I need some Spring color! Enter: an array of tissue and crepe paper garlands, tassels, and streamers. For a list of crepe paper tutorials on how to make each and every item shown scroll on down! Instead of making the regular ho-hum mantel display I thought I would give my entryway some Spring umph. As an added bonus I set up an area to take some pictures of the kids,using the decorations as a photo backdrop.
Crepe and tissue paper is inexpensive and can be turned into garlands, tassels, streamers, puffs. Basically it is some versatile shiznit if you want some cheap and fancy looking decorations. I really wanted a mix of textures and colors. You can see a bit of the variety in this detail shot. After making them all, I hung them from some lightweight command hooks. Easiest thing to make a temporary display, plus crepe paper is so lightweight it takes nothing to hang them.
Since I basically had a love affair with tissue and crepe paper I have a ton of tutorials to offer:
One of the easiest ways to create pretty Harvest or Fall themed decorations involves nothing more than 8 ears of Indian corn, wire, and a stick. With these simple items you can create a pretty fall swag like this one:
Gather your materials. No, I wasn’t joking, it really does just require corn, wire, and a stick. I guess if you want to be technical you will need wire cutters (in this case old garden shears) and something to hang the swag with (more wire).
Take one ear of corn and overlap the pulled back husks of the second ear. Wrap wire around the corn at the base and through half the husks of the first ear. I suggest using half the husks so you can fluff the other husks out to fill in between the ears.
Obviously, I didn’t worry to much about the wire showing. I knew this would be hung high over my door and not really visible from a distance. You could easily hide the wire by using brown floral wire or tie with monofilament instead of wire.
I wired 4 ears together facing one way and 4 ears the other direction. Then I wired them to a branch (i.e. the stick) I had laying about the yard. I suggest wiring the corn together first before attaching to the branch. This allows for the corn to hang down freely and look less rigid than when wired directly to the branch.
The corn isn’t all that heavy so you could simply hand the corn attached together however I found a firm base makes it much easier to hang the whole swag on the wall Plus it allows you to arrange the corn attractively while it is on the ground. As you can see from the above picture using a rustic branch, as opposed to a dowel, blends with the harvest theme and doesn’t stand out if it shows between the ears.
There really is no step four because it is that easy.
Usually the grocery stores offer indian corn this time of year but you might also try your local farmers market. While your out, snag a few pumpkins to give an extra harvest touch.
Since Halloween is right around the corner I couldn’t help but add a gargoyle into the mix.
I wanted to thank everyone that has started following our blog in the last few weeks! Also, thanks to those people that have followed us through the last year; even though we lost all of the gloriousness that was our blog. We have really appreciated all the comments and are planning on revamping and creating some cohesion to our posting… maybe… Well I promise some cohesion in 2011, but I can’t vouch for Patrick. Or McClain. You never know what the menfolk will get into.
“This heres gonna be tha lasta the Tour, younguns.” Just thought I would put that in my WNC mountain-talk for you. I’m ready to move on to newer things. What things exactly? Ask me tomorrow. Until then here are the last few images of the Canton Christmas Tour of Homes 2010. (Insert drumroll here)
Enjoy the details, and feel free to ask any questions your heart may desire or share a link to your own holiday decorating in the comments. I would love to check out your decor.
We finally made it! We finished the tour today, Patrick just threw another log on the fire, and I’m getting ready to crack open some frothy goodness. I’m going to give you the run through the tour (we didn’t open the guest room, basement, or attic to tourees) which featured the main rooms of the house and tomorrow I’ll post detail shots of the tree, garland, etc. Unfortunately or fortunately it flurried all day to day. Sadly, it decreased the usual tour attendance, but the flurries really made it feel like Christmas. Let the tour begin:
In the immortal words of Bill Engvall “Here’s your sign.” or in our case here is our sign.
As you rapidly spring from your car and rush through the cold you might glance at the entry way. The little alpine trees had to be held down with bricks to keep from blowing away. Of course I only figured this out after I reset the damn entryway three times. I’m a slow learner at times.
