Last year...a few days into November I frantically gathered orange and brown burlap, some felt and several fat quarters and got to work making our Thankful Tree. I wanted to make a Thankful Tree that I could make ONE time and not have to re-create it each year (or...at least for the next few years until I fall in love with another idea). Because, let me tell ya...after the marathon of Halloween-costume-making in October, November really sneaks up on me!
Mine was inspired by Pottery Barn Kids version:
Each evening in November, we sit down and talk about what one thing that each of us are thankful for. Charlie writes these down on a card beside each of our names and we tuck the card behind the corresponding day of the month. We Westerners have oh, so much to be thankful for, don't we?
Several months ago as Charlie and I were reading through the gospels, we started doing a lot of thinking, praying and question-asking. We began questioning whether or not we really believe what the Bible has to say about those that have been given much. And, whether or not we really believe that the commands of Christ carry the same weight today as they did way back then. They were hard questions with even harder truths that has revealed a lot of ugly selfishness in our hearts. Our answer is: YES. We certainly do believe that Jesus was serious about all that stuff the Bible addresses. But we haven't really been living like we do. Now we're asking God what He wants our family to do in response to some of those answers.
We believe that we've gotten some clarity on how we're to move forward for now...so I'm sure we'll be sharing more in the days to come. We're convinced that we're been given MUCH. So, so much. So, we'll be spending the month of November reflecting on the many things, material and non-material, that we've been given. Want to reflect with us? You don't need a Thankful Tree to do that.
But if you'd like to make your own (No-Sew) Pottery Barn Kids-knock-off, you'll need:
-1/2 yard of Orange burlap (or PBK's is made out of felt)
-1 yard brown burlap (again theirs is from felt)
-fat quarters in various Fall colors and patterns (I used 6 and had plenty...you could go with less here, I just like the variation. Or split the materials with a friend and save $...the brown burlap will be plenty wide to share, what you're needing on that is the length.)
-4 sheets of felt in different Fall colors
-Char made me this pattern for my leaves and numbers (Sorry, but you're on your own for the letters if you want to do a "Give Thanks")
-The "hook" side of velcro, also known as the harder or more prickly "male side" with the adhesive backing. (I didn't need the female side since the male side stuck fine to the burlap...I'm thinking it'd stick fine to felt, too? I'd recommend trying it out first.)
-Sewing Machine (this is optional...I just like the way that it looked finished when I top-stitched around each of the leaves.)
1. Cut out all the leaves and numbers from your materials. (If you'd like, you can top-stitch around your leaf outline about 1/2 inch allowance around the entire leaf. This is totally optional. I just liked the way that it "finished" it.)
2. Cut out your tree trunk (mine measured 48 inches tall x 28 inches wide) and tree top (22 inches tall x 40 inches wide) to your liking.
3. Place the trunk, leaves and numbers on your tree until it's placed and spaced how you like it. Then, use fabric glue to attach your numbers to your leaves (make sure you don't glue it all the way down onto the tree. My glue bled through a bit and I had to make sure they weren't getting stuck and closing up the leaves, instead leave them open like a "pocket".) When you're placing the leaves on your tree top...please DON'T do like I did and let the top leaves come off of the tree-top fabric. Otherwise, you won't have a place for the velcro to stick and the top pockets will drape down...looking like sad wilting leaves. (I have to tack mine down to keep them up.) So, just make sure you leave enough of a border to close the leaf pocket on the top leaves.
4. Glue the trunk onto the tree. Then, glue the bottom edges and sides of the leaves down to tree top. Again, make sure they're open like a pocket. You can even test them out with a piece of paper, if you'd like.
5. Adhere the male side of adhesive velcro to the wrong-side of the fabric (wrong side is the back of the fabric) so that you can close your pocket-leaves.
6. Now go start thinking about all the things you're thankful for!
Heather made a really nice, simple Thankful Tree variation here, too. And she gives excerpts from One Thousand Gifts, a book that I actually picked up on November 1st to start reading. Lynsey had given it to me as a gift at Oliver's Baby Shower and I started it this summer. But then, things got too busy for me to give it the attention it deserves. I've heard nothing but incredible things about this book, so let me know if you decide to read it or have already read it, too!