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Cooks' Woods creative wreath awarded
Greenery team creates a winning masterpiece
Cooks' Woods wreath
Cooks’ Woods and its decorative greenery team received quite the feather in their hat recently when it was announced that they had won the Grand Prize at this year’s Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producer Association’s wreath making contest.   The prize for winning this will be the honor of creating a set of matching wreathes for the governor during the next holiday season.
Barbara Cook of Cooks’ Woods noted that they had not entered into the contest for about 10 years and never previously with the current design team which consists of Vicky Case, Jolene Rech, and Judy Behncke.  
“It was our first time out and we won the grand prize!” Barb  expressed with a chuckle. “I retired in July and my part time job in retirement was to manage the wreath department. I felt like I had the time to invest in it so we decided to go for it.”
Barb shared that the winning design came about after hours of studying trends on the popular social media website Pinterest and combining them with talented eyes of the design team.
“We saw on Pinterest, the birch frame was popular a few years ago and the owl was a recent trend in Christmas decor so we combined the two ideas,” Barb recalled of the meeting between her and the design team.
Different personalities, style and experience among the three designers and Barb along with husband and co-owner Dave, attribute to the great success of the greenery design at Cooks’ Woods.
“They all have been working together four or five years,” Barb noted. “They all work together well, but on this particular wreath, they each indulged in their speciality. Vicky likes bright colors and things that pop,  Jolene likes a little more subtle, farm country rustic look, and Judy has a natural elegant touch. The three of them together seem to be the secret to success. We are very fortunate to have all three of them. Having all of their different tastes to appeal to the different tastes of our customers is a great thing.”
Prior to creating the wreath, which was created at the very end of the regular season, the team had worked together, with the 10 other wreath builders, to create over 1,000 pieces of greenery for sale at Cooks’ Woods.
During the off season, the team members from Cooks’ Woods continue to do their research to stay on top of trends for the upcoming season, for their customers, and now, the Wisconsin Governor as well.
“I spend time researching what is trending on Pinterest, and I’ll buy focal items I see,” Barb shared. “The decorators and builders will bring things in they can work with from garage sales,thrift stores, estate sales or after Christmas sales. We have 13 women all together and all of them are thinking about what to make for the upcoming year. They like our greenery to continue to have a good reputation!  I think we’re all thinking about Christmas, nearly every day!”
Barb shared that the construction of an average wreath for sale takes about a half an hour with the decorating to follow taking about 15-20 minutes. However, the award winning wreath submitted to the contest took about an hour and a half.
“All of the designers took turns inspecting it to make sure it was just perfect,” Barb said.
The team hasn’t started plotting exactly what they’ll do yet in terms of the wreath, however, they will be awaiting a call from the Governor’s office when the time draws near.
“In October or November the Governor’s office will call and tell us about the style they need,” Barb said. “The team will then create two 24 inch wreathes to go on a set of double doors.”
For now, the team is just happy basking in the glory of the win.

“Everyone was very pleased and proud (about the win) for the right reasons, they work very hard on creating gorgeous greenery,” Barb concluded.