One day, I will be the kind of mother who plans ahead at Christmas time. All the presents will be bought and wrapped weeks in advance, and we will decorate the whole house on the first of December, with the carefully stored decorations that we have used year after year.
One day. But definitely not now. Because I only decided at the last moment that we should decorate the flat this year, and then refused to actually buy decorations, it has taken us quite a while to get anything up. However, stage one of operation Christmas Decorations is now complete, so I thought I’d share a progress report.
A couple of weekends ago, Tom and I started the process when we went foraging for some decorations. A few days later, whilst I was at work, Mr Techno and Tom went to buy a Christmas tree. They were under strict instructions to get the smallest one they could find. So, of course, they came back with something that takes up a third of the living room And a wreath for good luck.
With something to actually decorate, and paint and glitter having finally arrived, Tom and I got started on the decorations. We began with the baubles – made from sycamore fruit we had gathered in the park.
We made two colours, gold and red. The gold ones were spray painted, but, because I was put off by the non-eco-friendliness of normal spray paint, I opted for fabric spray paint instead, which claimed to be non-toxic. The sycamore fruit took quite a while to dry as a result, but they looked great.
Tom wasn’t allowed to help with the spray painting (toddlers and spray paint seemed like a receipe for disaster), but got involved with painting the red ones, which we did with normal poster paint. It took a lot longer, and the effect is not quite as good, but I still think they came out looking pretty decent.
Once all the paint had dried, I attached tied knitting yarn around the stems of the fruit and hung them off the tree.
The baubles came out pretty well, but the tree looked a bit plain with just the one shape. Fortunately, I have been saving toilet roll tubes for months, knowing that they would come in handy some day for a craft project. Stars for the tree seemed like a perfect way to use some up*.
We started by painting the tubes red with the same poster paint we used on the baubles. Tom was pretty good at getting the idea that the paint needed to go on the tube, but wasn’t so clear on the idea of covering the entire thing. Still, he did a pretty good job. I did the other three whilst he worked on his one.
The next stages are a bit more fiddly, so I waited until Tom was in bed for the night and the first layer of paint was dry. I gave each tube a coat of glitter paint, then left them to dry whilst I had dinner. Once they were dry, I cut each tube into rings – each about two cm wide. This gave me five rings per tube, with a tiny bit left over. I then glued the rings into a star shape, using my little craft pegs to hold them together whilst they dried (normal pegs would work just as well, but I’m a sucker for miniature things!)
I left the stars to dry overnight, then hung them on the tree the next day.
To be honest, I should probably have painted the inside of the tubes too. Still they turned out pretty well. I’m going to make more over the next few days, with Tom’s help of course. Then all we will need is a big star for the top.
In a way, I’ve quite liked our gradual approach to decorating this year. It’s a little bit like having an advent calendar, except Tom gets to see what new decorations have appeared each morning instead of opening a little door. So maybe I’m not in such a hurry to become an organised mother after all…
*The idea for the toilet roll tube stars came from this site.