Thursday, December 4, 2014

Orlando Festival of Trees 2014

Every year John and I visit the Orlando Art Museum's Festival of Trees to see what new holiday decorating trends I might be able to rip off lovingly recreate in our own home. The Festival gets smaller and less grandiose every year, but fortunately I still managed to find plenty of inspiration for my fellow decorating-holics out there!

So let's dive right in, shall we?


I'm always most fascinated by designer tree toppers, so here's a classic feather fan to kick us off:


But if you're going for whimsy, how about turning the tree into a snowman?

Using that mesh garland for a scarf down the side? BRILLIANT.  I'd love to see this done on an all-white tree, though, to really sell the snowman look.

Less whimsical and more weird, but this recycling-themed tree is kinda cool:


It took me a second to realize it's a giant fish wrapped around the tree.
So now someone should do this, only with Smaug the dragon. :D

I never would have guessed a construction-themed tree would be in my top favorites this year, but this one completely blew my mind:


See the paint brush, "painting" a swath of white ornaments? THAT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!! There's also a red version on the lower front of the tree:
 

Seriously, I'm in awe. It's genius ideas like this that keep me coming back to the Festival each year.


Moving on, you know there had to be at least one Frozen themed tree:

I like the icy sprigs used in the topper, and there's also a wire crown just below the top, though it's hard to see:

The Elsa shoe ornaments sprinkled around the tree were also a cool touch -  pun intended. ;)

This rainbow tree was donated by a pottery studio, I think, which is why all the ornaments are clay hearts:

It's a neat concept, but the green & blue hearts are completely lost in the green tree. This is another one that would look better on a white tree.

A lovely rustic design from some local wood carvers:


This red monstrosity completely foiled my camera's attempts to capture it:
So. Much. RED. (I like to think this is Crowley's Christmas tree. :D)

Here's another of my top favorites this year:

It was donated by a lawn company, so all the flowers are big metal lawn ornaments. SO FUN! I like the paradox of a summer-themed Christmas tree, and I'm a big fan of unconventional tree decorations.

Aaand from summer to snowy winter:


Oooh, hang on: can you imagine having a Christmas tree for each season?! THAT WOULD BE EPIC. (Right now John is getting really, really worried.)

I'm still completely enamored with flocked Christmas trees, btw. I told John I'm *this close* to taking all the ornaments off our almost-finished Potter tree so I can flock it. If not this year, then definitely next!

I've noticed one hallmark of designer trees is they tend to have more sprigs sticking out beyond the tree line, like so:

I like the idea of using greenery garland - like those red berries - as tree garland. This one's a bit overloaded, but overall I think that gives it a more natural feel.

Here's another construction themed tree with some genius ideas:

Ornament garland! The colorful balls are all wired together - and I saw they were selling something similar over in The Christmas Tree Shoppe a few days ago, so you don't have to make your own.

But the best part were these ornaments made of corrugated sheet metal:
Eye hooks, washers & nuts, and shiny sheet metal. Construction materials just got glam, y'all.

I also like the topper; it has a fun retro fifties vibe going on:

This next tree was a bit boring, but I liked the topper:
With so many designer trees going overboard with giant sprigs and feathers and whatnot, it's kind of refreshing to see a simple lantern topper - and it totally works!

Not sure this topper is quite as successful, but it's definitely cute:

And my favorite, out in the museum lobby:

Can't go wrong with a top hat!

John loves magnolia trees, so this was his favorite of the Festival:

I like all the shiny magnolia leaves worked into the topper, and those paper scrolls with the vintage typeset used as garland are fabulous.

Lots of rustic accents, glass, vintage paper, and bronze:

This next tree had a whole themed room to go with it:

That mantelpiece action is making me wish I had a fireplace. LOVE.

The tree itself had this gorgeous embroidered ribbon woven in it, plus lots of red and gold glass:


Of course, they can't all be winners:

What. What is happening. Why are there feet. What.


Er, moving on...

I'm not much of a country fan, but this vintage rustic design has all KINDS of great ideas:


I love the wagon wheel sticking out of the side - imagine if it were a gear! - and that star topper covered with vintage photos is fantastic.

On the other side there's a whole chair stuck in the tree, and I'm not even mad:


Great use of vintage Christmas cards & illustrations, too, which could easily work in more Victorian/steampunk designs.


