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Christmas “Dream Tree” Challenge — Metal & Wood

I know, I know……we’re all still recovering from our trick-or-treating hangover and here I am, throwing Christmas at you.  Ack!  One holiday at a time, right?! ;)  But for the past couple years, I have participated in a little “Dream Tree” challenge and it always happens right after Halloween ends……to give everyone time to start planning their trees and Christmas decor!  But I’m not gonna lie, I feel like I had to keep the tree hidden from the trick-or-treaters who came to our door on Halloween.  Ha!

But I do really love this jump start on Christmas and how it changes the mood and feel of my home……plus, my tree is all done and ready for Christmas!!!!

So every year, Michael’s sends me a pre-lit tree and asks me to decorate it however I want, using supplies and decorations from their store.  Ummmm……yes, please!!!  (Here is my Dream Tree from 2013 and 2014.)  It’s always strange to be shopping for Christmas before Halloween is even over (because my big tree arrived about 2 weeks ago)…..but once I start hanging ornaments and stringing beads, I get so excited for the holidays to just keep rolling in!

This year…..I had the hardest time deciding how I wanted to decorate my tree.  I walked through the Christmas aisles of Michaels and I wanted a little of this, a little of that, and my goodness…..have you seen all the extra pillows, santas, reindeer, mantel lights, wall hangings, etc they have this year??  Michael’s has really stepped it up and has loaded their shelves with the more “current” decorations this year.  There was so much I wanted to add to my cart!!!

But I finally decided on this…


It’s a mixture of industrial-type metals with some warmer woods, and then some black, white, and red thrown in!  Oh, and a marquee barnwood-style star on top!


My favorite part of the whole tree are these over-sized and rugged metal ornaments that came in several different shapes.


However, they actually only come as plain metal ornaments and I decided to add another dimension to them by gluing a wood ornament to the center of each one and then tied some black/white gingham ribbon to the top!


I also found these intricately cut 3D metal stars and snowflakes that were super cool.  A little bit of rugged and soft…..meshed all together.


And then I found these painted wood circle ornaments that each had a different shape left as the “negative” in the center.  I thought they gave a nice depth to the different colors.


I skipped adding any normal sized glass ornament balls…..and just added a few of these mini pearl colored balls.  (In fact, they’re intended for one of those mini table top trees.)  I think keeping them mini kept the big metal ornaments as the main focus.


Oh….and I found these strands of wooden beads that look like cranberries and strung them all around the tree.  They add the perfect amount of red to the tree!  I also stuck in a few artificial pine branches all around the tree, that had these pine cones attached, which helped fill out the tree and give the needles another dimension.


I’m still trying to understand how plaid snuck its way back in as a popular home decor trend this year….but it’s baaaaack!  I actually felt the same way when skinny jeans came back a few years ago…..but I learned that even if I resist, it doesn’t change anything.  Haha! ;)

However, I actually like that plaid is back… adds such a familiar warmth to my home!  A touch of cozy.  (And kinda reminds me of being a 7 year old little girl, wearing my favorite red taffeta dress that my mom made me in 1988, with a green plaid bow around my waist.  That big plaid bow MADE the dress!) Michaels has so much plaid ribbon to choose from this year, in a variety of textures.  It’s a great way to add a little plaid in your decor, without going too crazy. :)


My 3rd “Dream Tree Challenge” complete — and I’d say this one has been my very favorite of them all! :)


Now, tell me, if you were able to decorate your tree in any color, any theme, and/or any style….what would it be?  Or maybe you’re kind of unsure.  If that’s the case, check out the Dream Trees that the other Michaels Makers have put together this year —



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Christmas “dream tree” challenge — metal & wood
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  1. Alana says:

    This is a gorgeous tree….and its never too early to start thinking of christmas decor/themes. I’ve just made my Christmas tree….I’ve made it out of driftwood….so super rustic. Check it out if you like, would love to hear what you think? Now I’m on to making the decorations and you’ve given me heaps of inspiration. xx

  2. Julia says:

    I love the big marquee star at the top! It’s funny that you posted about this because on Sunday morning (yes, the morning right after Halloween) I woke up and told my husband “So… time to set up the tree?”… and he looked at me like “Don’t you dare!”. :-P

  3. Heather says:

    I think this tree is my favorite of yours. The metal and wood just seems to take Christmas back to the basics. Back to the manger, in a way.

    If I could actually decorate my own christmas tree, I’d probably be sad because it would mean that my 6 kids were grown and not around to decorate our tree in their haphazard fashion. :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Awww, thanks Heather! And I think you’re right, the raw supplies does keep it a little more basic. Maybe that’s why I’m loving it too!

      And yes, I love the family trees too… that’s why I decorate this Michael’s tree on my own (which satisfies my itch to have control over the tree) and then set up a tree in another room and let my kiddos decorate it with all of the family ornaments we have accumulated over the years!


  4. Mary says:

    The metal and wood ornaments remind me of individual cookies in a pan. Maybe because I’m pregnant? I dunno, but I love the tree and really want a cookie!

    1. Ashley says:

      Hahaha……that’s awesome!!! Now, go make your belly some COOKIES!!! ;)

  5. JaneEllen says:

    I Had to print out photo of your tree so I can show it to clerk at Michaels about those metal ornaments with wood shapes inside of them. So much you can do with those metal shapes. Are they expensive tho? Hope not as I’d sure like to get a few. Loving your tree and sure am inspired after only seeing about 4 of them in challenge. Getting such great ideas. Love Marque star on top.
    Am not one for too much on my tree at this time, love trees with lots but think am just too lazy to hang that many ornaments. Then after holidays have to put them all away. At an advanced age of 75 am into much more simple decorating and not too much to put away after.
    How nice to receive a new tree every year, what do you do with trees you’ve received in previous years? Can have one in every room.
    For me one tree in house is enuf, think have really gotten lazy in old age, lol.
    Your tree is really pretty and love theme of it. Happy daze

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh good, hopefully they’ll be able to point you in the right direction at the store! Just remember the metal ornaments come plain and I added the wood ornaments in the center.

      And I actually give away the trees I have decorated in the past. Because we have a family tree that I have the kids help me decorate with all of our cherished ornaments and then in another room I have been keeping these fancier trees that I decorate with Michaels. It actually helps me to just let them decorate the family tree however they want. :)

      Thanks so much JaneEllen, I’m glad you like it!

  6. Nina says:

    Gorgeous tree! I love the pop of colour with the red wooden beads. It does seem rather soon…but Christmas is not that far away!

    1. Ashley says:

      I know…’s weird to have it up already, but Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and then Christmas will be in full swing!!! :)

      Thanks so much Nina!

  7. Rose says:

    LOOOOOVE! I have been following you since the beginning and have loved seeing your skills and asthetics at work! I have 7 sisters and all of them follow your as well and we always text about your new posts! Just thought I’d share!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh my goodness, thanks so much Rose! That absolutely made my day!!! :)

      I only have 4 sisters (and 2 brothers) to share things with, 7 would be even better! ;)


  8. Maggie says:

    OMG!! I want that in my house…..NOW!! Love it! I can’t wait for Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday and such a bright spot after the spookiness of Halloween! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Hahaha……how sweet are you! :) And I agree, it’s so homey and sweet after all the crazy!!

  9. Amanda says:

    So cute! Where did you get your stocking hangers?

    1. Ashley says:

      Thanks Amanda! And I got the hangers on Amazon:

      However, I have them upside down and they don’t really work as well since I have a flat rectangular box mantel. They worked great on our last mantel…..I just need to try a new type! :)

      Hope that helps!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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