I struggled to know what to call this little ornament – is it a wreath? Is it a mixed media something? Does it have to have welcome home in the name? Sometimes a project can’t be described in search terms. I guess technically this is a mixed media project, but all I really care about is that the combination of ingredients really help make this tree. Before I got the idea for this ornament I was floundering around trying to figure out how to describe this tree. This is the ornament that really helped me hone in on the whole point of this: Going Home. I think Christmas is really closely tied to a search for home. The place where we feel taken care of and understood. A nostalgia for something that might not have ever even been, but that we long for nevertheless. I am making that place for myself, like I think all of us eventually have to, and this tree is part of that.
Doilies are really thin, so I started by gluing six of them together. I’m always keeping an eye on long term when I make a Christmas decoration. Things have to last through the years.
On a gift tag, write your message with an embossing ink pen and cover with gold embossing powder. Shake off the excess and heat the remaining powder until it melts. We’re all our own worst critics when it comes to our handwriting, but I dare you to do it anyway. Christmas is all about being sentimental, and everyone is sentimental about the handwriting of people they love.
Run a line of glue around the perimeter of the tag and cover it with glitter. While it’s drying, get to work on your paper bows.
First you’ll need a template. Cut two pieces of scrap paper that are each 1 inch wide, one 3 inches long and the other 3 1/2 inches long. Start with the shorter piece and fold it in half. Cut a snip to mark the middle of the short side, then move your scissors about 1/4″ away from that center mark. Starting at that point, cut a curve in one side that ends at the fold.
Unfold the strip and fold in half the long way using those snips you made. The side you’ve already cut won’t have a straight part to line up with the other side, which is why you made those snips in the first place. Cut the other side to match so all your curves will be identical.
Now you have your pattern piece for the loops of your bows. Use this to cut two pieces out of your gold paper.
Now you need a pattern piece for the tails. Use your 3 1/2″ piece of scrap paper. You’ll need to cut each side into a swallowtail pattern, so you’ll repeat this method for both directions. Fold the paper in half, then snip up the middle to where you want the point to end up. Unfold, then cut diagonally from the corner up to the top of the snip you’ve made.
Your completed pattern piece should look like this. Cut one out of your gold paper.
The last pattern piece you’ll need is a little strip to make up your fake knot. I measured mine by assembling some scrap pieces into the bow shapes, and cutting it long enough to wrap around to the back, and wide enough to fit in the middle. Mine measures around 1/4″ wide and 1″ long.
Once you cut out all your pieces you’re ready to assemble. Heavy cardstock will bend and crease before it curls, so you need to give it a little primer before putting it in its final shape. Grab one end of the piece with one hand, and with your other hold a pencil and use your thumb to pinch the paper over it. Pull the paper piece through your pinching thumb and the pencil just like you were curling ribbon. Turn it around and do it again to get the part you were holding to curl too.
Assemble your bow. Start by gluing each of your loop pieces closed. Overlap their ends and glue them to each other, and then to the middle of the tail piece. Glue the knot piece to the middle, bend each end around to the back, and glue those down too.
Assemble your wreath by gluing the tag piece onto the doily, leaving room for the bow to go on the top. I decided I didn’t like the hole that was left in the center of the tag, so I cut a couple of pieces of holly out of felt to cover it up. If you don’t want to cut tiny holly leaves, there’s lots of great stickers on the market that will do the same thing. Tie a loop of gold thread through the top of the doily to hang the ornament.
My friend Amberly saw this tree and said that it made her feel “all nostalgic”. Which is exactly what I wanted all along! So now, now that the tree is nearly finished, I finally have the title for this tree. I’ve been circling around with way too many adjectives. Vintage inspired Home for the Holidays Tree is what I called it in the videos I made, and that is a MOUTHFUL. From now on this will by my Nostalgic tree. Even if it’s a place we’ve never found, even if it’s a place we’re making for ourselves, I think everyone is nostalgic for home.