When I was a nipper and living at home (as nippers do), our tree went up no more than two weeks before Christmas, along with what we called in our family a fairy tree. Mum had these wonderful fairies made from glass and thick, coloured pipecleaner type stuff. The rest of the deccies remained in their boxes, because on Christmas Eve when we had gone to bed the fairies would come to life, jump down from their tree and put up the decorations. Then they would return to their tree and turn in to chocolates. Such a lovely story, and we were the only family I have ever come across that had one. It really added to the magic of Christmas. None of this putting up of deccies in November – heaven forfend!
When I got my own house, my dad made me a tree of my own, and I still have it 20-odd years later, although its looking a bit battered now. And I have small bears hanging on mine, so its a beary tree. When my church decided to have a couple of craft stalls at a church Christmas Fair, I and some of my chums decided to make a selection of crafts to sell to raise money for our church. Here was an ideal opportunity to introduce the world to the concept of the fairy tree. I’ve made a huge one that will double up as a tree to display our crafted Chrimbo decorations, and maybe replace the one dad made. And I’ve made 8 little tiny ones that can grace a Christmas table or window ledge.
They’re everso easy to make, but very time consuming. When I dig my camera out, I’ll post a pic of one. First of all you need to collect some apple tree branches. They must be apple trees because they’re so wonderfully knobbly so they make great shapes and there’s lots of places to hang deccies from. Cut them to the right length, and select an old plastic plant pot. Dad always uses terracotta, but I’ve used plastic ones because I like to use my terracotta ones for my plants. Fill the pot with plaster of paris or cement. I use cement, but if you use plaster of paris you need to work very quickly. Put your twigs into the cement (three works best) and leave for a few days to set. Paint the twigs with undercoat, and then a coat of white gloss or emulsion, its up to you. While the paint is wet, sprinkle glitter onto the branches. Make sure you paint the cement and the outside rim of the pot too.
When your paint is dry, decorate the pot. You can leave it plain if you want, and just wrap thick tinsel around it, which is what dad does. But as I will be selling mine, and they are to go on the table, I will be decorating my pots. To do this, I’ve saved all the green and red pics, adverts, etc from glossy Sunday mags and women’s mags. Its cheap and really colourful with all the different shades. Don’t worry about avoiding text, it just adds to the effect. Don’t cut the pages, tear them so they have a bit of a white edge to them. Using PVA, stick them to your pots, making sure that when you have finished, the whole lot is covered in glue – it gives a nice shine.
When that’s all dry, cut out a piece of card and a piece of felt for the underneath of your pot and stick on – you don’t want cement dust and scratches on your table. Finally, if you’re not using it as a fairy tree, decorate the branches with to-scale deccies. I’m using coloured cat bells and tinselly pompoms like those you get on Chrimbo cards. And there you go, a lovely fairy tree.
The one in the picture is a tiny one, standing about a foot high. I thought a little one would be nice for the table. They are for sale, but they’re too fragile to post, so you’d have to collect them. If you’re interested, go to my ‘contact’ page.