I know it's only the beginning of November, but I've already decorated a Christmas tree. Oh, happy happy joy! My favorite time of year, my favorite thing to decorate for.
Can you guess the theme? I've been planning this tree for an entire year, ever since I was asked to redo all the ornaments for one of the trees in the Visitor's Center of the Washington DC temple. It has been a very time-consuming yet extremely fun project, and I'm honored to have been chosen to do it.
Yes, the tree is crooked (I didn't notice until it was all done and I stepped back to look at it) but I'm told that will be fixed. In the meantime, it adds character, right? Each Christmas the Visitor's Center hosts a myriad of free concerts and has a gorgeous display of Christmas trees that congregations in the Maryland/Virginia area are in charge of decorating. They also have a beautiful collection of Nativity Scenes from around the world on display and thousands of colored Christmas lights adorn the trees outside, much like the lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. If you live in the DC area, I would really encourage you to look up the schedule of events and make an evening of it - besides, then you could go and see my tree in person! The Festival of Lights, as it is called, starts in December but you can go to the Visitor's Center anytime.
In case you haven't caught the theme yet, I based it on Handel's "Messiah". Hence the Biblical phrases and the musical references. It is my personal opinion that Christmas has been largely stripped of its original meaning and purpose, and I wanted to bring the Christ back in Christmas in a very visual way. I made some of the ornaments from scratch, like these phrase boards, and I added personal touches to many of the store-bought ones. I bought all the musical instruments and the silvery spangle balls from a delightful Christmas shop in Virginia Beach that I serendipitously found while on vacation this summer. It's called The Christmas Mouse, and it's wonderful. There is also a store in Williamsburg, which I didn't know until looking at their website.
The large round (not spherical) red ornaments from IKEA were spruced up with a few layers of circles cut from sheet music (from the "Messiah", of course) and ribbon.
I hot-glued the ribbon to the back of the circles, then hot-glued the whole thing to the flat part of the ornament. I bought a bunch of red and silver ornaments when they were half off last year at IKEA. I wish I had purchased some of these flat ones for myself - I really like how they turned out. Hopefully they'll have those ornaments again this year and I can make some for my own house! They'd be great gifts too - very easy and quick, but lovely.
I'm planning on doing a tutorial for the phrase boards, but these particular ones are too large for the typical 6 or 7 foot high tree. I worked up some smaller phrases on Illustrator in the same style as these were done and will post links to the PDF files so you can recreate the exact look that I have done here. If you want PDF's for these large word phrases (they're about 10 inches wide) just let me know and I'll email them to you. But wait for my tutorial so you know how to make them. :-)
I had been planning these musical orbs for a year, but just last month I noticed a tutorial for a similar one on FaveCrafts. Just wanted to let you know I didn't copy, I promise! Mine is different due to the paper wordstrip decoupaged around the center and it's very large = 6" across. I decoupaged paper napkins printed with music to create the musical background, and coated the whole thing in clear glitter.
I'm planning a tutorial for this one as well, but for the tut I'll use smaller styrofoam balls to make them more suitable for a standard-sized tree. As with the phrase boards, I'll have the PDF file linked up so you can print out your own word strips.
Now, about the star: Yes, I made it, and no, it wasn't the easiest thing to do...but well worth it! I took 2 large metal stars (about 12" across) and glued them together with epoxy glue, inserting a 2-ply roll of cardstock at the base to create the tube. Then I decoupaged white paper over all of it, let it dry, and freaked out about all the rust that bled through the paper. I gave it a double coat of white Ceramcoat paint, which hid most of the rust spots, and decoupaged the music napkins over all. After giving it a couple more coats of Modpodge, I sprinkled clear glitter over the wet Modpodge. When completely dry, I hot-glued the wired ribbon in place and then the center "Gloria" emblem which I created in Illustrator. C'est finis!
Not sure if I'm going to get a tut done for this one or not. I need to find some smaller metal stars so I can do a smaller one for my own tree...I've looked for years for a tree star that I loved, to no avail. Guess I'll just have to make my own. If I do I'll try and get a tut up and running before December. Lots to do, lots to do...
Here's Eliza, my sweet little helper for the tree decorating project. She was a trooper - from fluffing the tree to decorating to taking photos, it was a 4 hour event, and she didn't complain a bit. We had some good mommy-daughter bonding time.
...so here's the next question: am I allowed to switch my music list over to Christmas songs yet? I don't think I can hold off until after Thanksgiving.....