Down Under Quilts Tree Trims

January 2015

2015 1 DUQ Tree Trims


Some front covers of the first 20 issues of Down Under Quilts, Australia’s first patchwork magazine, plus two Women’s journal covers, from ads for back issues.

They have been glued to hand made paper back to back, and ready to hang next Christmas. May be turned into a banner to hand across the doorway, and if so, could remain there all year.

I had articles published in these early issues.

Faux Feathers and the Family Jewels

2014 New Faux Feather Tree and the Family Jewels 05

The new tree was going to be the home for a wide variety of different decorations, but finally it wears the family jewels … broken and discarded jewelry from assorted family members, including my Mum, sisters and daughter, along with a few trophy medals won at golf by the Man of the House.

2014 New Faux Feather Tree and the Family Jewels 07

Looks impressive, but not a lot of diamonds and pearls!

Flat Pack Parcel Tree Trims

January 26th 2014


The packages are squares cut from some plastic packaging, the ribbon was part of the wrapping for less flat items.

Love the fact that they are see through!

Hardest part of the project was getting the glue off my fingers.

Building Block Tree Decorations


I have used a lot of small toys as decorations on a Christmas tree, and had some small wooden blocks sitting around.

A bit of sorting, and a bit of stacking, some wood glue, a small screw in hook, and something to tie them onto the tree.

Some spell out words, some are just random letter or number blocks, and even when there is a word on one side, the opposite side is random!

I have single blocks, plus stacks of 2, 3 and 4 blocks scattered over the tree, mixed with other small toys and some snowball pompoms.


Simple but nice!

Oh, I used red yarn to tie them onto the tree.


Look at the second photo again … the tree has fabric foliage!

I make my own trees too.

The pompoms were made the same year the tree was made, but the original decorations were looking jaded, which gave me somewhere to put the toys.

Broken Glass and Bead Tree Trim … another one!

Bigger piece of glass, more beads, longer wire …

… now I have a mismatched pair.

These will go onto the main tree because of the family connection to the origin of the glass.

However, I have lots of broken glass which will meet the same end, some with a family or friend connection, others from a piece of glassware which had seen better days.

Broken Glass and Bead Tree Trim

A piece of gold wire, some beads and a piece of broken glass rescued from the dirt on the farm where I grew up.

More importantly, I have made something … from scratch!

But it is rather difficult to get a photo.

Plastic Cookies … Laminated Edition

Some time ago I published some pattern books intending to give them to great nieces for Christmas.

However, before I had finished putting them together I realised, when I touched a page with a wet finger after washing off some paint,  that I would need something a bit more childproof in households where some of the users are not yet going to school!

So I reprinted the pages, placed them back to back and laminated them before stitching them together.

The final step was making some of the items following the instructions from the book and stitching them onto the pages of the book.

The finished book will store much better than the first edition, and will still stand for display.

Very limited edition of three were printed, one for me, with two completed, one for each of two families with under ten year old children for Christmas 2010.

The third one is for me to keep as a reminder of how to make more in the future.

(I also have the one and only First Edition … if I sign it will be even more exclusive!)

PS While making the decorations I created some scraps.

Before adding most to the bin I cut a few plastic icicles to add to the collection of designs. I now have to work out if I can easily add a page to the second editions … I know I can add to the original, the only problem is matching the paint colour exactly!

Tinsel Alternative

When we could afford to spend a bit of money on Christmas decorations (after a few years of no spare money for such trivialities) it was the disco era, and tinsel was widely used, readily available, and very, very shiny. It got bigger and brighter by the year. In defiance of the trend I wanted something a little less in your face so that the decorations I was making wouldn’t be overpowered by the tinsel. I had a couple of  lengths of skinny tinsel and refused to add the big, bold new varieties.

To add a bit of colour (red) I used three strands of 8 ply yarn knotted together about every 12 inches, and the kids made a few red pompoms to match. (Unfortunately the pompoms were not tied together very well and disintegrated within a couple of years. Must make some more red ones….. I have already made white ones.)

Some time later I used red and white 8 ply yarn to crochet a chain and draped them around the tree. Then I worked out that if I did a double crochet every five to ten chain stitches and then continuing with the chain it looked much more interesting. Found instructions to do loopy crochet and found some bumpy yarn to make loopy strands of tinsel alternative.

Then came fancy yarns ………… the faux feathers yarn was a bit one sided as it was, but as a single chain …….. beautiful. Then ostrich, and even some with tinsel like bits mixed into the yarn. Perfect!

I found a card with 20 metres of Craft Fibre in Cheap as Chips a couple of years ago. It has some sparkle, and similar to some of the sparkly knitting yarns around, but much finer.

I have just sat down for about half an hour with a crochet hook and worked it into a single chain. There is a little bit of the thread at the top of the photo.

It looks like a subdued version of tinsel, and still being fairly fine it will be suitable for a small tree, though there is about 6 yards or five metres, so maybe there is enough for two small trees!.

The hard part will be deciding which small tree to put it on!

