Well, Christmas is over. It’s almost Epiphany. It’s time for the decorations to come down. Sigh…
It’s time to get all this extra stuff out of my living space, but it’s also a bit depressing when my house is plain and boring. The outside is bleak and gray, we can’t spend much time outside because of the cold, and I just can’t stand the thought of my house being bleak, too!
That’s why I’m excited about this post-Christmas decor to alleviate my winter blues. Branches and birds bring the outdoors in and can add some interest and color to my house. I also love using branches to decorate because working within the confines of the natural shapes is fun for me; I have less control over it and consequently can’t worry about getting it perfect or precise (yay!).
I have used branches in decoration in a few ways around my house. For Christmas, I put some ornaments on them. In this post, I used them to display paint-dipped pinecones, which is another fun idea for cheery winter decor. Sometimes I tie yarn pom-poms on them for a bit of color. But the floating branches in Peanut’s room are hands-down my favorite display.
I’ve seen crafts like this floating around Pinterest in various forms. This first version I made a few years ago. Peanut was moving into a big girl bed and I wanted to make it an exciting and fun transition. I was also feeling a little guilty about having a new baby and worrying that I’d never have as much time to spend on my first little girl and she’d feel deprived and on and on and on. So, all that to say I wanted to do some special things for her big girl room.
I painted the branches with glitter glue, and then took a bag of craft pompoms (similar to these) and hot glued them all over the branches. The bird (instructions below) I made out of leftover fabric from a rag quilt I’d made for Peanut’s big girl bed. I tied the branches together with thread and then strung them up from the ends of the curtain rod on each window. (You could use hooks or nails in the wall, but I was going for simplest and least holes in the wall.)
Now for the birds. I’m so sorry I can’t find the original post with the design for this bird, but here is a printable pdf. It’s a super easy sewing project. I decided I wanted some new birds for my decor this winter and I got two birds done in one evening with two little girls twirling all around the room with me.
I did my original birds out of cotton fabric; these ones I made out of wool felt. Both worked just fine. The layers get a little thick trying to sew through 4+ layers at the very end on the tail, but my sewing machine handled it without any issues.
Cut out both pieces of the template. You’ll need one piece of the belly (the torpedo-looking piece) and two opposite pieces of the sides. The easiest way to do this is to fold your fabric for the sides in half and then cut out the bird, getting both pieces at the same time.
Once you have all your pieces cut out, I would recommend assembling it by sewing the sides to the belly first, starting at the beak if possible. (If you leave the tail until last to sew shut, it doesn’t matter if the fabric is a bit off. It will all get tucked in leaving you a nice even tail.) Do all this with the inside out so your seams will be inside the bird when it’s complete. Once both sides are on the belly, then go ahead and sew alone the top from beak to tail, joining the two side pieces.
The trickiest part (which honestly is not that hard- just mildly tedious, which is not my strong suit) is turning the bird right side out. Grab a pencil, some closed scissors—whatever you need to poke that bird out and form a nice little beak.
Once you’re all nice and tidy and right side out, start stuffing. (I just used fiber filling, like this.) Once it’s full enough, tuck the ends of the tail in and sew it shut.
Voila! A beautiful bird. (The original pattern in the link above also includes wings; I decided I liked my birds just as well plain, but just know that you can put cute little wings on your bird, too!)
Let me know if you try it out! These would be great craft and sewing projects for preteens and teens, too—something to keep hands busy during lots of inside time 🙂
What are some of your favorite ways to brighten your house during the long winter months?