on the cheap: winter trees.

i'm a december = christmas kind of gal, the decorations go up december 1st, and don't have to come down until the 31st [or maybe january 1st if you've partied a little to hearty]. that being said, i think i officially have to call these winter trees instead of christmas trees at this point! so here is the little winter wonderland that has taken up residence at our house this year...

felt trees. LOVE. and if you're going to have one, why not have a forest, right?
i borrowed several tutorials to create my little forest.

tree #1:
for the two biggest ones i really wanted to use wise craft's tomorrowland trees tutorial. hers are made with felted sweaters, but i was going to sew together sheets of felt. however! after some sad attempts at trying to get the right shape to fit the cone, and it not working at all, i saw some almost squarish ones from garnet hill, and altered my design a little... success! it is four triangles sewn together, and it just slips right onto the cone- exciting, because that means you can just slip it off and gently flatten it to store away for next year! i also loved these leafy ones, but decided not to attempt them for now. i found this gorgeous shade of green felt [at joann's, maybe .30 cents a sheet?] and knew it had to come home with me and become little felty trees.
i can't decide if i want to add a little embroidery to this one or leave him solid green.

tree #2:

the very biggest tree was the one that took the longest to finish (well after christmas if i'm honest!). but i definitely think it was worth it. i really wanted to do some sort of crocheted tree, and it took me awhile to find a tutorial or pattern that was free/simple/easy. after lots of googling, i found the perfect one [and a beautiful crochet blog!] over at dottie angel- simple, and also open to interpretation. about halfway through, i lost track of how the rows fit together, and just winged it until it looked right. sounds crazy, but i'm so happy with how it turned out! tree in progress [right beside my little tour eiffel it reminds me of this]:
i think i'll be making more of these for next year. i have to admit, though it only took me about three days, i was relieved when it was done. it was like knitting a sock, and being glad there wasn't a second one. and i had a little crafting-nerd-thrill when there was exactly enough yarn left in my leftover skein of that amazing green yarn of which i must buy more.
but they needed a couple of little friends! that's where the party hats came in... $1 for 8 plain, regular little cardboard paper party hats at the dollar store. i just took off the elastic trim and started gluing stuff!

tree #3:
this one i honestly made up as i went along, gluing 2 to 3 inch strips of ribbon that i'd cut with pinking shears. [confession: i might re-do this one a little bit before i put it away with the christmas decor, using little ribbon loops instead... it needs a little more 'fatness!']

tree #4
i roughly followed this tabletop tree tutorial, except i did mine in long strips of fabric and just fringed the edge, rather than pinning on several little pieces. there was some kind of stabilizer already ironed onto the fabric [leftover from one of my mom's projects] which made it much easier and sturdier to work with.

tree #5
the next one i cut out tons of little 1" paper circles from card stock and wrapping paper and glued them all around, using my trusty fiskars 1" punch. then i decided it looked a little too... flat. since many of the trees were ending up solid in color, i wanted them to have lots of texture and look a little leafy! [plus, it just kept reminding me of a buddy the elf costume].
but then, i found a similar tutorial done in felt, so i did a quick re-do with 1.5ish" circles of that same great colored felt. i just traced the lid of a little medicine bottle and cut them out:
i also purposefully glued them [right on top of the paper] a little more randomly, which i liked better than the perfectly-lined-up way the paper circles turned out. story short: i liked it in paper, i loved it in felt.

tree #6
i needed some bigger trees, so i followed this really easy [although time-consuming] tutorial that made a tree from folding a magazine! i thought this was the coolest idea. it looked really cool with the different papers showing through the folds, and i thought about hitting it with just a little bit of left-over green spray paint to soften it a little bit, but in the end i liked the extra color.

tree #7
with one more party hat as the base, i made one more- a super simple yarn wrapped tree [also found two great tutorials if you're interested, one pearl button and pretty ditty!] i think this was one of my favorites, and next year i might just stick with this one kind and make tons of different sizes, maybe spreading them down the middle of the dining room table like a centerpiece/table runner. sort of like these paper ones from better homes & gardens. forewarning though... this one gave me the most glue-gun burns! even though the yarn was a little hard to wrangle.
i also made this origami-like one from martha out of increasing sizes of paper circles. if i were to do it over again, i would have kept increasing up to 8" circles to make it larger rather than stopping at 6" like hers did, but when it was finished i just wasn't crazy about it! a little too pagoda-y for me i think, but it was fun and easy. plus, i never did get a little spool for the base, so i propped it in a little glass jar and it was always leaning a little.

little trees:
i had made some little stuffed felt ornaments a few years back, inspired by these japanese ones,
so i tucked them in between the bigger ones to fill in a little bit.

i really like tree/leaf themes throughout the year, but especially love them at christmas! and it turns out lots of other folks are loving them too, since i found about a bajillion other cute tutorials, each of them just a little different but all pretty simple and very adorable!

felt tree with a stick base by recycled lovelies

wrapped felt tree by inside a black apple

ribbons and trims tree by thompson family-life

felt layer tree by felt-o-rama

felted circle tree by the long thread

and a stacked cone tree by the small object.

if you're going for a candyland/whoville christmas look, a couple of gumdrop trees would be completely adorable [and of course a gumdrop wreath to go with it!]

this year they all lived on a bookshelf by the reading chair, but for next year, i'm envisioning a long, plain table runner down the middle of a big dining room table, filled with trees with different sizes and textures, a string of christmas lights and maybe some faux snow. a little christmas forest of trees! [or maybe on a shelf amongst my white dishes.]
my three favorites! these were so quick and satisfying, i can't wait to make more for next year! are you noticing a theme about this particular craft? if you don't like the first incarnation, try try again! also known as the wing-it method. apparently craftster summed me up as well with their new logo:


  1. This is wonderfully creative and just the sort of thing I would love to have! :-)

  2. thanks lindsey! they are lots of fun to do!


i love to hear your comments or questions! i'll try to respond as quickly as possible, or you can email me at leafandletter[at]gmail.com :)



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