One of the most asked questions about my Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile was how I was planning on storing it. Some people were curious how much space it would take to store, others wanted to know how I would do it without it getting tangled. So, here is a photograph of everything that comprised the mobile excepting the ornaments themselves. The ornaments went back into their packaging (in this case tubes about the size of rolls of wrapping paper which will be easy to store with the paper). Otherwise I took the mobile one set of string lengths at a time starting with the outer rings and working my way in. So, I took off all the longest strings, tucked away the ornaments, took off the hooks, looped all the strands and tucked them into an envelope together. I used orphaned envelopes I had left over from various greeting and Christmas cards, so they are all reused. I have separate envelopes holding each set of string, numbered from longest to shortest, on bag holding all the ornament hooks, I left the hooks on the grid rack itself on, so it will be a snap to reassemble the next year we use it as the spacing is already in place. It’s flat, and just about as big around as my wreath so they’ll be stored together.
· comments  · 01-31-2011 · categories:christmas · craft ·
I used Duchess Potatoes as an inspiration for something else this year, go see my Duchess Potato Christmas Trees over at The Kitchn. p.s. I discovered that if you keep baking them they turn a lovelier shade of golden brown. I pulled them out of my oven a bit too early fearing they would burn.
This past Thanksgiving I piped Duchess Potatoes into the shape of bowls to hold a bit of gravy.
· comments  · 12-23-2010 · categories:christmas · food ·
· comments  · 12-23-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·
Here is how I made my Christmas tree ornament mobile, it was easier than it looks, promise.
- a 17″ steamer rack from a restaurant supply store
- about 5 feet of lightweight jack chain
- a small carabiner
- 100 basic ornament hooks
- one roll, 500 feet, monofilament jewelry string (not the stretchy sort)
- 200 jewelry crimp beads or tubes
- jewelry crimping tool
- 100 lanyard hooks
- 100 ornaments
Note: In the photo above I show earring wire instead of ornament hooks. I changed that later as I found ornament hooks made it far easier to move ornaments around after they’d been hung. Also, my supplies are based on a 4 foot tall mobile using almost 100 ornaments, you’ll need to adjust amounts if you make one larger or smaller.
Creating the Mobile Frame
Creating the frame for my ornament tree mobile turned out to be fairly simple. I used a lot of hooks to allow for easy adjustment and additions as the mobile was being assembled. I gathered materials from a restaurant supply store, a hardware store and the jewelry section of a craft store.
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· comments  · 12-21-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·
This year we decided to do something a little different with our tree and I created this Christmas tree mobile consisting of ornaments suspended on clear threads.
When I was shopping for ornaments to use found a lot on sale and went a little crazy. I decided it would be worth it to see how three different options would look. I did a variety of silver ornaments that came as a boxed set, green ornaments with three different textures and three sizes of clear glass ornaments that look a bit like bubbles.
Here is the mobile in context of our dining room (please forgive the mid-present wrapping clutter). We have room to put presents below it, and are still able to peek out the windows to see if the neighbor’s cat is visiting our front porch.
The view from below.
The ornaments are hung on regular ornament hooks attached to jewelry monofilament secured with crimp beads.
I’ll put up details of how the mobile was created tomorrow. Instructions on how I made it are right over here.
· comments  · 12-20-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·
· comments  · 12-20-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·
We were sent a few pairs of these Holiday Specs and I got a kick out of them. They are paper like old fashioned 3-D glasses but these create a shaped aura of light around concentrated light sources (street lamps, Christmas tree lights). I put them on and looked out a window and there was a giant reindeer face floating around the light in a lamp down the street. They are cheesy looking, yes, but I bet they would distract kids for a while. I think they would be good in a stocking or maybe tucked into a card.
They come in packs of seven shapes and individually. I found the snowflake, Santa’s face, snowman, Christmas lights, and reindeer.
· comments  · 12-14-2010 · categories:christmas ·
I want to thank Real Simple for including me in this bunch of 14 Creative Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas. I made this easy Warm and Fuzzy Felt Mug Wraps for a little holiday cheer, instructions are over here and below are a few extra photos from the making of. Check out all the ideas, they are fantastic.
