Oct 28, 2014

Winter Wonderland Tree Centerpieces - Paper, Burlap, and Linen

In my last post I showed you our Polar Express ward party.
These are the centerpieces that we used to decorate our dinner tables.

I've had so many questions about the tree centerpieces,
so here's the how-to's on making your own
VERY SIMPLE and inexpensive trees!

We had tried other kinds of trees too, 
but nothing seemed to work out for us except these three.
Once we were done, WE LOVED THEM!

Our three kinds of trees were

It all started when I saw a post on Facebook from my friend
Kendra from My Insanity.
She had made these coffee filter trees the year before for an event.
Honestly, it was love at first sight!

for instructions.

So my committee and I got to work.
Turns out these were super fun to make
as well as fast and easy!
l to r: Tracie, Suzi, Devin, Kathy and Beth.

For ours we used 2 sizes of coffee filters and 3 sizes of cupcake liners.

I love how they turned out!
The main trick is to weave different sizes together.
Don't use all one size, then all another size.
We learned quickly to alternate the larger sizes on the bottom
and alternate the smaller sizes on the top.
I love all this paper texture!

The coffee filter wreaths cost us around $1 each!!!

Next we decided we needed more than just the one tree for a centerpiece
to fill up the tables just a bit more.
I love various textures,
so we went with a linen, only because someone gave
me a huge garbage sack filled with scraps from their
old curtains or something.
It was free, so hey, it was worth a try!

Oh yeah, love that too!

I wanted it bulked up, so decided to do this loopy style.

First, cut the fabric (any fabric, it doesn't have to be linen) in long strips
any width you want.
Mine was about 3 or 4 inches wide.
Then double it over and hot glue the raw edges together.

Next, cut the folded edge about halfway to the raw edge.

Hot glue the raw edge around a poster board form cone.
Sidenote: we priced all kinds of foam and cardboard cones
and let me tell you, they are expensive!
The cheapest, BY FAR, is to make your own cones with a 
poster board rolled into whatever size you want.
Hold the cone in place with staples and hot glue.

Keep going up and around with your pieces.

When you get to the end of a length
overlap slightly with a new length
and just keep going.

Because of the donated fabric, these cost around .25 cents each,
just the cost of the poster board.

For our final tree, we wanted a completely different texture,
but still in the neutral tones.
Again, just cut strips, fray one edge and hot glue it to your poster board cone.

I don't remember how much we paid for the burlap,
plus some of it was scraps from our stashes,
but these still ended up being less than $1 each.

Tree love!

But if you know me, you know I like a little bling.
I didn't want to overdo it,
So I hot-glued tiny snowflakes to the linen trees (plastic confetti)
and a wrapped a tiny strand of glittery thread around the burlap trees.


We made 24 of each of these trees.

Shucks, it t'wernt nuthin!

For the rest of our Polar Express fun,

Oct 27, 2014

Polar Express Ward Christmas Party

It's almost Christmastime again 
Ahhhh, that most wonderful time of the year.
I'm finally posting pictures 
from last year's ward Christmas party. 

I know.  I'm a slacker!

Truthfully, it's taken so long because
I've been overwhelmed by the sheer number of pictures
that the other photographer and I took.
Seriously, we rocked this party so big
there were just too many good things to photograph!

I am nothing without the FANTASTIC committee 
that helped carry out so many ideas, 
as well as coming up with so many of their own great visions!
We worked hard, and we had fun doing it!

This train.  
I LOVE how adorable it turned out!!!

When I was put in charge of this party, the 
very. first. thing. I. wanted.
was a train.
Thanks to Devin from Salt and Pepper Moms
and her engineering prowess, I got just what I wanted!
It's constructed of several painted cardboard boxes, foil, and vinyl lettering.
The headlight is one of those countertop push lights from the dollar store.

I guess I'll just walk you through as though you were a guest at our party.

First, we'll greet you at the front door!
Welcome to The Polar Express experience!

The floor was made to look like train tracks!

To your left is the ticket booth 
(every family had previously been given tickets to the event)

One of these lovely elves would be glad to take your ticket for you.
(if you forgot your ticket, you may have to sing or dance!)

and to your right is a tree and
small train to get you in the spirit of Christmas!

Get ready for a snowy journey!

Next, you enter the 'overflow' area to ride the train to the North Pole!
It's so magical to watch the flurry of snowflakes outside!


Sing a carol or two while you enjoy your bumpy ride!

Be sure to sign the passenger list before exiting the train!

This list is STILL in the bishop's office, almost a year later.

You will then be directed to enter the NORTH POLE!

So much good food waiting right inside,
served by our handsome chefs!

Would you like seconds?

Next, you will find a seat for you and your family at one of these beautifully decorated tables,
complete with train tracks and wintery trees.

For the how-to's on making these fun and simple trees,

The whole room is aglow with lights and snowflakes.

After you finish eating your delicious meal,
you can head to the dessert table for some delicious homemade hot cocoa!

Every imaginable cocoa topping!

What hot cocoa bar is complete without an abundance of homemade cookies???

A very special guest has arrived!
I love how pleased this little boy looks to see Santa!

Someone is VERY excited to see Santa!

EVERYONE is happy to see Santa!

Okay, maybe not everyone.
Is Santa the greatest, or what?
Look how much fun he is having!

Why don't you have a little bit of fun with your friends 
in the workshop while you're waiting for your turn to talk to Santa!

Oh, did our mention that the bishop was our conductor on the train?

But wait,

we have one more extra special guest.

He silently appears.

The lights are dimmed.

There's a hush in the room.

Silent Night is softly playing in the background.

The bishop/conductor begins to read 
calmly and reverently
a story about Santa Claus and Jesus Christ.

Enjoying the peaceful Spirit that the Savior brings
was a perfect way to end our evening with our ward/church family.


A HUGE thank you to all of MY GIRLS, the committee members 
who worked tirelessly!
I had a blast with all of them!
I love you ladies!!!!!!!!
Kathy, Suzi, Devin, Beth, Tracie, Hillari, Christy, Nancy and Connie!
(I hope I didn't forget anyone!!!) 

Also a big thanks to the wonderful 
Karyann Photography for being the roaming photographer at the party
because I was too busy to stop and take pictures.
She's a wonderful photographer and is one of the nicest people I know!

So many of the efforts to put this together were also provided
 by the other ward who meets in our building.
I figured we may as well work together and only decorate the building once, 
therefore stretching our manpower and budgets a little bit further.
Amazingly they went for that idea 
and helped make this bigger and better than I even dreamed!
Thanks to them for the Christmas lights,
the ticket booth,
decorating the stage,
a ton of the snowflakes and more!

We tried to include everyone in our ward to participate in some way with the party.

The primary children made snowflakes.
The Young Women made their own elf aprons, were ticket takers
and hot cocoa servers.
The Young Men served dinner.
The moms brought cookies and funeral potatoes.
The Lyman family for being the most beautiful Nativity family I've ever seen.

I was told that around 100 people would attend, 
but to plan for 150.
There ended up being about 225 or so people at this party.
It was crazy crowded (our building is old and small),
the lines were long,
but miraculously there was more than enough food for everyone!
I couldn't have been more pleased!

Next time we'll plan more tables!

Oh yeah, guess what?
I just got put in charge of the next Christmas party!  lol

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