Finally, I’m getting to posting about our natural Christmas tree and its decorations in keeping with the homesteading tradition as well a few other things we did before 2015 got here. Below is our tree. I made popcorn garland (only 2 strings) but it was still appropriate, and I used the pine and spruce cones.
I also used ornaments we purchased for our wedding 9 years ago – plastic- but since I’m not going to throw them out and they are in good condition we use them. As of now, we will no longer be buying any more decorations for Christmas.
Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve we had good weather so we did a lot of walking and some dog sledding on our property. Below is me and 3 of our 6 dogs. I was warming myself up before I hooked up the dogs.
I have been using the tray below for my shoes and boots for several years. It was here in this house when I married Ernie and moved in and is likely decades old. I shaded out the insides of the shoes to prevent you from seeing the dog hair there although it is all over the tray!
A few weeks ago, (we have been married for 9 years) he told me that it was a drain tray for washing dishes – I had not noticed and had no idea. You can clearly see the place where the water is supposed to drain out. Umm, so THAT was why the water drained onto the floor when it was facing towards the door!
Anyway, I love my boot tray and will use it until it is unusable. It looks like someone even repaired a crack in it with some kind of sealant – probably Ernie’s dad many years ago. Not everything has to be new and perfect and colour coordinated to be used. By using this tray I am saving it from being put in the dump. This is worth more than any fancy new boot tray to me.
The first project for the tree decorations this year are pine and spruce cone “ornaments”. I feel these are appropriate because they are part of a tree (obviously) and they bring the outdoors inside without make much of a mess. They are already dry, don’t fall apart and can be used year after year.
All you need are pine and/or spruce cones, (the ones I have here are Norway spruce), and some thread or if you want to use something fancier, you can use ribbon or glittery gift tying ribbon. I am using sewing thread because it is not too noticeable when hanging on the tree, and also because I will not be spending anything on this project and I don’t have any ribbon I can use.
All you do is tie a piece of thread or ribbon around one of the cone “branches” near the top. Try to make it balanced by placing the thread closer to the centre of the cone. Tie the end into a loop and hang on the tree.
The other ornaments are crocheted snowflakes that my mom made about 30 years ago. They were hidden away in an attic in a relative’s home and we finally found them. They are a little yellowed but look great on the tree.
This is truly an homestead craft project as it costs nothing to make, if you get your cones from your own trees or some that you find.
Today my project is this alpaca/acrylic scarf that I have made in two days from yarn that I bought ages ago but didn’t use. Actually I did use a couple to make scarves, and they turned out to be super warm but not overly dressy.
I made a long wide scarf with large needles so that it could be wrapped and doubled up if necessary for more warmth, but still look dressy or as I like to call it “glam” haha. This scarf is SUPER warm due to the alpaca in the blend. I had four colours, not enough of any one colour to make a sweater so I thought this would substitute. This was just knitting both sides and I used no pattern.
I decided to make our own Christmas tree so that we have a unique looking tree as well as be able to celebrate the beauty of nature in our home all year round. Yes, green trees are beautiful too, but this one lasts for years and is also super earth friendly.
It also cost nothing to make.
I found the branch on our 2 acre property which was deadfall from an old wild plum tree. Ernie made the stand out of scrap wood, 1X2’s and 3/4 inch plywood. You don’t have to be a woodworker to make this base or one like it. He used Philips head screws to attach the wood braces to the tree and the base. The important part is that the wood is quite light so it doesn’t need much in the way of strength for braces. Obviously, a live tree will be much heavier in weight and will also not last more than one season.
This was our main reason for choosing this type of tree – it is totally eco-friendly.
I covered the base with fabric that we already had. You could use anything that goes with your decor and I’ll bet you already have something in your house for this. Be creative.
This tree could even be made with a small branches from any tree that has fallen onto the ground. You can likely find branches like this anywhere, even in the city.
In fact I think a tiny tree made in this way could look extra cool for an apartment.
We keep our tree in the house year round and leave small lights on it for fun.
So I had a bit of a break from the blogging and now I’m back. This fall and all the work we did made us unbelievably busy, and I slacked off on enjoyable things, like this blog.
There will be one small change here. This blog is dedicated to urban homesteading and now also reusing junk to make things you need, something I call “junk crafting”. Basically, it will mostly the same stuff only more intensive on the crafting part. But don’t worry, we are still homesteaders.
We are going to be putting a lot more effort into our YouTube channel as well. Those of you who need or want to work from home will understand that things like this could be one of the ways to make extra money. If you are working at home and able to do something you enjoy to make money, so much the better.
One of the things we did this summer that took up so much time was fencing in our entire 2 acre property for the dogs. We did reuse about half of the fencing that we found or had used somewhere else and took down. The rest had to be new purchases. The fence posts were mostly reused and found. You can see the fence on the right in the picture. Not only will this fence keep the dogs in but it keeps other animals and stray vehicles out! Happy Homesteading!
We really enjoy making our own stuff. This is especially true when it comes to the garden. It is so simple to go out and buy what you need – which usually promptly breaks because of the poor quality found in most things made nowadays.
This spring we made a hot house for our peppers which has really turned out to be amazing. I also included pictures of a hand trowel that Ernie found lying around here and fixed with a nail because not surprisingly it broke after a small amount of use. As well, we use an old barrel to destroy personal papers – the lid is from an old fridge, and the milk jugs are used to protect plants in the spring from frost, all piled up on a metal pole found at the garbage dump.
In other words, buying new isn’t all what its seems. Making your own stuff is creative and stimulates the mind, and it is easier on the earth.
We don’t buy anything fancy when it comes to stuff for the yard. IF we do need something, we buy local or North American made. The picture here is of the table we have on the deck. It is made from brown treated 2x4s and set on top of cement blocks that have been at this house for decades – before I was even here.
The flower pot on the table is from the garbage dump. Oops there is a dent in the flower pot…