Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Holiday Trinity: Xmas Decorations, Including an Easy Xmas Wreath Tutorial!

So, I love Christmas. Like, love love LOOOOOVE it. I wanna make out with it. I wanna gay-marry it in NYC, that's how much I love it. Not for religious reasons, though I do love that it's all about showering loved ones with gifts and celebrating the end of the year with your family and loved ones. Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men, baby.

What adds to this year's excitement is also the fact that this is the first year in a while where I've really wanted to decorate. Previous years have been either because I was too busy working as a teacher to give a crap (and by the time you're on vacation and CAN ACTUALLY CARE, it's the week before Xmas so what's the point if it's only going to be up for a week), or I was too depressed because I was unemployed to give a crap. Weird cycle, I know.

Well, this year I'm unemployed but REFUSING to be depressed about it (and I'm mostly successful in this refusal, I'm proud to say), so I had the time and energy to devote to it. This is probably the most decked-out I've had ye olde apartment, and since I'm doing it on a restricted budget, I'm ok with that.

We actually talked about getting a REAL tree this year, which would be either of our first time's having one on our own (i.e., without our parents doing all the work), and while you can get them for a reasonable price at the supermarket, I saw a fake 6" at Big Lots with pre-installed lights for the same price as the supermarket trees - and figured since we'd still need all the crap for the real one, let's just get the fake one that doesn't require a tree stand and constant watering. We bought some cheap ornaments while there, and got out all of our other Xmas stuff (which has now accumulated to a point where I needed a bigger container for all the decorations [with some of my Fall stuff thrown in] and a separate one just for gift wrapping stuff) and Xmas-bombed the apartment.

I only forced The Hubs to humor me for the actual tree piecing-together/decoration; we put on Christmas music and got to work. The best moment is when we plugged in the tree to make sure we'd put it together correctly, and the lights came on; my face broke out in the hugest grin because as a kid, we always used the multi-colored lights and it was so amazing to see them for some reason, that little bit of magic came back for just that millisecond. I happened to glance at The Hubs right after, and he had this sweet smile he gets on his face when he sees I'm delighted. It was a special moment for me.

For this year's tree, I stuck to red, silver, gold, and green sphere ornaments, with some gold-edged (fake) crystal ones put near lights for extra sparkle; I also put up special-meaning ornaments I have, like the ones my ex-stepmom makes for gifts most years (she takes clear ones and decorates them with glitter and ribbon each year, and usually that fake-glitter snow inside - they're really gorgeous!) and my "baby ornaments" that my mom gave to me when she decided she didn't want to put up trees anymore.

The blue china ornament is from our honeymoon; the green w/ white decoration is my baby ornament, the gold angel is also from when I was little, and I bought the pearl M at Michael's a while ago ('cuz our last name starts with M)
Other decorations include a little pastiche of ornaments near the front door (my mom painted the 3-piecers!) that didn't fit in the tree's "theme" this year; some cute tealight lamps and another ornament that's too heavy to be on the tree on the bookshelf; and a welcome mat and wreath for the door.
The "pastiche" - the Snowman ornament actually has a music box that plays "Frosty the Snowman"!

The tealight lamps and the too heavy ornament with a secret...

... it's also a music box! I love the little skating scene inside. It plays "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
The front door wreath!
That wreath, btw? I "made" that. "Made" meaning bought a wreath and added ornaments to it as I saw fit. (STILL COUNTS.) The best part is that I did it in such a way that I'll be able to keep using the base wreath but change up the colors/ornaments every year! It was easy, took me an hour, and I took pictures so you can do it, too! Click the "Read More" link to find out how...

Easy Xmas Wreath Tutorial
- Pre-made Wreath that is built on a base. Look below for an example of what I mean.
- Unused wire ornament hooks (preferably green, so they blend in better), OR 22-gauge floral wire will work, too.(And wire cutters, if you don't have it and are buying wire - wire will mess regular scissors UP, yo.)
- Ornaments!
- Garland! (Depending on the size of your wreath, 9' long should be plenty, that's how long mine was and it's loosely wrapped.)

See the black bars? That's what I mean by "base". You'll need those bars to keep your ornaments in place.
1. LOOSELY wrap the garland around and secure it to the back of the wreath at start and end points. I got lucky, the garland I used has bendable wire hooks, so I anchored them around the base and didn't need to glue.
I hid the start and end of the garland behind the big bow that came with the wreath. Saved me having to wrap the WHOLE damn thing.
2. If you didn't buy the ornament hooks, cut up the floral wire into 3"-4" long pieces. If you DID buy the ornament hooks, straighten the ends and bend 'em in half.
3. For each ornament placement, pick where you want the ornament to go first. Then, flip the wreath around to push the ends of the wire to the front of the wreath AROUND THE BASE BAR. (It'll go easier if you push the fake pine out of the way - you can push it back once the ornament's secured.)
The bright green wire going AROUND the base bar

Pulling the wire through to the front
 4. Hook the wire onto the hanging loop like you would if you were hanging it on a tree. Twist the ends together a few times once it's on the wire. They don't need to be super-tightly twisted, you just need the wire ends to stay together for the last step.

5. Push the wire ends back through the wreath to the back, and tighten the twisting of the wire ends. If your ornaments need more anchoring, at this point you can wrap the ends around the base as well; I didn't really need to do this, because any "looseness" of the ornament was resolved by the greenery being thick enough to keep it in place. 
This is not an example of "twisting tightly", it's demonstrating bringing around the wire back to the back of the wreath.
6. Repeat these steps until all of your ornaments are placed! I did it while watching "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me".

7. Hang it on your door/wall and admire how pretty your customized wreath is! Also glory in the fact that YOU CAN JUST SNIP THE WIRES and have all your ornaments back, as well as change the wreath next year!

Some additional tips:
  • It helps if the wire ends are curved in a little - it helps "hook" the ornament to stay on the wire if you've picked a particularly tricky spot to get the wire back around to the back. (This took me 4 ornaments to figure out.)
  • Move that pesky fake greenery out of the way - it's moldable and will go right back where it was when you're done securing the ornament. (This took me 3 ornaments to figure out.)
  • Hook the ornament on the wire end that's the opposite of the direction you'll need to turn the twist back behind the wreath - it makes it easier. (This took me 2 ornaments to figure out.)
  • If the ornament loops are too wiggly for your comfort, you might want to glue them in place with a glue gun; depends on your own comfort level. My wreath isn't going to be wriggled around that much, so I didn't bother. That and I'm lazy.
Costs will vary, depending on if you're using ornaments you already own (like me), and the wreath, etc. I got lucky in that I found the wreath at Michael's and it was on sale (as you can see), and I also had some money left over on a gift card, so I spent about $3 out of pocket thanks to the gift card (I had everything else already).

This is my first time writing a tutorial, so please let me know if you need anything clarified! If you make a wreath like mine, please share how they turn out!


Link Party

The Girl Creative

Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...