Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Holiday Preparation Continues

Did you craft with your grandmother when you were a child? My father's mother never learned to drive, so for a time she lived with us before moving next door, and then into a house of her own with her brother, a retired minister, who could act as her chauffeur. She wasn't as crafty as my mother, or at least not in my presence, but she did love to make Christmas tree ornaments. I found this tree topper photo on the BH&G website and loved it, mostly because it reminded me of Mommie, as we called her. One year she used white styrofoam balls, sequins, beads, and straight pins to decorate ornaments that were simply magnificent. I don't have the patience for tackling such a project, but this tree topper sure looks like a possibility to me.
All you need is a styrofoam ball and some bamboo skewers or wooden picks. I've seen pick-up sticks at the Dollar Tree and I'm betting those would work. Or maybe I'll go smaller and use toothpicks. We'll see. Dip the wooden picks into white glue and sink them into the ball. When you're satisfied with the overall shape, spray paint first in the color of your choice, then spray on adhesive and sprinkle with glitter. Make sure to use one bamboo skewer so that you have a way to wire it to the top of the tree. You know we can do this!
Now this topper has a lot of appeal because I just love that explosion of color. Quick and easy, once you gather all your ribbons. Back in her crafting days my mother would take us to the flea market where an older gentleman drove an old station wagon (and I swear it was older than me) and parked it right in his "booth" space. Inside that station wagon he had a zillion rolls of ribbon. You could see them piled to the roof in the back. I'm telling you there was barely room for him to squeeze behind the wheel and drive it to and fro. My mother would dive into that car as though there were cash money to be found. Me, I was mortified to be seen with her, cowering as far away as possible, while she spent a couple of hours digging for treasure. She shouldn't have been so generous with me considering my attitude back then, but when I began to craft she gave me dozens of rolls of that very ribbon. Now I look at this photo and wonder aloud if I can't find some of the widest, brightest rolls and create this very same look on my own tree.

I've brought the bottom branches trimmed from the base of my tree into the house and they've made it as far as the coffee table. Every year I decorate my downstairs mantle with this greenery, adding my artificial berries and holiday ornaments. Today my monkeys and mantle clock are still in place, but tonight the magic will happen.

If you should be in the neighborhood and drive by my house you'll see my newest addition...a 3' tall wooden snowman standing on the porch in front of that artifical tree. His hat is made to hold greenery, and so far it has some of those tree branches only, but it's excited to know there are going to be additions tonight. We've got some of the most fabulous bushes in our side yard that are almost yellow yearround and I plan to give them the slightest trim tonight for the sake of my snowman's hat. Then I'll give another trim to my Nandina bushes around the back patio and add a few sprigs of berries for accent. The holiday spirit may just have arrived.
One final note of interest. My tree isn't decorated and I didn't watch even a minute of Boston Legal. Instead we pulled out all the strings of lights and got those onto the tree. My husband thinks you have to stretch out each string, then plug them in and make sure they work. And then he drags up that great big ladder, thinking he'd start at the top and work his way down. Have mercy. So I sent him to work on a much-needed new window lock in the studio as I began at the bottom and worked my way up with the lights. The tree is about 8' tall and it's standing on top of a very low table, so I couldn't possibly reach the top. His only job was to get the last third of the tree finished and I've gotta say, it's less than attractive. I'll be forced to climb that ladder (did I mention my fear of heights?) and tweak those last 3 strings, and then tonight we'll start with the ornaments.
Wish me luck. We didn't even climb the stairs last night.

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