A Kid-Safe Christmas Tree With Paint Chips & Ribbons

That she blows! Or maybe I should I say “thar she glows!” Either way, we got ‘er up.

And this year the theme was:

    1. free stuff we already had (no getting in the car to go fetch anything, since we feared that would cost us another week to get things up)
    2. nothing pointy/hard/breakable (for bean safety reasons)
    3. color, color, color (just like our tabletop tree in the living room)

So yes, we gave our full-sized tree a whole new look (see what it looked like in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 here) using stuff that we already had in the house, like a bunch of leftover paint chips from my bin.

Yes, I save old paint chips to reuse them for things like this art project

… and this temporary postcard ledge arrangement (from our first house’s office)…

… and this year’s tree project:

First I cut them into strips (so I got 2-3 ornaments out of each leftover Benjamin Moore paint chip) and then used a hole puncher to make a hole…

  … which I then used to loop twine and string from my craft bin to hang them. I love that they’re like modern little colorful icicles that cover the tree. And of course the fact that they were all f-r-e-e didn’t hurt either.

The other main element of decoration on the tree is a few spools of ribbon from the gift wrapping closet (snagged on clearance from Michael’s last Christmas). We just unrolled them, found the center point and folded it over the top of the tree, so the same amount of ribbon dangled down each side of the tree in an upside-down V shape. Oh and the “tree skirt” is just three faux sheep skins from Ikea (they’re sort of a holiday tradition at this point).

I even had some leftover ribbon to make a little bow at the top. Aw, shucks. Our tree is definitely a gal this year.

Oh and you’ll probably notice two things from this picture…

  1. We had yet to “catch up” with our advent calendar when we took these pics (the second we got the tree up we excitedly snapped these photos) – but Clara and I have since hung 12 advent ornaments on the tree – so we’re back to one a day from here on out.
  2. We did some quick mantel decorating in the kitchen, let’s take a closer look:

I added some old feather trees on the floor (from Target, a few years back) along with two ceramic birds up on the mantel (like two white Christmas doves) from an estate sale a few years ago. I also added in the little thrift store rocking horse that I painted for Clara (more on that here). And of course I hung our stockings from Target a few years ago (backwards this year – just to spice it up)…

It might look like those three stockings mean that Burger didn’t get one… but of course he did! John and I actually share one (labeled “Mom and Dad”) and then there’s Clara’s stocking and Burger’s stocking:

I also stuck a basket full of gifts in the fireplace (actually they’re fakers, see how I made those here).

One of the most fun things about the new doorway between the kitchen and the dining room is that we can enjoy the tree from the kitchen too. See it peeking around the corner of the opening?

Never would have gotten to enjoy that view if the wall didn’t come down a little while ago. Yay, demo!

It’s so nice to see something festive in the dining room (the big tree), the kitchen (the holiday mantel), and the living room (our tabletop tree). Aw, Christmastime, how do I love thee. Let me count the trees, er, ways.

So that’s the inside of the house all decorated for ya. Well most of it (I still have a holiday frame gallery project to shoot and share with you guys). Oh yeah, and for the first time ever we decorated the outside of our house too! We’re talking lights and stars and even a homemade wreath and some bright red ceramic-looking reindeer. That’s right, we went all out. Pics to come as soon as we can snap them and write something up!

Psst- We’ll be back with a kitchen update tomorrow for ya! Lots of the stuff that we’re working on is extremely detail oriented (ex: cutting down an old cabinet to make a smaller one that “matches” the rest of the kitchen and houses a built-in microwave), but we’re moving just as fast as we can!


  1. says

    The trees look magical! I noticed the kitchen is cropped out of all of the pics and I hoped you guys were doing something in there! This is sooo much fun to watch :) I hope you guys give yourselves the best Christmas gift of all and take some time off soon, you certainly deserve it!

    • says

      Aw thanks Emily! Actually what we’re doing in the kitchen doesn’t look like very much (cutting down one cabinet and building in the microwave) but it’s certainly taking a fair amount of time. Hope to have those deets to share tomorrow!


  2. bridget b. says

    i like the new mirror above the fireplace. was that a new switch?

    the paint swatch ornaments are very creative. never would have thought of that!

    i also love the idea of wrapping faux gifts for decoration. i’m totally going to do that this year (no, we still don’t have our tree up yet:S).

    • says

      Thanks! We actually have since switched it to hanging over the desk in the living room (it looks awesome with the new rug and the pattern in the curtains in there) and now have the circular mirror that used to hang over the living room desk in the kitchen. Haha. We’re crazy for switching things around so often, huh?


    • Sadie says

      I noticed the mirror too. LOVE it! This is totally random, but Sherry, I’m pregnant and I find myself eating baked potatoes all the time. I remember you saying that you craved them with Clara. I think it’s the starchiness, plus they don’t upset my stomach like so many other things. Just thought I’d share that randomness with ya :)

    • says

      It was from jossandmain.com a while back (it took us a while to hang it) but since they’re a flash sale site, you might want to try wayfair.com for it (or maybe overstock?). Good luck!


  3. says

    Aw it looks awesome! A paint chip christmas tree is just so Young House Love! I can’t believe you haven’t done it before.

    We only just put our tree up Saturday night. It’s even tinier than your tabletop tree (ah, london living!) but I just adore it.

    Thar he blows http://annabelvita.com/the-teensiest-tree-in-town (for some reason our trees are always boys). Also on that link, check out the map monograms we were given for our engagement – right up John’s street!

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