Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Decorating Just For Us: Christmas Pretties & Sillies

I wasn't sure how much I'd want to decorate this year, since no one was coming over to see our house. In the end I'm glad to say John and I focused on just the things that made us happiest: trees, garlands, and silly stuff:


Normally Claptrap gets banished to the garage, since he hasn't matched our party themes. This year he got a colorful strand of lights and Junk Lady's old Santa hat, and he's made me smile every dang day.

Then this view fills me up every night:

Ahhh. So glowy and cozy. This view has been blocked by giant walls or gingerbread houses the last few years, so it's been nice to have it back.

That fluffy owl on the radio was my moment of weakness at Walmart; I couldn't resist the FLOOF.

 The owl is technically a tree topper, but the base is so huge you could just about fit a basketball in its butt - which, as you might imagine, looks super weird on a tree.

Oh well, I almost made it without buying any new things for Christmas this year.

I love this vignette. The hot air balloon was handmade by a reader, and those are my two grandfathers' pocket watches in my Dollar Tree cloche. All I did to make it Christmassy was swap the owl for the picture frame that's usually here, then add some spriggy bits.

I have one last tree I haven't shown you yet, in the back room. We left it bare for several weeks, because all I really need are these twinkle lights:


Eventually I decided it could use a little dressing up, though, so I went SUPER old school and pulled out the book paper garland and ornaments I made back in 2013:

Anyone remember these?

I purge pretty ruthlessly every year after Christmas, so I'm so glad I kept them! I've still never seen anyone make a pleated paper garland like this, which is a shame; it was fun to make and I think looks amazing.

I even kept enough supplies to make a few more pleated circles, so I put together some gold glitter ones:

Then I have two types of red circles: glitter and a metallic satin:

The garland sections attach to each other with brad fasteners, so it's easy to break down and store. It's held up like a champ the past 7 years in our sauna of a garage. Here's my old tutorial for them if you'd like to try; it's as easy as accordian-folding paper and installing a few eyelets.

And here's the tutorial for the pleated ornaments; each one is a single book page, so they're big impact, low budget. Plus there are so many ways you could customize them.

I love how simple this tree is; it's been a nice reminder that you don't need many ornaments.

Ah! That reminds me! I have to show you this:

Karen isn't a big Christmas fan, so it was a big deal when she asked to borrow a tree. Needless to say, I was more excited about this than she was, ha. 

Karen had $6 worth of ornaments she'd just bought off FB Marketplace: four of these, and maybe 10 silver balls. That's it. But! She had a LOT of craft supplies.

In less than 20 minutes we decked out her new tree to the feathery nines, and even covered the base with two layers of shimmery fabric from her sewing stash. And LOOK HOW PRETTY:

The colors! EEEEE. And that's almost entirely silk flowers and feathers; who needs ornaments?

Ok, back to my place for a few more Christmas characters:

That's Agnes the Gargoyle. (Yep, we had an Agnes before Junk Lady.) She's solid cast iron and officially the Gargoyle of Romance, because she's the first thing John ever gave me.

We also have Figment in his Christmas sweater:

And Kermit in his hat:

We left most of our themed decorations packed away this year, but John went digging for two exceptions to decorate his bathroom. If you've been here a while, can you guess his two favorites?

First there's this guy, from our Fantastic Beasts party:

Then there's this guy from last year's Labyrinth party:

Ludo's Rock Friend! I still chuckle over some of your reactions when I explained John had to make his own rocks out of insulation foam, because there are no rocks in Florida. He did a great job, right?

Our two bowtruckles in the cloche stay out year-round, then I added the rest.

Let's see, the only other noteworthy decor (that you haven't seen yet) is over on the buffet:

Just a mish mosh of things that make us happy.

If you missed last week definitely check out our Wonderland room decorations, since that's probably the prettiest area in the house, and Eric the half-a-tree, which is the kookiest.

I'll end with a few Stories from Christmas day:

Anna and John, our adopted Orlando parents, did an amazing job setting up separate tables and enforcing a strict mask rule when we weren't seated and eating. (They're the same hosts of that amazeballs Game of Thrones dinner a year and a half ago, remember?)

There were only 7 of us there, but we laughed enough for at least 10.

