Handmade Christmas Trees

December 8, 2016

“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree . . .”

Watercolor painting of Christmas tree

Watercolor painting of Christmas tree

In lieu of a real Christmas tree this year, I’ve created a couple of hand-crafted, scrappy trees from materials at hand.  I used a broken, misshapen garden trellis as the base for a rustic tree.  One string of lights and a few favorite ornaments, and it transformed into a magical spot of holiday cheer.

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I’ve always loved paper crafts, so I created a tree of paper snowflakes.  Just cut a bunch of snowflakes of assorted sizes, stack them from large to small on a wooden dowel (I used a pencil), and top with an old earring.

Cut paper snowflakes

Cut paper snowflakes

Roughly sort by size

Roughly sort by size

Stack on a dowel, large to small

Stack on a dowel, large to small

Voila!  A snowflake tree!

Voila! A snowflake tree!

 

 

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Wreath and Tree

December 26, 2014

Watercolor sketch. wreath of birch leaves

Watercolor sketch. wreath of birch leaves

Watercolor sketch, tree of birch leaves

Watercolor sketch, tree of birch leaves

Packages of tinsel icicles

I can’t see silver icicle tinsel without thinking of my mother and the Christmas trees of my childhood.  All nine of us kids would help decorate the tree, fighting over who got to place favorite ornaments, and sharing the job of laying icicle tinsel, strand by single strand, over the needled branches.  I soon grew weary of the tedious task of decking our tree with tinsel.  It was so tempting to apply it in clumps because strand-by-strand was soooo slow!

My mother was so frugal that she saved tinsel from year to year.  That meant that once the holidays were over, we’d have to carefully remove the tinsel, and drape it over our hands so that the strands wouldn’t get tangled. . . another laborious job.

I don’t know why my mother bothered.  Surely a package of icicle tinsel cost less than 50 cents back in those days.  But it is definitely an indication of how I was brought up to “waste not, want not.”  My mother saved bread bags to re-use in lieu of disposable sandwich bags and for freezing butchered chickens.  She saved rubber bands and twisty tabs.  We had a stash of used boxes under the basement stairs.  A roll of paper towels lasted for more than a year.  Heck, we kids even took baths in turn, youngest to oldest, re-using the bath water.  (I used to have fun playing with the scum that floated on the top of the water by the time it was my turn in the tub!!)

I’m a rather frugal person myself.  I guess I am like my mother in this respect.  But I doubt that, if I used icicle tinsel, I would take the time to save it for next year!  I concede that my mother was the Queen of Frugal.