This photo shows it on a tree in the garden and it is so light it hasn’t bent the fine tips of the new foliage. Next time you see it it will be as part of the decorations on a small indoor tree.

The Christmas Tree who fell to pieces…..

Just like an old quilter!

I store Christmas trees in a cupboard with bags made from old curtains and sheets over them so they don’t get tangled together. (There are about a dozen in there.)

The biggest one is store bought, and comes apart for easy storage. However I store it in one of those bags standing straight and tall. Six feet tall. I removed a couple of smaller trees and started shuffling the big one out of the cupboard, and thought a little lift might be good weight training and assist getting it out of the cupboard into a small hall space already cluttered with previously removed trees.

I did say the tree would come apart for easy storage, didn’t I?

Well, it also comes apart when you lift by holding one of the upper sections. And come apart again when I tried to lift by gripping it a little lower, but still above the bottom section. I had managed to wedge myself in the cupboard to make more room for the tree in the limited space outside the cupboard.

The tree was still in the bag, but totally out of control, and sort of collapsed in a bent and twisted shape in what now looked like a body bag containing a very broken body, in this case held together by not one, but three, sets of lights.

At this point the five foot tall tree which had already made it’s escape from the cupboard, and the bag which it had worn over it’s head for ten and a half months, decided to join the party and fell over the big bagged tree and landed back in the cupboard to embrace me.

You are going to have to picture the scene all by yourself.

The camera was out of reach until I managed to get Humpty back together again. And thankfully there were no witnesses.

Bit tree with Handmade Tree Trims

This is what the tree looked likefor a previous Christmas, and all the decorations are still on there even after I untangled the lights and got it all back into one piece. Wonder if superglue will hold it all together. Or perhaps a few screws ……….

Card Stars

November 2004

Tree Trims 030

‘Tis the season to start letting the Christmas decorations out of the box. In our case, lots of boxes, not to mention a four door floor to ceiling cupboard. And some in a case or two.

I save and recycle my Christmas cards each year.

Glue front to back before cutting for the following

Cut star shapes, or circles or ovals. Make some simple templates, trace around them onto the front of the card, positioning them to get the most suitable design within the shape. Cut them out,

You will need about 60 shapes to decorate a four foot tree.  I tied them on with white crochet thread, and there were enough of them to look good by themselves. They could also be used as fillers between other tree trims.



Here is a run down of how I filled in time in 2008.

All completed projects are listed, along with a start list!


Not one quilt completed!

The first year since I started quilting that no quilts have been completed. Some hand quilting, some designing, some new projects started, just none completed.


Broomstick Snowman



Timber T Tree

Cardboard Cookies

Iris Garden as BOM

Fairy Nice


Broomstick Buddies

Southern Stars

Faux Feather Christmas Trees

Mini Patterns

Calico Candles

Champagne Poppers

String Wreath

Bennie with a Beanie

Chunky Chicken reprise in Patches April/May

Christmas Trees

Balancing Balls plus Spray Paint

New Species Tree No 1 Lurex Yarn Faux Feather

Timber T Tree

New Species Tree No 2 Faux Feathers

New Species Tree No 3 Faux Fur Faux Feather

Tie it on, Fabric 6 ft

Tie it on, Yarn 5’6”

Loopy Crochet 3 ft

New Species Tree No 4, 2 tone Faux Feathers


Paper and Paste x 100

Card cut-Ups x 100

Pencil Topper Snowman x 6

Mini Wooden Doll Snowman x 6

Painted Snowman

Wadding Wrapped Snowman

Cardboard Cookies x 40

Plastic Cookies x 40

Beaded Dangles x 25

Bears and dolls torn out of magazines x 35

20 Snowballs (white pom-poms)

Tinsel alternative, 1 ball white Feathers yarn

Over 370 decorations so far!

Arty Farty Books

Popsicle People Patterns

Plastic Cookies Pattern Book

A Guide to Bear Making

Words of Wisdom Purple Edition

Words of Wisdom Plain Brown Edition

House of Toys

Also Rans

Also started the following projects.

Southern Stars quilt top started and finished in June, 2008

5 x Balancing Ball Snowmen

Christmas Trees

5 x Balancing Balls

Hand quilting Bush Garlands 2

Strawberry Patch quilt started

Beaded Dangles

new-species-no-2-trimmedLast day of March, 2008

At long last, I got out the beads and used some of them to make enough decorations to put on the New Species Christmas Tree No 2.

This was going to be my January project,

but by leaving it until now I have a tree to put the decorations on.

(25 dangly things)

Cardboard and Plastic Cookies

My favourite kind of cooking!

March 2008

I wanted to take photos of the cardboard cookies on the Timber T Tree, but found that the ones I used on the Shed Trees were bigger than the patterns in the booklet, Cardboard Cookies, and too big to use on the new tree anyway.

So back to the drawing board, to make enough to decorate the new tree.

While looking for cardboard I found some lovely gold cardboard, which I bought as a box full of bonbons, so made some of the new shapes from that.cardboard-cookies-gold-foil-cardboard

(16 decorations, too big for the tree they are on!)


In the ‘Cardboard Cookies’ booklet

I suggested using plastic milk bottles,

so thought I should at least try the idea out.

