Shopping means something different to me than it does to a lot of people. I’m one of these people that walks through a store and instead of buying things, I dream of how exactly I can MAKE it! I love the challenge of trying to make it look like the real thing when in fact it cost very little.
My IG friend Terrie at https://decorateandmorewithtip.com/ hosts a monthly DIY challenge and was gracious enough to ask me to participate this month. She has some really great DIY challenges that you should check out on her blog. This month’s challenge was to buy a Dollar Tree tabletop tree and show how we used it in our decor. These trees turned out to be so popular that I couldn’t find one in any of the Dollar Trees near me. So off to my favorite thrift store to see what I could find as a substitute! I love shopping second hand because you never know what you might find.
I found this table top tree for $2.49 and it was a hot mess. All twisted up, with some of the branches twice as long as others, it took me a long time to get it straightened out. The branches were very thick wire, so instead of trying to cut them with my wire cutters, I bent the ends under. It had such a big bend in the trunk that I had to take a hammer to it. At this point I was thinking that $2.49 might have been a ripoff!
Some of the branches did not look good, so I gave it a good overall spray with Snow to try to hide the bad spots. I then plunked it down into a metal pail. I didn’t want to overwhelm my little tree so I opted for just a simple ivory garland made with Premier Yarns Couture Jazz. This yarn is flat like a ribbon so I was disappointed when I bought it, thinking that I could arm knit something very cool and chunky with it. I think it turned out perfect as a garland.
Creating an inexpensive Gnome
I have never been a gnome person—actually do not like the traditional gnomes at all. But I’ve been seeing these cute farmhouse and rustic gnomes recently and decided I wanted to try to make one to go with my rustic tree. These gnomes are actually very simple to make but they do require a long pile fur which, for some reason, is very expensive. I searched in all the craft stores but did not find any small squares of long pile in natural colors. It seems that everyone else had the same idea that I had! No way was I spending $20 a yard for fur at the fabric store. So back to my favorite thrift store I went. There I found 2 different long pile vests for women and also a small festive sweater. Added to these was a sock from a pair purchased at Dollar Tree and you have the basics for making a gnome (for less than $5!).
To assemble the gnome, put a small amount of beans or rice (dry) in the bottom of the sock to give it weight. Then stuff tightly with polyester stuffing up to the heal. Using thread or yarn, tie off the sock above the stuffing then cut off the top. The body is done.
For the beard, very carefully cut from the backside of the fur. I found the best way to do this was to fold the material right sides together and with small scissors carefully cut just the backing material. I free handed what I thought would make a good beard, then hot glued this to the top of the body. For the nose, I searched my craft bins and drawers for an elusive wood bead or ball to no avail. Instead I cut a small circle of muslin, put a running stitch around the outside of the circle and drew up some polyester stuffing into the middle. This was hot glued onto the body.
To make the gnome hat, I cut the sleeve off the child’s sweater that I found. Then I sewed at an angle from the cuff to the shoulder. You could just as easily hot glue this if you did not have a machine. The hat is just stretched onto the body, slightly draped over the nose.
My thrift store tree actually looks better than I thought it would and I’m pleased with how it blends into my decor.
Next up on this blog tour for the DIY challenge is Jessica. Make sure to stop there next and give her some love. Below are all the creative people who have joined in this challenge. We hope you stop at everyone’s blog and find some inspiration for your decorating!