Are you all ready for Christmas?! It seems like no matter how early I start preparing for Christmas (and believe, me, I've been at it for months now) I just keep adding more to my list of things to make/ do. Oh how I love Christmas time! I've tried to not completely over-schedule myself, wanting to keep in mind the reason behind the Christmas celebration- which for me is about remembering Christ and also filling my heart with compassion and love and then acting on it. I am touched by all the kindness I have witnessed or heard about this season. That warm fuzzy feeling is the reason I decided to try an experiment over this past year: a series called Making the World Sweeter. My hope was that (as Ebenezer Scrooge said in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol), "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." My original goal was to incorporate into my giving a monthly crafty project for charity other worthy project- and invite all of my readers to participate. I did participate in some sort of giving each month and I was able to join and blog about eight projects- many of you also participated, which was awesome! I have to say, I have felt good this year! Although I wasn't able to do a project every month, I feel like I stayed with my goal of being mindful of others and mindful of my giving. I think an added bonus that I wasn't expecting was an increased feeling of contentedness and gratitude for what I have.
Many of the projects in this "series" (which you can see if you click on the "Making the World Sweeter" link above) cost very little if anything, but had the ability to affect someone's life profoundly. Quite a few of the projects are ongoing, so if you are interested, take a look at some of the projects and you can still participate! (Some of the projects include knitting or crocheting hats for newborn babies, making sanitary pads to help girls stay in school, sock monkeys for kids displaced by fires, and ideas for "drive-by" giving (for the homeless) to name a few.)
Anyway, I hope it has been a good year for all of you, and that you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season! I wish I could wish each of you a Merry Christmas and hand you a plate of cookies, but just know that I am sending goodwill and happy thoughts your way- yes you!
P.S: Because I like to be helpful, and I know that some of you might still need to come up with a few gifts for various people in your lives, here are a couple of ideas that might be of use: :-D
I made these crocheted stars found at Jellywares and I think they make sweet ornaments (thin yarn and small hook) or drink coasters (thicker yarn and medium hook).
Cinnamon ornaments/ gift tags are a lovely gift or package topper.
These pop top cans could be filled with Christmas goodies for a fun neighbor gift.
You might find some inspiration in our "Tutorials" section, fun things like:
Infant Scratch Mitts for the wee ones...
...Easy Shower Caps (a colorful and unique addition to a spa- themed gift pack)...
...Or these Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles- trust me, they are divine!
Wishing all of you the Merriest of Christmases! See you next year!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
|Don't miss the tutorial to make one of these lovely trees at the bottom of this post!|
This Christmas season has gotten off to a roaring start! Last Friday we made it to two of the three parties we had scheduled (!) - I guess everyone is trying to get their parties over and done early. I was put in charge of decorations for our church Christmas party that we had that evening. Luckily I didn't have to do it alone- my friend Becca and I decided we make a great creative team despite a budget that did not support our
The seating arrangements were tough. Our church has a few long rectangular tables, but mostly round tables, and not enough to seat everyone, so we ended up borrowing rectangular tables. We arranged two long rows of the rectangular tables, banquet style, and filled the rest of the gym with round tables. I think almost every seat ended up being filled. It was cozy- that's for sure!
Becca folded probably dozens of silver and gold stars too, which we taped to the accordion doors behind one of the buffet lines.
On the wall behind the buffet tables on the other side of the room, we hung strands of white Christmas lights, 6 wreaths and a few large silver doilies. Down the long walls on either side were hung small white doilies (as snowflakes), and we hung a few wreaths on the doors.
The tables were covered in red, white, and green tablecloths, and some of them had a contrasting color of tissue paper or napkin in the center. As centerpieces for the round tables, we used our lovely origami trees and mason jars with assortments of pine cones, Epsom salt, fake red berries, electric tea lights, and jute/ tulle tied around them.
On the banquet tables we put "bouquets" of fresh greenery tied with ribbon, laid end to end and with pine cones and electric tea lights here and there. We also used a few of the origami trees and some book trees, and long cinnamon sticks tied with ribbon. Each table was a little different.
I am lucky enough to have fresh fir tree branches at my disposal- for free! My family lives on a Christmas tree farm and my mom sent me loads of heavenly- smelling greenery by way of Marissa who drove out for Thanksgiving. (Thanks Mom and Marissa)!
As a decoration for the food table, we used a large vase and arranged silver and gold spray painted branches inside, with a few glass ball ornaments hanging.
