Simple Christmas Branch

Last year, we celebrated a fabulous and fun retro mid-century Christmas with lots of over-the-top colors and decorations. This year, I’m going in a different direction with a pared-down Christmas.

I was inspired by pictures of simple branches hung with ornaments. I was going to do this in addition to our Christmas tree, but I’ve decided to do it instead of a tree, and it feels very liberating! This idea is great for people who live in small spaces or just want to simplify.

Our overall look this season is Scandinavian-inspired with touches of gold and glam, and our centerpiece here fits tight in.

Enjoy!



Hope you’re feeling cheerful and warm this season!

“Jewels”

Faux Birch Branches

They say, there’s a fine line between genius and insanity… I think I got a deeper understanding of this when I took on this faux birch branch project.

I saw these a year or two ago in a department store, and I’m not sure what possessed me, but I decided to make them for our house. It’s the kind of fantastic paper creation you might see at Anthropologie, which always has the best art in their store displays… It makes me want to buy a cute sweater… Now! But I digress.

I’m working on creating outdoorsy and white-themed Christmas decorations this year, like these felt poinsettia ornaments and homemade clay ornaments.  I had several large cardboard tubes left over from buying fabric, and I got inspired to transform them into a little homemade forest.  I have to say that I was super-excited when I started, and by the end, I was going blind from visions of decoupaged tissue paper, but I think it was worth it in the end.

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

Materials:

  • Cardboard tubes.  The “trunks” are made from large tubes for rolling fabric.  The “branches” are smaller tubes, including toilet paper and paper towel rolls.
  • Brown paper
  • White tissue paper
  • Mod Podge or glue for decoupage
  • Embroidery floss in black and gray
  • Patience

To get started, created the shapes of the trees.  I used brown paper and Mod Podge to join some long tubes together, so that the lengths would vary.  I also used the same technique to add branches to some of the trunks (pictured below).

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

Next, I started creating the look of birch bark, inspired by instructions on making fake birch bark over at Kitsch Designs.  The first step is to cut the tissue paper into strips – I made a variety ranging from about two to four inches wide.  Then, paint some Mod Podge on the cardboard and wrap strips of tissue paper around the tube (pictured below).  I overlapped the paper in places and left gaps in other places, to give a textured look to the branches.

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at HomeIt looks cool when you tear the wet paper and get a rough edge like this!

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

 

Keep adding layers of paper, overlapping them, so the “bark” is textured and natural-looking (right two pictures below).  I estimate I used a total of about 4 layers.  On the top one or two layers, add some short strips of embroidery floss (left picture below).  I cut this into different lengths and also separated some into strands, so there was a lot of variety.  The floss stuck well to the paper using the Mod Podge.

 

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

 

I “planted” the finished birch branches in a pot wrapped in fabric in our font hall.  I think it would look great with the addition of some greenery and/or ornaments, so I’ll fiddle with that a bit more, but so far, I’m excited with these wintery additions to our foyer.

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

So cool!  Transform cardboard and paper into faux birch branches for a beautiful display | Jewels at Home

After the hours that went into this project, I’ll be keeping these faux birch branches around.  I haven’t decided if I’ll keep them long for next Christmas or maybe cut them short to display in the fireplace.  Let me know what you think!

“Jewels”

Christmas Pillows in Simple White and Gray

I’m not even going to try to hide that I’m crazy about Christmas. I love the warm festive atmosphere, the carols, the time with family.

Over the years, I mostly had the same decorations up each year.  Last year, I tried a new color scheme of red, turquoise, and silver.  This year, I want to do as much as I can in simple gray and white.  I started with our new modern tree skirt, since that is a focal point.

Next, I wanted to make some cute Christmas throw pillows.  The idea behind the pillows is simple.  It’s all the different designs and fabrics that make them fun! The instructions for the basic pillow cover can be found in the post on our living room pillows.  The instructions for making the appliqués can be found in this post from the onesie-decorating baby shower.  Since I put some work into all these new pillows, I chose designs that would last beyond Christmas and through the winter.

Polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows in a simple white and gray color scheme for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Here are some of the decorations I put on my new winter pillow covers!

Reindeer pillows:

Reindeer pillows in a simple white and gray color scheme for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Polar bear pillows:

Polar Bear pillows in a simple white and gray color scheme for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

A snowy forest of trees on this pillows:

Snowy forest pillows in a simple white and gray color scheme for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

And here is our living room with the new pillows.  There’s more I’d love to do, but I like how it’s coming together so far.

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Living room with new polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

Holiday decorating.  Polar bear, snowy forest, and reindeer pillows for Christmas and the whole winter | Jewels at Home

I’m also planning to make a throw blanket and some pillows out of a sweater. It could be a fiasco or an amazing project. If it’s the latter, you’ll see it here!

Are you feeling our snowy white Christmas theme?!

“Jewels”