The Christmas Tree Ornament Story

Please allow me to go off on a tangent – this story DOES have a quilting angle, however vague and fleeting it may be.  Plus, it’s simply a funny story.  I can say that NOW.

Every year our family makes Christmas tree ornaments.  My hope is when my children are grown, they can decorate their trees with their ornaments they’ve made over the years, and enjoy the memories we’ve made together.  It’s a tradition: Ornaments my mother made years ago hang on our tree next to ornaments I made as a child, which hang next to ornaments my children have made.

This year I picked Snowy Balloon Ornaments (courtesy of Martha Stewart) as the winning design.  It seemed easy and simple, perfect for short-term attention spans. The idea is to take a balloon, blow it up to the size of a orange, tie it off, and wrap string all around it.  Thin some Elmer’s glue with a bit of water, paint the string, and let it dry.  Next, pop the balloon and carefully pull it out through the gaps in the string, which, stiff with glue, has retained the shape of the balloon.  Spray glue all over the ball and sprinkle glitter all over it.  Attach an ornament hanger and you’re done!

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Everybody with me so far?

We had 4 colors of ultra fine glitter.  I put each tube of glitter on its own sheet of paper, so that if WHEN it spilled, I could just fold the paper and tap the glitter back into the container.  I also put newspaper all over the table to protect it from the glue, even though it was only Elmer’s.

Everybody else did fine with their balls of string.  However, one of my ornaments didn’t have enough string around it, so I tried to apply more glue and string.

Apparently you shouldn’t do that AFTER you pop the balloon.  The ball became soggy and lost its shape when I painted on more glue, so I threw it out and started pouting.  Then I had a light bulb moment – instead of using glue to attach the glitter; maybe it would be a good idea to use quilt basting spray!  Basting spray wouldn’t make the string soggy, right?  And the glitter would easily stick!  So I spread even MORE newspaper around to handle any overspray, and, feeling smug, patted myself on the back for being so innovative and resourceful.  Ha.

Preston (aged 10) had already put glitter on his ball.  Justin (aged 16) was busy painting glue on his, and seemed uninterested in the basting spray.  HIS ball wasn’t disintegrating under the wet glue, either.  Grrrrrr.

However, Wade (husband, aged 44) decided to use the spray.  He grabbed it, turned and faced AWAY FROM THE PAPER-COVERED TABLE, and sprayed the basting spray all over his ball.  Directly behind his ball was the NON-PAPER COVERED FLOOR, which is now super sticky!  To top it off, his elbow knocked over the tube of red glitter, which he had neglected to put back on its piece of paper, and the glitter went everywhere.

I opened a bottle of tequila.

Guess who stuck around to help clean up this mess?  NOBODY!!!!  I’m trying to figure out how I managed to be the one planning, organizing, directing, and cleaning up this project, and I don’t even end up with my own ornament!

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