Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bows, Boughs, and a Giant Grapevine Ball

Lately, I've been working on our outdoor Christmas Decorations.  Most of the supplies were given to me for free and have been re-purposed to create something fresh and new.

If you follow Charcoal & Crayons on Facebook or Twitter, then you may have already caught a glimpse of how our house looks all dressed up for the season.  Here is where you'll find the details...

This year my mom gave me a big box of her old outdoor Christmas decorations with instructions to use what I wanted and to rip apart or throwaway what I didn't.  Fun and right up my ally!

So the evergreen garland received just a slight makeover that included re-wrapping the lights and removing some little silver bows.  The red balls were already attached.  I thought about taking them off, but it seemed a little too tedious and besides, I quite like the pop of red colour that they provide. Twist ties (twisted together to make them longer) made attaching the garland to our porch a simple task.

Ribbons & Bows
After watching this great video, making three bows out of ribbon was pretty simple too.  Two spools of wired ribbon were actually the only items that I purchased (under $20).  A sprig of cranberries (from the box of goodies) was tucked into each bow.

Through the Grapevine
When my Mom heard that I was looking for grapevine branches, she immediately offered up the ones from her and her husband Sam's garden.  They get pruned every year and instead sitting by the curb as yard waste, they took a trip to our house.  Local nurseries may also have grapevines available, if you're on the hunt for some.

One Giant Ball
Years ago, I worked at a lovely little museum within an old Victorian style house.  At Christmas time, I made several large lighted grapevine balls for the front porch.  They were absolutely beautiful, so I wanted to create the same effect at our house this year.  Here's a look at the front of our house in the summer...

I originally wanted to make 3-6 balls to hang on both the upper and lower porches... but only ended up with one.  Lesson learned: need A LOT of grapevines to do this.  I think the best way is to add more elements every year and gradually build our Christmas decor collection.

 Plus, they aren't exactly the easiest things to make.  It's been quite a few years since I made them at the museum, and this time around, my first attempt was not pretty.  But by starting over and through trial and error, I figured it out.  If you're thinking of making large hollow grapevine balls like these, here are a few tips...

  • I used jute string to tie branches together because that is what I had on hand.  Florist or craft wire might be a little easier.
  • Tying branches together in bundles works so much better than using each one separately.
  • For example, start with the longest branches and tie 2-3 together.  Then shape them into a circle, similar to a wreath.
  • Wrap another bundle cross ways around the wreath shape and secure.
  • Shorter branch bundles, can then be added in, tying at the top and bottom poles of the sphere... in curved shapes.  Like this  )
  • Tuck in extra branches where necessary.

I apologize for the lack of photos with these tips.  Since I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants, I was too focused to remember to take pictures!  So if you have any questions, please leave a comment or send them to

The final step was to add two strings of lights to the inside the ball. This creates a beautiful nighttime glow on our front porch.

I have since added ribbon at top of the ball, hiding the extension cord.  I'm not sure if I like the way this looks and I think some greenery would look better... maybe that will be a project for next year!

Rudolph's Roost
The final touch to our holiday home this year was handmade by my Mom and Sam.  This little guy keeps watch by the front door...

So that's about it for our outdoor decorations this year... What about you?  Is your house all dressed up for the season?

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. You are endlessly creative! I love it! :) Beautiful job.

  2. It looks absolutely beautiful. I love love love that grapevine ball.

  3. I love the garland and Rudolph. :-) We don't have much outside our house other than lights.

  4. This is a great idea, and my parents just happen to have tons of grapevines!

  5. I started on COPD Herbal treatment from Ultimate Life Clinic, the treatment worked incredibly for my lungs condition. I used the herbal treatment for almost 4 months, it reversed my COPD. My severe shortness of breath, dry cough, chest tightness gradually disappeared. Reach Ultimate Life Clinic via their website . I can breath much better and It feels comfortable!


Thank you for your thoughts.