I have pestered Mike for years to create our own real garland at Christmas. I have always loved the natural look but Mike would always say, “not this year, it’s too expensive”. When we had our annual tree cutting day our baby girls were sick so I had to sit this one out while Mike and our older kids went. After proudly showing me our perfect Christmas tree he picked out, Mike surprised me with a bundle of cedar for me to go crafty crazy with. I was all pumped and ready to get going when I realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I literally just stood there, daunted, staring at this lump of branches picturing exactly what I want the end product to look like and puzzled how I would get from here to there.
So I jumped on my I Pad and started searching for instructions. Surprisingly there was not a whole lot of information out there on how to create real cedar garland. One piece of advice I found on more than one site was how to prepare the branches before getting started to give them a longer life; soak them over night. Okay, I thought, lets do this! As soon as the last of our kids were finally in bed I hauled the bundle upstairs to our bathroom, started running the water in our big tub ready to give this cedar the full spa treatment. With gardening gloves on and clippers in hand I snapped the twine holding the bundle together. To my surprise out rolled pre-made cedar garland!
The inner crafty gal in me was totally disappointed feeling robbed of an opportunity to learn something new. On the other hand the logical side of me was relieved, knowing I have enough on my plate with four kids including infant twins with head colds to boot without taking on this task. I ran downstairs calling out to Mike to tell him that its pre-made garland, not just bundled up branches. “Ya, I know,” replied Mike with a puzzled look on his face. “Wait,” I said, “why did you let me drag our family out to the store to buy wire and come in to fill the tub?” He replied saying “I thought you knew and the whole time I was a bit confused but I thought I’d keep my mouth shut and you knew what you were doing”. This reply put a HUGE smile on my face because anyone who knows Mike knows he is very smart, knows a lot about everything and loves to put his two cents in whenever he can. So for him to take a back seat is a big deal!
Now I am able to share with all of you how the pros do it! The key is to take a long piece of twine and run it the length of the entire garland hiding it in the middle of the branches. Then take a thin piece of wire and wind it along the whole length of garland branches while leaving as much of the greenery as loose as possible.
There you have it, your own real cedar garland. Spritz the garland once a day with water to keep it from drying. I was able to get two good weeks out of ours before it started shedding and our kids were tracking bits all over our house. So plan your cedar garland timing well. Next year my plan is to add extra branches to beef it up a little, possibly adding a variety of evergreen species. The best part: THE INCREDIBLE SMELL!!! Nothing beats that woody, festive smell of cedar!
1. Make it interactive. Now that we don’t currently have any kids in the toddler phase I am able to redirect our kids and enjoy putting decorations on the bottom half of our tree again. We purchased a small artificial tree for the kids so they have a tree they can hang their colourful character ornaments on and rearrange as many times as they’d like while the big tree stays in tact and looking its best throughout the holidays. I also added twine and clothes pins to our garland on our stairs to pin cards we receive from family and friends. The cards that I don’t mind the kids taking down I hang lower on the string.
2. Go soft. This one is a no brainer. Find Christmas decor that is plush and soft to incorporate into your holiday theme. Its also great to hand these pieces over to the kids and let them decide where they’d like them to go.
3. Put it behind glass. Mike HATES sparkles. It is actually a phobia of his. I have learned over the years that instead of fighting him on it, to try to keep potential sparkle bombs from exploding in our house. This being said, we have adorable and very sparkly snowmen that I keep safely enclosed behind a glass cupboard door. This way we can still enjoy them but the sparkles stay put. You can also take those beautiful glass ornaments that you used to be able to put on your tree pre-kid era and pile them in an apothecary jar placed on your counter or table.
4. Swap it out. When creating this birch tree bucket piece I used battery powered lights and skipped the plug ins. I also used a white felt piece of fabric to act as snow, much tidier than if you were constantly cleaning up dirt from a poinsettia.
5. Find Precious looking plastic. Finally the retail stores seem to be getting the hint. I am seeing more and more beautiful looking plastic ornaments that you would think are glass. These are great substitutes for those beautiful vintage glass ornaments you had to pack away when junior started motoring.
We have been walloped by a major ice storm here in the GTA and our family feels very blessed to still have our power. Presents are wrapped and under the tree and the kids are bubbling with anticipation for Christmas morning. When it comes to decorating my home I avoid sparkles at all costs; my husband strongly detests sparkles and the mess that goes along with them. I tend to lean towards the homemade traditional green and red themes. Here is a peek at some of my Christmas DIY decorations:
Below: a dollar store bucket, filled with birch tree branches, faux evergreen, a few pinecones and some battery powered Christmas lights. Under $20.00
This one was very easy, cheap and fast: I recycled a bunch of mason jars, varying in sizes and added some twine, pinecones, faux snow and battery powered tea lights. They create a very cozy glowing effect. Under $10.00
This is another example of a way to use a variety of sizes of vases and battery powered candles.
Is it a constant battle in your home keeping your kids away from your tree? Here is a little trick I figured out last year. Set up a mini kid’s Christmas tree adorned with non-breakable ornaments and allow your kids to move the ornaments around as much as they please.
It seems like it has been forever! I have had a busy but exciting past few weeks full of festivities, design projects and the excitement of decorating for a Canadian Christmas!
I was thrilled to host a baby shower for my sister-in-law who is expecting my niece in January. I chose a variety of pops colours to decorate my home, using onesies hanging on a line and buttons instead of confetti to decorate. A book for guests to add their advice for the new parents and a calendar for guests to add their birthday guesses were great interactive and personal touches that my sister-in-law and brother were able to take with them.
My husband and I are so excited to start decorating for a Canadian Christmas this year. Every couple of years we go with family to Florida to celebrate Christmas, a tradition we have continued since my childhood. Last year we were in Florida and this year is the first we will be home for Christmas in our new home. The decorations are up and we are set to go cut down our tree on Saturday. While shopping for decorations at HomeSense I took a few photos of what caught my eye. Soft homemade flannel decor and lots of deer accents!