Every Friday, I'll be posting Five Dollar Decor--five ideas for interior decorating that can be achieved by spending only five dollars. For five dollars, you can add one new element to your in-home design. For twenty-five, you can revamp an entire room around a new theme. Hmm... a trip to Starbucks, or a weekend redecorating project?
I'm going to be doing something a little different this week. Rather than featuring whole-room decor, I'd like to focus on Christmas ornaments. Also, I'll be doing multiple posts over the weekend, highlighting a different style of Christmas decoration in each.
Mr. Scrimp works near a very high-end, expensive mall, and I will occasionally wander around it to get ideas. I noticed that the emphasis at the big pricey home goods stores this year seems to be on things that look homemade--lots of felt, lots of yarn, lots of natural materials. Well, why pay $5 an ornament for faux-homemade when you can get the real thing for less?
For a very traditional, old-American Christmas look, stick with reds and whites and avoid glitter. Shades of red and cream with a lot of greenery and hints of silver will make a sophisticated statement without giving up any of the jump-out-at-you color that makes Christmas so distinctive.
These aren't the grade-school-craft felt ornaments of your childhood. These are beautiful, stylish, and charmingly old-fashioned. They have a type of Depression-era chic to them that I can't help but love.
1. Fabric Balls
These, of course, come from the perpetually perfect Martha. She made hers with taffeta, satin, and velvet, and all sorts of fancy-schmancy trims. I think they're very pretty that way (who am I to quibble when Martha says something must be so?) but I saw something similar over at Crate & Barrel that were covered with felt and yarn and looked much simpler, and I honestly liked them better.
2. Peppermint Garland
Good Housekeeping is so simple they don't even have a tutorial. Just buy a couple of bags of individually wrapped peppermint lozenges and glue them together end-to-end with a hot glue gun. I love the look of striped peppermints but can never finish eating one, so this is a great way to keep them around withoutbeing tempted to actually pop one in my mouth.
3. Popsicle Stick Sled
The year I was born, a family friend gave my parents one handmade popsicle stick sled ornament for each of us, painted Radio Flyer red and embellished with our names and the year in silver paint. Well, that was 25 years ago, and now mine is the only one that is still intact.
This tutorial from Family Fun suggests using pre-colored popsicle sticks from the craft store to save painting time. (I'm horrified that they made it yellow. Everyone knows the best sleds are red, especially at Christmas.)
4. Add Some Silver
Well listen, I didn't say this was going to be a post made up exclusively of handmade ornaments. A Christmas tree isn't really decorated till it's got a little sparkle going. For a modern-vintage look, stick with thinner tinsel garlands, tinsel icicles (used sparingly, or silver glass ball ornaments, and go for silver, because originally, tinsel was actually made out of metal. Check Goodwill and the Salvation Army, too--a lot of times around this season you can find boxes of antique tinsel. You can also almost always find boxes of antique ornaments.
I'm planning to swing by the dollar store this weekend and pick up a pack of silver ornaments and experiment with antiquing them with glaze as in this post at Dollar Store Crafts. I'm hoping it will make those lackluster, cheap ornaments look somewhat similar to mercury glass. If it works out, I'll let you know and post a tutorial!
5. Ice Skate Ornaments
Like most little girls, I had fond dreams at one point of becoming a figure skater. My mom duly enrolled me in figure skating lessons and dropped me off at the rink, trusting my older brothers to see me safely to figure skating before they went to their hockey practice.
She should have known better. As soon as she was gone, my brothers cornered me and impressed on me the solemn knowledge that hockey is way cooler than figure skating, and that if I wanted to be cool, I could only do it by playing hockey. I worked my six-year-old wiles on the hockey coach and got him to let me on the pee-wee team in lieu of figure skating lessons.
And so my dreams of being a figure skater were squashed under the weight of fifty million pounds of hockey gear. But they came back to me when I saw these.
Modeled after vintage handmade ornaments, these ice skates from Not Quite Vintage might be the most adorable homemade ornament I've seen on the Internets to date. I am definitely going to be making at least one set of these, and possibly more. Look at the pom-poms! And the sequins! Look!
I'm going to run away from home and be a figure skater.