Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Labor of Love: Making a Jesse Tree Tradition

It's finished!
I've been working on a handmade Jesse tree for the last three weeks and I'm so excited that it's finally completed. Sculpey clay is my new favorite.
 I used the clay to roll out small (these are about 1.5 inches across) fluted circles using a tiny biscuit cutter, and then I painted them with champagne colored craft paint. I originally wanted to paint the symbols onto each circle, but my goal was to complete this project for as little as possible, and I didn't have the right type of paint. So I decided to mold each tiny symbol by hand.
 This took much longer than I thought it would, and it was pretty frustrating at times, but I'm so happy that I did it.
 While most of our symbols are the standard ones (you can find tons of lists of Jesse tree ornaments online), a few were too daunting for me to attempt, so I made unique symbols for those bible passages.
 I spray painted some large branches from our backyard with white paint and propped them inside a vase that my mom gave us as a wedding gift.
I put family pictures and glittered ornaments around the tree's vase.
 Since the goal was to complete this project for little or no money, I used only things I already had, with the exception of the $3 spool of silver ribbon I used to hang the ornaments from the tree. I made "snow" around the base of the tree by cutting long strands of creamy knotted yarn and bunching it around the vase.
 I wrapped small bits of the yarn randomly throughout the branches, and held them in place with bits of craft glue at each end.
 The little boy above is an example of some of the symbols I created that are unique to my family's new Jesse tree. Instead of the lion and the lamb, I made a little child with a balloon (as in, "a little child will lead them").
 And this is the symbol I created for Isaac- a baby in a womb. He's a little hard to see in the photo above.
 I wanted to make something that would intrigue William (and ME) for years to come.
The tree is on our entry table in front of the mirror. You can see the doily project in the reflection behind the white branches, and it looks to me like a wall of falling snowflakes. I can't wait to read William the first story that foreshadows the birth of a savior. I'm so looking forward to using this tree every December.


  1. That tree is so lovely and your pictures look amazing! I'm going to hire you to take AFTER pictures of my house.

  2. I make Jesse Tree Ornaments, too!