Monday, November 22, 2010

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly - OR - One Long Ass Homemade Garland

So pretty much every year in exchange for tolerating my husband's Christmas obsession, I insist that he helps out with Christmas Crafttime.  We've made aprons, quilts, ornaments, etc.  This year I wanted to make a fabric garland for our Christmas tree. 

Now, this would be simple if we had one of those lovely little miniature trees like normal people.  But NO, not us.  Our big ass tree requires literally YARDS of garland.  I googled "how much garland for enormous Christmas tree" which was mostly unhelpful but advised that I would likely need approximately 8-10 feet per foot of tree. So we started out by doing some basic math (it will not surprise you how this turns out) and calculating that we would need approximately 10 yards of fabric to create approximately 100 feet of garland.  I would tell you how I came to this calculation but I honestly don't even know.  Probably I mostly made it up, but anyway, we started with 10 yards of fabric.

I must pause momentarily to discuss our fabric selection.  You will see that we have some festive holiday print - peppermints, snowmen, stars, holly leaves - as well as some more non-traditional print - just different colors.  I debated long and hard on whether to use only Christmas or red and green, but my MOTHER insisted that I should use all colors and since I usually love her crafts and want to steal them, I thought that I would take her advice.  I am 80% pleased with that decision, I will let you know when it is in the tree my final verdict.  Also know that A and I in Jo-Ann Fabrics is like a train wreck - upon entering I nearly always have a poop attack (I KNOW!  It's so weird.  Jo-Anns is like my own personal laxative) and A begins to have the WORST ALLERGY ATTACK OF HIS LIFE.  Seriously.  Every time.  So it's not exactly a peaceful time to browse.

So I thought I'd do this like almost like a little tutorial but I learned that I mostly suck at that because I only took this one picture of how you cut the fabric in 3/4 inch strips.  I used a rotary cutter with a pinking blade and OMG I almost died of this part because the pinking blades SUCK.  This is NOT user error, BTW.  But honestly I'm glad I did it because these garlands fray A LOT and I want this to be handed down to my grandchildren.  If you don't plan to have grandchildren or you don't love your own children that much you could use a regular blade and it would save you a lot of time.

After DAYS of cutting strips (read: approximately 3 hours) we had MILLIONS of 6 inch strips (read: approximately 3,360).  The rest was pretty simple, albeit time-consuming.  We took each of those little strips and tied it around a long red string.  A will demonstrate.  Doesn't he look thrilled?

Also necessary for the successful completion of this project is a greyhound to wind your fabric around.  I suppose that you could use another breed, but since they must stay very still I would generally stay away from most dogs that act like, er, dogs.

We completed this project over three days.  It took us about 10 hours to go through all of our strips.  So two of us at 10 hours is 20 hours plus the 3 hours I spent cutting - you're probably looking at about a 20 hour project if one of you is faster than A.  Which is likely.  Also warning you that this is VERY messy.  I know, you are like - it is just strips of fabric!  Strips of fabric are not messy!  But you see, they fray and shed, especially since we used that goddamn pinking blade.  Trust me.  It's a mess.  

20 hours  (ALMOST A DAY OF OUR LIVES - GONE!) later we were out of strips and instead had...  wait for it...  drumroll please...  55 feet of garland.  I KNOW!  Compass didn't believe it either.  Once again, my sub-par understanding of basic mathmatical concepts SCREWS us but honestly I couldn't have taken any more.  So we'll make it work.  Updated photos to follow once the tree is decked.

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