Then we have split the living room into an entryway behind the love seat. On the console table I created a snowy vignette in a wardian case that Patrick gave me a few years ago.
Patrick and I had some helpers in the form of “The Granny”, Papaw (not pictured), and the neighbors’ kids. Their house was also on the tour so they went back and forth between houses. The often come by and are a real hoot. It is so nice to live in a town with fun, friendly neighbors. I’m not sure if they are posting pictures of their house but if they do it will likely be at their blog 21 Penn.
The fact that their house is so radically different than ours, makes the Tour of Homes worth participating in. I love their breezy whites, pennant garland, and covet their black bedroom. If only I had the ceiling height I would totally steal their ideas. However, what works for one house doesn’t for the next. It makes each stopn on the tour unique. Back to the helpers:
One of the features we love most is that the living room opens into the dining room through a double set of french doors (we found in the basement and rehung). I like the open floor plan, but it is a bit of a challenge to unify the public areas of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. We chose various shades of grey for the wall color and metallics for the decorations.
Personally, I would like to rip out all of the cabinetry, revamp the floor plan, and basically start fresh in the kitchen. However, we are on a modest budget, so after painting the walls (the life of the cabinetry has yet to be decided) we opted for a warmer Christmas feel after all the metallic and used springs of bittersweet and oranges to fill out the space. We did use similar greenery to tie it to the other adjoining rooms. For more sensory input we boiled a mix of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise to give the hint of fresh Christmas baking.
There is a nice sized hallway that separates the public areas from the private bath and bedrooms. We decorated the hallway just for us. One of our gothic/nerdy habits is collecting gargoyles (grotesques for the history purists). We picked the first one up in France in the form of this owl from Avignon. We haven’t looked back sense. We used them in the hallway topping our copious bookcases.
The best thing about having a child is getting to do child-like things again. I wanted color and fun in the boy’s room. Since we haven’t repainted it yet (next on the list) we have not hung pictures. It is hard to add color in a white room with white walls. The granny had a cute white Christmas tree we borrowed plus she managed to find colored Christmas lights on white wire (no small feat). Then we added a lot of figurative glass ornaments, plus the family ones. We also used McClain’s toys and some Christmas beanies for decoration.
The bathroom was so awesome that we actually put a sign up saying it was “Still under renovation. Unless you like it, then this is how we meant for it to be.” So, here’s you obligatory picture of the toilet vignette. Nothing says Christmas like a sparkly toilet topper.
The bedroom gets two photos. 1. Because I actually made the bed (We almost always pull the bed straight, but who actually uses this many pillows?):
Don’t you just love those beige-pink walls? Especially with the red bedding. Trust me one of the two is on the docket to change… 2. I used my collection of green glass to add a touch of Christmas to the bedroom dresser.
That’s all for now, but tomorrow you can see some of the closeups and a more in-depth descriptions of the Christmas tree and vignettes. Then, maybe, we can be done with Christmas until the 25th.
So you want to make fresh, evergreen garland? I don’t blame you! It’s another one of my cheap and easy Christmas decorations that people go gaga over. Moreover, nothing smells like Christmas except the scent of fresh cut pine. Let’s get down to business and learn how to create evergreen garland, also known as swags.
The process is very similar to my evergreen wreath tutorial. You might want to give it a quick run through before going through this one. Wreaths are a tiny bit easier because you are working with a stable frame and on a smaller scale. However, I’m one for jumping head first into most crafts, so feel free to ignore my advice.
Evergreens: The above pictures show my collection of branches from white pine, cypress, ivy, fraser fir, and some other random pine. I just mooched off of family and neighbors because you don’t need more than a few limbs of each. Just promise them you will cut without gapping the tree/bush. Usually people are happy to let you tidy up their plants. The piles in the first picture made around 30 ft of garland for my house. The second photo shows the greens cut into various lengths 6″ to 1′ depending on how thick/wide I wanted the garland.
