Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree – 2012

This year, we chose some real, alternative Christmas tree options.

We had two trees in our living room. (I’ve always preferred to have more than one tree for the holiday season.)

One “tree” was actually a bunch of small branches, arranged in a large glass jar, so they looked like a small Christmas tree. I’d picked up those branches at a nearby Christmas tree lot, where they had a stack of extra, odd-shaped branches in a pile to go to the trash.

We decorated that arrangement with all the normal Christmas-y things, including a lot of small, sparkly, multicolored ball-type ornaments. The size suited the small scale of the tree design.

To visitors, it looked like a normal, small (2 – 3 foot tall) Christmas tree.  We liked re-purposing discarded branches to create it.  It felt very “green,” on several levels.

Our “Charlie Brown” Tree

Our other tree involved some serendipity.

Aisling's 'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree 2012.I was out for a walk, and noticed a wonderful, large branch by the side of the road.  It was about four feet tall, and I think it had been pruned from someone’s pine tree.

I brought it home and found a really large, gold, globe-type ornament to hang on it.

(It drooped, naturally.  It’s the way the branch had curved on the original tree… it’s not sagging or anything.)

The effect was almost exactly like the little tree in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

I propped it against the wall, in a shallow bowl of water.  It lost absolutely no needles during the holidays, and it’s still pretty soft & flexible, now.

This afternoon, I’m taking this little tree and our jar of branches to the nearby woods, so the branches return to nature.

These were among my favorite Christmas trees ever, and no trees were killed (or money spent) to enjoy them in our home.

I think this is the beginning of a tradition in our home, and it just sort of happened this year, because I wanted a couple of small trees that fit the size of our apartment.

Got Snow? Snowman Alternative

Snowy park in winterThe weather has become… odd. Warmer than usual, much of the year. Colder at unexpected times.

Generally… kind of odd.

So, when I was browsing old magazines and newspapers, this article caught my attention.  It’s about a “snow devil” alternative to a snowman.  It sounds magnificent, and ideal for an outdoor art projects.

The article is from the San Francisco Call, published on 4 February 1912.

Snow devil - snowman alternativeHere’s another tip:  When I was little, my mother used to give me the tops of beets – some of the beet, with the green plant to use as a handle – and I’d “paint” the snow and ice with the beet.  The color was a wonderful magenta.

I’m sure you could create interesting effects with this “snow devil” with natural coloring, like from beets (or the water you cook them in).

You could also use food coloring, or diluted Dr. Ph Martin’s dyes or radiant colors, or even some watercolors.

(The problem with the latter might be an environmental issue. I’m not sure that the small amount of paint would make a huge difference, but… well, you can look into it if you decide to add color to your “snow devil,” and acrylics are what you have on hand.)

I think this “snow devil” would require several coats of water so it’ll last for awhile.  When I was little and we made igloos in our backyard, we’d coat the snow with buckets and buckets of water.  Between each “layer” of water, we’d let everything freeze solid, and then add more water, and so on.

Fresh Designs – free design book

freshdesigns-frontcover-sm

In the early 1980s, I assembled a book of quilting designs. That is, they’re guides for stitching on completed quilts.

However, you could use these same designs for many other kinds of art, especially fabric art. And, I included some suggestions on a couple of pages in this book.

For example: For a non-fabric art application, I might use some of these designs as templates to cut random pages from magazine photos, and create a collage.

In felt or fabric, they could be great applique designs.

In the early 1980s, this book was sold in quilting shops throughout the US, Canada, and Australia.

Now, I’ve scanned the pages of this book, and assembled them as a free book for you to download in PDF format.

How you can use this book and its patterns

You can use these patterns for your own original art, even art that you sell.

You can also copy these pages–or the entire book–and distribute it to friends, or even to students in a class that you teach.

You can use these patterns at your own website, or even offer the book as a freebie at your site.

Copyright

freshdesigns-page2I retain the copyright to this book and its designs. Here are the copyright rules:

You can’t charge for the book or its designs, but it can be a free handout in a class that you teach.

You must be sure that my copyright notice is on any individual pages that you distribute.

Also, don’t pretend that you created this book or its designs.

If you distribute the book–printed or online for printing/download–the last page in the book must be part of it. That’s where the copyright details are.

Please do not link directly to the PDF file at this website. You can link to this page… just not directly to the PDF file itself.

Download as a PDF

freshdesigns-page11smYou can download this book and print it at your computer. It’s in PDF format, which can be read by several programs, including the free Adobe Reader program.

To download your free copy of “Fresh Designs” in PDF format (about 5MB), right-click on this link and choose “Save to Disk.”

(Be sure to remember where you saved it on your hard drive, so that you can print it, later.)

right-click here for Fresh Designs download

(Please do NOT post the PDF link at other websites, forums or lists.)