Tuesday, December 20, 2011

handmade holiday | a handmade tree

handmade christmas tree 2011
One of my favorite things on this earth is Christmas trees - I've loved them since I was a wee tot, who pointed and exclaimed "gar! gar!" at the sight of an evergreen covered with twinkly lights. ("Gar" was my word for pretty. Who knows?) The day that we brought our perfectly-selected tree home from the lot and my dad set it up in the family room (and proceeded to take FOREVER to get the tree just right - straight in the stand, best side facing forward, lights tested and spaced equally apart, etc) was my favorite day of the year (besides Christmas Day itself)!
handmade christmas tree 2011
As a child, I wanted our tree to look the same every year. I was convinced our family Christmas tree was the most beautiful Christmas tree in the history of Christmas. It was a real tree with colored lights (with the big C7 bulbs, none of those wussy mini lights for us!) and a red and white star on top that lit up. And ornaments - lots of ornaments - we had quite a collection. During our annual beach trip each summer, we were allowed to pick out an ornament for the tree, so we had many glittery shells and starfish, along with a menagerie of land animals.

Many of these precious family ornaments are now in my personal collection and have adorned Larry's and my tree the past few years. And I love them. But I was getting a bit bored with our tree looking the same every year. I even switched things up last year and used colored lights, but it seems like just yesterday (where did this year go?) that I was decorating that tree (and undecorating it, and pulling pine needles out of the rug - ugh!). It was time for a change!
christmas trees 2008-2011
So this year I decided to leave all the family ornaments in the box and challenge myself to decorate our tree with only handmade decorations. (This went along nicely with my pledge to only buy handmade gifts this year, too!)
handmade christmas tree 2011
handmade christmas tree 2011
And I love the result! It's my favorite tree yet - colorful and cheerful and homemade. I made the ornaments, the garland, and the tree topper all with my own two hands. (I had hoped to DIY a tree skirt, but ran out of time and ended up using our old one from West Elm. Our stockings are also from West Elm.) This tree feels so much more special and unique than decorating with made-in-China ornaments from a big box store. This isn't to say that I'll never again use all the family ornaments I've collected over the past 30 years, but I think it's fun to rotate through the collection and use different ones each year instead of feeling the need to put every single ornament on the tree.
handmade christmas tree 2011
These next few days before Christmas, I'll be sharing a series of Handmade Holiday posts including the DIY ornaments I made for this year's tree. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory, so I won't write full-blown tutorials, but I will include materials lists and tips for creating them yourself. (However, if there are any questions about how to make the ornaments, please ask, and I will answer in the comments.)
handmade christmas tree 2011
Happy Handmade Holidays!


Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

I have to say that of all the trees I've seen in the blogosphere this year, yours is my favorite. Love, love, love the handmade ornaments. It's perfect!

Pickles and Dimes said...

LOVE your tree (and the lights on the antlers!).

Can't wait for your tutorials. I sense that I will be pinning a bunch of things from you.

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Ahhh, thank you ladies so much!

Sarah said...

That garland is the sweetest, and your home looks so warm & cozy. Happy, happy holidays :)

Karin said...

Beautiful, Rachel! I love the idea of an all handmade Christmas tree. I don't do my own tree, but I help my mom every year with theirs and I love placing all of the old and new ornaments on the tree. It makes me wonder what "my" Christmas tree will look like one day. :)

Jennifer said...

WOW! Love your ornaments!! I had plans to make Linocut-stamped ones this year but...well... apparently I'm not well-organized and time-efficient because OMFG IT'S THREE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS ALREADY!!!


PS- LOVE your tree, especially the theme this year. :)