Saturday, December 21, 2013

Crafting Christmas

Plus my Christmas Mantel 2013

Yes, I've been crafting the last few days. Better late than never....I guess but 
seems never might have been fine.

But...I'd agreed to make something using a $50 gift card sent to me 
by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores as part of their
Celebrate the Season campaign.

So I HAD to get my craft on!

Check out the Jo-Ann Creative Holiday Booklet here
Lots of great ideas in there!

and now here is how I made my trees

Vintage Inspired Bottle Brush Trees
First, I decided to make some vintage inspired bottle brush trees to add to my collection.
I found everything I needed to make them at Jo-Ann.
All on sale...which is a huge plus.

Supplies Needed
First, a tree from the holiday village collection.
Some small baubles and glistening snow tex to create the snow.

I also used Elmer's glue I had on hand, a little white craft paint and fine white glitter, food color or RIT dye.
oh...and hot glue and gun.
That tall green one is the tree you viewed in the package above.
Others in this photo are either made by me or vintage or new but look like vintage.
I made the far right one the other night too. 
And the pink one peeking out behind the green one with small pink ornaments. 
Far left one is a new one also.
These are so much fun to make...but messy. 
My kitchen counter looks like it will never be the same.'s just glitter....glitter never hurt anyone...I don't think.
Although...I bet people working in a glitter factory are susceptible to glitter lung.

Here's how you make the trees.
1. First...if you want your trees a different color than the green they come... you are going to have to
bleach them. I bleached two trees...the one above is a pale blue green and the other I made
is pink.
Be sure to get the trees made of natural fibers. Many of the cheaper trees you find at Walmart and such are actually made of plastic. They won't bleach and they won't dye. You can still decorate those though and they turn out very nice...they just won't have the same vintage feel. I've decorated them before
and they turn out pretty just can't change their don't try.

2. Once you have your natural sisal can bleach them.
To bleach...use 50% bleach and 50% water mixed and soak your trees in the solution upside down.
It's beneficial if you can find a container that the tree can fit into upside down.
That big one was too tall and I had to scrunch it a little. It got it's shape back but it means you have to fluff it and stuff afterwards. It's just easier if you have a bigger container.

Soak the tree till it becomes the color you want. 
I went to white with mine. Which is actually a yellowish white.
It took about 30 minutes for the color to come out of my trees.
Then rinse them very well in water.

Let dry over night.

3. Now you might want to decorate them in their white state which would be very nice.
I decided to dye mine. I've read that RIT dye is the best to use for this but I didn't have any on hand and
I didn't feel like getting out in the cold to get some.
I tried a watered acrylic paint. That was a huge fail.
So I used food color. That worked just fine although I'm sure you could get much more interesting 
colors if you used RIT.

Soak the trees till they are the desired color you want.
I think I soaked mine about 15 minutes.
Rinse with cold water.
And let dry over night.
I hate crafts that you have to wait over night to complete...don't you?
I guess you could dry with a hair dryer but I had other things to do any way.

4. After they've dried thoroughly, you are ready to decorate.
I used hot glue to attach my ornaments.
Use larger ornaments on the bottom and I used beads for smaller ornaments towards the top.
Move the branches apart a little and pour in some hot glue and then shove your ornament in
with the top of it where the hanger would go hidden into the tree.

5. After all the ornaments were glued in place I heaped on Glistening Snow-Tex all over the tree with a brush
to look like the tree was freshly snowed upon.
After that dried I added more snow by painting randomly with white craft paint, then while the 
paint was wet...sprinkled on white snow glitter.

I loved the way the Snow-Tex looked on the trees but I was out after making two trees.
I made two more trees using only white craft paint and glitter.
If you like lots of glitter like I do, brush on thinned down Elmer's glue and then sprinkle with more 
snow glitter.

These babies dry pretty fast. I put them out to display when they were still tacky.

After making these...I had enough bottle brush trees to make a forest on my mantel.
Which I did I need more trees for around the house.

Those are going to have to wait for another year, I'm afraid.
Snowfall Pom Pom Garland
Snowflake decals made it into this year's display. 
I found those on 70% at another craft store the other day.
That's my Christmas Mantel for 2013!
I decided to make a variation on the garland I did a couple of years ago.
I forgot to take a photo of the supplies for this craft but it's just two things.
White pom poms and fishing line. 

I got the pom poms at Jo-Ann. I already had the fishing line on hand. 
Oh...and those lights in the fireplace came from Jo-Ann too.
I don't know why I never did that before. 
Those are staying all year...or at least all winter.

How To Make the Pom Pom 
SnowFall Garland
1.  Just cut a length of fishing line...knot it at one end. 
2.  Thread your fishing line through a needle and thread a pom pom on. 
The knot will keep it from going off the end of the line.
3.  Tie another knot up the fishing line about three inches, thread another pom pom on.
4.  Just keep tying knots and threading on pom poms till you get the desired length.
5. I did them in lengths of one through six.
6.  After you've threaded the last pom pom, tie another knot about an inch from the last pom pom.
Tie several knots on top of knots so you have a bigger knot.( Like tie three)
7.  Take a very very small fine piece of wire about 3/4 of an inch long and stick through that bigger knot.
8.  Stick the wire into the snow or fabric that covers your mantel or table. 
I used my scalloped snow batting from two years ago.

I really love the way this turned out!
Maybe better than what I did the last two years!

But I year I'm going to go more simple!

and for my last craft...this one is super super easy...

