Part 4 in a 25 Part Series: Maryann's Favorite Christmas Things


Part 4 is...Christmas DIY!  Hurray, hurray.


Rules of 'DIY With Maryann'

1) Spend more money than you would if you've just bought something already made by a professional.
2) Do not use any professional tools.
3) Do not consult any professional advice or helpful hints on the internet.
4) Use the most inefficient method possible to complete the project.
5) If the completed project didn't turn out perfect, leave it as is.  You tried.

Today's Christmas DIY project is...ornaments!  Kind of!  We require an addendum rule:

6) Taking a product someone else designed/created and warping it into your own Frankenstein-ian masterpiece totally counts as legit DIY.

Last year for my Christmas Open House Party, I bought some decor to have around the home, as one does.  One of my favorite places for home decor is Cost Plus World Markets.  I can't tell if we're not supposed to say the 'Cost Plus' part any more, but I do.  Just like I called Jamba Juice "Zuka Juice" and Papa Murphy's "Papa Aldo's" and Rite Aid "Payless" for as long as humanly possible.

Cost Plus World Markets sells all kinds of decor in styles from all over the world.  But even with the globe at my fingerprints, my inclination in the Christmas department almost always gives way to 1950s Christmas Kitsch.  It's my weakness.  If I wasn't positive that digesting it would kill both my cats, my tree would be strewn in tinsel, like so:

Is that one of the Christmas trees from my father's youth?  Yes, yes it is.  Is my parents' childhood nostalgia part of why I feel nostalgia for 1950s Christmas?  God only knows.  I also like 1960s and 1970s Christmas kitsch.  Or 40s.  Look, if it's kitschy, I'm in.

So when I saw this table runner at Cost Plus World Markets, I had to have it:

I had no choice in the matter.  Normally I would think, "Ick!  Table Runner?  Ick!"  Table runners are so fucking useless.  To me, at least.  Why not make this into a tablecloth?  Why is it just a runner?  I don't have a table or a dining room big enough for the cool part of this runner (the ends) to ever be visible. Did you know that Pier One Imports ONLY sells table runners?  I was informed by a staff person that they don't sell tablecloths.  What is this world coming to?

Trying to find a spot for the runner at the Open House Party was difficult.  It ended up on the bar, folded multiple times, hanging out under the alcohol.  So this year, with no party, you can see I stuck it on my coffee table.  But last Friday night as I was looking at it I thought, "Look.  The whole reason you like this table runner is the ornaments.  And you hate table runners, but you love ornaments.  So let's do the logical thing: let's turn those 2D ornaments into 3D ORNAMENTS."

Carefully following my DIY rules, I proceeded to cut out each of the ornaments from the runner.  Did I consider that maybe I should do one and then cut out the others after learning from the mistakes of the first ornament?  Of course not!

Then, I hit a road block.  What would I stuff them with?  I didn't have any available pillows I wanted to massacre, and I didn't have the forethought to start hoarding Oz's fur.  But the answer was right in front of my face: I would stuff the ornaments with the boring, not decorated part of the runner that would be left over!

I didn't take any progress photos because the house was a mess and I was a mess and the ornaments were a mess.  But if you're really curious:

Step 1) Cut out all the ornaments, front and back.
Step 2) Put the both sides inside out, and proceed to hand sew stitches all the way around, leaving about a 2 inch gap for stuffing.
Step 3) Turn ornament right side out.
Step 4) Shove in leftover runner.
Step 5) Quickly realize that what you think will be a big enough gap will never be quite big enough, and proceed to break multiple stitches on either side of the gap with your stuffing force.
Step 6) Sew super ugly stitches along the outside of the gap and wherever you broke stitches.  We're taking large, irregular, some-outside, some-inside, weird-looking stitches.
Step 7) Cut holes in the back of the top of the ornament, and run a string or ribbon through for hanging.
Step 8) Optional: coat liberally in cat hair.


I did it! They probably won't fall apart for 2 or even 3 years! Success. Close-ups on my half-assed work:

Aw yeah.  I really, really like them.  If they looked like someone older than 6 had made them, I would buy those suckers in a store or on Etsy/Ebay!  Also, when the cats knock them down, they don't break, which is quickly becoming one of the most important features my ornaments can have.

Want to see what they look like in a shot of the whole tree?  Second photo down (not counting the header photo.  If you are counting the header photo, then it's third photo down.).


loverstreet said...

the sadistic part of me was disappointed to see these TOTALLY turned out. you keep setting me up with these stories of epic disasters only to show me pictures of DIY projects gone right. i am going to have to look elsewhere for DIY failures because you are not providing! :)
in less selfish terms: nice job lady. christmas at your house looks amazing. can i come?

Maryann said...

Oh, Lindsey! I love that sadistic part of you. And PLEASE come over! I'll make you hot chocolate and let you snuggle the kitties!

jonathan edmund said...

Maryann these are GORGEOUS! Can't wait to see them in person on Sunday :)