Sometimes, I just need a tree.
I’ve often admired those delightfully painted wooden trees, firs and pines and fruit trees, and I even own a few, but sometimes they just won’t do and I need something a little more simple or less decorative or less, I don’t know, contrived somehow…
I mean, I love apple trees.
Or I thought I did. My version of an apple tree anyhow.
Like the ones I always used to draw, with a stubby rich-brown coloured trunk, a tree top shaped like a pale green fluffy cloud and delicate little red apples visible in some kind of geometric pattern.
Each apple was hung with care by a stalk, and two happy diamond shaped leaves sprouting from the stalk almost seemed to wave hello. The tree was that friendly!
In my drawings, apple trees were comfortable and welcoming and storybook like and just so inviting, quietly encouraging a child or a nimble adult to climb up into cushioned nook hideouts.
But real apple trees don’t look anything like my drawings at all.
When I first saw an apple orchard, only a few moons ago in my husband’s hometown in New Zealand, my expectations were smashed to smithereens… (Actually, perhaps this wasn’t the first time I saw an orchard, but it was the first time I actually knew those ugly trees were apples. Ugh)
They were crabby, cranky, twisted, short trees
that reminded me of a crusty old woman with a bad attitude.
I just can’t see the peachy cheeked, white bun wearing, rounded tum, apron-cloaked grandma type I’d imagined anymore. That favoured picture of her walking through dew soaked grass as she gathered sweet apples with a quick twist of the wrist, to be chopped up and stewed for a juicy pie, all gone.
Whilst it is lovely to give children a ‘picture image’ of something that is perfect and beautiful,
such as a lovely, painted piece of timber resembling a tree,
(and later, a barbie doll or a photoshopped image on a magazine) I wonder if we don’t set them up for disappointment when things don’t match up in the real world….
I certainly won’t be giving up the painted trees as I love them, but it is a question to ponder.
So, mostly I use a fallen branch for that tree.
But if we haven’t had a windy day for a while, and I just can’t find one suitable, I’ve had to make one.
This for me is the next best thing. It might not look real, but it is not trying to recreate a ‘still life’.
Rather, this tree simply suggests a tree form, one that all children can recognise.
And it is quick and easy, and the pom pom can be recycled to other craft projects when it is finished being a tree top. And it is almost free too.
Firstly, you need to do is make a pompom
A circle 10cm across makes a juicy pom pom!
A mix of green wools is nice too, or you can just do one colour as I did.
For the base, you’ll need a cardboard tube of some sort.
I’m not a big fan of recycling toilet rolls (a leftover attitude from many years working in resource-strapped childcare centres) but I will use the insert roll from kitchen foil or baking paper.
These are much sturdier too.
Paint the entire roll with craft glue.
Take a ball of brown wool and tie a slipknot .
Slip this over the base end of the roll, as close to the bottom as you can. Pull it tight to hold.
Slowly and carefully, begin winding your wool around and around the tube until you reach the very top.
Try to avoid holes or gaps by pushing the wool down on the tube every now and then.
Finish by tying a knot at the top. The loose end can hang down inside the tube.
Use a green coloured cotton to sew the pompom to the base with just a few tacking threads.
I do love this squishy tree.
And by the way,
did you know you can even join a facebook group
for those who like to twist the apple stalk to find the first letter of your true love’s name ?
I am a fan of these nonsensical groups!
I’ve seen some funny ones over the years, and it just makes my heart sing to know that others in this world have silly habits or thoughts too.
Kind of reminds me that we’re all more the same than we are different.
Have you giggled too? What is the funniest one you’ve seen?