Month: November 2013

Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Are you in full-on Christmas mode yet? I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but well, as a Canadian my Thanksgiving came in October so I feel totally free to embrace Christmas in earnest.

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For some reason I haven’t been crafting much in the last couple of weeks. We’ve done a lot of other projects — painting the front door (pictures soon), installing a new furnace, insulating the house and sealing window frames, and spending time with family. Somehow crafting and decorating have gotten lost in the mix, which is why this project is awesome — it literally takes 15 minutes to do and is almost free.

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I just cut up a brown paper shopping bag (this one is from the GAP) into little two-tailed flags. I glued on some silver chipboard letters I got from the dollar bin at Target.

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Then I taped the flags to some red and white baker’s twine (also from the dollar bin at Target).

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And I used washi tape to hang up the banner in the foyer. (Boy I wish that thermostat wasn’t there.)

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Easy, peasy! Total budget: less than $2 (since I’ll be able to reuse the extra chipboard letters and baker’s twine).

Are you getting your holiday decorating on? What have you been crafting lately?

Sharing at TheBlissfulBee!

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

When I told a friend today that we had already put up our Christmas tree, she did a double-take. What, already? The truth is, I put up the tree so that I could take pictures of this holiday craft in action. But really, if you’re going to go to the trouble of putting up a Christmas tree, you might as well enjoy it, right?

I have never owned a Christmas tree skirt. Last year, I just draped a throw blanket around the base of my artificial tree, but this year I decided to plan ahead and make one.

diy tree skirt

I’ve never found a tree skirt that I like that is affordable — the ones at Walmart are too glitzy, and the ones I like at West Elm and C&B are upwards of $50 — so I decided to make my own. This was a surprisingly easy project, if you have a little experience with sewing. If you’re a beginner, you might want to leave off the pom pom trim, as that was the hardest thing to sew.

tree skirt pompoms

This tree skirt has ribbon ties that hold it together and pom pom trim. But you can of course customize it however you want. You might use a different kind of trim, or use Velcro instead of ribbon. I basically followed Design*Sponge’s excellent tutorial for making a basic tree skirt, but added the trim and the fleece backing.

Ok, let’s get started!

Materials:

Square of fabric (48″ to 60″ dia, depending on your tree)
Square of fleece fabric for backing
pom pom trim (enough for the circumference of the circle, pi x dia)
grosgrain ribbon in color of your choice (4 pieces of about 10″ each)
sewing machine & thread
pins
scissors
fabric marker or chalk (or just a pen)

First, I took a square of fabric big enough to cover my tree base, and folded it into quarters. I already had this plaid fabric, so it was free! I usually like more color but for Christmas I like traditional decorations, so this was perfect.

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Most tree skirts I saw in retail stores were between 46″ to 60″ wide. My tree is a 6.5′ artificial tree, which isn’t huge, so I made the diameter of my tree skirt about 48″. I made a makeshift compass using a thread, a pin, and a pen. I tied the thread to the pin and the other end to the pen. My thread was about a foot long. I stuck the pin into the folded corner like so:

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And traced a quarter circle on my fabric. See the faint green line?

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Then, I carefully cut through all 4 layers of fabric using sewing scissors. I unfolded the circle of fabric, and used the scissors to even out any jaggedy areas. Then, I used the circle to trace another circle onto my fleece backing (which was just an old blanket I had lying around) and cut it out.

Now we have to cut a hole in the middle of the circle for the tree trunk. I folded the circle into quarters again and used a bowl to trace a quarter circle on the fabric. Then I cut out the circle.

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I unfolded the circle half way (so it is folded in half), and cut along one of the straight folds.

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So now you have a two-sided circle of fabric with a hole in the middle and a straight cut from the center hole to the outside.

Make sure once again that the wrong sides of the fabric are together. If you’re using pom pom trim, fold back the top layer of fabric and pin the trim to the bottom layer, with the pom poms on the inside. Replace the top layer of fabric and pin it in place. So now, you have two layers of fabric with the pom pom trim sandwiched between.

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On the straight open edge, sandwich your ribbons with the long ends inside the fabric (I used 4 sections of approx 10″ long grosgrain ribbon). Pin them in place. When it is sewn it will look like this (short ends out, long ends in).

