Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tie One On: Homo For the Holidays.

So, it's already that time of year. The downtown windows are decorated to the nines, lights are untangled, you can hear the jingle jangle of the Salvation Army bell ringers on every block, and it's that time that you sit across from a 6 year old at the Thanksgiving dinner table and she tells you she wants an iPhone and a plasma flat screen for Christmas. Oh to be young and still think the world owes you something just because you're cute. Yes, my friends. It's the Holiday Season.
Also, on a fun note. We just hosted a great 85th Birthday cocktail party for my PopPop (maternal grandfather), and while I was helping my aunts set up for the party, we found a pack of cocktail napkins in the buffet my Grandmother purchased years ago at Christmas. They said "Charles Dickens may be Dead, but I'm married to Scrooge." I like it. I think I may use that some day against whatever poor son of a Santa marries me.

As I start to deck the halls of the bungalow downtown, I thought I would start to share a few of my holiday design projects and favorites for entertaining this holiday season. With a break in the weather yesterday, I was able to go get my Christmas tree, garland, and start working on the yard. It was perfect timing as I was stringing Frasier fir garland around the lamppost, the UPS man arrived with Santa and his Rudolph all the way from Valencia, CA. If a young soldier had snuck in and made coffee waking up my family, it could have been a Maxwell House or Folgers Commercial.

So back to the projects. I'm happy to say the Neck-tie wreath I mentioned many, many posts ago has finally come to full fruition. I really don't consider myself to be a "crafty" person when it comes down to it. However, I'm pretty pleased with the result. The best part? It was so easy. I literally made it in 15 minutes, from wire frame to hanging on the door. I wish I had taken pictures step-by-step through the process, but it happened so quickly, it just didn't happen. You also know I'm bad about that. However, if you like it, here's all you need:

1. A wire wreath form (literally like 2 bucks at a craft store. You can get a larger one or a smaller one, I bought the smaller one.)

2. 11 neckties if you're covering a smaller wreath form (a smaller wreath form is about the size of a full-size dinner plate or charger). You could use your own neckties, but I got mine from thrift stores, yard sales, etc. I didn't pay more than a dollar for each tie (and as you can see, they are nice, good looking ties.)

3. 1 package of safety pins.

That's all you need. For real.

How to do it? (I've tried to make you a sad diagram to show you since I didn't take pictures, Please excuse my horrible computer drawing skills. Don't Judge.). Click on the photos to view them larger.

Step 1: Lay your your ties in a circle so you can see how you like the patterns together. I tried to keep mine in holiday-ish tones and similar patterns (mostly stripes and patterns reminiscent of polka dots.)

Step 2: Lay out your wreath form in front of you. Take your first tie and fold it over tip to tip (basically you want to the skinny part that hides behind to touch the bottom of the point on your tie. Lay the tie upside down, with the top of the tie under the wreath form. Then fold the top of the tie over the wreath form toward you. Holding the starting point in place, wrap the tie around the wreath form away from you (in the opposite direction, pulling it tight as you go around.) several times until the bottom tip of the front of the tie is now on top and pointing away from you (it looks like what one finished section would look like.)
Step 3: Once you have the front the way you want it with the point up, holding it in place, turn it upside down and fasten the tie to itself (you'll pin the back fabric flaps of the tie to the part that's wrapped around the form. This will hold the tie in place. Believe it or not, you don't have to do anything to keep the points up. They stay once the tie is pinned. I thought maybe I'd have to run wire up the backs to keep them like a star. However, not necessary. This may be necessary if you use flimsy, silk ties. I would recommend going for ties with more structure and more of a traditional thickness/weave.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the form is completely covered.

Step 5: Garnish the wreath with a bow made from another necktie. Literally tie a necktie around the finished form into a bow and let the long thin part dangle down.

Step 6: Hang her up on the door of your choice.

Step 7: Make a martini or cocktail of choice and admire your handy work.

I know this would be easier with real photos, but you're all intelligent, bright people. Just by process of elimination, with those tools in front of you and the finished result picture, you can start to imagine how it comes together if you get confused. Also, you don't have to harm any of the neckties in the process. They don't have to be cut, just wrapped around. You may have a few pin holes if you ever take them off, but I don't recommend using your favorite ties anyway. Part of the fun is finding old ties at thrift stores, sales, etc. It's also a great way to put your damaged ties to use (just make sure the part where you spilled your lunch on it isn't showing.) Eleven dollars worth of neckties (1 dollar each at the goodwill--and a lot of them turned out to be Jos. A. Bank and other nice brands--nice Goodwill), 2 dollar wreath frame, $1.50 worth of safety pins, and we're done. For under $15.00 we have a fun, funky, and unique wreath. Done and Done. Talk about tying one on this holiday season.

Ok, one more super quick idea: a five minute holiday kitchen window treatment. Another chance to tie one on.

Step 1: Take your simplest of simple tab top window valence. As plain Jane as can be.

Step 2: Using your favorite ribbon, tie vintage cookie cutters (or new cookie cutters, I like the look of the old ones) to each tab like ornaments.

Step 3: Your done. If you want to use the cookie cutter, just untie it and put it back up later.

Just a fun way to dress up a simple window treatment over the holidays. You could even take down the valence and just hang the cookie cutters from the curtain rod across the window for a different look. Or, you could substitute the cookie cutters for glass holiday balls/ornaments, or candy canes, or any of the endless possibilities. Just use your imagination.

For now, it's a start. Many more holiday tips and tricks to come. Tie one on, keep it fun, and keep it simple.

Scrooge, if you're out there, give me a call. Dickens may be dead, but we're not.



  1. Thank you for the Tie Wreath idea. I have to decorate my office door and I had no idea what I was gonna do. I will post a picture when I finish! Thanks!!!

  2. Ha! Homo for the holidays!
    did you see my post for today?! Too bad we're not in London. What a fun time we'd have. ;)

  3. love it and love your witty descriptions.

  4. As promised, here is a link to a picture of my wreath I made.

    The theme for the door was, Island Christmas. I wanted to make the Tie Wreath but had no idea how I was going to pull it all together. So, I cut out some fish and put neck ties on them!

    Anyway, thanks for the idea!

    Merry Christmas!

  5. It needs a little something...maybe some plaid shirt balls?