A benefit from taking the TEFL course here in Toulouse is that it introduced me to some new friends, one of which has become an almost daily partner in crime – Maaike! I love her enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to day drink.

In between our teaching hours, we explore the city, concoct plans, and of course, drink wine. Recently, all three of those things came together at once and we outdid ourselves with a day of crafting. In an attempt to get in the Christmas spirit, we decided to spend an afternoon making wreaths and mulled wine. The plan was going to require a lot of creativity and a little contraband. You will see why as you read on.

We met at Marché des Carmes where we had seen a florist. We were going to need a wreath form and pine branches. The owner of the shop had her own gorgeous wreaths out front, so we felt a little bad asking how to make our own, but she was kind enough to point us towards Midica, a large department store with an arts and crafts section, where we could find the forms. Here is her adorable hobbit-hole of a shop, decked out floor to ceiling.

Maaike doing the talking


We made our way to Midica and found the wreath forms, Christmas “baubles” as Maaike calls them (“ornaments” in American English), gold spray paint, fake snow, ribbons, and raffia to tie the branches to the forms.

After that, we headed to the Christmas market in the Capitole to get cinnamon sticks and ground ginger for the mulled wine. While there, we also had to drink a few glasses of vin chaud for research.

Next, most importantly, we needed to find the branches! There was another florist we had spotted selling Christmas trees, so the possibility of finding loose branches there was good.


And we did…a whole big bundle the size of a toddler for 9EUR.


The thing we had saved acquiring for last was the contraband.

See, Jardin des Plantes is full of plants with beautiful red berries, white baby’s breath, pine cones, acorns. Such a big park is unlikely to miss a few of those things right?

Armed with clippers and with me on look out, Maaike traipsed through the plants snipping a little here and there. I was doubled over laughing watching her in heeled boots trying to look inconspicuous. And in all honesty, the only people in the park were teens skipping school to smooch, so I doubt anyone cared at all.

The risk was worth it…


Once at home, we started the mulled wine


In my outside courtyard, we got to snipping, spraying, and styling.

And can you believe it…this is what I made!!!


I can’t stop staring at it, I think it’s so pretty! Maaike’s turned out equally as beautiful.






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