The dessert tables had large tree boughs around the backs, and tomato cage trees. We put two more tomato cage trees along one of the side walls. Thank you Pinterest for that idea!
|Three of our wreaths; the one on the left is a coffee filter wreath and the one on the right is a book page wreath.|
I think it all turned out beautifully and we had so much fun! (PS- Thank you Becca for taking most of the above photos!) Now, on to the origami tree tutorial. My disclaimer: I am not an origami pro, and I really don't know all the technical names for folds. My folding isn't perfect, and after a while, I'm not so much of a perfectionist anymore! My only recommendation is to make a sharp crease when folding- use the back of your nail, and try to line up corners evenly as best you can; other than that- it is what it is! These are not difficult folds once you get the hang of them, but it can be time consuming if you want to make multiple trees, since you will probably need to fold 4 separate papers for each tree.
These are not difficult folds once you get the hang of them, but it can be time consuming if you want to make multiple trees, since you will probably need to fold 4 separate papers for each tree.
You can make this tree on a really large scale, or a very small scale, and it looks great either way. If you want to make 10" trees (approximate measurement) like I did for the Christmas party centerpieces, you will need square papers of the following sizes: 12", 10.5", 9", 7.5". Or, if you want to customize your tree size for your own needs, a good rule of thumb is that each paper size should decrease by about 1/8.
Let's start with the "Stacking Tree Bases" for lack of a better term. You will make three of these in total, in descending size.
1. Start with your square paper. You actually want to turn it so the pattern is facing down before step 2.
2. Fold the paper in half diagonally (bottom to top) to make a triangle- pattern facing out.
3. Open up the paper.
4. Fold in half diagonally again, the other way (right to left), so that the folds look like an X shape.
5. Orient the paper so the triangle point is facing downward. Put your finger next to the crease to hold the left side in place, and with your other hand, separate the layers of the right side.
6. Pull the right corner down on top of the bottom corner.
7. Give the folds a nice sharp crease. You should have a square on top of the triangle now.
8. Fold the left side of the square up diagonally on top of itself.
9. Repeat the same fold from step 5- separate the layers of the left corner a bit. Use your other hand to stabilize the bottom corner while you do this.
10. Fold the left corner of the original triangle down to the bottom point.
11. Crease the folds sharply.
12. Fold the triangle flap from step 8 back over to the left.
13. Fold diagonally so the the bottom corner of the square matches up with the top corner. Fold the top layer of right side of the square over diagonally to the left corner. Fold so the bottom corner matches up with the top corner again. Repeat until all the squares are folded diagonally (bottom to top).
14. You should have a triangular shape that looks like this.
15. Take the top corner that you just folded and pinch it together, then start pulling it down towards the left corner.
16. Line up the corners and pinch in place. Grab the right corner and fold it over so that it matches up with the left corner, and the top corner is folded down and sandwiched inside. Press together, making sure to crease the folds on the paper sandwiched inside. This picture shows what it looks like when you open it back up a bit.
17. Repeat steps 15 and 16 on the next 3 sides.
18. After you have done this for each of the 4 sides, it should look like this. You are now done with the base of the tree- you need to make 2 more just like this with the smaller pieces of paper.
On to the "Tree Topper"!
Use the smallest paper for the topper.
1. Start with the same square you made for the Stacking Tree Bases (steps 1-12).
2. Grab the top layer from the right corner, separating the two layers, and hold it straight up at a 90* angle.
3. While stabilizing the bottom corners, push the center fold straight down so it lines up with the folds below.
4. Crease the folds sharply.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 on each of the 4 sides. so you end up with a kite shape like this.
6. Fold the top layer of the right side over to the left, so the kite shape is closed like this. You should apply glue on the patterned area of the paper that is shown in step 5, and then do this fold.
Put it all together!
2. Pull the pieces slightly apart and apply glue, then squish it all together so all 4 corners are touching in the middle.
3. For the next two stacking base pieces, you want to put the glue far away from the corners that meet in the middle, so that it holds its shape, but still has room to fit over the top of the other pieces.
4. Here's what it looks like from the top.
5. Place a dot of glue (I used hot glue) on the top point.
6. Quickly stack the next biggest piece on top, making sure the glue holds it in place. Repeat for the next two layers.
|Tree with three layers- you really could be done here if you wanted.|
Here's the finished tree!
As always, if you have questions (or if you liked the tutorial), leave a comment below or email me at rochelle@homesweethomebodies and I will do my best to answer your question. Happy folding!
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