus and started rotting away. I tried potted gerber daisies with similar results.

June - Daisy Ladder
In June, I switched to wild flowers picked and arranged in the buckets. These roadside daisies lasted longer than any of the potted plants! And the price was right.

July-August - Queen Anne's Lace and Ferns Ladder
Mid-summer was a switch to ferns and Queen Anne's Lace. This arrangement livened the corner up nicely. 

September - Handcrafted Wood Slice Flowers Ladder
September came and the wildflowers were all things I am allergic to. Instead, I made rustic wooden flowers from slices of wood. I loved the unusual variations.

October - November - Pumpkin Ladder
Mid October I switched for the season and combined pumpkins, gourds and swamp grasses again using the IKEA pails. The local swamp grass was wimpy this year so I should have searched farther a field for my resources. But the orange looked great in the corner.

December- January - Christmas Ladder
Mixed greens including white pine, hemlock and Mountain Laurel were combined with pine cones, winter berry and bittersweet berries. I needed to added red plaid bows for color because all the dark green got lost in the corner. At Christmas, I wrapped tiny lights in amongst the greens for a welcoming sight next to the door.

February - Handcrafted Twig Hearts 
I harvested some supple twigs from along the road side and using twine, bent them into hearts which I decorated with the leftover bittersweet berries from the Christmas ladder. The hearts were beautiful but lost in the corner, until the snow came and dusted them white.

March- Forsythia Ladder
The cold lingered and, in a craving for spring color, I combined real Mountain Laurel greenery with silk forsythia to bring a little sunshine into the corner and remind us that even though it is still snowing, spring is just around the corner.

April - Birds' Nest Ladder
I have been collecting birds' nests with this project in mind, although I only found four. A fifth one is needed. I used bittersweet vines wrapped around the ladder to create perches for the nests and places to position pussy willows. Into the nests I put salt dough eggs and tiny feathers.  This arrangement is more delicate and it is the individual motifs that make for better photographs.

That is my year's worth of ladder designs. I have more I want to try. I think a patriotic theme with weathered wood stars would work well for Memorial Day, and certainly a Halloween alternative to pumpkins could include spiders, bats and webs. Although maybe I'll switch out the ladder and work with a mobile concept instead. So many ideas! 

Here are links to al the various individual posts for the above ladders. Some have detailed tutorials, others are just more photos.

© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Sharing this post at some of these link parties. They are worth checking out for other ideas.


  1. I love it! I'm so inspired to do something similar. I was looking for ideas to use on my pallet board on my mantel and I"m not sure why, but hadn't thought of using fake flowers in buckets. I think they would look great.

    1. Fake flowers was a stretch for me because I love the natural. Must be fairly obvious with all my posts using natural materials. But in March, I was just craving the color so, that I gave in. And I enjoyed the bright yellow through the remaining snow storms. March is an exception!

  2. Have to say I love them all but think the birds nests and the buckets with the ferns and baby's breath are my very favorites. The Christmas one also. Love how it looks lit up on your porch at night.
    I'll have to see if we can't find something to make a ladder with, I'm so inspired. I'd love it too that I could change it for holidays and seasons. So glad you've shared these as you've created them. Happy Days

    1. Different things would be successful in different locations. My corner is under cover, on the northwest side of the house. It is a dark corner, with a dark paint background. The white and yellows worked best. I think the Christmas one would have been stunning against a white house. The most artistic was probably the twig hearts but they really needed a different back ground as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment again.

  3. Wow, you definitely made a versatile little cutie. Love your year long uses for it! Adorable, all of them.

    1. It certainly solved the problem of the dark corner on my portico. Not sure if I want to continue it with more variations this year or switch to a different base. Still thinking about it. Thanks for visiting.

  4. I remember when you first made this! I loved it then and I love it even more now :) Off to pin!

  5. Love this Marji, absolutely love. I have a small front area that needs some life and I'd never considered going vertical. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Vertical was the solution for my corner. Thinking hanging mobile for next year.

  6. You sure have gotten a lot of mileage out of your ladder! It looks great in any season. My favorites are the queen Ann's lace with fern, Christmas, twig wreaths and nests! Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


  7. So elegant!! I love this ladder in every season! Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime last week.