Simple Christmas: Festive Tree Skirt

a very pretty eco treeIf you saw my cardboard Christmas tree tutorial you would have seen I had to prop the tree up and keep it stable by using some books. It looks kinda cool but I wanted it to look more like a traditional tree so I made a skirt to cover the base up. The design is super simple and you can jazz it up however you like to fit in with your colour scheme. You will need a square of fabric or felt and scissors. If you are doing a slightly fancier one you might need a needle and thread or your sewing machine to decorate and finish the fabric.

skirt pattern1. If you want a quick no sew skirt use a piece of felt as it wont fray. I used a piece of cotton so you can see the extra steps. You want the fabric big enough to cover the bucket your tree is in or the base of books if you’ve gone for a cardboard creation

2. Fold the square into quarters, cut the bottom edge into a curve and cut a smaller curve into the top edge to allow space for the trunk. If you’ve ever made a circle skirt its exactly the same pattern

3. Unfold the fabric and you should have a circle with a hole in the centre. Use one of  your fold lines to cut from the bottom to the centre hole so you can wrap it around your tree trunk.

Skirt cut4. If you have made it in felt you can simply leave it as it is. For most other fabrics you’ll need to hem the bottom, top and cut edge of the skirt. You can do this by hand with a needle and thread or sewing machine

skirt complete

Its up to you how you decorate it, I have kept mine plain with a decorative stich for the bottom and added a little bit of lace at the top. You could create a whole scene using embroidery or applique and you could even making from lots of different fabrics for a unique look. I’ve stuck to a plain red as I wanted to keep it simple and blend in with the surroundings as I already have an unusual tree.

Happy Holidays

Lorna

X xxx

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Simple Christmas: Cardboard Tree

Christmas tree with the lights onI love Christmas trees but I know there is a lot of environmental and consumerist issues about their purchase however I’m not going to get into that at the moment. As an alternative this year and since money is tight I am opting to make my tree from huge pieces of cardboard some of our new furniture was packaged in. It was really easy to make and I had ever needed to create it so it didn’t cost me anything. The only things you need are two large pieces of cardboard but you can opt for a smaller tree of course, a pencil, a Stanley or craft knife, masking tape and spray paint in the colour of your choice, I opted for classic green. The thicker the cardboard the better as it will make it more substantial and remember that any ornaments you put on it must be on the lighter side. I have to say that it didn’t turn out perfect as I had fairly flimsy cardboard, but I managed to stabilise the tree with some heavy books around the base and later in the week I will show you how to make a tree skirt to cover them up and make the tree more festive.

cardboard christmas tree outline1. Draw your tree design on to the two pieces of cardboard. I made very straight designs so the trees branches would be strong and stable to put ornaments on. the branches are definitely the strongest part of the tree.

2 Use a craft knife to cut around the outline of both your tree parts. This takes a long time btw.

3. Cut a slit through the middle of the ‘trunk’ on each piece about half way up/down. On one piece you want the slit going from the bottom up and on the other from the top down.

cardboard christmas tree

4. Spray paint the tree in the desired colour, using paper or more cardboard to protect your paint area. This is best to do outside or in a very well ventilated area.

5. Slot the tree pieces together. This is where it got tricky for me as the base was quite floppy. I used masking tape to secure the pieces. A piece of tape around the top of the tree to keep it together and then used the tape lengthways to stick the pieces together where they meet in the middle. Keep taping till secure.

christmas tree painted6. Spray paint the fully constructed tree again, this will hide the masking tape and give a better finish to the tree.

7. I used books around the four corners of the base to keep the tree upright and give it strength.

8. DECORATE! bare in mind the weight of each ornament and don’t over load the tree.Christmas tree partial decorated

Its one of my favourite ways I’ve upcycled cardboard and is a very green Christmas tree in more ways then one. I just need a few more decorations to make it feel extra Christmassy, my next few posts will show you how to create the yellow garland that is draped around the tree, a star for the top and a skirt for the bottom. What do you think? feeling festive?