This next one is pure Hollywood glam:


Love the color combo of lime, gold, white, and black. And the feathers! "Fabulous, Harry, I love the feathers."

Welp, that brings my tree tour to an end, but stay tuned! I'm hoping to post all the best wreaths and tablescapes from the Festival in the next week or so, for your decorating edification and pleasure.

Now here's a self-portrait, because John insisted, and when your man puts up with you snapping pictures of Christmas trees for over two hours, you indulge the guy:

:)

Happy decorating, everyone!

(And if you want more, check out my Festival posts from 2012 and 2013!)

58 comments:

  1. The last pic, the one of the two of you, is amazeballs! Hee hee, see what I did there? LOVE it!!

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  2. My mom has a tree up year round! She has an upside-down Christmas tree hanging in a corner in her living room, and decorates it with lights and seasonal ornaments. She made it herself, by drilling angled holes into two of the faces of a 2x2 (I think?) and sticking the branches from a fake tree into them and hanging it from a ceiling stud. Having the tree upside down leaves long dangling ornaments with lots of space to hang, and it doesn't take up any floor space. The "top" (bottom) of the tree hangs just above halfway down the wall, so it's not in the way.

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    1. this sounds awesome! Can you snap a pic? I wanna see :D

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    2. I won't be back at my mom's before Christmas, but here's a pic from last year (of my dad and nephew, but you can see it in the background!). I hope this link works!
      http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/tyches_echo/1486843/295729/295729_original.jpg

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  3. Man, some (most) of those have so many ornaments you can't see the tree. Why not just have an ornament pile, instead?

    Sensory overload! I like mine simple - some lights, no more than one ornament per limb, please.

    I do like the topper topper, though, that's very clever.

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  4. We had a family friend who kept the tree up year-round. Mini-pumpkins in October and hearts in February are the two I remember.

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  5. The woodcarver one is a lot like my own tree. My dad makes us a wooden ornament every year so I've accumulated quite a few.

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  6. I'm wondering if the one with the feet is somehow Wicked or Wizard of OZ themed? They remind me of the Wicked Witch before her feet shriveled up...

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    1. My guess is that it's supposed to be a harlequin/jester theme. A closer look at some of the ornaments might hep.

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  7. These posts make me so nostalgic! I love it! Growing up my parents had a fairly large house and my Mom is crazy for Christmas, so we had 14 Christmas trees each year. They were in every room and they all had a theme. The cat even had a cute little one foot tree decorated with mini mice ornaments. Since my brother and I are grown, they have moved to a smaller house but she still manages to put 6 trees. She would go bananas if we had an event like this around here!

    P.S. Love the self portrait!

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  8. LOL, the last picture! MY FAVORITE! Greeting card!!!!

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  9. "You all have a Jolly Christmas now!"

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  10. This year we had a Halloween tree (witch's hat topper!), and we have trees planned for Valentine's, Easter and Midsummer, too :)

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  11. way cool, thanks for sharing

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  12. Jen, don't look now, but the one with a chair has a foot in it too...

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  13. 'I like the paradox of a summer-themed Christmas tree'

    ... Well, this is awkward... It's always Summer for Christmas in Australia... In fact here most "traditional" snow themed Christmas decorations just don't make much sense. I remember one year where it got to 40 degrees Celsius, which is about 104 degrees Fahrenheit for you.

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    1. We had the same thought - it's not so much a paradox as it is simply reality in the Southern Hemisphere! We're in rural Southern New Zealand and we had a 35 degree celsius Christmas day a few years ago (that became the last year I'm EVER cooking a hot ham for Christmas!) Annoyingly, as non-sensical as snow-themed decorations are in Summer, it's impossible to buy them in Winter for mid-winter Christmas (when it would make sense!).

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  14. One, I love the self-portrait, it is a great christmas card photo.
    Two, I am pinning this post just for the snowman tree. We are not having a tree this year due to all the traveling that must be done and the sneaky sneaky cat who will be left behind to cause mischief. But next year...oh next year it will be done.

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  15. LOVE this post every year. While reading this post it made me realize how long you've had your blog as I remember past year's tree posts.

