First of all, I want to say that all credit for this “pattern” goes to my grandmother, Alice, who designed this many years ago with scrap costume jewelry. Ideally, you would have many of the things you need for this project in your stash and could whip it up by only running one or two strategic errands.


It is a lovely little thing to lean against a wall or a windowsill during the holiday season, and is an unobtrusive and understated alternative to the many and garish decorations to be found in chain stores.

Step 1: Collect “junk” jewelry from thrift stores, ebay auctions, etc. Thrift stores will usually sell you a giant box of tangled-up jewelry for $5 or so.  You have to sift through the bizarre pins from the Daytona Beach, Florida Elkshead Lodge, but it’s worth it.  Look for things that would make good tree toppers and stumps.

Step 2: Go to the craft store or loot your overflowing bead bin (you know who you are) for fake pearls. I chose the Crystazzi brand pearls in off-white (8 MM) and forest green (6 MM). If you have $2 or $3 to spare, buy some silver and gold bead caps.

Step 3: Buy a metallic frame from the clearance bin at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s in any size you like. Mine is 11 x 14.

Step 4: Buy some dark-colored velvet. Mine is dark green, but it looks equally nice in dark purple or burgundy.

Step 5: Cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than your frame insert.

Step 6: Wrap velvet around the insert and glue into place.

Step 8 (the rewarding part): Heat up your glue gun and gather your jewelry and glue sticks in one place. This takes more glue than you think it will!  Dump your jewelry into a pile on top of the velvet, picking out one special piece for the stump and one special piece for the star.  Pile the remaining jewelry into a triangular shape.

Step 9: Glue it all down, being careful to minimize the appearance of globs of glue with small pearls and bead caps, if you have them.

Step 10: Add extras, if your tree looks sparse. My frame was so large that I added white beads and a fake North Star. My nana’s does not have any of these features and actually looks much better than mine.

You are done! Enjoy the lovely simplicity of this project.