Lorna

x xxx

 

Simple Christmas: Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus

christmas craftingIt’s the 1st of November! and while most are nursing a Halloween hangover I am thinking of Christmas** I normally start planning Christmas a lot earlier then November but having a lot on my plate recently it has fallen by the wayside. I am expecting Christmas to be a very, very lean one this year so it is even more important that I save money for presents and partying by been thrifty and frugal in things that I can make and do myself. I would love to have a decorated living room for me and Harry to enjoy the holidays in but since this is our first year in our own house we don’t have any decorations! So….. I am of course going to make them all. Last year I did a series of Christmas Crafts you can easily make at home called Simple Christmas and this year I shall continue it with all the homemade decorations I create myself. So to kick things off here are the DIYs from last year for you to make. Just click the picture and it will take you to the tutorial!

crackers about crackers

recycled yoghurt lid ornament

recycled paper christmas tree

Wreath

Happy Crafting and I will be back soon with some new DIY crafts for Christmas

Lorna

X xxx

Everyday Etsy: Cheap and Cheerful Christmas

It might be a little bit late to order these beauty off Etsy but its always nice to have a little browse to get you in the Christmas spirit. However, it might be the perfect opportunity to find something you love for next year as its likely people will start dropping their prices once Christmas is over. I usually go for classic golds, reds and green but i thought i would have a look at some more colourful and quirky decorations to see if an alternative look to the classic Christmas style would go down. Its fair to say i’m loving it.
cheap and cheerful christmas

Firstly, a crazy card to send your loved ones. The creeper card from LittleSketchyCards would be great for the gamer in your life but for me he looks more like a funky robot! I absolutely love HetBovenhuis colourful felt wreath, it would really brighten up a space and still have a Christmas vibe with the snowflake details. Please buy me this though. CadaverCarnival ‘s Angry greed Christmas ornament is crazy, creepy but really cool. For me it reminds me of an evil brussel sprout (see this post) but i bet i could find a place on my tree for it :D For links to the rest of these fun and bright items check out my treasury Cheap and Cheerful Christmas

Merry Cheerful Christmas!

Lorna

X xxx

15 Uses: Christmas Cards

This 15 uses has a distinctively Christmas theme, using old Christmas Greetings cards to make decorations and presents for your house, friends and family. Christmas is often a expensive time and a time when a great amount of waste happens. You don’t have to live in darkness and be a miser just for the sake of the planet and your pockets however. These simple creations made from paper and card that would have been thrown away can now be put to good use, helping you count the pennies this year along the way and do a little bit for your eco credentials. It is also a great way to keep those special cards from loved ones without it feeling like your hording, you can display them for a lifetime without cluttering up draws.room decorations made from recycled christmas cards

5 Decorations for Around the Home.

1. Simple paper/card bunting from Christmas cards creates a new look other then your traditional paper chains, although they would also be easy to make with old cards.

2. Cards in similar colours can make lovely free standing trees for any tables left bare, especially great to add a little festive cheer to bedrooms which are often overlooked when it comes to Christmas decorations.

3. This is a really refreshing wreath, made by cutting and gluing lots of leaf shapes together. The different colours of the cards really make it stand out but the leaf shapes bring the traditional look in.

4. A free standing snow man made from lots of half snowman shapes glued together to make a 3D version. Make sure each section is fairly thick, adding more cards to make it sturdy.

5. Another wreath but much quicker to make. Cut out full characters from cards and glue them to a wreath form made of cardboard. Attach a ribbon and you have a decoration perfect for anywhere in the house

I have my own versions of free standing paper tree and a traditional wreath tutorial

recycled greetings cards ornaments 5 Christmas Card Ornaments

1. Create this ornament like the snow man, adding lots of cut out house shapes together. Thread or glue a piece of thread from bottom to top, adding decorative beads and top and bottom, tie in a loop and hang for all to see.