(I made 30 plus decorations)

This in turn led to another arty farty book with the pattern included and samples attached.


And the Timber T Tree is still to be decorated.

Creative Christmas

January 2008

Started the year by putting away the Christmas decorations, and making more! Started with the Christmas cards which had accumulated in the cupboard from previous years, glued fronts to backs, cut out pictures or shapes to make gift cards and tree decorations. Whole cards were strung together vertically to hang.

Then went through the paper collection, and turned bits and pieces into more tree decorations to add to collections already started. One lot of gift wrap I think was purchased when I was making little things for the Mother’s Day Stall at Woodside Primary School. Enough decorations for two trees from that one piece of paper! Will make about 15-20 white pompom snowballs to go with one lot.

Went out to the shed and found another box of Christmas cards which I brought from Kadina! Quickly sorted them and used about half, put some into recycling bin, and put a few back for future reference.

Painted a dozen wooden pencil toppers and mini doll shapes to make them snowmen.


The Styrofoam balls I bought before we left Kadina were moved a couple of times over the Christmas cleaning/decorating/un-decorating period, and as I also found, in the shed, some acrylic paints which had been ‘lost’ for the four years we have been in Bordertown, I used them to put some Balancing Balls Trees and Snowmen together, and finished a couple of the snowmen and one of the trees.

Bennie with a Beeannie and Painted Pete

Bennie with a Beannie and Painted Pete

A broom handle didn’t get away either, it got a white wash, a face and a very long cap to become Broomstick Snowman.


More broomsticks and dowels looked like tree trunks, and as I might need to know how much yarn and fabric goes onto a Christmas tree I started making trees, this time taking copious notes for possible workshops.

Just when the head was nearly bursting with ideas I went into Tania’s Scrap Shack, the local scrap booking haven, and came away with ideas for a whole series of arty, farty books, started one about Christmas decorations, decided it needed more time, so started and finished Popsicle People Patterns, because I was writing instructions for a forthcoming pattern at that

What I really intended to do in January this year was to use up some of the beads in the stash!





Bob and Buttons

Cole and Buttons

Shaggy Pine and Snowy

Frozen Assets

Buttoned Down Pine

Christmas Patches Tablecloth

Buttoned Down Pine 2

Buttoned T Tree

Triangle Trees

Table Topper

Table Topper Too

Table Topper 5

Table Topper 3

Table Runner

Table Runner 2

Table Runner 3

Table Topper 4

Table Topper 6


Broomstick Santa

Broomstick Golli Girl

Broomstick Doll

Christmas Trees

Curvy Pine

Strippy Scraps Pine (Christmas Tree)

Jingle Bells Faux Fur Faux Feather

Dolls, Teddies and Miniatures

Pyramid Box Tree

Fabric Covered Spiral wire Tree

Loopy Crochet Faux Feather Tree


Tinsel Alternatives

Tulle streamers

Ribbon Streamers

Green Boots

Mini Books

Why Rag Dolls are so Lovable

Why Teddy Bears make Great Pets

Run, run as fast as you can, You can’t cat me I’m the Gingerbread Man

Tinsel Alternatives

Christmas trees



The Pretty Busy Nine Patch

Country Friends, A round Robyn


The Shed Stick T Trees


Cardboard Cut-outs

Paper and Paste Nostalgic Paper Cut-outs

Fabric and Cardboard Cut-outs

Gold Boots

The year that was ….. 1983

Dolls 331 in total,

111 Judys

Judy variations enlarged, and both sizes and many varieties also came in a variety of colours.

Popp-up Clown for Kym

Percival Pocket

Clothes Peg Doll

Wood burning

Bought a wood burning tool and used it mainly for gift items for Mother’s and Father’s Day stalls at Woodside Primary School. I did just a couple of things to keep, a picture of an old shop front, and an original drawing of a bucket of apples. Another original drawing was of the stables on the farm, which I gave to Dad.

Covered coat hangers

Christmas Decorations 139 in total

Cotton reel candles

Fabric Stockings

The year that was …. 1982


I made 121 dolls in total, including Rope Doll and Clown Fred, Freda and Gretchen, made for a shop in Hahndorf.

Cork Notice Board and Mini Trains

The E &WS Dept used cork as insulation in some of the pumping stations. An order for cork sheets was filled with a great heap of corks!

Some were used to make a notice board, by cutting then in half and gluing the flat side to a sheet of cork.

I played with the odds and ends left, and with the addition of a pop stick, I made trains which have decorated the Christmas tree ever since.


The original covered matchboxes were getting squashed and tatty, so I started making more durable decorations from fabric.

1982 at a glance

Dolls, 121 in total

Christmas Tree Decorations

Cork Mini Trains

Hessian Hobby Horse

Mini Dolls (1st Version of Snowman, Clown and Santa)

Mini Snowman Version 1

Ice-cream Cones


Santa head

Candy Canes


Blouses, overalls and parkas for Mt Barker Baby Shop

Fabric Covered Coat hangers and Calico Cushions Hobbytex samples