'Twas The Night Before Christmas

At my house, Christmas day is Christmas Eve. We're a blended family and so our children from my husband's first marriage spend the night (on Christmas Eve eve) and in the morning ~ which was today ~ there's about 12 minutes of wrapping paper carnage as all 5 of our kids open gifts. It's been a relaxing day as the kids have played with their gifts and Michael and I have rested, finally, after a crazy three days of last minute crunch time (which I vow NOT to do next year) of shopping, creating and preparing for today.

What with January right around the corner, I was online today looking at many of the craft blogs I follow to get ideas for the months ahead in the new year but pretty much everything is still holiday-themed so I guess I'll have to wait a bit. One of my close friends and I have decided to get together a couple of times per month all year starting next month to make gifts for next Christmas. We both want to be prepared and would love to have a Christmas where every gift we give is one that we've made. Kind of like these trees pictured above.

I was inspired by the cuh-YEW-tist Christmas trees made using crepe paper over at Creative Chaos and remembered that I had a few rolls of the delicate crinkly stuff in the back of a cabinet - red, green and white....perfect holiday colors - and knew I had to try some for myself. PLUS, I had the added bonus of staying within my budget which was, namely, NO budget to spend on holiday decor.

First, Karin over at Creative Chaos made this beauty:

And she took her inspiration from Cindy over at JunqueArt who made this sweet tree...

Both sites have great tutorials and since I didn't really put one together just refer to them if you want to make 1...or 10; which is completely do-able because once I made one I ended up making 7 of them! Seriously, once you get going it's hard to stop. They're fun!

A few things of note from my experience with making these. If you go with making a ruffle with the crepe paper using your sewing machine, keep in mind that crepe is ├╝ber delicate and tears easily so pulling it along the thread to ruffle it up takes a light touch. It's probably better to take a needle and thread and do a big running stitch along the edge (aha! note to self for next time).

I didn't have any cones so I made them myself with copy paper and then just trimmed the base to get the height I wanted. I secured them mostly with tape and sometimes with a staple or two. 12x12 scrapbook paper is stronger and makes a firmer cone.

With the ruffled tree, I made strips of the ruffle and then used a hot glue gun to attach them to the cone starting at the base and working my way up (I'm assuming I don't need to tell you that glue guns are HOT, hence the name). Also, wire ribbon is totally easy to make ruffles with (because the wire acts as the thread to pull) which I did for one of the trees.

First I made the ruffled tree. I inked the edges and hot glued on silver beads that I had. Then I made the pleated tree using Cindy's directions and embellished it with silver ink and teal glitter,

I made two more; one using wired ribbon that I ruffled and one using crepe paper that I cut into strips and then sewed on the machine three strips at a time. I hot glued them on and then cut them into various lengths to make it look "leafy".

After that, I wanted to use paper from my old dictionary so I tore out pages and cut them into strips which I sewed together on the machine along with some ribbon that I had on hand.

With the strips, I made another ruffled tree and another pleated tree then just tore up strips and decoupaged another. I embellished with yarn, paper roses and lots and lots of glitter!

These, I gave to my cousin (hi Roshi!) along with a homemade body scrub and a big bag of chocolate peppermint pinwheel cookies - she loved it all!

So....my last post of the year for holiday gifts to make and give. Now, on to new creative endeavors for 2011!

Merry Christmas!!!


  1. Gorgeous!!!! Love the dictionary trees...

  2. thanks so much karin! love love love your blog and your etsy shop, btw. drooling over that german glitter silver star ornament. i really just need to get it!

  3. Beautiful trees. How creative and fun...


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