This started as a joke. I asked Justin what theme we should go with for Christmas and he balked at the idea that we needed a theme. I wanted something sort of natural and a little simple - like a nordic theme, and that sent Justin off on a tangent about having a viking Christmas. He created a "mood board" and everything. All to be a sassy pants. So I said fine. You want a viking Christmas, you get a viking Christmas! Of course, without all that back story it just sounds sort of weird that we had a "viking Christmas" - so I decided to call it norse, because it's accurate, yet a bit more refined. Right??
There were a number of things we made by hand for our norse-inspired Christmas, but we're just going to focus on the ornaments for the tree in this post. (You can read about the Little Animal Advent here!)
I'm sort of proud of all our handmade ornaments. This is the first year we made most of what went on the tree! We made garlands from cranberries and small wood beads, which I loved. Unfortunately, they were pretty shriveled by Christmas, but I actually didn't mind the shriveled up look. I know, I'm weird.
Our color scheme was dark green, lime green, silver, white and red. We hung some of our store-bought balls that we already had. Glittery, white furry, white glass, silver... then we made several other ball ornaments in clear class balls - some has cranberries in them and some had evergreen pieces we snipped off the bush in the front yard.
I bought decorative metal sheeting online. I chose a design that looked a bit like Celtic knots. I used a tin snips to cut them out in lines and groups of one, two, three, four and five circles. I think this kind of sheeting is usually used for grate covers? It was about 9x12 inches.
I looked up viking shields online to get an idea of what they looked like. They were usually made from strips of wood, cut into a round shape. I made little replicas with small craft sticks for some and large craft sticks for others - I just hot glued the sticks to a round wood disc and then cut the sticks to the right shape. Then I painted them white and green and used metal buttons for the symbols in the middle. They're a pretty good likeness to a real viking shield I think!
We made two different kinds of wood slice ornaments. These were branches from our burn pile that we just sliced up with the miter saw - and I only mention that so I get credit for slicing because I almost cut my hand off. We looked up the norse alphabet and used a wood burning pen to burn runes into the slices. For one type, we connected three wood slices together with twine, then burned in our initials - one on each slice. For the other kind we wood burned in some Christmas-y phrases and words, like "noel," "peace," "joy," King of Kings," and so on. It took quite a bit of time since we did both sides in case they turned.
Probably the most time consuming were these "dragon scale" balls. I made them thinking they might look like viking armor or something, but my son pointed out they looked a lot more like a dragon or something. So that's what we're going with. They're just styrofoam balls in different sizes with silver metal tacks stuck in them overlapping. I glued and tacked in a piece of string for them to hang from - and they are HEAVY.
I looked everywhere for a basket that my tree would actually fit in. Don't you love the basket trend? It seems very Scandinavian and I was determined to make it a reality. But it just didn't work out with the base of our tree. I have an idea of what might work for this next year, but what I finally decided on instead of a tree skirt was wrapping it up in burlap. Rustic, yes? I used gray burlap because it matched the color scheme better. I was actually pretty happy with how it looked, even though it wasn't a basket.
Can we just take a tiny moment here for the little table that tree is on? So a few years ago we realized that if we moved the tree from in front of the window to the corner, we could actually raise the tree up off the ground so it filled out the vaulted ceiling area better. That way 1) the littles couldn't reach the breakable ornaments and 2) the presents fit better. Also, the tree looks way more impressive, as if it's like 10 feet instead of 6. Anyway, I didn't like the table we used for this in the past, so Justin and I decided to make a rustic wood and metal table specifically for this purpose. Plus, you know, then we could actually use it as a table afterwards.
It's hard to tell, but it has black metal hairpin legs I love. The top is pallet wood we already had and the frame is 1x2's. We used silver L brackets that I painted black and copper to match our living room better. I'm in love with it.
I bought an inexpensive shower curtain from Amazon and cut it up - partially to make the pillow cases that are cute and striped green in this picture:
And partially to cut into strips to wrap around the interior of the tree. Fake trees can sometimes look so scrawny and I hate it when you can see that metal pole all the branches come out of... so I wrapped this fabric in there and wound it around and I like the way it fills the tree out and gives it even more texture.
Let's see... other details... We usually put these sheer curtains up in the front window and drape lights on either side so they shine through kind of magically. It's one of my favorite Christmas decorations we do.
Also, I made a GIANT wreath out of a hula hoop! I'm sort of proud of that baby too, because it cost next to nothing and I really like the festive greenery around it. I think it adds a lot to the BGW (big green wall).
So, when I was at the thrift store I found this... I don't know... tray? And it looked so much like a viking shield to me I bought it and put it up on the shelf for Christmas. Ha!
So even though this whole norse/viking thing started out as a joke, I think it sort of rocks. I'm kind of loving it just as much if not more than the dinosaur tree from last year.
You can check out the idea for that "Merry" decor on the shelf up there if you want. It's a quick and easy holiday idea.