Handmade tree decor

Everyone loves before and after.

Let me introduce you to the new and improved Mr. Fir.

Photo courtesy of Jo Santangelo and the fancy new camera.Tree decoration is not unlike the larger scope of home decor, why bother even decorating a tree if you don’t love the stuff dangling from those spiky limbs? Go shiny, sparkly, uniform, ornate, anything, just enjoy the thing that you’ve dragged all the way home and adorn it with love.

I subscribe to this particular tree decor philosophy: lights! garland! action!

Handmade garland is not an unreasonable feat, provided you thought about it before December 23rd. Here’s what you do:

1. Gather your supplies. Twine or pretty yarn of some sort; scissors; and a bunch of objects that can be fastened with knots. Last year I told J to save her film canisters (the tubing on a roll of film, not the plastic container.) This year I had an excess of canning bands (the outer rim of a two-part screw-top canning jar lid) from a Target clearance sale too good to pass up.

Ideally, the objects will be of some importance to you before you turn them into garland. 

2. Plan your attack. Figure out how to fasten the object to your string using the LEAST involved form of technology possible. I recommend a knot. Remember, you are going to have to do this a jillion times (garland is long.) Don’t get too fancy, or you’ll give up. 

I can’t tell you exactly how to knot it, since I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to fasten, but just play around with it. What works and what doesn’t will surface real soon. I’ll post a photo tutorial soon on how I made my canning band garland.

3. Cut your string to desired length. In order to make a continuous line of garland you’ll need to pull the string all the way through. There’s probably a way to not pre-cut the string, but I haven’t figured out that method yet.

Keep in mind how much string it takes to affix each item and tack that on to your estimate. I always just end up pulling wildly at the string and guessing where to stop. What’s the worst that can happen if your string is too short? You cut another one and have two strands of garland, no biggie.

4. Have a beverage of some sort, you know, to make it fun. (Alcohol not required, tea works fine, too.)

5. Go! And don’t be frustrated if “the groove” doesn’t come right away, slow down and be patient. You’re making a pretty garland, not speed-crafting. Relax.

Now our Christmas tree’s garland tells a story about us: one half J, one half me!

Tell me about your tree or just send photos of your homemade decor and I’ll post them here.

Amy’s first tree! photo courtesy of Boots Levinson