Monday, December 24, 2012

The gift you give yourself...

is savoring the season. We celebrate the holidays, but we also celebrate the season, the beauty of winter, the joy of family, the last dark days before the light begins its return and our creative gifts give it all special meaning.

Terry Grant here. One year I became obsessed with cutting paper trees to decorate our house. I had small children and plenty to do, but once I got this idea I could barely wait for a few moments to grab my papers and scissors and begin cutting. No two were alike Here are a few of the trees I made:

Want to know how to make one? First pick some nice firm, but not too thick paper that is opaque white. Standard sketchbook paper works well. Printer paper is a little too floppy. Card stock is too hard to cut—you'll be cutting 4 layers together. You need a pair of small scissors with a sharp point on at least one blade. I like a pair of bandage scissors given to me long ago by a nurse friend.

 Start with two sheets of paper and lay one atop the other, then fold down the center lengthwise. Then take the paper to your sewing machine and using white thread, sew along the fold line through both sheets.

Then fold all four "pages" together and cut your tree. I like cutting spontaneously. I have ruined a few, but I often surprise myself by what emerges as I cut. If you don't feel confident about cutting without any guide you can add a sheet of thin tracing paper that you sew along with the two main paper sheets. Draw your tree on the tracing paper and use it as your pattern for cutting.

Your cutting design will be half of a tree silhouette, with the stitching at the edge that will be the center of the tree. Be sure your design includes a nice, wide base for the tree to stand on when you open it up.

If you have used a tracing paper pattern, after you have cut the tree out, carefully tear the tracing paper away from the stitched line and discard. Now your tree is clean and free of any pencil marks.

Carefully open up the tree so the four identical sections form an X.

For more than 25 years, I have pulled out the old manila envelope I store them in and set them up somewhere in the house. They look as good as the day I made them, though I notice a couple have begun to yellow a tiny bit on the edges. They are like a little gift from my much younger self and bring back so many memories—especially of the year of my paper tree obsession.

Wishing you all a joyous season—
Terry Grant


  1. These are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing! They are on my next holiday project list!

  2. Absolutely delightful!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. wow, these are gorgeous! thanks Terry, this is a fabulous idea. Can't wait to try it.

  4. these are beautiful...i cant wait to try this with my daughter! thank you for sharing :) and merry christmas!!!

  5. These are awesome. I might actually give this a try. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays.

  6. Oh, these are gorgeous! I love neat paper-cutting crafts: few materials producing beautiful results. The tree with the four angels is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  7. These are so pretty! Thank you for sharing this idea! Even though the holiday has passed, I can't wait to try this!


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