Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Tree DIY! US$30.00


I'd always wanted a ceiling-high Christmas tree.  And here in tropical Malaysia you don't go to a Christmas tree farm and choose one and drag it back home. Ikea is the only place that sells live trees and they're usually not tall.

That's why we always go the artificial way - and an artificial, 8-foot high tree is about 400 Malaysian Ringgit (that's about US$120).  Taking into consideration the number of lights and decoration a really tall tree would need....nope, that would not work for me.

So I did what most DIY-ers do...said those famous, dangerous words, "Bet I could make one myself for much less..."

...so I did.

The original plan to make an eco-friendly one did not work.  It will be shelved for another year (wink).

My criteria, before it got out of hand, which it very well could if I didn't have any:

1.  It had to be ceiling-high
2.  It had to be shabby-chic, rustic, unique
3.  It had to be in tones of blue/white/gold or silver, to match the rest of the living room
4.  It had to be within a budget of RM100.  Whether that was a realistic figure or not, I determined to go by  Project Runway Tim Gunn's motto: "Make it work!"

I looked at my ladder - perfect height.  I spread the ladder and had to tie it to a fixed position, as I did not want it to open all the way.  This is because I had to have a tall, narrow tree, not one that is so wide it takes up a lot of space in my small living room.




The only suitable round thing I had in the house was a rattan hula hoop, which I put over the top and down the ladder.




 Then I looked through my trash treasure and found this copper looking thing which (as usual) I have no idea is what.



 I taped it into a bigger hoop for the base of my tree and a smaller one for the top.



Then I wrapped the whole thing in wire mesh (about 1inch squares) which I had bought, tying the mesh to the hoops to keep it in place.  When I ran out of mesh, I used our leftover barbeque mesh with smaller holes which worked out well for the top of the tree.  My husband helped me make sure the mesh was a nice conical shape (yes, he made me say that).







Then the lights were twirled around the wiremesh cone.  Did you know I figured out all by myself the spacing and just how many spirals that would take, and how many lights would be needed?  I used string to get the spirals in place, measured the string, then put on the lights and removed the string!  Sometimes my ingenuity amazes me!  Surprisingly the tall but skinny tree took only 300 lights (3 strings of 100 lights each).



And here's the fun part! I cut a hundred and nineteen pairs of denim jeans into 3 inch square patches - and just poked the patches through the wire mesh!  Why denim?  tones of blue, remember?


 Now work out the math!  Anyone wants to try to figure out how many holes needed to be filled? Good grief!  It's like the circumference multiply by the height add the area or something something like that! You can see Math was never my strength. My mother who lives with us, was eyeing me throughout this whole longsuffering project and who probably thought she'd have to eat takeaways for the next one week decided to get in on the action.  She helped cut the square patches, too.

And can you see a  problem here?  I had no ladder to reach the higher parts...my ladder was the support base for the whole cone, remember?  So, my mother had her 'heart in her mouth' each time I climbed up onto this:




Then the baubles went on - I used all gold (the silver did not work well).






I kept running out of jeans...at that point anybody who happened to come by, and were wearing anything denim were in trouble.  At first I used what we had, then I bought some from a jumble sale,  then I asked people for some .  I had told my friends to be sure they had no sentimental attachment to the jeans they were giving me as I was going to cut them and didn't want them bleeding when I did so.  Lastly, my husband's old trousers and shirts, as long as they were in blue tones, were 'sacrificed' (yes, he made me say that).  To get a somewhat even tone, I bought a can of snow spray and sprayed the darker blue fabric randomly.


And then I came to a halt.

Originally, I had wanted an angel for the top of the tree.  It had to be a fairly large angel to be in proportion, but I could not find one in any mall I had gone to.  Even stars did not have the right look nor were they in the right size.

So I did what most DIY-ers do...said those famous, dangerous words, "Bet I could make one myself for much less"....

...so I did.

I found a piece of sack cloth among my trash treasure which I remembered asking my favourite paint shop man for, months ago.  (I have no idea where to get burlap, which should work).


 I made a 3D star out of cardboard, and wrapped it with the sack cloth.  I love the texture of this cloth.
 

