Monday, November 28, 2011

Festive Holiday Shrub

I am particularly proud and excited about this project, because, unlike many of my posts, this one is not inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or someone else's blog. It's entirely of my own least as far as I know.

The magnolia bush in our yard is always the first plant to lose all its leaves as winter draws near. I love the shape of the shrub, and the color of its dry branches in the winter light. This year I decided it would be the recipient of the first explosion of Christmas cheer.

Going thrift store hunting is a huge part of my holiday shopping. I'm still building up my holiday decor collection, but I'm also still on a budget. And if you didn't know, the thrift store is an insanely good resource for quality Christmas decor that you would pay at least three times as much for at the craft store or even a discount decor chain. I routinely find holiday decor that is brand new with its original tag still attached!

More about my loot in posts to come. Back to the task at hand.

During some recent hunting, I found a bag of brand-new-looking plastic Christmas bulbs. They caught my eye because of the unconventional colors. You've got your typical green and red bulbs, but also playful blues and pinks. The color mix struck me as appropriately Southern Californian.

Hold on a moment, let's get a close up on that price tag:

That's right, this whole bag for $1.99! J'adore thrifty Christmas!

Whoever owned these bulbs before me had been using those big, plastic-coated paperclips as ornament hooks. While I think paper clips are a good solution for missing ornament hooks in a pinch, they are much thicker and more eye-grabbing that traditional hooks, which are supposed to be invisible.

When I need replacement ornament hooks, I make my own out of floral wire. I used my silver floral wire for this project because it disappears better against the gray bark of the magnolia bush. I also have a spool of green on hand for the Christmas tree and wreath decorating (stay tuned!). I find that about 2 or 3 inches of wire makes a good hook.

I started with the red bulbs. I wrapped the top of my wire hooks a few times around each branch. Because the ornaments are plastic, I don't have to worry about them breaking, but I don't want to find them on the other side of the yard on a windy afternoon.

By doing each color one at a time I tried to keep the colors evenly spaced, both horizontally and vertically. I also tried to space out the glitter, satin, and metallic finishes.

And there you have it. The holiday shrub. A little bit of Christmas cheer to catch the light throughout the day and hopefully make passersby smile.

Now, I admit, there is some reference to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in this project, but I hope the end result is more classy than pitiful. What was once dead and gray is now schmancy.

Does any one out there have a unique holiday decoration of their own creation? Or a stunning bargain decor find from the thrift store? Share your stories with me and the world!

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