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Now, you just need to sew around the entire perimeter of the circle, as well as up and down the straight edges and the hole inside. Leave an approx 5″ hole through which you can turn the whole thing inside-out. Sorry, no pics of this step, I was concentrating on sewing. As you sew the edges, make sure you catch the edge of the trim which is sandwiched between the fabric layers. This is the most challenging part.

Then, turn the whole tree skirt inside out through the hole. You can sew the hole closed by hand, but I just folded the raw edges in and top-stitched it on my sewing machine (because I’m lazy like that).

Christmas Tree Skirt

 

If you were able to catch the edge of the trim as you sewed around the circle, the pom pom trim should now face out and be securely attached! It’s like magic.

I wish I had better progress pics, but it was hard enough just doing the sewing with a toddler constantly underfoot, much less take photos. If you’re having trouble understanding my instructions, the Design*Sponge tutorial is really helpful.

My tree isn’t decorated yet! That will be a fun family activity in the next few days. I’m excited to decorate for the holidays and to make a few more crafts for this season! As a young family we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but I’m hoping to make holiday crafting one of them!

DIY Xmas Tree Skirt

Oh and my budget breakdown was this:

plaid fabric = already owned but it orig cost $1/yard at a discount fabric store, so about $1.50
fleece fabric = reused an old throw blanket I already owned, so $0
pom pom trim = used a coupon, about $6
ribbon = $1

So in all this tree skirt cost me about $8.50 to make! It would have cost almost nothing if I hadn’t bought the pom pom trim, but I like it! It looks like little snowballs!

Are you planning to DIY a tree skirt? How about any other decorations for the holidays? You might like these other holiday crafts!

Holiday Crafts

Festive Holiday Wreath

Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sharing at TheBlissfulBee, TheIdeaRoom, TatertotsandJello and SavvySouthernStyle!

A Weekend Mountain Getaway

Last weekend Chris and I took a much needed weekend away — away from house stuff, Internet, and yes, even our baby (she had an awesome time with her grandparents). It was so nice not to have to do dishes, do housework, or change diapers, and so refreshing to sleep in for a weekend! Not to mention having so much time to talk about anything and everything that was on our minds =), something we haven’t had enough off these days.

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We went to Idyllwild, which is a town nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains. It is a really beautiful area with lots of nature walks. I loved the cooler fall weather up there (I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and fall is my favorite season) as well as the shows of bright yellows and golds as the leaves changed colors.

(I always want to spell it “Idlewild” instead of “Idyllwild”…Idlewild was a location in one of the Anne of Green Gables books, I think.)

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We stayed at the Peaceful Mountain Inn, in one of these cute A-frame cabins. If you ever go, try to get one of the rooms off the back with a view. We didn’t have a view but it was a quick walk over to this amazing vista:

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So pretty, right? The inn was REALLY peaceful for the first night because we were the only people there, but the second night, Peaceful Mountain Inn wasn’t quite as peaceful. The people in the unit adjoining ours starting playing music and having a little get-together with their friends, though thankfully they stopped at a decent hour.

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I had to take some pictures of the main lodge because it is the cutest.

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They had some rustic mountain decor going on.

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We spent a lot of time sitting around, reading magazines, talking, just hanging out, which was just what the doctor ordered! Slept in…which was SO nice for me as I have chronic insomnia.

As we were driving through the woods there were all these adorable little cabins and cottages. This one caught my eye and we paused for a quick photo op.

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Isn’t it just so cozy? I want to go to there. I love how this cabin is rustic and cute but doesn’t have all the gingerbread (fake Alpine) trim.

This is now my go-to happy place at night when I’m drifting off to sleep (or at least, trying to drift off). It’s fun imagining what the interior is like and all the cozy, comforting, non-stressful activities going on within, like sitting in front of the fireplace while knitting (if I knew how to knit). Or sipping hot cider. Or reading a good book. Everyone needs a happy place to go to when you’re falling asleep, right? Or am I just weird?

Hope you all had a great Halloween! I’ll be back next week with some Christmas crafts (What, it’s not too early! It’s my favorite holiday!) so I’ll see you all then!

Camilla

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