Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

The Final Ornament Swap Wrap-up

With the last two ornaments on the tree, it is time to close this year’s Christmas season with one last ornament swap post. Of the 10 people on my swap list, I received all but two Christmas decorations.


This hand-stitched nest doubles as a gift tag. Thanks TV! A little bit of investigation revealed her flickr stream where you can see how she made this absolutely fantastic decoration.


And last but not least came this colorful little package holding an adorable hoot owl who is now nestled in the tree. Thanks Kleas!

That wraps it up for this year’s Freshly Blended ornament swap. It’s so strange (and yet really awesome) to have a tree full of ornaments from people I’ll never met. It’s a nice reminder that there is a lot of talent out there and plenty of creativity to go around.

Tune in for next year’s “Will I remember to sign up in time?” Will you?!?

Dead Trees for Sweet Baby Jesus

Frankly, getting a Christmas tree here at The Hipster Home had never occurred to me. At least not until it was suggested by some friends whose recent cohabitation meant no pesky housemates would oppose the idea. Dinner plans turned into dinner and pre-cut tree shopping. And that tree shopping turned into a full-blown tree chopping adventure a few days later.

The Mr. grew up in the Bay Area and knew that there were tree farms nearby where we could pick and chop down our own tree. What luxury! I thought picking your tree from the frosty wilderness was only something that happened in J. Crew winter catalogs. But no. Oh no, it is a reality here in northern California. But only if you’re willing to suspend the belief that there is snow on the ground and a sleigh involved. This trip to Santa’s Tree Farm & Village was a magical journey complete with faux gum drop bridge.

We pulled into the tree farm entrance, rolled down the window and were immediately handed a saw and map outlining where the various tree types were growing. Wait a second, type? We have to pick the KIND of tree? Is this like the bunny ranch, pick your flavor from a lineup? Yes indeedy. Good thing we knew that a Noble Fir was the tree for us. I don’t know why the Mr. likes them, but I dig ’em because their trunk is covered in evenly spaded needles. I think everyone was grossed out when I compared them to unshaven lady legs. But guys, that’s what they look like!

You park your car next to the various lots and have a look around. Here was one candidate for us but it wasn’t a noble fir. This white fur was pretty and very, very blue compared to other trees.

Success! But not for THH. Our friends found a very cute white fir to take home.

My only tree requirement, besides wanting something slightly oddball, was that the tree had to be taller than me. But apparently that was a tall order (har har) since most of the noble firs were on the smaller side. To the next lot!

Did I mention this place was big enough to DRIVE between lots? This is probably a sixth of the whole compound.

We were racing against time and mother nature after we loaded up the first tree. Santa’s Tree Farm closed at 6pm since, as you’ll see, that’s when it gets dark out. So if you want to pre-view your tree, ya better hustle.

Ah ha! What is this little guy doing here? He must be the lucky winner! This lil fella will bring the delicious scent of Christmas to this Hipster Home.

His days are now very numbered.

Homeward bound!  After watching other much larger trees get pushed through the webbing, we felt pretty good about the two lovely trees we found for our homes.

If you’re not a fan of bugs showing up in your house after the fact or are against the killing of trees for a holiday, then this isn’t the route for you.  Hitting up the tree farm was a fun event but I think enough for this lifetime. If you love the holiday scent and are willing to drive a little to get a MUCH cheaper, fresher tree, then I definitely recommend tree farm!

Beware the tinsel tree experiment next year…

A Tutorial: The Upcycled Christmas Ornament

Good gracious I LOVE getting mail. But dang it if there isn’t a spoilsport in the mailbox here at The Hipster Home. Of what do I speak? Ohh you know, those junk ad bundles with the coupons to Anna’s Linens and LensCrafters! Those things are made out of the cheapest paper, are just terribly designed and don’t arrive without being a half crinked, wrinkly mess. And I’m always a little worried that there is other perfectly good mail caught in them since these ads pass swiftly from my hands into outbox: recycling bin. I’ve always thought “Wouldn’t it be nice to use those terrible ads to make something? They’re free, we get so many of them and it’d be almost profound to make something useful out of such waste.” And so my Freshly Blended ornament swap inspiration was born. While it is true that I used a holiday Target catalog for the ornaments I sent to my swap-mates, you can make these little guys for your home tree out of any colorful junk mail you receive. Oh sweet Hipster Home, where even mail spam is craft material!

