22 Dec 2010

More 50s Christmas Darlings and Disasters

Another day, another 50s Housewife Does Christmas attempt.

That picture is of a vintage bottle brush tree and is the sort of Christmas craft a 50s housewife might find herself working on. That one stood about 12" tall, was made of a bottle brush (hence the name) and a deconstructed brass scrubbing pad, featured loads of little trickets and ornaments (this person never heard the phrase, "less is more") - and sold for $300 on eBay (no, not to me - I'm not that into recreating the era).

Keen to make what would surely become a valuable family heirloom (heh), I decided to try to create my own bottle brush tree. It turns out that they don't make bottle brushes like that anymore. The next best option was to find a sisal tree at a craft store.

I realize this next resource is not from the 1950s, but it's too good not to share. First, the intro of this waiting-to-go-viral video made me wonder if I was watching a secret Bruce McCulloch skit from Kids in the Hall. Turns out it's real. Second, it features my favourite kind of person ever: The Southern Gay. I just loves me a homosexual man from Georgia. His voice is butta' to my bread - especially when he starts to get excited about glitter:

I don't know how long they were letting their trees sit in that bleach, but mine sat overnight+ and the shade only changed a tiny bit, as you can see:

Oh well. I glued on some mini ornaments and voila! Soon to be sold for hundreds of dollars on eBay? Not likely - but as you'll quickly discover, it's not the most hideous thing I made that day:

Bottle Brush Tree: 1950s Christmas Checklist
√ Tiny details
√ Colourful
√ Presents an obvious danger to small children, pets and idiots (specifically, the cup o' bleach you have laying around to make this)

With that tree done, I decided to tackle another - this time a weird table decoration that I found in a 1959 magazine that was made of straws (the centre one):

As usual, there were no instructions on how to make it, so I played around with a pack of straws for a while. At first, I decided to encircle the straws around something round and then tape them where they lay:

Um, why do you own a can of Vienna Sausages?

That is for me to know and for the guests of our 50s Christmas Cocktail Party to have nightmares over, Mr. Italics.

It turns out this method caused the circle of straws to collapse on itself (like a stomach would upon eating the contents of that can), so I cut the circle in half, crushed them at the top and taped them together. I then went about decorating the tree with bits of paper. The result ...
You don't have to say it. What happened next says it all. This little tree won't be featured in any other photos of our holiday home - and it's not because of silly things like "pride" or "shame." Patrick accidentally threw it out, figuring it for a pile of garbage. For real. I can't say I blame him. That said, I've made a note to myself: Never take Patrick to the National Gallery.

Straw Tree: 1950s Christmas Checklist
√ Tiny details
√ Colourful
√ Highly flammable
√ Confusing

One last craft for the day - a wreath for our door! This Christmas, I wanted something that would tell all the people who pass by our home a simple holiday message: A crazy woman lives here.

My magazines provided me with a couple options that would do just that - all using muffin cups:

I went with the simplest possible route to create this look. Cardboard, streamer paper, muffin cups, a few beads and some glue later and ...

Not totally horrible, right? Slight vindication for the earlier craptastic crafting, yes? But so not what you'd think to put on your door either.

Muffin Cup Wreath: 1950s Christmas Checklist
√ Tiny details
√ Colourful
√ Highly flammable
√ Confusing

Having had to go into the kitchen to get muffin cups got me in the mood to do some make-ahead baking for our party, so I figured I'd do something simple like sugar cookies. The recipe seemed pretty simple and the same kind you probably still use today. And yet ...
Lesson: Don't try to put all four baking sheets in the oven, because the bottom rack of cookies will burn, burn, burn (the top rack of cookies will somehow be perfect). The smoke will fill your apartment and you will spend the next desperate seconds clawing at the smoke alarm lid to disconnect the wires before it activates a building-wide alarm, sending the fire department to the complex.

Sugar Cookies: 1950s Christmas Checklist
√ Colourful
√ Diabetes-causing
√ HIGHLY flammable

I may have damaged the smoke alarm ... which is great timing considering my home is currently floor to ceiling 50s-grade flammable.

Tomorrow: Our super vintage tree! 50s gift wrapping! More goodies!


Capucine 8:25 pm, December 22, 2010  

Oh my! The joys of 50's holiday crafting just never ends, does it?

At least your fire extinguisher is a colourful Christmast red! You *do* have a fire extinguisher, don't you? Don't you??

Carolyn 9:43 pm, December 22, 2010  

Sounds like you had lots of fun... that's the main thing.

Anonymous,  10:38 pm, December 22, 2010  

That straw tree had me in hysterics.

Di Smith 2:26 pm, December 23, 2010  

Absolutely hilarious. This keeps getting better and better...

Jen 3:28 pm, December 30, 2010  

Ha - Capucine ... we *should* have a fire extinguisher ...

Yes, Carolyn - the fun IS the most important aspect of all of this!

Diana & Anon - Thanks!

Leonie Daecher 1:57 pm, October 04, 2019  

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