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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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:
And traced a quarter circle on my fabric. See the faint green line?
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.
I unfolded the circle half way (so it is folded in half), and cut along one of the straight folds.
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.
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).
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).
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!
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!
Festive Holiday Wreath
Simple Peace and Joy Banner
Happy Holidays everyone!
Sharing at TheBlissfulBee, TheIdeaRoom, TatertotsandJello and SavvySouthernStyle!
When we bought our house, one of the selling features was a loft space above the family room that was advertised as a “fifth bedroom”. In reality, it was not a usable space. It smelled of urine from an animal that had been living in the eaves under the roof, it had hideous stained carpet, and it had two open “holes” hemmed in by pony walls that looked down into the family room. I know, I just totally grossed you out, but that’s reality when you buy a fixer, folks!
We fixed the animal problems and now it’s a matter of ripping out old drywall, re-drywalling, framing in new closets, and then putting in flooring, paint, all those things.
While trolling Pinterest, I’ve been taking note of inspiration photos of attic bedrooms. Our loft is right under the roof (although it was an addition on TOP of the original roof) so it is technically an attic space, with dormer windows and sloped ceilings. Here are a few of the ones I’m drawn to.
Attics tend to be dark and lack windows because they were never meant to be bedrooms, but I love the skylights in this one above that flood the room with light. I also notice that many attics are painted white, keeping the space lighter and airier.
This room is so rustic, sweet and whimsical. I can just imagine a little girl climbing out the window, down a tree, and on to magical adventures. (Though that would be totally unsafe, says the mom in me.) I love the different shades of wood tones that bring so much texture and warmth into the room.
via Prairie Perch
A great use of space in a dormer. How fun would this be for two little girls?
I think an all-white space is a little too stark for me. I love color and warm natural wood. But there’s no denying white makes the space seem brighter.
Again, a little monochromatic for me. I like a little more warm wood and more colors. But I love the oil-rubbed bronze metal and I like the board and batten on the walls. An easy way to get a more cottage look without having to go all-out with planking the walls.
And I can’t forget the awesome attic renovation by The Natos.
From The Nato’s
An awesome real-life attic renovation on a budget. I love the secret little mini rooms hidden in the dormers.
via Country Living
I actually love the idea of putting a chandelier in the attic. Why not?
So after looking at all of my favorite attic pictures, a few elements seem to be consistent. White walls. Some kind of cottage wall treatment (either battens or planked walls). Warm wood floors. Layered wood tones. Oil-rubbed bronze. Small pops of color.
I’m not gonna lie. Flying with a toddler isn’t fun. Especially when you haven’t bought a seat for her (Baby Brownie is 1.5 years old) and your husband isn’t with you. BUT(!) I am grateful that I thought ahead and prepared lots of activities for my daughter to go through to keep her entertained and out of trouble. If you’re planning a trip with an active toddler, here’s what I found worked best with my little girl.
Baby Brownie’s at the age where stickers are fascinating. I brought books full of stickers of all sorts. She loved peeling them off the paper, sticking them on herself and on me, as well as on everything else she could reach. We played a game where I would say a body part and she’d try to put a sticker on it.
2. Magnetic Drawing Board
Baby Brownie loved it when I pulled out a magnetic drawing board for her to play with (the one I have is not in color, and it’s by Lakeshore, but you get the picture). She quickly grasped how to draw with the stylus and pull the tab to erase her scribbles. When she was bored of scribbling with it, I drew shapes, animals, and flowers for her, which kept her occupied for a while. My magnetic board was lightweight, so perfect for the plane.
3. Felt Board
The DIY felt board I made before we left was a big hit! My girl loved the face side best — putting eyes, nose, and mouth on the face. She made some pretty interesting Picasso-esque faces =). When she was done playing, she had a blast putting every piece, one by one, back into the plastic zipper bag.
4. Finger Puppets
The inexpensive finger puppets from IKEA are perfect for the plane — they’re small, lightweight, interesting, and cuddly. We sang “Old Macdonald” with them, and Baby Brownie practiced putting them on her fingers. They were also a fun item for her to take out of and put in a plastic bag while we practiced counting. When it was time to nap, I put Baby Brownie in the Ergo and rocked her while she clutched one of the little animals.
