Wall Christmas tree – or Christmas card recycling

 

I guess it is a bit late for showing photos of Christmas trees. But we put away our “real” Christmas tree yesterday which kinda put me in the mood to show off one last Christmas project that I had done: a Christmas tree for the wall.

 
  
I had put this one in the kids’ room and my kids really liked it. My first idea was actually to make a tree out of stars that are affixed directly to the wall. But then I saw this Walltree DIY by Matthew Mead via Oh my handmade:
And if you do not know Oh my handmade – go check it out NOW!!! Seriously, you are missing out!
 
Photo by Matthew Mead via Oh my Handmade
 
Wow! I loved it! But I did not have such cute patterned paper. And really did not want to buy any just for this one project. So … Christmas card recycling! ;-)
 
I do not get that many Christmas cards, but the ones that I do get I can not throw away. So I had collected a few over the years. This seemed like a perect way to use them.
 
And when I saw the beautiful “woolen” Christmas trees by Eline Pellinkhof it was the last inspiration I needed. 
Her blog by the way is also VERY beautiful. Very pretty pictures – so again, GO! :-)
 
So here is what I did:
1. Used a huge shaped “hole” punch to cut stars out of my old Christmas cards.
(If you turn around your “hole” punch you can see where you are cutting.) Put a hole into the star.
2. Thread all the stars onto some cotton thread. 
3. Started crocheting the chain stitch. After a certain number of stitches pulled a star to the crochet hook and crocheted “over” the star so it stays in place.
4. After the star garland was done I used masking tape to affix it to the wall. I added a straw star to the top as well. Done! :-)
 
 
(Of course you do not have to use crochet. You can also just knot the stars to some yarn. But you might want to use thicker yarn than I did if you wanna skip the crocheting part.)

The best thing is that next year I can use the garland again. Either as a wall Christmas tree – or as a garland for my windows or the Christmas tree or …
 
If you have not thrown out or packed away your old Christmas cards yet you could make a star garland now and pack it away for next Christmas. This way you have a nice new handmade decoration ready to use without doing anything when you unpack your Christmas stuff next time. 
 
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Last Christmas

… I made some Christmas crafts. Before I show you what I made this year I wanted to remind you of some of the crafts I did last year:

There is a tutorial for making strawstars

And I sewed a Christmastree pillow – especially fun for the kids as they can play with it:

 

And I made this Bascetta star out of musical sheets. Totally love it:

Wishing you a great 4th of Advent!

Now I better return to my crafts … :-)

 

Last-minute Christmas card

 This was our Christmas card last year. Quick and easy! If you wanna make a similar one I wrote down the instructions. :-)

Last-minute Weihnachtskarte/ Last-minute Christmas card

 This is what you need:

Last-minute Weihnachtskarte/ Last-minute Christmas card

 -old sheet music
-blank cards
-colorful paper
-“holepunch” in desired shape
-pens (glitter or silver work great)
-glue
-chocolate for bribing a child ;-)

Last-minute Weihnachtskarte/ Last-minute Christmas card

 Punch desired shape out of the sheet music paper – or cut it out by hand. Glue this onto the colored paper.

Last-minute Weihnachtskarte/ Last-minute Christmas card

 Bribe a child to write “Merry Christmas” onto the colored paper. :-)

Last-minute Weihnachtskarte/ Last-minute Christmas card

Glue the colored paper onto the blank card. (Awesome cause if your child messes up while writing – no harm done!) 

Then all you have to do is add a few nice words to the inside of the card and mail them out. Easy, wasn’t it?
And you can easily adjust this to your liking – use different papers or punches or …

So are you going to send out homemade cards? 

 
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Advent “wreath” tutorial

Have a wonderful 1st of Advent!

 

If you still do not have an Advent wreath but would like one – here comes your post! :-)

I show you what Advent wreaths I am using this year. And yes, this year I have TWO! Last year we used an Advent “box”:

To find out more about the Advent box click HERE.

This year I made two – one for the kitchen where we eat and one for the living room. The basic idea for them is similar to the Adent box above. Here comes “wreath” number 1.

Cake pan Advent wreath: 

Tiny tutorial:

1. Search for (old) cake pan.

2. Fill the pan with bird sand.

3. Put candles in there.

4. Put some nuts on top … or something else decorative that will cover the sand.

5. Light candles and admire your great work!

I have to admit though that this wreath was more a collaboration than my idea. I started out and did everything until step 3 and had left it at that. Then my kids decided that the nuts that we had collected that day would look good in the pan and just started to fill up the pan. I did not want to start a big fuzz so I decided to let them do it – I could change it later. But when they were done I loved so much what they had done that I just left it like that. :-)

And wreath number 2.

Big glass bowl Advent wreath:

Tiny tutorial:
see above ;-)
Just exchange the pan with a big glass bowl. And instead of sand you use sugar or salt – looks prettier in the glass bowl. Kinda like snow. Then decorate whichever way you want. My kids used pine cones cause they were everywhere in our apartment from our last walks in the woods.
What I love about these “wreaths” – you can use pretty much anything you find and you like. So if you do not have an old cake pan or a big glass bowl – just search for something else. You will probably find something in your kitchen or basement that you can work with.

How do you like my untraditional Advent “wreaths”?

And what does your Advent wreath look like this year?

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Folded stars from musical sheets (recycling)

 
I actually made these already a while ago. But somehow finding the time to type up posts becomes harder and harder.
 
Well, just shortly before Christmas … and during Christmas actually … I learned how to make these folded stars. 
They are made out of square papers and are just folded – and stuck together. 
 
