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My family and I have recently suffered a flood in our basement and as a result have lost everything that was stored down there. Among the ruins were all of my Christmas decorations that I have been collecting for 11 years. I would like some ideas on how to make inexpensive decorations to replace some of what we lost and that do not take a lot of time to make. Any ideas would be very much appreciated.
One year, my mom made cute decorations for my first Christmas tree in my first apartment and, 20 years later, I still have them. She bought styrofoam balls, maybe two or three inches in diameter. Cut small swatches of scrap fabric in complimentary colors (mine were browns and off-whites...it was the late '70s), maybe 2 inches by 2 inches. Used a butter knife or small flat-head screwdriver to shove the edges of the fabric into the Styrofoam, one after the next, all side by side, creating a patch-work quilt effect. It can be fairly messy, with random shapes and sizes, and still look terrific. She then shoved one of those metal Christmas-ornament-hooks into each ball, and tied a piece of polkadot ribbon into a small bow, at the base of the hook. Very cute and cozy, and easy to store 'cause they can be manhandled without damage.
Some easy inexpensive decorations are...
1 1/2 c. salt
1 3/4 c. warm water
4 c. flour
Dissolve salt in water, add flour. Knead 2 minutes. Form ornaments & Brush with egg. Bake in 350 oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes, then paint with acrylic paints and spray with liquid plastic to seal.
I made small mouse bodies from the dough, added a small head and ears. Bake together. Take a half walnut shell, line with cotton batting. After the mouse is painted and sealed, place him on the batting so the head and ears rest on the edge of the shell. Cut a small piece of fabric to cover most of the edge and the mouse, hot glue in place. Use twine or fishing line at each edge of the shell to suspend it.
You can use cookie cutters, anything at all to form the ornaments. If needed remember to use a straw to poke a hole near the top before baking to pass a ribbon through for hanging!
You might consider asking your friends to help. I once attended a "Help Decorate Joe's Christmas Tree" party, where the host provided construction paper, glue, glitter, scissors, etc., as well as a big pot of chili, and the guests made a bunch of ornaments which were then placed on the tree. We had a lot of fun and the tree had some wonderfully creative decorations.
Here is a great recipe for homemade ornaments! They do require some time in the oven, but otherwise it's a pretty simple process and the result is worth the time.
6 T. applesauce
10 T. cinnamon
Mix ingredients to form a ball- if sticky or wet add more cinnamon- sprinkle cutting board with cinnamon- roll dough to 1/2"- use cookie cutters to make shapes- poke hole in top for hanging. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs. then turn oven off and continue to bake for 2-3 hrs. more. Use as ornaments or gift toppers.
My first stop for anything is the thrift shop. Why make Christmas decorations when they are available in the thrift shop, sometimes new, sometimes antique? Recently, we stopped in Maryland to see my husband's old Navy base. It was closed for good, but we found a church thrift shop where I bought antique hand painted Christmas tree balls - $1.00 a dozen. What a find! In my city, there are 5 thrift shops and the same number in the neighboring city. We say -if it can't be found in the thrift shop, we don't need it.
Run, don't walk to your nearest library. Look in their sections of Christmas books and you will have more ideas than you can possibly use along with patterns. Every year I check out a bunch of books just because they are fun to look through. Some ideas that were good were:
Add some old fashioned pop corn or cranberry chains and you will have a beautiful tree.
I have several things that I have done for our tree and for others also that is very inexpensive, yet beautiful.
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