· comments  · 12-13-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·
· comments  · 12-7-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·
I came across solar powered LED Christmas lights the other day and decided to make a lit wreath. I’m excited because the sensors in the solar panel turn the lights on when it gets dark outside and turn them off during the day, which means I won’t have to try to remember to turn the lights out every night. (The solar lights work the same as the automatic on/off LED lights used as path markers which I have previously turned into homemade sun jars.) I tucked the solar panel in the middle of the wreath and used the ornaments to disguise it, making it perfect for hanging on a door as there are no wires coming out of the wreath.
This project turned out to be about the same price as a regular pre-lit wreath, but less than most pre-lit solar wreaths I’ve found. The strand of 24 lights was $15 and the artificial wreath and ornaments (on sale) came to $12. I used a cluster of ornaments but a wreath ribbon would work just as well. I used long green twist ties, found in a gardening section, to attach everything. Though, I ended up trimming down the twist ties so a handful of regular length ones nabbed from a grocery store would work just as well.
First I fluffed out the branches of the wreath and found the barest spot. If you have one too make this the bottom of the wreath where we’ll be attaching the solar panel and the decorations.
In order to avoid having a wire coming out of the wreath I tucked the solar panel right into the wreath itself. The solar panel came with a removable spike, meant to anchor it into the ground, which we won’t need. In order to attach the solar panel to the wreath I created loops using duct tape. They aren’t pretty but they won’t be seen. Then I wired it so that it sits in the bottom of the inside of the wreath, mostly hidden behind branches.
I attached the lights by running the cord around the wreath from behind, making sure each bulb was facing out towards the front, and securing with a bit of twist tie. For a 22″ wreath the strand of lights went around twice so I attached the lights first to the smaller and then to the larger hoop of the wreath frame.
Next I made clusters of ornaments by simply threading them onto the twist ties. (I’ve just typed “twist ties” too many times and it’s turned into one of those meaningless phrases.) I used the same twist ties to arrange them at the bottom of the wreath to disguise the solar panel. String or regular wire would work just as well here.
Here it is on our (terribly boring and beige) front door. The solar panel is mostly hidden but angled upwards and still able to catch sunlight. I’ll get a picture of it lit at night as soon as I can.
· comments  · 12-3-2010 · categories:christmas · craft ·
· comments  · 11-30-2010 · categories:christmas · links ·
Gifted Magazine is an online holiday magazine presented by Creature Comforts and full of really wonderful holiday projects and gift ideas. I’m delighted by it, bring on Christmas.
· comments  · 11-8-2010 · categories:christmas · shopping ·
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays! (Shown above are some of the favorite vintage ornaments on our tree, I especially love the teal one with white and red stripes.)
· comments  · 12-24-2009 · categories:christmas ·
· comments  · 12-23-2009 · categories:christmas · links ·
Earlier I made gingerbread houses meant to perch on the edge of a mug, but I wanted to work on a few more things.
First, since these are meant to be eaten I wanted to cut down on the amount of royal icing. I still used it to assemble the houses, but to get sugar decorations to stick to the roofs I decided to use simple syrup. I heated one part water and one part sugar and let it bubble for a while on the stove just so it would thicken. After it was thoroughly cooled I put a dot on the roof and spread it around using a small brush I keep to use as a mini pastry brush. Then I sprinkled sanding sugar or nonpareils. I let it dry overnight and it worked nicely. It tastes a lot better than a layer of royal icing, and I like the way it allows the gingerbread to peek through.
Second, I added a chimney. I rolled out some gingerbread dough a bit thicker and cut out a square-ish shape, using the house template to get the correct angle.
I think it turned out very cute, though I found that the taller chimneys looked incongruous, so I’ll stick to very short chimneys.
Third I decided to see what whole happen if I moved the door shape, the part that fits over the mug, off to one side to allow more of the house to hang on the outside of the mug. It worked just fine but moving it over made the pieces more delicate and I broke three out of six during assembly, enough to convince me to keep the door where it is.
Last I wanted to see if it would work out using sugar cookie dough. This was from a mix (I know, I know but I had hit my cookie dough-making wall) and spread quite a bit despite a good amount of chilling before baking. I trimmed the doors when the cookies came out of the oven and were still pliable. They still worked out nicely. Now I’m wondering if there would be a way to make one out of shortbread.
· comments  · 12-22-2009 · categories:christmas ·