You have to fold 30 pieces of paper. 
 
In Germany they are called Bascetta-stars. 
 
Anyone can tell me whether that is the same in the rest of the world?


 
 
 
This one is a star made out of special paper that has different prints/ colors on both sides. 
It looks really pretty, don’t you think?
 
After I had made this one I was out of the pretty paper … and I figured I could ge a bit inventive …
 
So I ended up using this:
 
 
This is a rather old book with musical notes.
 
 
 

I love musical sheets. 
 
So I had to try whether it would look good. And this is how it turned out:

 
 
I totally adore it!
 
 
And as you have to cut the pages to squares there is always a paper strip left over. So what did I do?
I cut squares out of the left over bits … and made a tiny star:
 
 

Here you can see both together:


 
 
This was so much fun!
I am actually working on another recycled star. 
No musical sheets though … curious? ;-)
But it might take a bit until it is done …
 

The folding and the putting together is really relaxing … but the cutting of the squares is simply booooooring! :-)
  
 
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Alternative not-so-traditional Advent wreath – Advent box

Finally I get to show you my Advent wreath. It is however not round at all. And not really a wreath. I call it Advent box. ;-)

 Using a box has actually several advantages:

1. You can MOVE the wreath around. If you have small kids that definitely comes in handy!
2. Putting the box together is alot quicker than putting a wreath together.
3. You can easily make an Advent box even if you have forgotten to go shopping for wreath supplies. Like I do each year. ;-)

 I love our Advent box. And I love that I did not have to buy a single thing. 

I found the box in the basement … and some red paint. The moss is from our back yard. I luckily had some candles in one of the Christmas boxes from last year. Well, and nuts and pine cones are pretty much everywhere in our apartment right now as the kids love to collect them on our walks.

I also put some punched out snowflakes into the box … just for some added cuteness. :-)

 

 

What do you think? Do you like it?

 

 
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Tutorial for making straw stars

Here comes a tutorial on how to make these strawstars. 

Picture of tiny strawstar These stars are a traditional decoration here in Germany and they always remind me of my childhood as I was making them as a kid with my mother.

I love decorating with them!

By now you can buy them for little money over here in many stores. But the bought ones look slightly different … and also … well, they just are not homemade.
It is different to have real homemade ones!
I am still dreaming of one day having enough time to make so many that I can decorate my whole Christmas tree just with homemade straw stars and lights.
Well, maybe some gingerbread, too.
But that’s it! :-)

So if you want to try to make some, too, here is how to do it:

 What do you need?

Not much.
  – straw for crafting
– thread (I like red or silver one, but really any color is fine)
– scissors

If you have bought (or only can buy) straw that is still “round” – not as in the picture above – then you need to prepare your straw before you start with crafting.

If you have flat strips of straw you can just skip ahead to the actual making of the stars.

Okay, so if you still have the “real” straw what you do is
-slit the straw open with a sharp knife
-let soak in water for about 15 minutes
(I however had to soak mine alot longer. Do not know why.)
– then iron the straw open

You should end up with strips of flat straw that probably have varying width.
You can make the strips narrower if you want to just by cutting it with the scissors.
I do not find this step too much fun, so I would recommend buying the flat strips if you can. 

Now making the stars.

Of the flat straw strips cut 4 pieces to the same length.
If you have never made strawstars before try to choose straw pieces that have roughly the same width. That will make it easier.

 

 Then you make an “x” out of two straw pieces and hold it between your thumb and index finger.

With the other two straw pieces you make a “cross” and put the “cross” above the “x” as in the photo above.
Do not let go!

 

 Now it will get a bit complicated. But once you have mastered this part you are almost done!

 With (a long piece of thread) you weave around the middle of the star as shown above. You have to be careful to weave in a way so the star will not fall apart.

This is hard to explain in words – but you will know what I mean when you try it. For example the thread should not be UNDER the top straw piece but ABOVE it – like seen in the photo – otherwise the star will fall apart once you let go.
You can click on the photo above to make it larger and see more closely where the thread should go.

Do not let go before you have knot the thread! ;-)

I always weave one round and knot. After that I weave a couple more rounds but that is ALOT easier cause the star can not fall apart anymore.  

This is what your star should look like from the front if you have weaved around the middle once.

This is a photo from the back of the star after weaving around the middle a few times.

Now comes the really fun part.

You gotta cut the ends of the straw to make a star.
You can do this any way you like … round, pointed, …
And then you are done!
Yeah!

Wasn’t that hard, was it? 

Of course you can vary the look of the stars if you want to. You can user longer pieces of straw or shorter ones. Or both together … You can make really big or very small stars. You can put two stars on top of each other to make one fancy one.
Here just a few photos for inspiration:

A smaller and a larger star put on top of each other.

A very basic star.

Star made off narrow and wide straw strips.

A very small star. My favourite! I would love to make a whole bunch of these! :-)

Just a photo so you can see how small it is.
(Of course you could make even smaller ones.)

And just so you see that it is not THAT hard – this is a star that little bear – my 5 year old daughter – made with a little help with the weaving.

Well, and while making some stars I wanted to try something new … and tied a button to the middle of a star.
So this is the first button-strawstar I have ever seen. :-)

 

I do kinda like it.
I think it would look really awesome to have a bunch with red buttons. Unfortunately I was out of red buttons …
Maybe when I have more time on my hands I will try this.

Now what do you do with your stars?

Well, you can put them ANYwhere.

On a tree.
On a wreath.

This is my wreath in our living room.
You could also use them for gift wrapping – very cute!

I hope you will have fun trying this!

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!

 
 
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