What? It Fell Out of the Tree that Way!

Mr. Pea & I bought our Christmas tree on Sunday and ended up with a few extra branches.  The man cutting the fresh ring on the tree had to clip off a few of the low hanging limbs and he was about to throw them into the pile of other discarded branches when I stopped him.  We just paid for those limbs why discard them!  Christmas is the best time of year for a DIY project and those extra branches could make lots of nice decor for your home.

Here’s what “fell” out of my tree:

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Bough Decor

Christmas Bough

In total I ended up with four of the lowest (and biggest) branches to play with.  Here is all you need to transform your extra branches into beautiful decor: 2 Wire Hangers, Pruning Sheers, Wire Cutters, and Green Wire.  That’s it!

Wreath Making Tools

2 Wire Hangers, Green Wire, Wire Cutters, & Pruning Sheers

The green wire I have shown is 20 gauge and easy to manipulate, floral or other easily bendable wire will also work.  If you have a wire wreath form floating around, omit the wire hangers.  Now, shape the hangers into a rough circle, line up the hooks, and using the green wire secure at the top, bottom, & sides of the circle.  I found it hard to even see the hangers anymore once the wreath was done, but if you’d like wrap the hangers with green floral tape.  Now clip one branch at a time into 10″-12″ lengths and secure to the wreath form you just created with the wire, overlapping the ends of each length.  Continue doing this until the wreath is as full as you’d like.

Now it’s time to decorate!  I had these clip on decorations from my usual grapevine wreath.  I got them at Michaels.  You could spice yours up using ornaments, bows, pine cones, or lights.  Whatever you have around the house or find in the yard even.

Here are a few inspirational ideas:

  Wreath Ideas

I really love the use of different plants for varying texture in all of these wreaths.  For more tips and how to add live plants to a wreath check out this article on Apartment Therapy.

My wreath took less than an hour to put together and I had enough branches left over to put together the bough on my front step.  I couldn’t believe how easy (and cheap) this was to put together!  Literally, this was free!  Now go make something beautiful!

Homemade Fir Wreath

 

Friday Reflection: The Christmas List

 

Making a Christmas list is a new thing for me.  I know every year you get asked what would you like and maybe, if your lucky, you have one or two things in mind; but to make a whole list?!  It wasn’t until I started celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family that making a list was even something I needed to think about.

In my family we don’t make lists.  My dad writes us a check every year, period.  After spending all that money on gifts for others, we’re always grateful for Dad’s check.  My mom, well she starts shopping or making presents as early as January.  Heck, it’s not unlike her to go take advantage of the after Christmas sales and hoard those goodies for next year.  Basically giving her a list in November or December is pretty pointless, her shopping is usually done.  Now there a four kids in my family, what about giving them a list?  Growing up my father would take us to the mall in December, give us each a set amount of money and let us run free until our shopping spree was done.  You could let another sibling know what you wanted as long as it was $20 or less and available at the mall we were going to.  So really these things got decided on the fly, at the mall.  Even now as we’re older, our incomes and states of employment vary so much it’s hard to ask for things from them.

Given these family traditions, I really value a good, thoughtful gift.  (See my last post about Quilts!)  Each year under the tree there’s a lot of OK things, some really horrendous things, but always a couple of spot on gifts.  And each year my siblings and I gather around our piles of open gifts and laugh (especially over the horrendous things) then swap gifts as needed.  I’m laughing now just thinking about some of those gifts.  One year I got an early ’90’s style mid-drift baring sweater, covered with huge sunflowers.  Oh it was bad, sweaters should not bare mid-drifts!  My mom has since turned it into the cutest armrest covers.  The thing is, I now value the humor the bad gifts bring to Christmas, almost as much as the Ok gifts.  😉

My husband’s family brought a whole different set of traditions into my life.  Being a much smaller family of 4, they make each other lists and then divide the list between themselves.  My in-laws also go to the mall with their kids, but instead of everyone roaming free they shop together and when they see something they want someone buys it.  Of course my Mother-in-Law buys a few surprises for them as well, things she thinks they’ll like, but mostly there aren’t too many unknowns under their tree.  It was a bit of culture shock for me to enter into these traditions.