    Keep up the great work. Thanks for having just the right amount of Christmas spirit in my opinion - meaning you can never have enough! I don't comment all that often but wanted to wish you and John and all the readers (including those who only read comments and have yet to comment and those who will never probably see this- we are all a little community even if some of us stay anonymous) the best holiday season that we've all had!!

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  16. Wow, so many cool trees! And you know, you don't really need a fireplace, you just need a mantle...

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  17. I love seeing this post every year! So many wonderful ideas! My Christmas tree(s) have benefitted from your outings. Thanks!

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  18. If I remember correctly, the rainbow tree was donated by a school. The ornaments were made by the students (which is an awesome class project! If I was a teacher, I would try to make that happen every year!).

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  19. I love these posts too but I'd like to ask a favor. You always go and visit all the cool things here in town (I live in Kissimmee and work in Orlando) that I'VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF! Is there any way you can alert us to cool things coming up? Say a quick facebook post of 'Guys, next weekend is the Festival of Steampunk themed Shoescapes' or whatever. Or at the very least, point us to wherever you hear about all of these cool things?

    And I LOVE the top hat topper, I'm going to be searching for a hat to use on my own tree now.

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    1. Hey April! I live in Orlando too. There are a few websites and calendars that have this kind of info. Orlando Weekly is one. You can sign up for their 'What's happening' newsletter and it usually had a wide array of stuff going on in and around Central Florida. I hope that helps.

      The Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art is SUPER fun. I try to go every year. :-)

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    2. I will definitely be checking out Orlando Weekly. Thank you!

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  20. Well, now I'm wondering if my girls would enjoy decorating a top hat to put on the tree... I love how quirky it is! And the tree topper I got last year is just too darn heavy for our faux tree, which is a shame. We've been making paper stars and putting them up, but something about that top hat just made me go "Ooooooh!"

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  21. So, how wrong is it that my first thought when I saw the wood carver's tree was "Oooh! Bacon Tree!"?

    I love Christmas trees! I could look at them all day and still find more to see.

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  22. i have the claus construction ornament that is on the second construction tree! one of my favorite ornaments as my grandfather and uncle were iron workers. so fun to see that piece on a professional fancy tree.
    :)
    so fun to see the snowman tree and how they did it. for some reason i now feel that i need to see a halloween tree.
    my favorite element out of all these fantastic trees has to be the paint brushes. what a unique way to decorate a tree!

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  23. Oh my goodness, do I ever want to try your Smaug idea!! But we aren't even putting ornaments on our tree this year--our 18-month-old is NOT as cooperative with the "don't touch that" rule as his sister was at that age! :-P

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  24. I love the picture of you two!!! How creative and fun. And good for you for indulging John's whims! :) I really like the first construction tree as well. Gives me some ideas!!

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  25. I literally gasped out loud when you mentioned Smaug! Please, please do it! I haven't been able to decorate a tree for three years so I'm making note of all these fabulous ideas. Love the paint brush and ornaments idea too.

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  26. Several years ago my dad decided he didn't want to move the Christmas tree or take lights off. It's been sitting in the corner of their living room since. Most of the time it's just bare (with lights) but Mom decorates it for Easter, too. And sometimes in the summer.

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  27. Do one tree and divide it into fourths for the seasons. Then you only have to make one tree instead of four... :D

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    1. Neat idea! It would be fun to decorate it as a progression, where the seasons crossover into the next.

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  28. I'm so glad someone else loves Christmas decorating as much as I do. My husband doesn't understand my ornament obsession and my desire to decorate the majority of our house. I shouldn't be surprised as I brought 3 huge boxes full of ornaments into our home and he brought 6. Ornaments, not boxes.

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  29. I love your post and photos of your adventures of the Show every year. Thank you for sharing!

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  30. I love Christmas trees!! I am a bit of a classical tree decorator i guess I am still hung up on shades of blue and silver as my favorite and snow men I love snowmen. This year I dont get a tree (sad day) but looking at all the trees does indeed make me happy.

