We have a number of customers who visit The Barley Barn in search of cheap and light Christmas decorations that they can pack into their suitcase as they head off on a Christmas break. I always imagine that they’re flying away to somewhere exotic, but the more likely scenario is a slow train ride or a long car journey. If they’re going somewhere exciting then they tell me in great detail.
If you too are heading away from home and need something small and portable to decorate your destination, then I have two suggestions, which will take up next to no room in your luggage. If you aren’t going away but are looking for an easy project that you could do with young children, then give these a try.
The first is to make large baubles from balloons.
You will need balloons, aluminium foil and some short lengths of grey wool (use cotton or string if you don’t have grey wool).
Blow up the balloons to the desired size, bearing in mind that the more you inflate them, the less rounded they’ll be. But hey, sometimes size overrules aesthetics. Make a hanging loop with a short length of grey wool (use cotton or string if you don’t have wool) and tie onto the balloon.
Tear off a strip of aluminium foil five or six centimetres wide. Fold the long edges into the centre and then fold again along the length. Take your long strip and fold each end into the centre and then wind the foil around and around the knot of the balloon to make a collar. Stick down the end with a dab of glue, double sided sticky tape or fresh air if you don’t mind it working a little loose. You now have a festive bauble to hang from a high place or fill a glass jar or vase.
The second little project is to make a larger than life holly sprig. You could make the pompoms on the train, which would pass a few hours and doubtless amuse the other passengers, though pulling out a pair of scissors from your bag may be frowned upon in an aeroplane.
I make my pompoms the old-fashioned way (ie how we were taught at primary school) by wrapping wool around two doughnut discs of cardboard, then cutting the wool between the two cardboard discs and tying a length of wool around the core of wool before pulling apart the discs. Use this method or a nifty little pompom maker, a fork or some other modern technique to make two or three red berry pompoms.
Make the holly leaves by cutting out 2 holly leaf shapes from a piece of thick green paper, crease lightly down the centre and pinch the ends of each pointy bit of the leaf. Make a small hole in the end of each leaf and poke through the loose end of the pompom berries. Tie them together and you have your holly sprig.
If you get carried away with your pompoms, you could make bunting (though that’s sooo yesterday) or fill glass vases and jars with them, dangle them from the ceiling or make a bobble hat.
If you have balloons left over then fill them with water, chuck them in the freezer and you’ll have giant ice cubes. I saw a picture of this on Pinterest and thought it a wonderful idea. We filled the bottom of a large trough with water and then piled in the icy balloons, which looked fabulous in their rainbow of colours. Unfortunately, when some of the balloons hit the water they split, which looked rather unappealing. However, the ice cubes were a great success and lasted hours and hours.