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: A Simple Star

star atop a treeI needed a topper for my tree and one that was thrifty and eco friendly, so I returned to my old friend the toilet roll. This is a quick tutorial of how to make a golden star to sit atop your tree. You will need a toilet roll or a cut down kitchen roll, a piece of cardboard, craft knife, glue or masking tape, gold spray paint and a star template ( or draw your own)

1. Use your template to draw the star on to your piece of cardboard. I made a template on the computer by using four diamonds to make the classic nativity shaped star

2. Use a craft knife to carefully cut out the starstar and template

3. Spray paint the front of the star

4. Glue or tape the toilet roll on to the back of the star and at the bottom. Spray paint the back of the star including the toilet roll to make a neat finish

star with toilet roll attached star back painted

a very pretty eco tree 

5. Pop on the tree and admire your work

I love this simple star for my glorious little tree. Its bright and bold but nice and traditional. If your tree is lacking something special still then this is the perfect little DIY to finish off with the Christmas decorating

Lorna

X xxx

 

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

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

A Simple Christmas: Recycled yogurt pot lid picture ornament

Today is the start of a little collection of Homemade trinkets and treats you can make for your home this Christmas. You don’t always have to spend a fortune on decorations, or presents for that matter, and sometimes you can’t afford to buy those beautiful big baubles your craving. This Christmas i will be making most of our ornaments because we don’t have the money to build up a Christmas collection straight away and what better way to use my crafty skills. Most of the crafts i will be sharing with you will be made from ‘rubbish’ from around the home. With a few little extra buys you can transform some trash into Christmas treasure, starting with these personal ornaments.

Yogurt Pot hanging frames
You with need: As many yogurt pots as you have/saved/pulled out of the bin, Cotton thread preferably gold or red, A needle, Gold and Red Spray paint (but if you’ve got a different colour scheme then go with what you want), photos of you, family, friends and pets.

1. Make sure your yogurt lids are clean and dry and set up a protected place outside to paint them, ventilation is important!

2. Spray paint the top of the lids, half in gold, half in red and leave to dry for at least an hour

3. Once completely dry, puncuture a hole in the side of the rim on each pot using your needle. Then thread a small piece of cotton through the whole and tie in a knot making sure the knot is visible only at the back (glue if need be). Take another length of cotton that will make a loop as big as you want your decoration to hang down. Slip the longer thread into the loop you have already made on the yogurt lid and tie a knot to secure.

4. Measure the front central dip in the lid, i use different circle objects to gauge the size and use it as a template, for example a bottle or a cup. Trace the same size circle around a photo of loved ones and cut out.

5. Glue the cut out photo on to the center and leave to dry. You are then free to hang it from your Christmas tree, mantel or you could even use them as personalised present tags.

The reason i like this project so much is that:

Its easy and you can make alot in an afternoon, though children will need a lot supervision and help because of using spray paint, needles and scissors.

Its pretty cheap, you just need to collect some lids which you still have time to do before Christmas. The spray paint cans cost me about £4 each and my gold one has lasted me forever so only bought a red one new, Cotton i already had but you can get a reel for pennies and you can use photos you already have rather then let them sit in a album where no ones see them

It is personal, you can have Christmas photos, silly photos or just photos of happy memories. Its a one of a kind ornament for you and your family.

Please share your own Christmas crafts and ideas in the comments, still need a few more ideas myself to fill our little tree up and i promise I won’t say seasons greetings just yet… you’ll have to wait till December

Lorna

X xxx