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  31. It really warmed my heart to see these. I'm laid up with a bad back and don't know if I can do a tree this year. Thank you so much for sharing with me

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  32. I've been trying to get my new apartment put together so that I can dig out all the Christmas decorations I've collected over the years and put them out nicely instead of all crammed into one bedroom. I've been trying to figure out what to do for a topper on my tree since I'm trying to be cheap and not buy any new decorations til they go on clearance after Christmas. I had (begrudgingly) settled on just a bow made from my gobs of ribbon, but now I SO want to find a cheap top hat somewhere! I love seeing these pics every year, so thank you Jen for taking/posting them, and thank you John for putting up with her! :D

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    1. Didn't Jen and John make the Dreamfinder tophat pretty inexpensively? I think it was posterboard and felt. Good luck!

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  33. Love these!! Talk about inspiration... I think my white tree just might need to be "painted" with blue and silver ornaments!!! Yey!! My little wheels of imagination are turning. :)

    -- Piper P from Washington State

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  34. Have to agree - that last picture is awesome. It would make a great Christmas card!

    After having a blue and silver wedding four days after Christmas five years ago we had a lot of ornaments. I'm ready to get back into color, but I've realized that I may not get to use ornaments for a few years. My two year old thinks the tree is just a new way to display toys - the ornaments do not stay on the tree AT ALL. To save me headaches in the future with more small children, I will simply use lots and lots of lights and call it good. Which is sad, because I love ornaments, but better than picking them up off the floor or having them broken.

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    1. I was about to suggest wiring the ornaments onto the branches with a little floral wire, but depending on how determined and/or strong the kids are, that could be a VERY bad idea. Ha!

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    3. We usually put up a real tree, but whenever my kids were really little, I just put out a small artificial tree on a really tall box that I wrapped up like a present. Lets me use my favorite ornaments, but keeps them out of the reach of the littles!

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    4. Oh my gosh, Sara, I am totally using that idea. No kids in this household but no room to store a full size tree so I'm stuck with a little one, and it will feel so much more festive this way! Thank you!

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    5. Mindy, when my kids were little, I hung a bunch of their toys around the bottom tiers of my tree...if they took them off to play with them, no harm done, easily hung back on; the top tiers were decorated with soft, paper, cloth, and resin ornaments that were more grown-up - maybe that would work for you?

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    6. Mindy, when my kids were younger my husband made a decorative picket pence to go around the tree. It kept the kids at a distance and saved both the ornaments and wrapped gifts. A friend of mine found an old wooden playpen at a flea market and stuck her whole tree in it to protect it, and it looked gorgeous.

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    7. Seconding Lissy! We used our superyard (the modular plastic playpen/fence pieces) to corral the tree and presents when our kids were little.

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  35. 1. Self portrait definitely needs to be a Christmas card. 2. Do not understand a chair in a tree. Pass on that one. 3. My florist, who does the centerpieces for my annual Christmas dinner, tells me that snowman hats, i.e. top hats, are all the rage this year in decorating for Christmas. 4. Love, love, love the construction tree with the paint brushes. I see that in my future. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I see your snowman head topper with scarf trailing down the side and raise you the idea of a head with a Cheshire Cat grin topped with a fedora and a 14 foot long multi-colored scarf trailing down...with blue police box ornaments, perhaps?? Now to buy a house with room for a 15 foot tall tree...

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  37. I do not understand the foot tree, either, and I'm a fan of the bar method, which seems to be a selling point on the tree. Where does a ballet-style workout fit in with Harley Quinn/Beetlejuice/The Wicked Witch of the East?

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  38. Oh Jen, I can't handle how cute you and John are in the last picture. It seems to just sum you both up so well. *gah!* Also I feel like the trees this year are less impressive than previous years? Maybe I'm just crazy. :P However I do want to have a BUNCH of christmas trees now. We already have three!!! :P

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  39. I find it strange that the Festival is getting smaller each year! Most niche events have been getting bigger because of internet word-of-mouth. Though there was a pirate festival in Wisconsin that ended a couple years ago because the crowds disappeared.

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  40. A white tree made to look like a snowman was all the rage up here in NJ last year. My step-sister had one at her house. I'll see if I can find a pic. It's really cute!

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  41. I've noticed on pinterest that a lot of people without fireplaces are putting up the whole surround anyway, pillars, mantle, and all, and then putting candles in front of the opening. I saw one where they painted the opening with chalkboard paint and then drew a fire on. I wish I'd thought of this myself back before I had a house with a fireplace. I would have put Sirius Black's face in the fire.

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