I'm off to run a bunch of errands this morning. (Ugh -- DMV, anyone?) In the meantime, I'll leave you with a rerun of a fun and simple holiday craft project from last year, in case any of you missed it:
Atomic Garden, one of my favorite shops here in Oakland, has the prettiest window displays. Just like the store itself, they're simple, natural, and lovely.
The eco-friendly housewares-and-clothing boutique's current window candy is a clever and beautiful assemblage of crocheted snowflakes, yarn pom-poms, and dried oranges hung from a gently gnarled tree branch.
Here's how to make one of your own -- perfect for dressing a window for the holidays or simply brightening up the view during the dreary winter days ahead.
* A tree branch measuring three-quarters of an inch or more in diameter and about the width of the window you want to hang it in. (Pick up a fallen branch the next time you're out for a walk or a hike, save one when you trim your trees, or buy one from a floral-supply shop or online.)
* Two to three ceiling hooks for suspending the branch. (You could also slip the branch into wall-mounted curtain brackets.)
* A spool of fine twine, waxed cord, or fishing line.
* A large, sturdy needle, such as an embroidery or darning needle.
* A selection of crocheted snowflakes. (You can create your own if you're especially crafty or simply use cloth doilies -- I spotted several for a couple bucks apiece at my local fabric store yesterday -- paper snowflakes made from medium- to heavyweight paper, or snowflake-shaped ornaments.)
* Fabric starch or craft glue.
* A section of golfball- to tennis-ball-sized pom-poms. (Make your own with yarn, craft them from tissue paper, pick up a bag of fuzzy pom-poms at a craft store, or simply substitute a few white ball ornaments.)
* Dried orange slices. (They're easy to make at home, or you can buy them from a specialty grocer. Dried pineapple slices would also work.)
* Screw the hooks into the ceiling, making sure they're anchored well. Loop lengths of twine, cord, or fishing line over the hooks, tying them securely. Tie the other ends around the tree branch so that it hangs across the top of your window. (Or simply remove the curtain rod from the window and slip the ends of the branch into the curtain brackets.)
* Depending on the width of your branch and how many snowflakes, pom-poms, and oranges you want to hang, tie several lengths of cord around the branch with the ends trailing down. Vary the lengths randomly so that the longest hits the bottom of the window and the others are shorter.
* If you're using cloth snowflakes or doilies, douse them with laundry starch or dab them with craft glue mixed with a bit of water and pin them flat so that they dry stiff.
* Once they're dry, tie the snowflakes onto the cord at varying heights.
* Using your sturdy needle with the cord threaded through, hang the pom-poms at varying heights. If your window is wider than it is tall, one pom-pom per length of cord is fine. If the window is tall and narrow, hang a few pom-poms from each cord, spacing them out randomly and tying the cord beneath each to keep it in place. (If you're using ball ornaments, simply thread the cord through the loop at the top of the ornament and tie it securely.)
* Finally, thread the remaining lengths of cord with orange slices. Poke the threaded needle through the flesh of the orange near the top and tie the cord to hold the orange slices in place.
(Thanks to Jamie and Erin at Atomic Garden for walking me through this.)
Readers: If you have a simple DIY project to share, send me photos and instructions and I'll be happy to feature it here!