Friday, December 13, 2013

An old-fashioned Christmas tree {DIY burlap ornaments}

I love Christmas-time SO much, but it's just too easy for me to go overboard and get overwhelmed. Therefore, my goal for Christmas this year is to keep everything simple. To relax. To really enjoy the season. And to remember why we celebrate. I have not been successful with this goal in the past, so I was extra determined to not stress out this year. To help me do this, I've done 3 things:

  1.  I scaled my Christmas decorations waaaay back. I fully realize how silly it is to get stressed out about something that's supposed to be enjoyable, and yet I do...I think it's the 14 years worth of Christmas stuff in bins I have to go through! I know I need to go through it all and declutter, but it's never a top priority. :-)
  2. I also decided not to make a bunch of homemade gifts. Again, this is fun but it's always stressful getting it all done. I love making things for people; but at times I have had 15+ gifts to make, and it's just too much to get done in such a short time.
  3. Finally, I made a Christmas calendar of events--a "25 days of Christmas" list--but I told myself I did not need to do it all to have a fun month and to make memories with my family. 
The more I focus on a quiet Christmas, the more I think back to what Christmas was like long ago. I always refer to Laura Ingalls and her quaint stories of Ma and Pa and the simple things they did to celebrate Christmas as a family. I love those stories!

I decided I wanted an old-fashioned Christmas to be part of my theme this year for my decorating and my general approach to the entire season. One day I remembered a bag of red and white fabric scraps that had for several years been stuffed away in my sewing box. I had a "light-bulb" moment when I realized I could cut the scraps into strips and tie them onto my tree for an old-fashioned, homey look. It may sound tedious to do, but it wasn't. It was actually really fun!

Here are some more ideas for old-fashioned Christmas tree decorations: baking soda ornaments, dried orange slices, popcorn and cranberry garlands, paper garlands, paper ornaments, candy-canes, any kind of handmade ornament (my mother-in-law made the boys cross-stitched nutcracker ornaments and we just love them; my sister-in-law made me some German straw ornaments that are absolutely lovely and some quilled paper ornaments--wow!). Using things from nature like pine-cones, berries, sticks, and pine branches are also a way to keep things simple, frugal, and beautiful.

One day I was in Hobby Lobby and I saw these wonderful burlap ornaments! They were so pretty. Part of a collection called Aspen Holiday, I think. Sadly, I couldn't afford to get them as they were $6 a piece! Sooo, I just took a picture of them instead and tried my hand at making them. Oh my goodness! They were super easy to make and turned out so cute! A great DIY project that doesn't take a ton of time. Here's how to make them...

1. and 2. show the $6 ornaments I was trying to recreate.
3. Draw a pattern for each shape you want to make, trace it onto burlap, and cut out 2 identical layers.
4. Cut small strips of lace and pin them into place.
5. Using a tight zig-zag stitch, sew (top-stitch) around the outside of the ornament leaving a seam of maybe 1/4-inch. We just eyed it (my mom helped). Leave a 1-inch opening for the stuffing. (Alternative: if you can't or don't want to sew, hot glue works--just be careful to not burn yourself!)
5. Stuff the ornament with some kind of filler (you can use the cheap stuff on this project).
6. Sew the 1-inch opening closed.

7. Tie yarn in a small bow and glue onto the ornament. I used E6000 glue, but it was annoying to work with. I would think any kind of fabric glue or even hot glue would work though.
8. I really wanted some jewels on these ornaments. My mom and I had recently purchased a Bejeweler Pro Hot-Fix Crystal Tool for setting/fixing Swarovski rhinestones onto things. Such a cool tool! However, fabric glue would also work.
9. Finished burlap bird ornament! Last step was to glue something to hang it with.
10. Another finished ornament. I love how they turned out! Very simple and rustic.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, that these ornaments cost me absolutely nothing to make! We had a bolt of burlap left over from my sister's wedding, and my mom already had the lace and other embellishments.

I love how the tiny rhinestone really sparkles!

These would make lovely gifts as well!

Here's a picture of how I tied the fabric scraps to my tree.

Finished look after tying the fabric strips all over.

We also made baking soda ornaments. My boys helped and had so much fun cutting out the shapes! I think Lauren plans to blog about how to make these, but check out my pinterest Christmas board for links to the recipe.
Here's a recap of the Aspen Holiday ornament I saw in-store and the one I recreated.
And here's my "old-fashioned" Christmas tree--well, at least as old-fashioned as a fake tree can get! :-)

Hope you can keep things simple this Christmas and be reminded of the One who brings true joy and peace. Merry Christmas!

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  1. Wish I had seen this sooner! So cute!!
    Can you paint the baking soda ornaments?