Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Decorations- Part 7

"The tradition of Christmas trees and Christmas Ornaments is a much disputed one what with several theories about their origin doing the rounds for a long time. The most popular theory holds that the tradition was started by a monk who came to Germany in the 7th/8th century to preach. It is said that this monk was Saint Boniface, the Apostle of the Germans. According to history, the saint was the first one to bring a fir tree to the German people to decorate, for he claimed that its triangular shape represented the Holy Trinity - God, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The tradition was lapped up by the devout Germans who started decorating the Christmas tree in a liturgical way with simple, white candles. This however, changed in the 15th century when ornaments began to be incorporated into the Christmas decorations in Germany. In Latvia, circa 1510, a fir tree was decorated with roses which was associated with the Virgin Mary. This event is often hailed as the pioneer of modern Christmas decorations. 

In 1605, a tree in Strasbourg (a city on the Rhine in eastern France near the German border) was brought indoors and adorned with paper roses, lighted candles, wafers, nuts, and sweets. This is said to be a groundbreaking moment in the history of Christmas decorations for it kicked off a new trend, adornment of the Christmas tree in an indoor setting. With time, the decorative ornaments grew more diverse and each family used its own inventiveness to beautify the Christmas trees. Later decorations included painted eggshells, cookies, and candies. The high point came with the introduction of tinsel in 1610, an item that has been a favorite decorative item since. Tinsel was originally made with pure silver."

I don't have instructions for this but you can paint just about anything on globes that you buy from the store. Maybe even paper mache them...oooh the possibilities!

Here's another example of a painted globe.

This guy is also a classic!

This rose ornament is really pretty. But don't just stick with one flower, let your imagination fly and use all kinds of colors and combinations. (oh, and the instructions are here)

I think that buttons have made it into just about every single one of my Christmas posts...but I love them so much!

Now comes my favorite part of the post... We get to learn a craft together! This one has been brought to us by!

"Why buy Christmas ornaments that look handmade when you can actually make them so easily? Sharon from The Key Bunch requested me for instructions on making Christmas ornaments so I've tried to document all the steps you need to take when making your personalised ornaments. So, this is not really a tutorial, but rather a bunch of suggestions written in an orderly manner. Shall we get to it?"

"1- First of all, you may want to look at some books, magazines, blogs and flickr photos for inspiration. Decide on shapes and look for patterns online. That's right, I'm not going to provide you with any template, sorry! Just google 'candy cane', 'Christmas stocking', 'gingerbread man', 'mitten', 'heart' or -- even better -- draw your own shapes. Then assemble all your materials: various pairs of scissors, a pencil/pen, your glasses (optional), as many types and colours of thread as you wish, baker's twine (if you own it), loads of buttons, fabric scraps, rick-rack, ribbon, pins and needles. You may notice that I've chosen a very limited colour palette because I believe that's the key to success. But of course you can go wild and pick all the colours of the rainbow."

"2- Gather all your felt scraps and turn your radio on!"

"3- I decided I'd make my templates the old-fashioned way: first I printed them out and then traced over them using some sheets of translucent tracing paper I found at the bottom of a drawer (I think I have these sheets since elementary school). I then traced the shapes onto a piece of a cereal box for durability."

"4- Trace all your shapes onto felt and cut them neatly. Always trace and cut in pairs because you'll be stuffing the ornaments later."

"5- Here they are all cut and ready to be embelished."

"6- Now comes the fun part: play around with rick-rack, ribbon, buttons and scraps until you are happy with how it looks. Then sew everything onto your ornament piece. There are so many possibilities here that I had to choose and show you how to make only one type of ornament. That means that from now on you'll watch how to finish this star; then, in the end of this set, you'll see other examples of ornaments you can make."

"7- Let us get back to the star: make a loop (you'll want to hang it on a tree branch, right?) and begin sewing the front and the back pannels together"

"8- You can do it either by hand or machine and use different kinds of stiches. Here I sewed it by hand using the simplest stich ever."

"9- When you're nearly finished, grab a bit of polyfill and stuff it through that little opening. You may want to use a chopstick or other pointy tool to get the stuffing in all the tiny and tricky places."

""10- Close the opening. You're done! :)"

Here are some more pictures of her gorgeous handcrafted ornaments!

I'm feeling a little better today health wise, or maybe I'm just running on adrenaline. Battling this Mono is really taking a toll on me. I sleep a lot (through some of my classes) and homework is the last thing on my list. I hope I can still pass all my classes this semester...


  1. I intend to make some ornaments like this. It reminds me of some simple felt ornaments I made about 30 years ago and used a blanket stitch on the edges.

  2. What a lovely website you have! I shall be making some bits n bobs for my Georgian themed Christmas. (I live in a Georgian House in Bath). Thank you for the inspiration! All the very best. x


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