Plus this year our friend Robyn brought her cat:

We don't usually exchange gifts with our Orlando family, but they ganged up and overwhelmed John and me with sweet surprises. I got the new Ghostbusters My Little Pony, we're sharing a Tokyo Treat Box, and then THIS:


Christie also did the painting behind our Figment in that photo up there. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop; she's still furloughed from Disney, so adding new art all the time.

She looks so concerned, lol

And of course we can't leave Eva out:

I hope you're finding ways this week to rest and revel in stuff that brings YOU joy. I have to admit I've been posting so much I'm not doing much resting, ha, but it's because I want to share all these smiles, and also to remind you I'm still here. Most of the internet takes off right now, so it might feel a little lonely where you are. I don't know if it's much consolation to be lonely together, but remember there are lots and LOTS of us out here, just on the other side of your screen, many ready for a chat or a laugh. So come say hi on FOE or the Epbot Discord when the silence feels too much, k? You're not alone. This awfulness you're facing won't last forever; it's going to get better. Pinky swear.

Sending you all the hugs and happy twinkly lights your soul needs tonight. Hang in there, and here's to a happier, healthier new year.


P.S. I'm on another puzzle kick, and just stumbled across the Ravensburger Villainous series - have you seen these? There's one for each of 5 Disney villains, and the designs are gorgeous:


  1. Not only do I remember your paper garland and rosette tutorial, I used it to lead our choir through making sheet music ornaments at our virtual holiday party!

  2. Okay, you SAY Claptrap doesn't match your party themes, but you know as well as I do that Clappy wouldn't let that stop him!
    He'd totally show up to a Potter Party with a Hufflepuff scarf, or sit in the corner with a glass orb in one manipulator and a copy of 'Contact Juggling For Robots' in the other...

  3. Love the cat ornaments. I have small fabric stockings I have made for all the cats we have lived with and Little Miss Maine Coon. Each is as close to their fur and jelly bean colors as possible. Time to go tat a RBG collar for myself.

  4. I'm in awe of your friend Karen's Christmas tree. It's gobsmackingly beautiful!

  5. Oooh those puzzles are related/based on the Villainous boardgames, which also have DELIGHTFUL pretty artwork. Fun! :)

  6. Love seeing all the Christmas decorations, no matter whether it's before or after Christmas. Excellent job all around.

  7. I... may *need* to know how to make that hot air balloon ornament! It is gorgeous! AND amazing!

    I'm so glad you decorated for your enjoyment! We were so excited to decorate this year simply because we missed our decorations last year (we moved to our new place about 2 weeks before Christmas. All we had up for Christmas day was a short tree with lights!). I think decorating is just as much for ourselves/our enjoyment as it is to share with others.

    1. You will want this post, then!

      There's also one on how to make the nice filigree basket here:

    2. Thanks Robin! I have actually used Jen's tutorials to make hot air balloons! They turned out really cute, for sure. :D I like that the one she was gifted is made from a round bauble, though, but I can't wrap my head around making it work.

  8. I love how you say "some spriggy bits" and it looks like a professional florist arrangement! You're so talented. Mine looks like something that drifted down a creek. Oh well. Happy new year!
    In the spirit of "happy new year" I thought you might enjoy this steampunk new year's wish, a Tennyson poem set to music. The words are so amazingly appropriate, it's hard to believe it was written 150 years ago:

  9. I put together the Villianous Alice in Wonderland puzzle earlier this year. It was fun.

  10. Every corner of your house is amazingly decorated. I love every bit of it. And I'm definitely all for decorating for enjoyment (especially since I do not have a decorator's eye) - our trees are all decorated with sentimental/fun ornaments (we collect ornaments from places we've traveled), and our various Peanuts and Mickey decorations are randomly scattered throughout the house, but my son adores them, and that's what matters.

  11. Thank you. I love your posts and they do what you hope, just add a little light to an otherwise dim present. Essential and very welcome.

  12. I love putting little bits of Christmas everywhere so even everyday decor becomes Christmasy. <3

  13. I got a little hit of unexpected joy from this, I'm a fan of words and you used 'mish mosh' which I hadn't heard before and thought was 'mishmash' and it turns out both are correct (although the latter is more commonly used). The space seems to be randomly applied to both. So thank you for this little gift! I shall eagerly await my chance to play it in Scrabble. :D

  14. I made a book page paper garland when you first posted it and now it graces the tree in my front hall every year!


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