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Posts tagged with Arts

My favorite way to showcase fruit during the holiday season

It's festive, it's easy, it's healthy: It's the fruit tree!

And it's one of my favorite Christmas directions. All you need to do is take a cupcake tree and fill it with various fruits. Stick it on a table, counter or mantle and you'll have a reminder to eat your fruit, and get give your fruit bowl a break.

I haven't tried this, but if you'd like to do a healthy version of an advent calendar, you could probably do so easily with a 24-space cupcake holder like mine. Just a thought.

And while I like the one I made this year (above) featuring clementines, apples and a pomegranate, my favorite one so far was the monochromatic all-clementine one I did last year.

Of course, the best thing about a fruit tree, is it's easily changeable, so the second there are bald spots on my current "tree," I can just fill it in until I have all clementines, or maybe all apples. Pretty!

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Buy?! I’ll make you an ornament wreath!

Honestly, this holiday ornament wreath was much easier to make than it appears.

Honestly, this holiday ornament wreath was much easier to make than it appears. by Mike Yoder

I have never been a crafty person. And by crafty, I mean in the Etsy sense, not the Tyrion Lannister sense.

Sure, I can sew, but it's never more than to fix a missing button. I don't paint, unless you count basic walls and trim. And whenever my son asks me to draw for him, the requested animal/shape/choo-choo train comes out looking like it has been forged by a Mack truck.

No, my "art" is most definitely in my writing (I hope). Though if you ever asked me to handwrite anything you'll wonder both how I escaped being drafted into medical school based on scrawl alone and how I finished school at all writing test papers by hand.

And yet, I do like the idea of being crafty. My mother is quite the crafter, though as a college professor, she barely has time to sit down at her pottery wheel (yes, she has one). When she does have time, she likes to paint, stamp, decoupage, sew and, yes, do pottery. She even had a loom in the ’80s. Cool, huh? She's also the first to admit that I have NONE of her skill despite my genes and my love of Pinterest.

So, she probably was surprised when I messaged her ahead of Thanksgiving, asking if she might be able to bring her glue gun with her while visiting for the holiday. I planned to make "the wreath" I told her.

"The wreath" is a project I'd had my eye on since last year. I'd seen on some site or another a picture of a holiday wreath made out of glass ball ornaments. It was unusual, cool, and if I wanted to buy one on Etsy, expensive as all get out. But with a simple search, I was able to find several different sets of directions on how to make my own out of shatter-proof ornaments. So, after the holidays last year, I bought some discount ornaments, with plans on making the wreath.

It never happened.

Problem No. 1: I couldn't decide on which method to use. You can make it with a foam wreath, string it on a bent hanger or cord of wire, or you could just buy an evergreen wreath and attach the ornaments to that. All the methods looked good, but they also yielded different types of wreaths. You could have a thin one made of wire (bent hanger or otherwise), you could have a slightly bigger one made with a foam wreath, or you could have a very "full" looking one by using the evergreen wreath method.

Problem No. 2: I was stuck with the hanger/cord method because I do not own a glue gun and I didn't want to buy one because, as I've said before, I'm not crafty at all. It would be a waste of money. I could've picked up a cheap one, I suppose, but I'm sure if that thing exploded and oozed hot glue all over me, I'd never attempt to craft again.

Problem No. 3: If I was going to attempt this wreath, I wanted it to look how it did in my brain. Which was full and big, gosh darn it. So, basically, I wanted to do something I couldn't do with a cord of wire or a hanger from the dry-cleaners.

So, I stowed the ornaments in the back of my guest closet and forgot about them ... until, I saw a cheap ornament wreath at Target in Novemeber. It was shiny and pretty, and exactly what I wanted, yet not at all. It was like one everyone could have. I didn't want that, I wanted the one I pictured in my head.

As I stood there, three feet from that pretty, easily obtainable wreath, I Googled the project I'd tossed aside last year. That search came up with this post, which featured the closest thing I could find to the wreath in my head.

Weeks later, when my mom arrived with her glue gun, we headed out to Michael's to look at more parts and pieces. We'd initially changed our minds and thought about using a foam wreath as the structure, but I still had that pretty wreath in my head, and decided in the end to go with an evergreen wreath as the base (bonus: the 18-inch evergreen was only $3.99, half of what a foam wreath would've cost). We bought some silver spray paint, too, and that night, I put on my husband's barbecue apron and stood in our garage, spray-painting the wreath on top of some flattened diaper boxes.

I let it air out for a day, and then, on Sunday morning, literally two hours before my parents had to leave for the airport, my mom and I warmed up the glue gun. At first, it was helpful to have two of us working on it — one to place glue on the ornaments and one to hold the glued ornament flush to the wreath — as we went around the outside edge with large ornaments. By the time we started around the inside (following the directions in this post), I was working alone, no help needed. My mom backed away to finish packing — the training wheels had officially come off.

In about an hour, I had a big, totally unique wreath exactly like I'd pictured in my head last year. It is fat, colorful and shiny and exactly what I wanted.

One project does not a crafter make, it's true. But this single project sure went a long way toward convincing me that I might have a crafty bone in my body after all. A bone that is absolutely terrified to actually hang my pretty ornament wreath for fear it might shatter like a pearl necklace. So, rather than hanging it in my dining room window as planned, I have it sitting sentry on my dining room table as a sort of holiday centerpiece.

And I kind of like it like that — just sitting there as a reminder of spending time with my mom, doing something she likes to do. Maybe next time I see her, we'll try another craft. Of course, I'm not going to start saving up for my own pottery wheel anytime soon, but at least I now own a (hand-me-down) glue gun.

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