The first year we went Christmas shopping with the In-Laws, she kept asking if I would like that when I picked something up.  She followed me and in every store she would find a way to ask me if I wanted something.  I got uncomfortable very quickly.  I was suddenly in the spotlight of her generosity and had no idea what to do to get out of it.  Mr. Pea finally had to tell her I was uncomfortable, and at the end of the trip I let her buy me a small $10 item I was going to buy for myself anyways.

Now, my mother-in-law is a very sweet woman!  She certainly didn’t mean to make me uncomfortable, this is just how she shops with her children, and I am now one of her children.  It just took some adjusting on both our parts.  The next year I gave in and made them a Christmas list.  Having never made a Christmas list, I approached it like I do a shopping trip.  I gather up all the things I like in the store bring it into the dressing room and probably buy one of those thing.  So I made a huge list of things that caught my eye, but didn’t necessarily want, in hopes it would give them ideas of the kinds of things I like.  Not only was this too much, but I had sent it to my family as well, so there was no hope of coordinating.  Epic fail!  Last year was by far the easiest, we still had items left on our wedding registry to be purchased.  There was no need to stress over my lack of Christmas list etiquette.

Based on how nicely things went last year, I have a new approach this year, the Amazon wish list!  With the wonder of the internet I can even add items from other websites to this list, and once it’s purchased it’s removed from the list, just like a registry.  So I can send it to my family and his as suggestions, without all those people needing to coordinate.  Plus much like pinterest, I can use it to bookmark larger items I want for the house or to buy my husband.  Thank you Amazon for this handy tool!  Hopefully, this year will go as smoothly as last year.

At least I just had to learn to ask for things, Mr. Pea had to learn to find the humor in the random assortment of gifts from my family.  😀

Ready or Not The Holidays are Here!

I don’t know about you, but I am still in shock it is November already.  I started focusing my attention on holiday items for the shop back in September, but the holidays still felt ages away.  Well today I showed up to a mall all decked out for Christmas!  Starbucks has switched over to their red holiday cups, and well I’m finding myself pulling out Christmas decorations too.  Ok, they’re for photo props, but still I just strung holiday lighting around a Christmas tree!  There’s no avoiding it, the Holiday season is here.

For this holiday season I didn’t want to make cards.  I was ready to try something different, so I started playing around with folded paper boxes.  I instantly loved them, but it wasn’t enough.  Anyone can fold a box, heck I’ll even give you the instructions!  There are a ton of tutorials on the web, but I had great success with these instructions from Homemade Gifts made easy.  Now that I had a cute box I needed to make it mine, something worth buying.  I ended up with these Poinsettia boxes and they are stunning in person!

Hand cut pedals, painted leaves, and beaded centers make these paper poinsettia on top of a hand folded paper box something worth buying (and keeping)!  I made a version of this box for a friend’s baby shower and everyone loved the idea!  You can expect to see more of these types of boxes in my shop this spring.

I enjoyed sculpting those flowers so much I decided I’d start working on larger, frame-able pieces of art.  I am not going to reveal just yet what I am working on, but in my research for my first piece I discovered a beautiful pattern just perfect for the holidays.  Yup, just worked out that way.

This leaf pattern is found in French Gothic architecture.  If you look closely you can see the Fleur-de-lis at the ends of the leaves.  It was a pattern designed for a King and it makes a bold, beautiful statement.  I have had so much fun playing with different ways to use this pattern for the holidays.   It becomes so whimsical in the colored patterned paper, and then so regal in the gold and silver.  My holiday decorating usually includes a bit of both humor and tradition, so I am pleased to have found a pattern that works for both.

If you’d like to incorporate any of these holiday items into your decor or gift wrapping, they are now available in my Etsy shop: Mrs. Pea’s Papers.  Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Holidays (already)!!