French Industrial Ornaments

December 14, 2011

Friends! Look what I found in the barn. A box of old metals stencils in two different sizes. Plus some sort of metal flower that I am in love with. Treasure!

I know just what to do with the stencils — hang them on our tree! I’ll add silver cords and temporarily turn them into a set of French Industrial Christmas Ornaments.

Can’t wait to share pics! Also. Now I’m curious: what’s the most un-traditional ornament you hang?

P.S. — More industrial love here and here.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christa The BabbyMama December 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

A toy horse from a farmyard set. I think it may have been the first “ornament” the Babby put on the tree this year! It’s just sitting in the branches, doing its horsey thing… I like it.


2 CMN December 14, 2011 at 7:50 am

Oh wow and wow! Who knew the old barn would be full of such treasure!!

“the most un-traditional ornament you hang?”
a large tin train. Not an ornament, but not quite a toy. Though really, I suppose I only put it on the tree one year and since then it has sat on a bookshelf. Somehow it didn’t ever get put away with the ornaments and moved into ‘every day decoration’…


3 annabelvita December 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

Last year we were way way non traditional, with a hand of fatima and a hindu holy cow among other things

But this year we’re mainly keeping it festive, but did put up a mini set of dutch clogs and an eiffel tower key ring to remind us of our travels (and we put some map covered wooden letters at the base)


4 DQB December 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

A bagel! It’s real and was varnished over 30 years ago! Has a lovely red gingham ribbon to hang it on the branches.


5 teresita December 14, 2011 at 8:15 am

How on earth are you going to live in some other place?!! That house is too wonderful to be true!!


6 Susan December 14, 2011 at 8:22 am

Oh wow, what treasure!!


7 Mary December 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

A crocheted octopus. My mom made it for me, and it is front and center on the tree!


8 Marie Monroe December 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

Our tree is all about untraditional ornaments. From the kids handmade stuff, to the corporate ornaments from my husband’s employer, to the handmade clothespin ornaments from my grandmother’s house (clothepins dressed as cowboys, clothespins dressed as grandmothers holding a plate of spaghetti, etc.), I hang it all on the tree. The piece de resistance is the huge sequined fish that someone gave me years ago. We hang that at the top in lieu of a star or angel. I wish I still had the “Oscar the Grouch” salt dough ornament I made when I was a child. It was basically a heavy lump of salt dough dyed green with food coloring with two cloves stuck in its “head” for eyes. We always had to hang it on a strong lower branch because it was so heavy.


9 Anne December 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

One of my mom’s traditions was to give each of the kids an ornament for Christmas that would then make a set they could use when they left home. Each kid’s ornament was of a certain type: my brother’s were all wood and mine were cute felt and sequin creations. My sister’s ornaments followed the most incredible theme – miniature Steiff animals! When it started, this wasn’t sure a splurge. Now, they are the best slowly-built collection!


10 sarah December 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

we have a mitten sitting in the branches! it’s perfect.


11 Rosa @ FlutterFlutter December 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

What a find!!! Your tree is going to look amazing!


12 Melissa December 14, 2011 at 11:19 am

An old “subaru” key chain from my first set of car keys and the watch face of an old cheepo watch that I loved which stopped working. Every time we bring these things out I feel happy.


13 Catherine at Design Editor December 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

These are seriously cool!


14 Kate S. December 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I save corks from all the momentous days of our lives….. our engagement, wedding, New years eve 1999/2000, birth of our 2 boys, vacations, etc. I write the date and event in a sharpie and tie with a bow – they are all on our tree and I love them.


15 Serena December 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

We cut the animals from the children’s crib mobile and hang those every year – they love seeing them again!


16 Melissa L. December 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I love this idea – if I don’t find someone who wants our mobile, I think I’ll do this, too. Thanks for sharing.


17 Amie December 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I took my childrens’ sterling baby cups and spoons and hang them in the tree with red ribbons.


