Crafty Christmas

Posted: December 13, 2013

Rural Pen

Rosanne loved making crafts for Christmas.

One year, in the early 1970s, she — she being my stepmom — did a lot with yarn. She covered Styrofoam balls in various colors, then tacked on sequins.

She also covered a clothes hanger with yarn, tediously, loop after loop, until you could no longer see the wire. Then she cut felt to glue into snowflakes, snowmen, wreathes and gifts, and hung them from the hanger, tacking the decoration to the wall over the couch.

I am not the artsy-craftsy type, but even I have made simple tree decorations with my kids. Of course, pine cones are so versatile. We sprayed them with bright paints, then sprinkled them with glitter. We’ve also cut pictures from old Christmas cards into a circle, glued the backs to each other, then used a hole-punch in the top to string ribbon.

What you can do with popsicle sticks is endless. You can paint little faces on them and glue on clothing for Santa, a nutcracker or a snowman. You can cut them in graduated lengths, glue them across one stick, paint it green and decorate to make a Christmas tree. It’s easy to glue two triangles together into a star of David or to fashion a manger. They can also be made into a frame for Christmas cards or hand-drawn art.

Who doesn’t have child-made ornaments on their tree? I do, plus I saved some of my kids’ Christmas art. Every year that I’m in the mood, I double-back tape them to the kitchen cabinets. Maybe this year, I’ll make them a bit classier by framing.

Then, there’s the old construction-paper wreath trick, where you make slits across green paper to within an inch of the edge, then roll a circle with the edges together, then roll into another circle with the ends together. Attach a red bow and, ta-da!

From printer paper, my daughter and grandson make various-sized snowflakes for the French door leading out to the back deck. So simple and pretty.

These days, you can get sophisticated with homemade decorations. Craft stores sell clear glass balls, onto which you can paint or glue, or fill with a myriad of materials. This stuff can include ribbons, glitter, cotton balls, photographs and tiny pine cones.

I like to keep my decorations natural. Living in the country, I have access to lots of materials. Cedar, for one, to make wreathes. I wire them onto a metal ring, then poke in sprigs of dried berries and dusty miller. Stick in a few small balls, wire on a bow and it’s done.

This year, the thought of cutting and decorating a tree does not appeal to me. I told the Husband I was going to make a “wall tree,” which I thought was a brilliant idea. He just raised his eyebrows and went back to his newspaper, but I can envision tacking this thing to the wall and setting gifts at its feet.

I still don’t know how I’m going to make it. I’d like to be able to hang our ornaments on it, so I thought maybe green burlap? Any ideas?

A Google image search yielded some strange alternative tree creations. One is green wine bottles glued into a tree shape. Another is made of wrapping paper on rolls, cut in graduated lengths and tacked onto the wall. The one I liked best was the wall-sized poster of a Christmas tree.

I hope to have this all figured out by Christmas Eve.

In the meantime, I’m going to make some of those felt ornaments. Because I still have Rosanne’s yarn-covered hanger.

Luanne Austin lives in Mount Sidney. Contact her at, on Facebook or care of the DN-R.

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