2. Go green further by recycling old food jar lids as well. Attach wire or thread to the top of the lid with glue and add a Christmas card image to the center. Use the Lid as a template to draw around your imagine then cut out on the inside of the circle so the image is slightly smaller then the lid and can slot in. Glue in place. Check out my tutorial for using yogurt lids in this way

3. Create sweetie holders by rolling a triangle of card into a cone, glue or tape in place. Add a hanging ribbon by punching too holes in either side of the cone and treading ribbon through and knotting. Glue a cut out image from a card and you have a beautiful ornament with added treats.

4. Simple card circles, folded in half , then  glued to 5 others can create a simple but colourful hanging bauble when some ribbon is added to the top.  Use a length of string or ribbon to attach several and make a festive garland for the tree or across a doorway.

5. Make these cute little houses for another decoration that has a hidden surprise. Simply constructed you need card in these shapes: 1 rectangle for the base, 2 squares for the sides, the front and back made from a piece that is a square (same size as the sides) and a triangle at the top, lastly 2 rectangles for the slanted roof. Add tabs into the design of the shapes so you can easily glue it together. Make sure you add any treats into the top before putting the roof on. String wire through the top of the roof to hand on the tree or leave it underneath to open on Christmas day. Perfect for wrapping those really small presents like jewellery.presents recycled from christmas cards

5 Gift ideas from Christmas Cards

1. Make some Christmas coasters and place mats for the big week by glue squares of cards onto cork mats. Be as wacky or as subtle as you like when it comes to colours. Add a lick of varnish when the glue has dried to protect your mats for years to come.

2. I bet many of the thrifty people reading this have made lots of lovely treats for friends and family that fall into the gift in a jar section. Don’t waste more paper and ink by printing out labels. Use cards to ring through the festive delights inside, especially if its got a Christmas theme like cookie dough mix or mincemeat.

3. Give a small child a simple memory game for Christmas by cutting up a large card into equal squares. They can play it inbetween the lull of opening presents and stuffing your face.

4. Got a bottle of something special for the wine lover in your life. Add a beautiful gift tag made from sturdy card folded in half, with a hole through one side and part of a greetings card glued to the other.

5. Use some of the beautiful poetry on a card to make a bookmark for the book worm of the group. This example has a blanket stitched edge to make a nice finishing touch and a neater look

Only a few more sleeps to go :D

Lorna

X xxx

 

Attack of the Brussel Sprouts!

Evil Brussel Sprouts!Its Christmas day, the living room is strewn with paper, the dog is getting inexplicable tangled in tinsel, Granddads already asleep and your about to munch down on a delicious dinner and stuff yourself senseless. Yet a sinister villain has crept in among the festivities, he’s green, he smells but its not the grinch! It is of course the evil brussel sprout which we all endure every Christmas dinner even though we don’t even like them! Why i hear you ask…tradition is the answer. I have always hated brussel sprouts, that was until I found this recipe on A beautiful Mess Blog. The simple roasting of brussels instead of boiling their ass off coupled with a sprinkle of lemon, oil oilve and salt has truly converted me and it shall be the way to serve them this Christmas indeed. I sprinkle a few additions of my own, namely pepper (as i am mad for it) and a little orange peel (just to add a little more of a festive touch)
I just wanted to tell you that i now am a convert and you should try it this way too if your a brusselphobe

Other then dinner, is everyone ready for ding dong merrily on highs yet or are you flapping round town in a blind panic, still finding the perfect present for your Aunt Erma? Lorna X xxx

A Simple Christmas: Crafty Crackers

christmas craftingOne of my favourite traditions at Christmas is pulling crackers as we sit down to our feast. I love the naft jokes and the sometimes nice mini presents, and i also love that every one in my family wears the paper party hats all the way through dinner. They are really really expensive though even when they only contain a novelty moustache comb or a pair of lips. If you make your own you can personalise them or at the very least put something inside a bit more interesting then another pair of toe nail clippers.  I used sweets for the practice one i did but you can use anything you want as long as it fits in the cracker of course. There are two types i’ve shown below, one with a few more steps then the other but still very easy)

