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Annique's Christmas Tree

I jumped on the Pinterest Felt Christmas Tree Train this year!  It just looked so easy and fun.  I went to JoAnn and got some green felt by the yard.  I also got a few sheets of colored felt.



Then I cut a rectangle roughly the size I wanted the finished tree to be.  I folded it in half and free-handed a Christmas tree design.  I cut it out and unfolded it for a symmetrical tree (because that is how we type-A's roll).

I pulled out my Cuttlebug and a my Sizzix Circles #2 die and ran some of the colored felt through for some ornaments.

My biggest problem was adhering the tree to the wall.  I had planned to use the picture-hanging command strips, but I would have to buy one for each branch and the top and bottom (12 total) and I wanted to find a cheaper option.  Someone suggested glue dots.  I did a little research and found one place that said you could put them on drywall.  Quite skeptical, I adhered a piece of felt to the wall in the garage using a glue dot.  Two days later, I pulled the dot off along with the paint.  Lesson learned.  My third shot is holding up OK.  I used some painter's tape that I looped into a circle.  I had not tried sticky-tack, though, since I did not have any.  I don't think I'll have to use my last resort: to return to the craft store for a large rectangle of felt.  I would glue the tree onto the rectangle using fabric glue and then I could use the command strips (just not as many).



Verdict?  Annique LOVED setting it up!  She keeps the ornaments on the center of the tree and doesn't "branch out" with them, but oh well- it is her tree.  The goal is to have this tree to direct her attention if she starts playing with "mommy and daddy's tree."  I take her ornaments down occasionally so she has the desire to put them back up because she doesn't just approach the tree and start playing with it when it is decorated.



It does help a bit with keeping her out of the big tree.  If she ever starts to play with an ornament on our real tree, I pick her up and say, "How sad, Annqiue is playing with mommy and daddy's tree.  Let's play on Annique's tree instead." I put her down at her tree and start playing with her there.  I think I've only had to do that twice.  I'm pretty sure we'll see this tree again next year!

Did you know I make my own...

I'm pretty frugal.  I'm also a bit adventurous in the DIY department.  Those are two reasons I make a lot of things myself.   A third is easy access to tutorials thanks to Pinterest, but I digress...

What do I make exactly?

Syrup!  This recipe is from a friend.  She said, "allegedly this costs .11 per batch."  I haven't done the math myself, because it passed the taste and simplicity tests.  If you are going for a low-calorie or low-sugar syrup, then this is most definitely not for you.

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon maple extract

Directions:
Bring the water and sugars to a boil, stirring constantly until it seems to be thickening.  The longer you boil - the thicker it will become, but know it will also thicken as it cools.  Remove from heat, allow to cool and add the extract.  Store in the fridge.

What else do I make?  Laundry detergent!  I have been using this recipe I found on The Yellow Brick Home via Pinterest for months now.  Love it and won't go back!

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I also make my own oven cleaner.  You can read that post here.

I have tried making my own liquid hand soap using this recipe from The Farmer's Nest (also via Pinterest).  I failed at my first attempt because I used this awesome-smelling, locally made lavender mint soap by Indigo Wild and the consistency was wrong.


Their soap is made with goat's milk and I think that had something to do with it.  I used three bars (although the recipe calls for one) and it was still too runny.  Nevertheless, I had a gallon of it and we are using it all up so I can try again.  (It works OK for a shower gel, though!)


The last thing that I make is my own lavender spray. It is great for people with curly hair as lavender has cleansing properties so it kind of cleanses and deodorizes the scalp while reviving curls.


I have also used this spray to to freshen up clothes that smell like bonfire smoke. The recipe (5 drops pure lavender oil to 2 quarts water) is from the book Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to anyone with wavy to curly hair.  I have a copy to loan!

A final reason I enjoy making things myself?  I feel it is Eco-friendly.  I cut down on packaging by not purchasing bottle after bottle of syrup or laundry detergent.   I obviously still have to purchase ingredients, but they are either in smaller containers (maple extract), paper containers (Fels Naptha) or purchased with less frequency (washing soda).

Is there something you could buy but choose to make yourself instead?

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