24 Gauge Floral Wire*: I like a 24 gauge, just make sure it’s thick enough that you can pull it without it breaking but thin enough to wind easily. I like the green florist wire because If I’m not careful (which I’m not usually) it will blend better.
Rustic Wire 18 Gauge* or Rope: In the past I have used brown rope (big mistake), green rope, and this year green covered thick wire (in the floral section of craft stores). Make sure whatever you choose is green. The brown rope was a beotch because every single micrometer had to be covered in greenery or the brown showed through. I like the wire the best because it was strong enough to hold the garland together, thin enough to cover easily, and it held its shape better than the rope. Cut it into the lengths you want your finished garland to be.
Cheap/Old Clippers: Once you cut the wire and gummy pine trees they’re pretty much done. I always just use my old garden shears for this project.
Gloves & Old Blanket/Old Clothes: Yes, most of the pictures show my bare hands. Do as I say not as I do, because this will eat your hands alive. The old sheet is to sit on, because you are going to want to do this OUTSIDE or in a garage. You will be covered in rosin and needles when done.
Secure your two wires together.
Take a handful of greenery (all facing the same way) and stick the wire through the middle. It isn’t important that the wire be 100% covered because, let’s face it, your going to be putting layer after layer after layer of greenery on this puppy. As you overlap it will cover most gaps.
Then take the floral wire and wrap it a couple of times around the whole bundle near the ends of the greenery. Do NOT cut the wire. It needs to stay in one continuous strand to help hold the whole thing together.
Take another bundle of greenery and bundle it around the first piece and the wire, BUT make sure the ends are maybe 1-3″ further down the wire. Then take the STILL ATTACHED floral wire and wrap it a couple of times to secure the second bundle. Now repeat this about 10 billion times for however long you want your garland to be.
Basically you just going to keep going, bundle, wrap, bundle, wrap, bundle, wrap… Of course it will be the coldest day of the year when you choose to do this outside. So you might also want to bundle and wrap yourself.
Now that you are almost at the end of your garland you may realize “How the Hell am I going to finish this?” Well it is pretty simple. When you’re one bundle away from finishing the garland take the last bundle and turn it the opposite direction and secure it end to end with the last piece. Now you may tie off your floral wire and cut it.
Bend the piece going in the wrong direction back on itself and stick some random pieces of greenery in the few wires that show. Voila, your done! And probably cold and sticky, but DONE!
If you know where your garland is going then you can focus on one side or the other. For example I made a swag to go in the kitchen over the window. I knew only one side was going to show so I put all my pretty berries etc… on one side of my bundles. Beware! Staircases will be seen from both sides.
Incorporate other things in your garland: You can use ivy, vines, twigs, juniper, dried flowers, etc… Anything that is not going to wilt or rot in 3 or so weeks
You can decorate garland: While I tailor each garland for my rooms (i.e. bittersweet vines for the kitchen, ivy mix for the living room) I also decorate it after it is in place. It’s easy to take a little floral wire and stick on lights, ornaments, fruit, etc. Also, if you messed up an area or it has a gap just shove a few loose pieces in. Usually the will be held in place by the other limbs.
Remember that it is going to be MUCH heavier than fake garland: Secure accordingly. I just use doubled over floral wire on hooks and nails to secure it. If you put up a 15′ piece by yourself cuss accordingly. Also try draping it over your shoulders, poke yourself in the neck, and cuss more.
To prolong life mist with water: I mist mine ever morning when I water the tree. Okay, I mist mine every few days when I hear the cats drinking the water out of the Christmas tree and it reminds me.
We all think of garland over the mantel, but I use mine over windows and around light fixtures (be careful about potential fire hazards). Where will you use your garland?
Feel like it is too much to make your own garland? Read my tutorial on how to Make Artificial Garland Look Real for tips to cheat the DIY process and come out with beautiful Evergreen Christmas Garland.