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I’ve made a decision!

Last year I was committed to posting timely topics on my blog. Well that didn’t happen! sigh. I don’t know how other bloggers do it all. They must decorate for Christmas months before December, the same way magazines work on their seasonal material many months before the issue hits the press.

Though I really tried last year, if I couldn’t finish a post during the season, I ended up never posting at all. That is going to change. This year, I am posting anything I want, any time I want. I have quite a bit of material to post! I know that breaks blogger rules, the rule that says readers won’t be interested in seeing Christmas crafts in August. But life is too short and much too busy so I hope you all forgive me for diving right in to this new year.

You will be getting more posts from me but it’s fairly certain they won’t be all calendar-tidy. Nope. Not at all. I can sorta-kinda-maybe get some posts matched with seasons but I won’t stress about missing. And I’ll do my best to not apologize when I post Christmas in May and Valentines in September. Because… it’s highly likely I will actually be working on Christmas projects in May and making Valentines in September!

So here’s a project I just finished yesterday, January 12, 2016. It’s a Christmas decoration. Happy New Year to you!

Pearl Bottle Brush Tree Topiary, made by cutting bristles out of a bottle brush tree and gluing on pearls.

Pearl Bottle Brush Tree Topiary, made by cutting bristles out of a bottle brush tree and gluing on pearls.

The photos are a bit off in tone because I started this Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary Tree before Thanksgiving 2015 and photographed the steps under various lighting conditions as I did them, weeks apart. That’s how I get so much done. Projects are broken down into phases, kept in bins and boxes like a kit, ready for me to work on here and there.

For the bottle brush topiary, I picked a nice bottle brush tree to work with. The brush had to be full and evenly distributed all the way around and the bristles had to be tight. I found these 9″ trees at Michaels.

The first step was establishing the spiral by sticking masking tape around the tree. I started at the base and wound it around the tree all the way to the top.

The masking tape is wound around the tree, starting at the bottom and spiraling around the tree to the top. The tape will mark all the places that the bristles will NOT be cut.

The masking tape is wound around the tree, starting at the bottom and spiraling around the tree to the top. The tape will mark all the places that the bristles will NOT be cut.

I first started cutting out the bristles right in the center of the taped areas as shown here. The first cutting was in the center between the tape, all the way from the base to the top of the tree.
3 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
Here you can see what the tree looks like after the first cutting.
4 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
To make the second cutting, I cut at an angle from the tape in to meet the deep first cut in the center of the tree.

Cutting at an angle from the tape to the center. The tree was turned upside down to make cuts under the spiral as you can see here.

Cutting at an angle from the tape to the center. The tree was turned upside down to make cuts under the spiral as you can see here.

After the second cutting.
6 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
I continued cutting away bristles until there was a nice, neat spiral shape, all between the tape-covered bristles.
7 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
The cutting is all finished here.
8 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
The masking tape is gently pulled away.

I was so happy with how easy it was to make the spiral shape!

I was so happy with how easy it was to make the spiral shape!


10 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
11 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
Here is the cut tree next to an identically-taped bottle brush tree. The tape makes it easy to cut an even spiral.
12 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
13 Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary
The last step was gluing on the pearly glass and plastic beads. I watched Downton Abbey while doing this and it was a pleasant task. Oh so elegant! I used Fast Grab Tacky Glue and tweezers to place each pearl. No other glue would have been as easy to use because I needed a glue that grabbed fast and didn’t drip. I used two kinds of large pearl beads and a couple different kinds of smaller pearls and pearly beads.

Pearls are glued to the tips of bristles on this Bottle Brush Topiary Tree.

Pearls are glued to the tips of bristles on this Bottle Brush Topiary Tree.

I’m looking forward to displaying this pretty tree next Christmas, tucked amongst the plants in the corner of the dining room.

Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary Tree

Pearl Bottle Brush Topiary Tree

By the way, did you see the beautiful red Poinsettia peeking over in the first photo? When I lifted the poinsettia plant out of the van in early December, three branches broke off. So I stuck them in a glass of water. They are still beautiful, over a month later. =)

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