You will need: Toilet rolls, ( 1 for the first type, 2 for the second, glue/double sided sticky tape, cellotape wrapping paper(for each cracker you want a piece that will wrap fully round the toilet roll and a bit longer then a A4 sheet of paper), gifts/sweets, terrible jokes, ribbon.

crackers how to1. I found out this little tip to help make the toilet roll rip easier and make it more like the bang of traditional cracker. (incidently you can buy the cracker bangers online if you want to add that extra spark) Cut into the center of a toilet roll from both sides but make sure you don’t slice all the way through. It doesn’t matter if you flatten it to do this, they are quite easy to reshape

2. The first cracker you only need one toilet roll for the center. Do the cut as in no.1. and add in the sweets/gifts and joke into it, try to jam it in so it doesn’t move around too much. Tape the toilet roll to the center and the edge of your wrapping paper.

3. Roll the toilet roll up in the wrapping paper until it meets the other end and tape in place. Use the ribbon and tie into a bow on either side of the toilet roll. Tie fairly tight but try not rip the paper. You now have a cracker to enjoy on Christmas day.

4. If you want a more traditional looking one, repeat steps 1 & 2, then cut another toilet roll in half so you have two smaller tubes. Tape or glue these in place and the ends of the paper in line with the main toilet roll, so there is a gap between the small ones and the main roll. I then use stripes of double sided sticky tape along the edge of the paper to secure the small tubes when i roll it up. Homemade crackers

5. Roll it up and secure with tape if needed. Use  ribbon to tie a bow around the paper where the gap is, pull it tightly and it will bring the cracker together. You now have a beautiful cracker for the dinning table

i also used pinking shears (zig zag scissors) to give the cracker a nice neat edge, you need a few toilet rolls to make a few but you still have time before Christmas. Finally, you need to make sure you find the tackiest, naffiest, most terrible jokes to put in :) My first one was

‘What hides in a bakery on Christmas Eve? A Mince Spy!

crackers about crackers

haha love it

Lorna

X xxx

A Simple Christmas: Practically Free Wreath

IMG_0110If you have access to a garden or a park then you can do this simple wreath and with some added touches you can make it as grand or as quaint as you like. Now to get things straight from the beginning and to cover my back, i am not advocating theft! However if you snip a few branches or leaves from a park shrub it won’t be missed and your probably doing the park wardens a favour by trimming their bush (no pun intended). The wreath can be really easy, you don’t need to be a florist to get an amazing effect. It is also considerably cheaper then buying a shop bought one especially if you use items you already have.

You will need:Depending on how much cash you have to splash, Wreath frame from a florist or a wire coat hanger. I used a cheap circular air dryer. Floral wire, wire, string or thread, once again use what you have to hand. I used string. Secateurs, A large bag full of leaves, I went for classic pine but you can pick whatever you can get your hands on. Extra bits and bobs for decoration. Ribbons, Holly, pine cones, cinnamon, baubles, flowers, use items that fit within your colour scheme and style. Our look is classic reds, gold and green.
wreath how to

1. First you need your base. If you have a ready made form or in my case a dryer (i removed all of the hanging clips) you don’t need to do anything else. If your using wire or a coat hanger you will have to form it in to a circle with several layers. The best way to do this is to wrap it around something circular like a sweet tin or even a a waste paper bin. Wind it around and secure, slip off your mold and you’ve got a basic form to use. Don’t worry if its not a perfect circle as you can shape branches into a circle

2. I found the best way to make the base of the wreath was to make several individual bundles by grouping together leafy twigs and binding the bottom with a string. As the dryer had gaps i could slot each bundle in between and then secure. I made 7 bundles but make as many as you need to cover the entire base.

