simple do-it-yourself garland

This is about the time of year when home decorating can go one of two ways.
shutterstock_113605411One, you sit back, look around, and say “my, the house looks so festive and lovely!”

Or, you sit back and go “my, the Christmas decorations could really use some help this year.”

In my case, we are in our new home, and when I pulled out the bin of decorations, well, there just weren’t enough to go around. The result were blank spaces around the home, void of Christmas cheer. Black holes where the lights and glitter and greenery suddenly ends.

I needed some more Christmas cheer!

shutterstock_341003540Being on a budget (time and money) and considering the outrageous cost of decorations that you only have up one month a year, I set out to make some of my own. I like to keep things simple – quick, easy, low cost. December does NOT need more stress, especially from trying to make some Christmas extravaganza spectacular 500 step-with-a-hot-glue-gun craft you saw on Pinterest.

 

Introducing – the easiest holiday garland you with ever meet. It will make your wallet happy and keep your mind sane.

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Keep it simple, folks.

#reclaimchristmas

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This isn’t huge and elaborate, but is it a great way to add something simple to an empty space. It is is easy, and something your can have the kids helps with, without losing your mind.

 

Here is what you will need.

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~Twine or Ribbon (heavy twine for a larger garland, or use thinner twine or ribbon for a more delicate feel). Use what you already have around the house; no need to buy something new if you don’t have to!

~Evergreen clippings from around your yard. I went to a Christmas tree lot and asked if I could collect some of the left over clippings that they were going to throw out! Even if you are in Tucson you can find some yummy smelling evergreens.

~Scissors for the twine and clipper for the branches

If you are in the Tucson, eyucalyptus is great for this project! IMG_2376It is very common around town and in parks, and many people have them in their yards. They have green-gray leaves that hold their shape well, and sometimes you will find little clumps of green berries as well.

Use what you have around you! Go outside and make a lap around your yard, snipping little pieces off of the trees around you. Make this project YOURS. 

You will want to take the bigger pieces and cut them into smaller pieces, roughly the same size. I say roughly, because we are keeping this simple, remember? No need to pull out the measuring tape here. IMG_2375

Next, lay the pieces out on your table and form a pattern that you like.

This will make is easier when you start to put this all together. If you have different sized clippings, put the larger ones in the middle and the smaller ones towards the end.

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Now it is time to put it all together!

Cut a piece of twine or ribbon WAY longer than you need. You can always cut it shorter at the end, if you don’t need it all. You will need a lot more than you think, so measure it out, and then add some more. When you tie the knots around the branches it will take up a lot of that extra!

Next, find the middle of your string (again, just estimate). That is where you will start. It is easier to start in the middle and work out, doing one side a time. Don’t ask me why, but, I have tried it both ways, and it just never seems to work out very well when I don’t start in the middle!

 

 

Grab the piece of greenery that is in the middle of your layout (one of the bigger pieces) and start with that.

Tie a simple knot around the stem and pull it tight. Nothin’ fancy, we aren’t in the Boy Scouts! Just a plain ol’ loop, not even a double knot.  As the greenery dries, it shrinks a little, and you want to be able to pull the twine tighter if you you need to, to keep it from falling apart. It also helps to tie it in the middle a little bit, instead of right at the very top of the stem.

You can also losing tie the knot first, then pull the clipping through and tighten it.

Once you have that first middle piece, just keep moving on to your next clipping! You don’t have to measure how far apart to make them, just eye ball it.

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If you add one and it is too close or too far away from it’s neighbor, adjust it before moving on to the next one. It is much easier to adjust them one at a time as you go, instead of trying to shift them all at the end. Again, I learned the hard way.

IMG_2382You might find that the clippings turn sideways when you tighten the knot. That is ok… try re-tying the knot, or, tying it at a different place on the branch.  Or, if you like the way it looks, just leave it! This is YOUR project, remember? Go with what looks nice to you.

It’s starting to look pretty nice, isn’t it?!

Keep adding pieces until the garland is as long as you want, or you run out of twine, or, you run out of branches.

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To hang it up, you can make a loop at the end of the twine, or, just wrap it around a hook or nail. It’s up to you, so do whatever is easiest and whatever looks nice to you.

 

 

You can hang your newly created beauty indoors, or outside. I made one to clip my Christmas cards too and love it! Use little clothespins, paperclips, binder clips, or whatever you already have handy.

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Some last minute tips…

~Don’t hang your garland close to a fire place or candles. The greenery will dry out quickly and burst into flames if near an open flame. That’s not the way to spread Christmas cheer.

~You can mist your garland with a spray bottle to help keep it fresh, but, evergreens and eucalyptus will age beautiful as they dry. So don’t be sad as they fade. Enjoy the change and appreciate the transition from new to old.

~Keep it simple. I say it again, because it is so easy to get caught up in the season with decorating and trying to get things to look perfect. Make this your own. Enjoy the process. Put on some music and grab a cup of tea. If we are all so busy with trying to MAKE Christmas, then we end up missing it entirely. 

Don’t miss Christmas. 

Before you know it, January will be here and the decorations and the dust and the glitter will go back into boxes, to stay in the dark til next year. So enjoy this season!

 

I hope this post was helpful and inspired you to create something of your own this season! I’d love to see what you make!
Warmly,
Elizabeth 

 

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