I have been dying to make one of these since I saw it in the December 2005 issue of MS Living. I spent a lot of time last winter trying to find a source for the tinsel that I could actually afford. Martha recommended D. Blumchen & Company, but at $1/foot, it was way out of my league.
And then, I found this stuff at Target a week or so ago. I am using the one on the white card, on the left in the photo. You can buy 9 feet for $1.99. However, the ribbon is actually made from 9 tiny strands of tinsel, held together by a monofilament thread. So, when you cut the pieces apart, you actually get 81 feet of tiny tinsel for $1.99. (You could also use the ribbon on the right, which I think is 21 feet for $3, but, it is a bit thicker than the other stuff, and I think a bit fatter than what Martha used.)
Anyway, once you cut off the first row of tinsel with scissors, you can just pull the other strands apart, and then trim off the excess clear thread from the final piece that is left once you have removed the other 7 strands.
Then, find a branch and start wrapping. I couldn't find a branch as intricate as hers, so my husband is going to add some smaller branches to the bigger branch for me. My branch is roughly 2 feet long, and I estimate I am going to use 3 packages of the ribbon to cover it (roughly 240 feet of tinsel). Not bad for less than $7, eh? Obviously, using the Martha source would have cost me a whopping $250, and that is before I put birds on it!
And, some fabric I thrifted today, just because this post has taken me forever to get together!