3. Securing the base takes the most time, I did it with the back of the wreath facing me. First tie the bundles to your form near the base of each bundle. Secondly, Secure the first tie to the frame with some more string or wire, this will stop the bundles from moving around. Thirdly, i tied a few twigs from the top of each bundle that were nearest to the frame to secure the top part (Its hard to describe this part, so just keep securing so that your bundles don’t move about or flop down when you have it handing up.

4. Turn the wreath right side up. You will need to secure it further so the branches curve around the frame. Don’t worry if these last ties are exposed you can cover them with your decoration. You should now have a circle. Unless you are a florist/a perfectionist it won’t be perfect so use your secateurs to trim till you have the desired shape.
IMG_0109
5. DECORATE! Here comes the fun bit but remember less is more. I used some Green holly with white edges and i managed to find some with berries finally! I also added in a golden cherub which i secured with thread and made two bundles of cinnamon sticks. I finished it off with a red bow to make the wreath a bit bigger above our mantel piece.

The only thing that cost me was the dryer which was £1.20, and i am sure you could find them even cheaper. I will definately use it again and now i have a ready made wreath form for years to come without the florist price tag if i had bought an actual one. The decorations we had in the house any way, the leaves from the garden, the holly from the park (i swear it was on the floor, just cleared it up *cough) and the string comes from the malt sacks i use in store.
I would love for people to share with me their creations, especially wreaths which i have a soft spot for so please send me any you make.
IMG_0111
Happy Holidays
Lorna
X xxx

A Simple Christmas: A Charity Shop Surprise

Just a quick post to share with you what a lovely surprise i found when i came home, a fully decked out tree with tinsel, lights and baubles as well as a garland for the stairs. We only had a few decorations as well as items we’ve made and so its was great to come home and find a tree (albeit plastic) ready for santa and his sleigh. The best part of it all is Sue (my mother in law) had found it all in our local charity shops costing a grand total of £17 which i think is pretty much a steal. I can now fill in the gaps with our homemade decorations and now things are feeling certainly festive around these parts. Look out for a post this coming week when i show you how to make a wreath for your front door or in our case above the mantel piece. simple charity shop Christmas

Lorna

X xxx

 

A simple Christmas: Paper tree

christmas crafting

Another simple christmas creation which is great for the mantel piece or your coffee table. Make a few to create a little pine forest. This can take a long time to make just one because of the amount of paper you use but the results are worth it.

You will need: A large yogurt pot lid, Lots of scrap paper, pinking shears, a skewer or thrifty equivalent, gold card, green and gold spray paint.

paper tree from recycled materials1. Firstly, spray paint the yogurt lid gold or green. Make sure you are outside or in a well ventilated room, and protect any surfaces with a cover. Allow to dry for an hour.

2. Insert the skewer into the center of the lid with the point sticking upwards. The length of the skewer will determine the height. I used an old pen cartridge for mine. You can find more uses for old pens here

3. Cut out Squares using the pinking shears, starting with the largest that you want to form the base of the tree. Make smaller and smaller ones as you build up to the top.

4. Put each square on the skewer and try get in around the center but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Arrange each square so it is at a different angle to the one before it, giving the tree the appearance of branches and volume.

5. Once You’ve Reached the top, using the smaller and smaller pieces, spray paint the tree green with as much or as little as you like. Using white paper gives a snowy effect but most scrap paper you’ll want to cover completely. Once dried i sprayed a light dusting of gold on to it so it shimmered more

6. I then created a origami star to attach on the tip of the pen. The folds hook on but you can glue it into position to make it more secure. Instructions for the star are here. I used a simple 4 point one but you can get as elaborate as you want.
recycled paper christmas tree
A cute little tree and all made from recycled materials, great for all that promotional junk mail you get over the festive period.

Lorna

X xxx