Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Thankful Tree :)

So... have you ever had one of those times where you think you come up with a good idea and can't wait to share it, only to find out it's been done before?  And in my case, not just once before--it's like all over pinterest and the web? haha.  Such was my case with this "Thankful Tree" or branch.  I thought it'd be cute to cut out some fall leaves with my Silhouette, have my roommates and I write things that we were thankful for on them, hang them in falling chains or something in front of a window, etc.  Then I got the idea that it's be cute to hang them like ornaments from an empty tree branch--almost like those last leaves hanging on at the end of fall.  I'd put the branch in a tall vase and...well...you get the idea.  You've probably seen something like it on Pinterest. :)  I got this idea, went online to look for some fall leaves, and found out that I wasn't the only one with this idea. haha.  Oh well.  I still like it, and am glad that I'm obviously not the only one.  Apparently my ideas are all the rage before I even know I have them.  Beat that. ;)

So, here's my take on the "Thankful Tree," or branch.

Items needed:
* One tall, branching...branch :).  You can use a real branch pruned from your yard, or purchase one from the floral section at your local craft store so that you can reuse it. I got mine for $4.79 using the 40% off coupon code at Hobby Lobby.
* Fall colored papers (preferably two-sided)
* Christmas ornament hooks 
* Cricut or Silhouette Hook Tool to serve as a small hole punch.
* One tall vase (also got this at Hobby Lobby in their home accents section for 1/2 off, so it was only $3.99!  What a steal for such a great vase!)
* Small rocks or pebbles, etc., to weigh down vase.  Can get them from the yard; I got a bag from the dollar store for, you guessed it, $1.
* Jute, twine or ribbon (optional)

So, first things first.  First... :) I found a simple, free template of Fall leaves online.  Click here to access a link to it. I saved it to my computer and then opened it in Silhouette.  I then used the trace window to trace and detach the images from their background.  (I set the high pass filter a little higher than the standard setting to be sure I got the full outline of each.)  Once they were detached, they still stuck together like one full image, so I had to "ungroup" them in order to be able to move around the individual leaves.  But yes.  Then, voila:  my own leaves that I can now save to my library for future use.  Nice.

Size the leaves so that they are about 2-3 inches in length (adjust this as you like according to the size of your branch and just what you think would look nice.)

Cut out a few leaves per color or sheet of paper being used, for variety on your tree
Use your Silhouette to cut out the leaves using varied fall-colored and print papers.  This is much faster than tracing and cutting by hand (and what's the fun of having a die-cut machine if you cut these shapes out yourself?) I cut out 2-3 leaves from each paper to have a nice variety.  I also used a lot of two-sided print papers, so that the tree would have more color, dimension, and be interesting no matter what side you look at it from. :)  I don't think the plain white backing of most papers looks as nice, so you can just use solid colored paper if you can't find any double-sided print papers.  Don't be afraid to pick prints that aren't fall-themed, as long as they have colors that mesh well-together.  My favorite sheet I used had orange roses on side. Just put the papers up against each other to see if you have the color scheme you are looking for.

Use a variety of print and colored papers, but keeping with a fall-colored theme

 Next, use your Silhouette or Cricut Hook Tool to pierce a small hole at the base of each leaf. (You can also use a small hole punch.)

Use your Hook Tool to pierce a small hole at the base for the hanging hook to go through.
 Next, get out those old Christmas ornament hooks and put them use another time this year!  Woo-hoo!  Twice in one year!  Those lil' guys are feelin' lucky. Just put the hook through the hole you just made, and voila--hanging leaf ornament.  Great, huh?  You can generally pick up a pack of ornament hooks around the holidays at your local grocery store, dollar store, etc.

Use a Christmas ornament hook as a hook for hanging your leaf "ornament"
Next, have fun and write things that you are grateful for on each leaf!  I used my Silhouette sketch pens so that I could have a variety of colors that I knew would show up on the different colored papers I had, including the dark red (my metallic sketch pens worked great for that). Most gel pens will work. (And, obviously, regular pens.)

With family, friends, or just yourself, write down something you are grateful for on each leaf! Add more as the days go by or as you feel extra grateful.
Activity Idea: This would be a great activity for a night home with your family not too long before Thanksgiving. You can each write down things you are grateful for, then share them with your family as you each hang them on the branch or tree.  Have some extra ones at the base of it that family members or friends can fill out on other days as they find they have more they want to add.  OR!  Have everyone add a new one each day, building up to Thanksgiving when you'll have a Thankful Tree Branch just bursting with color and gratitude! Review these things on Thanksgiving, and share with others some of the things your family is grateful for.  What a fun way to be reminded daily of the things that make and your family member smile and feel gratitude. :)  

For finishing touches, tie some jute or ribbon around the neck of your vase, and fill the bottom of the vase with rocks to hold it in place (as it get's top-heavy with all that gratitude you'll have hanging out above).  

Hang your gratitude leaves, and enjoy the feeling of thankfulness prevailing in your home and decor. :)

Thankful Tree Branch
DIY Thankful Tree Branch
Final Idea:  If you do this with your family it might be fun to keep the leaves (take off the hooks) at the end of each Thanksgiving to save and then put up again then next year, adding more each year, just to see what you were all grateful for at this time the year before.  (Kids answers obviously have the potential to be quite memorable and fun :).) See what things stick out this year as opposed to last.  Or, use the leaves as part of your scrapbook pages alongside your pictures documenting your holiday gatherings that year!  It is always fun and good to remember just what we are thankful for.  It really brings joy.  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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