Then I found this ball of stringed gold sequins which I had bought a long time ago from Daiso, that amazing Japanese shop that sells everything for RM5.00.  I twirled and glued it on by hand as my glue gun had blown two days before!














I absolutely love my hand-made rustic blingy star!





Total cost:

Wire mesh                                         40.00
3 boxes of 100 lights, each 6.50         19.50
Gold decor (some old ones)               21.00
Snow spray 1 can                                1.90
Jeans from jumble sale 6pairs x 3        18.00
                                                 __________
                                                 RM 100.40 !
                                                 __________
 

So here's my 9 and a half foot high DIY Denim Christmas tree for RM100!





 And some great friends posing by it.

                      

Denim jeans or skirt credits:
Bavaani           3 pairs
Abhishek         2
Paul                 3
Ai Vee             3
Getsy               1
Yvonne            1

Jumble Sale      6

                    ____
                     19  pairs denim jeans or skirts, plus about 5 non-denim
                    -----

The best part is I don't have to store away this huge thing.  I will just disassemble it, and use the mesh for barbecue pits.  And the denim patches...I will use them to make a funky patchwork bedspread.  When I turn 82.

What do you think?  Do you like my star?  Do you like my tree?  Next Christmas I have other plans!  Do write your comments at the bottom of this post.  I love all your comments!

           


57 comments:

  1. Valerene Matthews! You did it .., you are amazing, super creative, fantastic ...no more words to describe my thoughts ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank youuuuuu Huda, my great encourager. I actually love the shabby star the most!

      Delete
    2. yes yes ... i love the star best of all too ...
      too bad wont get to see it ... :(

      Delete
    3. Val, you are a genius. The tree really looks good. When you take it all down, tell us how easy or difficult it was. Blessed Christmas to you and all at home!

      Delete
    4. Hey anne! It should definitely be easier to take down then put up. But seriously, making it is not difficult at all, just took some time...Blessed Christmas to you, too!

      Delete
  2. from facebook, 18th Dec 2012

    I VERY LOVE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE! BEAUTIFUL! next project - lion's head for chinese new year, perhaps? *wink* Irene Voon

    Thank you, Irene! That's encouraging, after all the hard work!
    tree-shades

    ReplyDelete
  3. Valerene, the tree is amazing. Very creative, super genius piece of work. Keep it up. Psst... don't wait till you're 82 for that funky patchwork bedspread. Make it your next project pls.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Patricia Lee - neh, sewing is not my forte..that's why "when I'm 82"..hahahah!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow ... what can I say, but ... double WOW! Amazing!!! Lovely shades of denim & gold - what's not to love? The 3rd last pic resembles a ... giraffe, dressed for Christmas! hehehe! And I really do love giraffes (and so do you!) Merry CHRISTmas & A Blessed New Year to you & family. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Thelma. Yes, I love the denim, too. Giraffe?? hahahah! Blessed Christmas to you, too!

      Delete
  6. you are absolutely the most amazing, crazy & creative person I know. Love the tree. So hippy, so funky & so original. You the boss!
    oh by the way, you blew your budget by 40c. No Christmas present for you.

    Have a wonderful & blessed Christmas & 2013. God bless.

    x, pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. noooooooooooooo!! I don't get my 180gm bar of Cadbury chocolate with whole almonds?? sob. Blessed Christmas. anyway.

      Delete
  7. from facebook people who couldn't get through here:
    1. omygoodnesss..... I'm SPEECHLESS!!!! O_O
    Aunty Val!! Martha Stewart should retire! You are DIY genius!!

    Wow, such a lavish compliment! hahahah! Thanks, Hsulynn!

    ReplyDelete
  8. from facebook
    2. wow
    Panatda Saisanguansat

    3.Aunty Val! *thumbs up* let me share your blog!
    AiVee Tan

    Thanks, everybody. It is actually a simple concept, just time-consuming.

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow val, simply amazing and there is no depth to your creative self, thanks to the creative God in your life. Blown away by all that! With your house ladder beneath all that denim and deco, I hope your house light(s) don't need to be changed! Keep up the great work Val!
    andrew

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew, there's no way I'll disassemble it just to change the house lights, and certainly not with the 'end of the world' coming...we'll just sit in the dark til the morning, hahahahah! Yes, my God is my creative source!

