handmade christmas

I got a tree!  And I made ornaments to put on it. It’s my  first ever as a grown up and it’s a living potted tree- a Norfolk Pine.  I hope it’s happy here for a long time. I also hope deciding to live with a tree  in my tinyish Brooklyn apartment wasn’t a mistake. I like plants and they seem to tolerate me well enough  – I think we’ll be all right.

ann wood christmas tree 2014

Full disclosure,  the holidays aren’t my favorite, I don’t exactly look forward to them but I decided to dive into the parts I can get enthusiastic about. I like making things – I like making presents for people and I do love a Christmas tree.  I pulled out my box of saved Christmas treasures,  some that I made as a child and I created some new things. I’m so happy with my little tree it has nearly unscrooged me.  Some of the handmade ornaments are below and I included links to the patterns or tutorials where possible. The first is a little clothespin ballerina I made as a child – she magically reappeared last year.

clothespin ballerina

handmade cardboard horse holiday ornament

Find the cardboard horse pattern here and the paper mache teacup here. The ballerina is part of a set I designed for Crate and Barrel – they are sold out online but still in some stores.

clothespin soldier   fancy bird ornament  catherines bird   whale ornament

(click the tumbnail for a larger image)

The little soldier above is another childhood clothespin creation – his arms are coffee stirrers and his hat is a pom pom. The silk bird has a fluffy, lace wired tail that winds around the branch – she was made with this pattern. The little blue bird is a gift  for my sister Catherine. It’s embroidered with her wedding date and made from a blue vevet dress that was our mother’s.  It’s made from the merry wobbler pattern. The little white whale pattern is here And the pattern for the felt boat is here. Or for another boat ornament idea you could print the template for my free  paper mache boat at about 50%  of the original size.

ann wood handmade boat ornament

 merry merry!


  1. Marilee Reyes

    It’s perfect. I love a tree with handmade ornaments, especially ones that have a personal meaning, like the bird. I will say this about living trees: they do need sunshine and fresh air. I hope you have a better experience than I did. I learned too late and my poor fellow lost all his needles. Eventually he recovered, but I wasn’t a very good caretaker. There is one particular kind that thrives indoors under good conditions, but I can’t remember what kind it is … seems to be almost like a fern.

  2. Thanks so much Marilee – fingers crossed on the tree. From what i’ve read this type can do well inside – it is kind of ferny.

  3. I love so much what you do !
    thank you for this dream travel
    and good luck for a long life to your tree
    sorry for my approximated english
    good christmass period

  4. Hi Ann,
    your tree looks beautiful…home-made decorations are what Christmas or Yule is all about. Sadly we daren’t have a tree as our cat is quite naughty and I know we’d continually get woken up in the early hours to the sound of things falling over, tinkling glass and general mayhem….however we put up fairy lights round pictures and pin soft fabric decorations along the shelves of book cases…..we have a small cherry tree in the garden which I hang home made bird treats from so I guess I do get to decorate a tree.
    Anyway your tree really is lovely, wishing you a most festive and seasonal Yule xx

  5. Dayana Stetco

    Merry Christmas, Ann! I love every single ornament and the tree (although this year I cheated and adorned my easel with a painting of a tree on it — my friends call it “the treasel…”) And I love Nutcrackers!

  6. Carla Ullrich

    Ann, this is so inspiring and beautiful. I love your pattern! Merry Christmas!

  7. Pure magic, Ann! The tree is gorgeous– my kind of tree! And your ornaments, especially those you made as a child are perfect. I wish I had a box full just like them.

    Love your work. Merry Christmas to you– and do enjoy the season. :]

  8. That’s the best tree i’ve ever seen! 😉 love the decorations

  9. tree is perfect for all your handmade beauties both old and new. I remembered I too made a closepin ballerina doll when I was very young…Happy you dove in…Have a very Blessed Christmas

  10. Your first tree! How exciting! Why did I think you were old like me? Your work is definitely that of an old soul I guess.

  11. Marie-Pia Guillard

    Bonjour , depuis plusieurs années j’admire votre merveilleux travail au travers de votre blog .
    Si je n’étais pas si loin, je serais venu vous voir à l’époque ou vous cherchiez une personne pour travailler avec vous ! Le sujet de mon mail : j’aurais aimé savoir si vos patrons sont expliqués en français ?
    Et dans la négative , avez vous fait quelques croquis explicatifs qui permettent de pouvoir un peu comprendre la réalisation de vos ouvrages .
    Recevez toutes mes immenses félicitations ainsi que mon amical souvenir .
    Au plaisir de vous lire
    Marie-Pia Guillard

  12. Your tree is adorable and all the more special because you have the items from childhood to spark memories!

  13. Ann,
    Your generosity in sharing so many lovely tutorials is admirable and inspirational. Thank you so much.

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