Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trimming the tree

Christmas is officially here!!  Well, technically we've got about 25-26 days left depending on how you calculate, but to me it starts the day after Thanksgiving!  Natalie has been begging for us to put up our tree for weeks and it was so fun to see her face when she saw it all lit up!

Mini craft sticks cut and hot-glued together - add a little
tacky glue and then sprinkle with "snow"
Last year my tree was so pathetic!  It consisted of a few ornaments that had survived the unfortunate mice incident from the year before, a single piece of garland, and a santa hat for the topper. 

Cute little snowflake Natalie made!
Natalie and I tried to spiff it up with a few ornament crafts made from foam balls, mini craft sticks, glitter and artificial snow, but it was a pretty sad sight!

After staring down that ugly thing for a month, I vowed to make all new ornaments for our tree the next year.  I got a steal of a deal on Christmas balls after the holiday season had passed and managed to get a handful of ornaments made before I lost my motivation.

In early November, with Christmas already on its way, I put the ornament DIY-ing in high gear.  I wanted to do something neutral but with a warm pop of color.  I settled on a deep goldenrod yellow, cream and browns, with a pop of red for the topper.

I purchased 4 holly berry stems for $.99 cents each in hopes of making a wreath, but after realizing I didn't have anything planned for a tree topper my plans changed. Natalie really wanted a star on the top, "like Caillou has on his Christmas tree!" so that is what we went with. The stems are made of wire so I just bent them together, reinforced with floral wire and attached to the top of the tree.

I started with a few felt ornaments I had pinned on Pinterest.  Felt was $.20 per sheet, the embroidery thread was $.39, and I barely made a dent in the package of pearls I bought for $2.39, so for about $3.50 I made 16 mini flowers and 5 3D Christmas balls. 

I started by tracing out templates on felt.  I just traced around the top a drinking glass for the circle and used this template from the original pin on pinterest. 

I pinned these to applique on a throw pillow, but I thought they would work well for the Christmas tree. 

I made these in a goldenrod felt with pearl center (shown) and a white felt with red holly berry center.  The white ones kind of clashed when I put them up so I will be making another set of goldenrod ones to replace them.  For the first set, I used the mini craft sticks I had on hand from making kids name ornaments last year ($2.49 for 75).  But for the next set I will just use floral wire ($1.99) and attach them directly to the tree, since my little darlings seem to enjoy "picking flowers"!

Then it was time for garland!  I really wanted to do a burlap garland and found a roll at Michael's; however it was a little thick so I ended up cutting it in half.
Next I wanted to make a linen fabric ball. I saw some for sale on Etsy and thought I could easily replicate it with supplies on hand.  I ripped 1 inch sections of muslin (Leftover from Natalie's Little Bo Peep Halloween costume from 2011) and used mod podge and a foam paintbrush to adhere the pieces to the Christmas balls.  I finished it off with jute cord to hang it on the tree and voila!

I added a little more texture by simply covering Christmas balls with yarn.  I was able to get 5 Christmas balls out of each package of yarn.  They didn't require any adhesive - I just wrapped 5-6 times in one direction and then switched to another direction until I had covered the entire surface.

With the circles of felt I had previously cut out, I made 3D Christmas balls. Of couse, I missed taking a crucial picture, but I'll try to talk you through it.  Start by folding two of the circles in half and stitching down the center.  Then you take the other two pieces and after folding each of them in half, you place them on either side of the first two circles (where my thumb and middle finger are in second photo - like a plus sign) and stitch them together.  I just left a loop of embroidery thread to hang it on the tree.

I pinned these twine chandeliers for my DIY Dream House of the future, but thought they'd make really cute ornaments!  I started this project last year so I'm not sure of the overall cost but I believe you can get 12 balloons for $1.50 or less and I know the jute cord is under $5.  I blew up balloons to the size of an average christmas ball.  Balloons have a natural egg shape that I was not wanting for this project, so I twisted the tied off end until it became more round and then tied with yarn.  The twine, or in this case, jute cord, requires an adhesive to keep its shape after balloon is popped, so I tried tacky glue and mod podge (the mod podge works better because it is more runny).  There are probably 101 better ways to do this but I just poured glue into my hand and ran the cord through it, making sure it was pretty well coated.  Then I just wrapped around balloons until I had the look I wanted, cut the end, and tucked it under another piece of cord.  They were dry after about 2 hours but I waited until morning to pop the balloon and then tied another piece of cord to it so it could be hung on the tree.


Since my white felt ornaments clashed so badly I was in need of a few more ornaments to fill out the tree.  I had purchased a package of those delicious smelling pine cones to go with my wreath project and just used some floral wire to attach them directly to the tree.

All my ornaments before I put them on the tree!!

Our Christmas tree all dolled up!
Next projects are making new stockings and a tree skirt and thenwrapping all the gifts to go under the tree!

I will be adding some more pinecones (found another bag from last year!), another set of mini-flowers, "Justin" and "Sarah" ornaments (like Natalie and Theodore's), and am using up some left over materials to make these twine ball ornaments.  They are a bit picky, but I think I've figured them out!  Just take a styrofoam ball and wrap twine in circles around it.  I started by making a loop for hanging and wrapped the cord around it.  When you get just over halfway, the top half starts trying to unravel on you, so hold it firmly in the palm of your hand.  The twine didn't want to sit quite right for me when I was nearing the end, so I used sewing pins to wrap it around and secured with a couple just to be safe.  Then I coated the exterior with a healthy dose of mod podge, let them dry for a couple hours and removed pins before hanging.

I'm so excited with how it turned out and I can't wait to finish up my last few projects!  Here's a recap:
Holly Berry Topper - $4
Felt mini flowers and 3D Christmas balls - $4
Burlap Garland (appx) - $5
Linen Christmas balls - free
Yarn Christmas balls - $6
2 kinds of twine Christmas balls - $10
Pinecones - $5
Misc Supplies - $13
Total - $47
Joy it brought me to make them - Priceless!
I'll end with a moment of silence for those ornaments that just didn't make the cut :)

Brown paper bag and burlap covered Christmas balls.
BRIGHT white mini-flower and 3D Christmas ball.