The Blessings Tree
Every Thanksgiving, like many people do, we make a point of going around the table to share some of the things we’re thankful for. But this year, I wanted to extend that practice of giving thanks and acknowledging the many ways we’re blessed throughout the entire month, rather than saving it for Thanksgiving Day alone. To do that, I decided to make a Blessings Tree, which serves the dual purposes of a beautiful, seasonal display and an interactive, hands-on way for all of us to share the things we’re grateful for. Here’s how I did it:
I started by gathering a few fallen branches from our backyard and spray painting them gold. After they’d dried, I arranged and anchored them with glass pebbles in that gorgeous purple glass vase from my November décor mood board. (You can find it here.)
Next, I used my Cricut to cut out some leaf shapes in different sizes from some decorative paper, cardstock, and vellum. I found a 6×6 paperpad from Crate Paper in the craft aisle of my local Tuesday Morning and just had to get it. The colors and patterns are perfect for this project. I used some cardstock that I had on hand in my personal stash, including some Core-dinations cardstock that is my favorite for adding distressed texture…more about that later.
(Don’t have a Cricut? You can print out leaf templates here, or just freehand cut leaf shapes…it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just remember to make some of your leaves large enough to write on!)
I like my Cricut, but I love my Big Shot, especially for embossing. Once my leaves were cut out, I ran the largest ones (which I’d cut from Core-dinations cardstock) through my Big Shot with these Sizzix Textured Impressions folders—you guessed it, another amazing Tuesday Morning find! The pattern for this set of folders is Thickets and Swirls, and for only $4.99, it was a definite must-have addition to my craft supply stash.
The great thing about Core-dinations cardstock is that it makes easy work of distressing. After embossing the leaves, I took a little sanding block and gently rubbed it over the raised parts of the embossed design. You can see in this picture how that little bit of sanding adds some texture and color variation to my leaves. The distressed areas look and feel like suede.
I’d cut out the smaller leaves in both plain cardstock and the patterned paper from my 6×6 paper pad; I didn’t want the back of the patterned paper leaves to be just plain white, but I needed a solid cardstock so that we could write our notes of gratitude on these leaves and have it be legible. So a little glue to the back of the patterned leaves and the cardstock leaves on top of that, and voila! This is a totally optional step, by the way. I admit that I’m kind of obsessed with little details like this. If you don’t mind plain white backgrounds for your leaves, then by all means, skip this step!
A quick hole punch in each leaf and a little loop of different kinds of twine, and my leaves are ready to hang on the branches!
The large brown cardstock leaves and vellum leaves are the only ones on the branches to start with. I’ve put my patterned paper leaves in a little dish beside the vase, along with a little sign I made and put in that lovely burled wood frame from my November décor mood board. Because I put our Blessings Tree in a prominent place in our home, it will be easy for us to take a moment here and there throughout the month to write a little something on a leaf and hang it on the branches.
On Thanksgiving Day, we can read the little messages we’ve hung on the branches. I’m planning to date this year’s leaves and keep them in a pretty Mason jar so we can add to them year after year!
So there you have it: my twist on a Thanksgiving tradition. I hope you’re inspired to put your own creative stamp on a favorite tradition this season!