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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY: Twig Christmas Tree

Forgive last week's absence, friends, but for health reasons (remember my shoulder?) I had to dramatically cut my computer time. I spent the time doing quality things, though, like reading, painting my nails the most ridiculous chartreuse, and setting up Christmas trees.

Yes. Plural. We take Christmas very seriously around here, and that usually means multiple Christmas trees. The kitchen has been set up (white tree, red ornaments), the entry as well (off-white tree, gold/brown ornaments), my sister should be taking care of her room soon (white tree, pink/green ornaments), the living room will probably be last (green tree, red ornaments)... and well, me, I decided to take a different route.

My mother created the original Twig Tree a couple of years ago, but its demise came one rainy afternoon as someone bumped against it and the whole thing crashed to the floor. The vase broke, the twigs broke, the ornaments broke. It was the end, but this year, I decided to take it upon myself to resurrect the beast (or a version of it) for my own purposes. It's a simple DIY, and I'm mostly posting the steps so I can tell you about all the things I did wrong... but here we go anyway.

Step One: Gather your materials. You will need snow spray, twigs of your preferred size, some string... and that's it, really.

Step Two: Protect your working area. Since it was a sunny day (and don't you just love these chilly but sunny days?), I chose to work in the balcony. To protect the floor, I cut up a black trash bag and used duct tape to secure the corners. When I was done, I simply rolled it into a ball and three it in the trash. All clean!

I still managed to get snow all over the door, though - so, you know, consider using TWO trash bags.

Step Three: Let it snow, to your taste. My mother liked her tree fully white, I like mine a little more natural-looking.

Step Four: Tie a string around your finished twigs to make them easier to manage. I made this bright decision after trying to fit them in a small vase - the opening was too narrow and the damned things kept going off-balance and threatening to fall over.

So that was my first eureka moment. My second eureka moment had to do with the vase, when I went to find my (future) terrarium, the large (and super heavy) glass jar in the picture. The twigs fit perfectly, so then all I had to do was transport them to my bedroom. Now, fun fact. I was working in a balcony that connects to the sun room, which then connects to the kitchen - which means I had to go through the kitchen, the hall, and the corridor to get to my room, carrying an impossibly heavy glass jar and a mass of twigs almost as tall as myself. I kept leaving bits of snow behind, on the door frames, on the fridge, even on a mirror, so I arrived at my room with considerably less snowy twigs, only to realise that, on the dresser, they would touch the ceiling. Worse, there was no way I'd be able to position them in a way that didn't hinder the access to my bookshelf.

Back to the balcony I went, painting some more door frames (and the fridge, and a mirror) white. I discarded half of the original twig count before taking the heavy-duty pruning shears from a kitchen cabinet... and going all out.

Now with a lighter burden that finally fit its assigned spot, I returned to my room. Then for the décor, I simply wrapped a piece of pink organza around the base to cover my rather clumsy cuts, put on an electro swing playlist, and used up all the pink/purple ornaments we had in the house. Those with the golden details were a gift from the heavens, I'm telling you. Job done, I picked up a cleaning rag and went back to clean up all the door frames (and the fridge, and a mirror).

So, what have I learnt from this DIY? Be extra careful with your work area. Measure the available height with something more accurate than a broomstick (I'm not even kidding, I couldn't find a single one of those rigid self-retracting measuring tapes... all I had were sewing ones, sadly a bit too floppy for the work at hand). Electro-swing improves everything. I think my neighbours saw me dancing.

All in all, I'd say the experiment was a success. Tell me about your holiday décor!

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