      Delete
  10. from facebook, 18th December, 2012
    Nadia Malek - i love it!! wish I could see it up close.

    Nadia, viewing hours 10am - 6pm...hahahahah!

    Susan Chung - Wow, Val, you're amazing, so creative, as usual !!

    Susan - you're so far away. yet you can be right in my living room! the wonders of this zaman!

    Phoebe T. Lim - Woww!!! The final product and the process leading up it! I'm speechless!!
    Innovative n creative as always, Aunty Valerene Matthews

    Phoebe, aww...you're always such an encourager.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aunty Val! I love it! *for a thousand times* =)

    -AiVee-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AiVeeeeee.........don't forget, your stamp is in there somewhere! hahahah!

      Delete

  12. from facebook, 18th Dec 2012

    Arunthathi Charles - Absolutely a fabulous star! Now..thats a STAR!!! Great job Val! TVH- Tree Viewing Hour...10.30am!

    Hahahaah! Yah ok, will open the doors just for you, Arun.

    ReplyDelete
  13. from facebook, 18th Dec 2012

    Sharon Muru: Next year...out of roof if can...haha...very the nice woh!!! Good job, val

    Thanks my beloved sister-in-law! and thanks for the idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of a tree shooting out of the roof, I mean!

      Delete
  14. u are just so clever and gifted!! am amazed by your strength and ability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deanna! "Strength", hearing and memory going going...

      Delete
  15. love it! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  16. If I were you, I will NEVER take this tree down! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allana, like how my Dad used to play Christmas carols all year round? hahaha!

      Delete
  17. Aunty you are a GENIUS...I am in Awe!!! I'm back next week and I want to come see it for real..
    Much love
    Reuben all the way from Cambodia....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reuben all the way from Cambodia!!!!!!!!!!! How sweet of you! Come, come!

      Delete
  18. Aunty! ur tree deserves to be crowned as the christmas tree of the year! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaby, hahahah! thank you. Maybe make my tree stand next to Miss Malaysia/Universe?

      Delete
  19. from facebook, 18th Dec 2012:

    Valerie Nicholas - Syabas Valerene Matthews! I showed your tree/blog to my husband and he is awed by your wonderful work of art. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Merry Christmas & a Wonderful New Year's to you and your dear ones ....

    Thanks, Valerie and husband. Will he make one next year, then?

    ReplyDelete
  20. from facebook, 19th Dec 2012:

    Manjula M - Wow. This is fantastic! The best looking tree I've seen.. Well done, Aunty!

    Thanks, Manju! Had fun doing it!

    ReplyDelete
  21. from facebook, 19th Dec 2012:

    Joanna Voon - Check this amazing tree out!! Aunty u r amazing!!!

    Joanna, ask your hubbie to make you one!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Aunty Val,

    Your DIY skills were already something i admired before this but now.. i have to say, MOVE ASIDE Martha Stewart!!! I'm floored and completely in awe of your ingenuity and creativity. (but i'm glad my jeans were not near you when you were creating this masterpiece...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wye, this one can be dismantled and doesn't need to be stored in any store-room...orders will be taken Nov 2013 for Christmas 2013 :)

      Delete
  23. Aunty Val, your house got blue meh? I can't seem to recall seeing any blue. Even your pics don't seem to indicate any blue. Good job but next year can do green ah? Hehe I love green Xmas trees. - Sheila

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheila, HAH!! You haven't seen the living room makeover! It's all blue/ye olde smokehouse shabby chic country-style kinda!

      Delete
  24. WOW...IS RIGHT...KUDDO'S TO A COMMENT FROM MMS, AND THE DOOR SOLD, SO DID MY BURLAP RUFFLED TREE SKIRT AND MY SILK SATIN TREE SKIRT AND ONE OF MY PAPER GARLANDS....ALL IN THE SAME DAY...I AM GOING TO BE ON THE HUNT FOR MORE DOORS...

    NOW ENOUGH ABOUT ME, FIRST THANK SO FOR THE COMMENT SO VERY SWEET WANTED TO SEND A RESPONSE BY EMAIL BUT YOU CAME BY VIA ANYOMUS.....NOW LETS BE FRIENDS AND I WILL CHECK ON YOU VIA YOUR COMMENT...THANK SO....REALLY THANK YOU.

