Friday, December 11, 2009

Delicate Paper Stars

After ten years of living in Ireland, it still amazes me every year that there are plants and trees in bloom around Christmas time, here. And I mean outside, in the garden. This is due to the Gulf Stream, which causes a mild climate on the island of Ireland - or a one-season-year. I call it "sprautumn" - mild temperatures, but strong winds and much rain all year 'round. In February the lack of what I would consider proper winter weather regularly gets me down. And I have given up hope of ever having a white Christmas here. But hey, why not incorporate the blooming outdoors into the Christmas scheme? After all there is a custom we call Barbarazweige in Germany, the "Barbara branches", when you cut branches off a cherry tree on St. Barbara's Saint day, the 4th of December.

Yes, I know, I have missed that day, but I only needed a little conversation piece to introduce today's project: Making delicate paper stars. This is a last minute project when you realize on Christmas Eve that you haven't got enough decorations to hang on your Christmas tree. Or if you want something new for little money. It couldn't be easier than this.

You need strips of thin paper, scissors, needle and thread, a glue stick, and a punch. My strips of paper were about 3 cm wide and about 40 cm long, but you could theoretically use any width of paper.

Start off by folding your strip of paper into a concertina shape. Try to fold them regularly and thinly.

When you are done, take your needle and thread and push the needle through the bottom of the concertina. You may have to push quite hard - use a thimble to protect your thumb.

Now tie two knots. Do not tie it too tight as you will have to have enough space in the knot to later fold open the concertina and make a "rosetta".

Take your scissors and cut off a triangular shape from the untied side of your concertina so that you have created a pointy shape. (You could also cut a round-y shape, actually.)

If your concertina isn't too thick you can try and cut a semicircular bit out of the concertina by pushing it half way into your punch. Or take the scissors and cut a bit out of the concertina. You have to make sure that you cut through all the layers of the concertina evenly.

Now you are ready to open up the concertina and form it into a circle. (This is why it was important not to knot too tightly - otherwise the paper hasn't got enough space to open up.) Fix the two end bits together with a bit of glue.

Finally create a little hanger by putting the needle through one of the points and knotting the thread. Done.

Now to get back to my introduction about the Barbara branches: I thought the delicate cherry petals would be overpowered by traditional Christmas ornaments. So I hung the branches with my Christmas stars. The translucent, delicate paper matches the frail blossoms very nicely. They create a bit of white winter, Christmas cheer on a simple flower display.

Of course you could do these also with coloured paper and in all sizes. I would love to make a really large one to hang in my window, but I doubt I can get paper 1,50 m in length... Anyone got some old fax machine paper???   


Ulrike said...

What about wrapping paper? (Geschenkpapier)

Greetings from Dresden!

Sonja, Queen of Crafts said...

Good idea, Ulrike - should really try that. Ha! Have to buy Christmas paper, anyway - nothing wrapped yet... Will post the result, if I ever manage to get anything done this year!

Ulrike said...

Oh - I´m looking forward it!

Gina said...

Beautiful! I would love to try these!

Kim -today's creative blog said...

those are amazing!

Shannon said...

Oh wow! I love those! They are very pretty hanging from the branches.

Anonymous said...

they are beautiful! and i love your pictures! thanks for sharing!

Sonja, Queen of Crafts said...

Oh dear, I can't believe I missed all these nice comments being posted. @ Gina, Kim, Shannon and Julie - thanks for taking time to comment!!!