What you’ll need:

  • junk mailers or a catalog
  • festive ribbon
  • ornament shape template, printed
  • paper clips, 4 per ornament
  • scissors
  • a threaded sewing machine
  • a ruler
  • a pencil

Directions: Print (or create) a shape template for your ornament. I’ve got a PDF of my shape available to you, but you can make your own. Since you want the ornament to be even all around, you only need half of a template. If you opt to make your own shape, I recommend folding a piece of paper horizontally  then vertically. You can cut along the open edges and when its unfolded you’ll have a perfectly symmetrical shape that would probably look rad. The remainder of the instructions below are for my ornament shape but if you can use this as a guide if you decide to try a wackier shape.

Cut an approximately 2.5 x 5.5 inch strip of stiff paper. You’ll use this rectangle as a guide for cutting out 8 pieces of junk mail and 1 stiff rectangle (like a catalog cover) per ornament.

Make an ornament sandwich: 4 lightweight rectangles, 1 stiff paper rectangle in the middle and another 4 lightweight rectangles. Secure on 4 corners with paperclips.

Cut a 4-inch ribbon. Fold it in half and slip the ribbon ends into the ornament sandwich. You’ll want to put one end in front of the stiff paper in the middle and the other ribbon end in back of the stiff paper. Secure it with a paper clip. The stiff paper base in the middle of your ornament makes it easier to fold and fan the lightweight paper when the time comes.

Using a ruler, eyeball where the center of the paper is and trace a line from the top of the ornament sandwich to the bottom lengthwise.

Set your sewing machine stitch length to 5.0. If the stitch length is too close together, the paper will perforate right up the middle and you don’t want that. Starting opposite your ribbon loop, sew up the traced line, reversing your stitch a little once you reach the top. This will prevent stitch unraveling. Be careful not to stitch the paperclips and take them out when the paper is secure.

Line up your template with the center stitched line and trace your half ornament template onto the paper. Flip the template over the sewed center and trace the other half of the ornament. You should now have the ornament outline traced onto the top paper of the ornament sandwich.

Cut out the ornament along the traced line. When you’re done, your ornament should look like the above ornaments!

To fold your ornament so it fans out from the center, hold the sturdy middle sheet and use your fingers to fold the first sheet of paper into itself, over the sewn seam. Keep folding the sheets until you reach the middle and repeat on the other side of the ornament.

Chances are that the fans will be uneven but you can bend until evenly spaced.

Repeat until you’ve got a tree full of ’em!

As you can see, I mailed the ornaments in the calendar envelopes from my first post ever. I don’t think it gets more festive than this! If you make these ornaments yourself, be sure to show me your results. Happy holidays, ya’ll!

Ornament Swap: The Unboxing

For three years straight, I’ve participated in the Freshly Blended Ornament Swap. The only difference between this year and the last is I’ve got this blog to share with you the amazing ornaments I receive! Without further ado, I finally received my first ornament from Kathleen by way of Meryl of My Bit of Earth. Thanks Meryl and Kathleen! It’s currently residing on Stumpy, our plant Christmas Tree placeholder.

Oh my goodness, WHAT IS IT?!?

Look, a note! Aww, Meryl is surprising some family members by doing their ornaments for them. Magically, ornaments must start showing up at the relative’s house! Very sweet.

It’s a sparkly, two-sided felt snowflake. Fantastic! This is going to look great on The Hipster Home tree (TBD what exactly that is).

Would you like to see what other people are making for the ornament swap? It’s your lucky day because there is a dedicated Flickr group where you can see what people from other swap groups are sending.

Curious as to what I’m making? It’s still not 100% but I wanted to make something this year with all those horrible advertisements we get in the mail. The paper quality isn’t great but is perfectly lightweight for this project and quite colorful. Better yet, it’s FREE! Here’s one version so far:

(man iPhone photos sure got slick, didn’t they?) I think a tree full of these things would look rad. Do you make ornaments for your tree?

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