    NOW CAN I SAY I AM DROP DOWN AMAZED THIS IS OVER THE TOP OUT OF THE BOX....THINKING AND I LOVE WHAT YOU DID! I WOULD LEAVE UP AND NEW YEARS FUN STUFF...THEN fEB...FUN WITH LOVE IN THE AIR...AND I SEE FAMILY FOR YU...SO LOTS OF LOVE,,,MARCH AND DO YOUR SPECIAL HOLIDAYS FOR YOUR COUNTRY.... AGAIN THIS IS AMAZING AND NEEDS TO BE IN A MAGAZINE FOR DIY....COUNTRY LIVING I THINK YU NEED TO SEND A GOOD PIC...SERIOUSLY AMAZING....I WOULD DO SOME PICS IN THE TREE WITH SEA SHELLS...AND MIX WITH BURLAP...FOR A MAGAZINE SHOT....I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW WOW THIS IS...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I love your door and am so going to try to do one! And thanks for the ideas but I am not magazine-worthy and am not trying to be either,hahahaha!!

      Delete
  25. Val - That awesome tree beats everything you've made!! Very, very cool and original!! Denim?? I love it. I still can't believe there is a tall ladder hidden inside :) You are the Martha Stewart of Malaysia. No, even more creative than MS!!
    Merry Christmas ~
    xo
    Loi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loi, really? Hmmmm...now that makes me wanna make something more awesome! You're just too kind. Merry Christmas to you, too! When are you coming over?

      Delete
  26. from facebook, 22nd Dec 2012

    Aunty Val is truly an amazing woman. Who would have thought of this beauty. A Jeans Christmas Tree. ♥ Roxsta Pam

    Hey Pam, thanks for sharing the post! I had fun making it. Love your photo better!

    ReplyDelete
  27. from facebook, 21st Dec 2012
    Aunty Val .. Awsome Christmas tree - you have done such a god job !!! Love it ... never thought a good one like that can be done !! Love the star .. It's absolutely amazing :)
    Anu Raj

    Thanks, Anu...! now you start a blog on your creations!


    ReplyDelete
  28. from facebook, Friday 21st Dec 2012:


    Leanna A.M. aunty Val you're amazing!
    Friday at 7:42pm · Like · 1

    Gajaenthiran Israel Ganisan The best home made Christmas tree i have ever seen to date!

    Thanks, guys! Tree-viewing hours Monday 24th Dec 10am to 10pm, hahahahah!

    ReplyDelete
  29. from facebook
    Aurelia Liu
    December 19
    Wow Valerene Matthews's epic DIY Christmas tree!


    Thanks, Aurelia! can be easily made by anyone lah...just follow my step-by-step!

    ReplyDelete
  30. from facebook:

    Jeannette Tai Do I hear the first bid?
    December 19

    Wow, Jeannette...if only!
    Val




    May S P Lee, Friday 21st Dec 2012
    Finally got round to reading your latest blog post - and holy moly, that is one stupendous tree!!! Very, very well done, you clever, creative girl!!!

    Thanks May! OMG, I can't wait for you-know-what!
    Val

    ReplyDelete
  31. from facebook:
    Getsy Lydia Judson
    December 19
    The most creative Christmas tree by Aunty Valerene Matthews. A very creative person


    Getsy, thanks for the jeans! :)
    Val

    ReplyDelete
  32. from facebook, 23rd Dec 2012
    Janelle Chuah - Brilliant! D-on't I env-Y!

    Janelle, nothing to envy. Please make one, not difficult!
    Val

    ReplyDelete
  33. from facebook, 24th Dec 2012
    Elaine Oo Loy Yew - One and only masterpiece Christmas tree! Simply Beautiful. Merry Christmas to you , Paul and family.

    Hi Elaine! Blessed Christmas to you and your family, too! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Aunty Val, I just manage to view ur blog ... This may be a late comment but I want to contribute to ur project when I can too!!! It stirs and encourages me to keep creativity up up n up. U inspire me. ... Perhaps next time I can cook? Wink wink **

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh BOY! I can't believe what you have done. Fantabulous! It's amazing!
    You are really talented....even an office display already portray your talent.


    ReplyDelete