A few light, thin, paper books occupied my toddler for a little while. Leave the board books at home; they’re too heavy!
6. Small Toys
We found a mini Mr. Potato Head(R) at Dollarama in Canada (although it was $3), and it was surprisingly fun for Baby Brownie. She loved concentrating on sticking the arms and legs into the right holes. If you have a little toy like this that your toddler hasn’t played with yet, save it to give to her on the plane so that it will be fresh and interesting.
7. Iphone Apps
Yes, I resorted to the Iphone. Even though all the other toys occupied her for much of the ride, sometimes I just needed a break from the constant interaction and teary toddler meltdowns. Hello, electronic babysitter.
The best app I found for my 1.5 year old was this one called “My First Songs” by Ringzero. It has a bunch of catchy songs like “Old Macdonald”, “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”, “B-I-N-G-O” with amazing 3D animations. The animations are really cute and the song arrangements are catchy. There’s even a little game where you tap to the rhythm of the music, so it would be great for older kids too. It’s $2.99, which is well worth it, but you can download the “lite” version for free. I also had a few free Fisher-Price apps on there but “My First Songs” definitely kept her entertained the longest.
8. Ice Cubes
My husband suggested that I add this as an update because it really did entertain my daughter for at least half an hour. We asked the flight attendant for a cup of ice cubes and my daughter had fun taking the ice cubes out of one cup and putting them into another. It’s the simple things…
Have you traveled with your toddler? What worked best to keep him/her occupied?
Sorry for being MIA for the past couple of weeks. I flew to Toronto with my toddler and the hubster joined us a week later. It’s been two weeks of family, friends, and eating. It was fun, and tiring, and I’m still working on cleaning up the two suitcases that basically exploded in my house (haha). I’ll have a post up soon on how it was traveling with our 1.5 year old (it wasn’t easy, but then again, nothing is easy with a toddler) and a few souvenirs I picked up on the trip. But first I have to dig the camera out wherever it is. So bear with me, ok? I appreciate your patience =).
This week we were working on a bunch of projects but didn’t get a chance to finish anything, so I’ll post finished pics next week. I was also struggling with fatigue from 3 nights of insomnia (gah!). But I’ll share a few updates on our progress this week.
Our DIY dining table is almost done! It’s been basically constructed and now needs to be finished off with stain and poly, and then assembled in the dining room.
This little girl helped put the table together.
Yesterday we put on a couple coats of stain (Minwax Special Walnut, my favorite) and we’re going to put on a couple coats of polyurethane today.
I often feel like we never find anything good at Goodwill anymore, but then something like this happens! My latest find — four mid-century-esque dining chairs. Solid oak, cushion stuffing in really good condition. Oh and did I mention the table came with (I’m saving it for the “craft room” in the loft when we get around to it). All for 40 bones?! I have a feeling these chairs are more 80’s than truly mid-century but I think they’ll be great once I recover the seats and refinish the wood (hopefully in a less honey finish, if I can sand off all of the current finish).
I switched in some new “art” in the small 5×7 frames on the left of this gallery wall in the breakfast nook. They are actually cards from Trader Joe’s for 99 cents each!
(Please ignore the disintegrating trim on the right there. It will all be fixed. Someday. Also, paint on the walls. It will happen, I promise.)
Trader Joe’s has the cutest cards, and they are printed on really nice textured matte cardstock that looks just like watercolor paper. I love that they have a lot of non-subject specific cards so they don’t look strange framed. Go get some! For a buck you can get really cute art at Trader Joe’s to switch things up around the house!
Elsewhere on the Internet, a few more of my articles are up at Wisebread.com:
Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (While Saving Money) – buying organic is one way, but there are several strategies you can use to reduce your pesticide exposure in food.
5 Ways to Say “No” to Friends and Family – We all could use some more balance in our lives…saying “no” once in a while is a good start.
How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases Every Day – My not-so-secret method for saving every time you buy something online.
Have a great weekend everyone!