18 Linnea December 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I love finding surprise treasure like that! How fun!


19 Amy December 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Those are Le Corbusier stencils. Nice find!


20 Janet Oliver December 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

A toy rocket ship is our tree-topper every year. Don’t you love shopping in your own house? That flower is probably a boss (an ornament that marks the intersection of the vaulting) from a cathedral or church.


21 Melissa L. December 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Ours is a Santa sitting in an outhouse reading his map. His horse is parked outside. May seem a bit rude for some, but it has meaning for us. I am a city girl and when my husband and I were first dating, we visited his best friend at his summer camp where an outhouse was in use . . . not a port-a-potty, an old-fashioned, moon-in-door- outhouse. Our kids love showing this one off to friends.


22 robin December 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Those stencils will make lovely ornamanets! Didn’t you post about the ceramic marker mugs? perhaps some plates are in order….We have a retro tin toy flying saucer as our tree topper.


23 Christine December 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

After my grandma died my mom turned her false teeth into an ornament and now they are hung on the tree every year… usually in the back if I can help it!


24 mandi@herbanhomestead December 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Wow! What an incredible find! Our tree is a mish-mash of handmade ornaments (think drawings of Mario and Link on construction paper) and the store bought the kids get to pick out every year. The most “different” one this year is that our topper is an owl. He’s just perched up there, happy as can be!


25 Jamaise December 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Wow! That is such a find . And the items are real and will generate memories. Love when that happens. Our most unusual ornaments currently are the bulbs from a broken Galileo thermometer. They were way too pretty to toss and they have found their perfect home on our tree. The little metal discs with the temperatures add such interest to to the bulbs that might be mistaken for a Christmas ornament without.


26 Jessica Herberger December 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm

My grandmothers baby shoes and I tie vintage flatware to the the branches with twine.


27 CindiS December 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

When I first started teaching, my roommate and I got a tree, but didn’t have money for ornaments, so I brought home my students’ recent art projects… God’s Eyes. You know, those yarn projects made on a two-sticked thing? yep. My first adult Christmas tree was decorated with stolen (well, not really “stolen”, maybe “borrowed” since I returned them after the holiday) 3rd grade art. Now I hang one up every year, just as a reminder.


28 staey December 15, 2011 at 9:03 am

These are so lovely! I wish I had a hundred just like them!


29 Nicola December 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

We have roundels just like that on the panelling all around the gorgeous French house we are currently living in. It sets off our tree nicely! Just discovered your blog – we are living not too far from you just outside Paris and our youngest (of four!) is just ten days older than June. Funny what a small world it is in cyberspace!


30 Barchbo December 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

I lived in various apartments until I got married (at 38) so most years I had a little tree. My favorite unusual ornaments include: polaroid photos of my Christmas party, costume jewelry, cardboard bar coasters, and construction paper stars that I had my student aides make me when I taught school. I always used things that can be reused or recycled – saved space!


31 julia fain December 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

what a great find! do the letters spell anything interesting? you could reuse those in so many ways


32 Amy December 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

An old scrubbie! My great grandmother used to make scrubbies (dish scouring balls made out of some kind of meshy material). We always loved them. So after she died, we kept one as a keepsake and every year it has a place of honor on our Christmas tree.


33 Ann December 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I can’t wait to see how these look!


34 Barbara December 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

What an awesome find! Looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

My boyfriend collects Pez dispensers, so we hand some special “pez dispenser ornaments” on the tree.


35 Eleonore December 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Those are so great!
As for untraditional tree decorations, my three-year-old is in going through a phase of being very interested in participating in tree decorating. Almost every night after the kids are put to bed, my husband and I have found an odd item from around the house (eg. a tangerine, a walnut, a mushroom, a baby sock, tea bags, one of my bras) on the tree, thoughtfully placed there by Liam.


36 Kathleen December 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm

We decided to hang all our old ski passes (we live in a ski town) on our tree this year. Good place to keep track of them all!


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