Friday, December 16

Decorating with Ornaments

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the garland, the trees, the snow (though we're lacking that at the moment), the baking, and the movies. But what I'm discovering is that the degree of busyness around the holiday season seems to grow exponentially with my age! I really hope that I can get a bit more organized and prepared before next year rolls around! With custom artwork requests, graphic design gigs, and making the majority of gifts, there's not much time to truly enjoy all that I love about the season. But, I did have the chance to make this with my mom as a lovely centerpiece and decoration for the table.

Photo from The Home Depot's Website
Big, beautiful, festive centerpieces always bring a smile to people's faces, and we all would love to make fabulous HGTV-worthy table-toppers, but who has room on the table for one? Once all the plates, cups, wine glasses, wine, oh, and food - all get on the table, there's not much room left to spare! And if you go for a piece that's too tall, you can't see all those smiling faces around the table. Solution? Hang it! I saw this  (see Left) on a Home Depot commercial and instantly loved it. Theirs is much more intricate with different colored/shaped ornaments and someone who is probably at the same skill level as Martha Stewart, but I think ours turned out pretty nice.

So here's how you do it!

  • Fishing line
  • Bulbs (We bought a batch of 50 from Hobby Lobby and had a few to spare for decorating garland.)
  • Chandelier (If you lack a dangling light fixture, I'm sure you could fashion a brace of sorts out of cross stitch hoops or sticks.)
  • Christmas music (trust me, you'll need it to motivate you once your shoulders start getting weary. For me, that was at the 4th bulb.)
Step 1: "Measure"
Determine where you want the lowest bulb to hang. We had my dad sit in his seat to direct us on what the proper height was. Last thing you want is to do allllll this work just to have the bottom bulbs still blocking the view! It would be wise to actually measure where this point is, but we went the guess-and-check route.

Step 2: Start it up.
Start with the top bulb. Tie your fishing line to the hanging apparatus of the bulb and position it just below the chandelier in the center.

Step 3: Create the levels!
Now, the number of bulbs per level will be determined by your hanging structure. Our chandelier has 8 arms, so we worked in groups of 4 and altered the arms used per level (so if the top level is on arms 1,3,5,7 then the next level with be on 2,4,6,8. So on and so forth). Cut a generous amount of fishing line and tie it to your bulbs. Loop it over the inner-most area on the arm of the chandelier and adjust the height as necessary. Secure once you're happy with where it sits.

Step 4:
Repeat Step 3, but hang the bulbs further out on the arms (by about an inch or so depending) and with longer lines so the level will be about 3 or so inches lower than the level above. Repeat this step until you've made the tree as big as you like.

Step 5: Fill 'er in!
This part is kind of tricky. It helps to have a second set of eyes on the ground checking for where the bulbs should go. Basically, hang bulbs in the center area of the "tree"to fill in the empty gaps. We only had to add about 5 or 6 bulbs.

Step 6: Trim your centerpiece
Trim off the excess ends of the fishing line, step back and enjoy your lovely new creation!

Not the best of photos, but it'll do!
If you check out the link on The Home Depot's page, there's another tutorial using s-hooks and it looks much cleaner than our make-shift version. And there's a video!

I would LOVE to do this ornament frame project as well! But that may have to be saved for next year...
Photo from The Home Depot's website