Glowing Snowballs
For this craft I used styrofoam balls also from Jo-Ann.
(I'm doing something else with the ornament and felt - we'll see if I get it done before Christmas)
This craft is sooo easy and so effective.
Take the balls and punch one twinkle light from a string into the ball.
The styrofoam balls will glow!
It's hard to see this on a white tree. It's much more effective on a green tree.
But I'll try to show...
Just randomly place them around the tree. I did 24 but wish I'd bought more. 
The more the looks.
I've done these all over green garland and it looks amazing.
I did it at work one year and everyone loved it.
Really adore having the inside of my fireplace all lit up without having to light all those candles.
Which I never do.
I also really love how my sconces look all decked out for the holidays this year.
They usually look so small and plain once everything else is decorated.
This year...I added a little white garland and hung big icicles.
The perfect touch.
Print and use this coupon to get some great crafting supplies at Jo-Ann.
All Christmas is on sale Big Time! 
So you'll use this for something from their regular products.

Check out Jo-Ann's Christmas Pinterest Board - "Holiday Spirit" to see what other bloggers have created inspired by
the stuff they got at Jo-Ann.

I'll be back with more of Christmas at my house on Sunday.

sharing at


SwedishCorner ~ DownUnder...Pernilla said...

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Nita!
Happy Pink Saturday :) Oh, so festive and beautiful. Your glass ornaments are divine! Seasons greetings from Australia♥ ~Pernilla

Jeanette Ann O'Donnell said...

Oh how beautiful they all are,your whole display is gorgeous. :)

Lady of the Woods said...

I love this. I just bleached my trees again as they were not white enough. Now I will have to give them snow and glitter. Your displays look gorgeous! and I love the fireplace idea, I've been trying to figure out how to light up mine without things getting when when it rains, its a real fireplace and this idea with the lights seems feasible, will try something like it.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Two things have been on my "to do" list forever, and they're Putz houses and bottle brush trees. Now that you've shown how easy the trees are, I plant to make a forest of them next year! Your mantel looks magical with your trees, garland, and gorgeous mirror reflecting your chandelier! Love it all, Nita!

Kit said...

Oh my, Wow!!! I just got so many ideas from you, my head is spinning....LOL I love those pom poms, and the styro balls? Sheer genius! Everything looks so lovely, way to go. Merry Christmas! Kit

One Shabby Old House said...

Wow a great tutorial and a coupon too. Thank you very much. I may just have to attempt to make those cute little trees.

Cynthia Myers said...

Oh Nita! I truly love every thing!
I have been wanting to get a collection of bottle brush trees and now I can make them and in the colors that I want.
I have an old Mid-Century faux fireplace outside (buried under snow) that I could never make myself get rid of and now I think I will drag it inside, clean it up and put candles and twinkle lights inside (next year though! LOL!)
Great post! xoxo - Cindi

TiKiMOOSE said...

You are so full of ideas! Your little trees look great! I LOVE your Styrofoam balls stuck on a string of lights idea...might try that one myself! Your tree looks beautiful! Aren't you glad you put it up? I sure am!

Dewena Callis said...

Your mantel is absolutely magical! That tall green tree is like something out of the most expensive catalogue. And so many different ones in the forest of trees is breathtaking.

Can you imagine what someone 50 years from now will say about these "vintage" trees if they find them?

And you have some gorgeous ornaments in your collection on your big tree!

Debra Oliver said...

so beautiful, Nita. love your tree, the mantel, oh the fireplace! so gorgeous!

Laurel Stephens said...

Your holiday decor is so mod, Nita! Absolutely love it!

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Such a fresh and pretty combo! I love the mirror's effect, as well as the pom pom garland and those tress in the basket! Happy Holidays! xo Kathleen

Mary said...

Merry Christmas, Nita! I love your Christmas mantel, the trees are so adorable. What a great Idea. Everything is so pretty.

Laura Dowden said...

I just love your little tree forest. Your mantel is beautiful!

Traci Creel said...

Love all the decor. I am going to have to try the strong am balls over the lights. Your new wall color looks fabulous with your fireplace. It really makes your eyes go to those gorgeous tiles.

Charu Sharma said...

Wonderful blog!!

Merry Christmas and have a wonderful festive season.

Would you like to follow each other via bloglovin, gfc, g+ and facebook? Do visit my blog and let me know!! :)

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

THANK YOU!!! Thanks so much for posting this great tutorial!! I have been wanting to make these trees for many years but lack of time is always a problem for me but I am determined that this year, i am going to be thinking Christmas all year round. Will do a post on that soon ....
I will definitely sane this post and follow your directions when I attempt to do my trees!!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!
Your home looks lovely at Christmas!! Love the colors....


Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Love love love!! Nita I am so inspired to finish decoratiing now! I don't have to work til Jan 3rd so I can get my house ready for Christmas eve party and Christmas day...what a pretty job you did, everything looks amazing. I see the white walls, it feels so different from the yellow. I can't wait to see the whole room. I have to do my mantle and you have inspired me to get going! Then I am going to do my kitchen just a little behind this year. Last year I never really got much done.

"Create Beauty" said...


I love what you've created!!!!
so BEAUTIFUL Nita! thanks for sharing your tutorials.


Patti@OldThingsNew said...

I love your bottle brush trees! I just bought a similar tree to go with a Putz house (you got me hooked on those too) and it was pretty expensive. I am so excited to make some of my own. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas week there in sunny SoCal.

Cindy said...

Your little trees are gorgeous. I have never thought to bleach me trees, perhaps I should.
I love the styrofoam balls all lit up, your tree is very pretty.
Your mantle and fireplace looks beautiful.
Merry Christmas, dear lady!
Hugs, Cindy

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