Monday, December 03, 2007

Simple Solutions

Since a day like today in my life includes: do the laundry, do the dishes, change a million diapers, wipe down the disgustingly dirty kitchen walls, repair the vacuum cleaner, read books with Jack, do puzzles, make 3 more Christmas presents, plan the menu and make the grocery list for the next two weeks, mop the kitchen and bathroom floors, work on the Christmas tree, feed Jack 26 times, etc. etc. etc.; I thought we could all use some simple holiday solutions.
I have a lot of old spun cotton package tie-ons that were made in Japan in the 1950s. I can never pass them up, but what to do with them? In 30 minutes or less I threw them all on a wreath. I love having them all together, and while I think the wreath could use more ribbon or glass balls or something, it works for now. This would work for any leftover ornaments you didn't put on the tree, ornaments that are too small for your tree, etc.

My wreath is just that fake garland wrapped around one of those $3 wire wreath forms. (Those things are handy.)
I always hear people say they are too afraid to put their old ornaments, or most precious ornaments, on their trees because they are afraid of them breaking. Many moons ago Dave and I worked together to create a system that works really well at protecting your Christmas tree from rambunctious kids/cats/dogs/neighbors/drunk Uncle Joe.

Every single one of my trees is screwed down to a table (or in this case a wooden packing crate). Make sure whatever you screw it down to is stable enough to not tip over though. Once you put on a fancy tree skirt you don't notice the ugly rigging underneath anymore. As an added bonus the trees get a lot more height without having to pay for 8 foot trees. (I use vintage trees, and they tend to be on the small side.) It also means most of the ornaments are out of reach of curious fingers. Then I wire on each ornament a la Martha. Wrap each hook securely around the branch several times instead of just hanging it there where it can be pulled off or slip off easily.

The only ornaments I have lost since I started using that method are due to my own clumsiness, Jack and the cats have yet to break a single one.
I never, ever do the gingerbread house thing because it is a crazy amount of work. We bought a kit at Costco for $9. Awesome. It went together in minutes, the icing is REALLY gluey and Jack loved doing it. He ate more candies than he glued on though!

Anyone else have super simple holiday solutions to share?

(What is up with bloglines picking up yesterday's post again and not this one? Wierd.)

27 comments:

  1. I lvoe your wreath and it gave me a great idea for some ornaments I have. Thanks!

    I never want to make a gingerbread house either and wondered how those kits were. Good to know.

    Cheers! LA

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  2. The wreath looks so nice! I can promise mine would not look that good.

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  3. Another easy way to put the ornaments on is to use twist ties-they won't come off that way! I like the idea to add height to the tree=I will have to try that

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  4. I love those little cotton package tie-ons -- they're adorable. As is the wreath. And I want to see the tree attached to the three stand LOL. (My bloglines got this post just fine, btw.)

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  5. I love the white wreath and think it looks good as is with just the cute ornaments!

    Here's another simple solution... I don't like the fake wreath or the wooden "Merry Christmas" cutout sign I have for my front door. A real wreath is expensive. This year when we got our tree, the lady pointed out a pile of leftover branches cut off of trees to even out their shape or clean them up near the trunk. She said "take what you want" so I did. I ended up putting a bunch together and tying them at the top. I added a purchased ribbon with a jingle bell and viola, a door decoration. It is a real evergreen swag! I also used some of the extra branches and cut off pieces to add behind candles on sconces as well as around a table decoration in the dining room.

    Next time you buy a tree, ask if they have scraps, or use scraps you may have from your own tree!

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  6. Boy, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has days like that!

    My simple solutions is a prelit, artificial tree. We bought one on sale last year. Now, we don't have to spend an hour out in the cold trying to find the perfect tree. We don't argue about how the lights should be put on. No one has to remember to water the tree. And there are no needles to vacuum!

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  7. Those are great hints. I don't really have any tips and/or hints on how to make the holidays easier. I don't stress alot about the holidays. Perhaps I'm the only one though. Each Christmas season is a bit different than the last. There are some traditions that tie them all together but nothing elaborate or exhausting. Hmmm. Maybe I"m not doing enough.

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  8. Love your wreath-great use of ornaments :) I did one last night of bulbs that I have come across thrifting--a little hot glue, a flocked wreath (bought at Dollar General) and ta-da, a nice new holiday piece.

    Great tips from everyone!

    My only tip is to make a list--and not just check it twice--check it a million times so you don't end up with Ohhhh like 6 bags of brown sugar because you don't think you have any in the cupboard....not that I would do anything like that, I'm just saying ;)

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  9. awesome ideas my dear! and you could totally use something easy! take a breath and enjoy the season!

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  10. We always used to tie our tree up with fishing line when we were younger. I might need to do that this year. I don't trust Sawyer.

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  11. I'm loving the "simple" idea. And that Gingerbread House- Love it!!

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  12. The wreath is darling. So is the boy ;-) I may oughta go buy one of those kits for Caleb to do. First my long distance daughter calls to say we really should buy one of those costco kits and now I read your post!

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  13. Great system with the tree! Simple solution...hmmm...this year I went altogether simple and put out far less than my usual decorations. It's feeling very fresh and by next year I will have forgotten some of my decorations that are still in storage, so they will seem new again.

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  14. Fabulous wreath, good tips and I LOVE that gingerbread house. I know your life is busy busy busy... but it seems so full and happy in your family! Thanks for being a bright spot in my workday.

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  15. I buy that gingerbread house kit every year -- it is, hands down, the best kit ever. Don't you love the slotted tray? And they actually include enough icing and candy to make it a really great display. And it's so cheap too! I could go on and on, but I'm always telling everyone about the kit and how it's not even worth baking the pieces to put together. Glad to see that someone else enjoyed it too!

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  16. You should do a tour of your home all decorated. It must be somethin' to see.

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  17. I believe there is universal love for that wreath!...sooo cute :)

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  18. Ingrid5:07 PM

    Hi Sarah,

    I posted on my blog http://ingridlavoie.wordpress.com/ an idea for simple ornaments. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas, crafts and treasures! It is wonderful to see and get inspired from your world that you share, thank you!
    -Ingrid

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  19. what a great idea for the tree. I was wondering how it was going to work out with Isaiah. It'll be the first year we have a tree with him, and we're planning to get a live one. Hmm.. we might have to put a gate around it!

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  20. great ideas - thanks for sharing!

    My simple solutions is just to cut back (I didn't put up all my decorations, we try not to feel like we have to go to all the parties, etc.) - not much fun, but what I really do and ti certainly makes the holidays run more smoothly and be more enjoyable.

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  21. I love all your ideas and your wreath idea is brilliant!!
    That little Jack is such a cutie...!!!

    Linda

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  22. Feeding Jack 26 times?? hehehe

    That's a great costco gingerbread house!

    Holiday solutions? I actually don't decorate my house. Isn't that terrible? :)

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  23. Love your secure tree technique.

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  24. Putting your tree up onto a box also gives extra room for the gifts.
    I love the wreath...so cute.

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  25. http://mandco.typepad.com/1:27 PM

    What a gorgeouse wreath!! I simply love it!

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  26. Great idea with the tree. I have already lost a couple of ornaments this year due to the cat, kids and me!

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  27. What an adorable wreath. I'm thinking my basement would be a fun retro Christmas backdrop. Gingerbread houses are the best!

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