The Man Tree

The Man Tree

Last week I told you the story of The Girl Tree and how that became a tradition in our home. This year, I started a new tradition. The MAN tree. See, every year when Ryley and I would decorate the Girl Tree, Hubs and the boys would often grumble and say, “Why don’t we have Boy tree? We’re going to make one and put fishing lures on it and Duck Tape stars and shotgun shells.”

Lots of talk, but no action. They certainly weren’t going to make one, but this year, I had the old Girl Tree that wasn’t being used for anything. I decided it was time to finally make a boy tree. Since my “boys” now all tower over me by at least 9 full inches, I figured it should really be called the MAN tree.


If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen some of the ornaments for the tree as I made them. I shared several of the ornaments because I just was having so much fun. I started by using a vintage minnow bucket that I bought at a garage sale this summer for $3. I put a string of lights in the bucket to make it glow.

This one isn’t my actual bucket, but mine looks just like this. Being anxious to bring my tree to life, I started putting the tree together before I thought to take a picture of my bucket without the tree in it.

I just lifted the lid up and stuck the tree in. I don’t have anything weighing the bucket down because the tree stays upright without it. If I had the tree in a different location, though, I’d definitely weight the bucket.


I made a trip up to Glen’s Surplus, a local military surplus store to shop for decorations. I’d bought a bunch of washers that I was going to string together on fishing line for garland, but after finding some chain, I took the easy way out. You can see a bit of the chain in the picture above.

I wasn’t planning on making more garland for the trees other than the chains, but one idea I had for an ornament was to glue gun casings to a washer to make a wreath. That idea was a bust when I didn’t have the right kind of glue to make the casings stick and hot glue wasn’t working. I ended up making a garland out of the casings, like twig garland Donna at Funky Junk made.


When I got the idea to use the bullets, I called Hubs at work and asked him where there the nearest shooting range was. Apparently, he thought that was one of the sexiest questions I have ever asked him. Hubs gave me the number to a shooting range by our house and when I called the owner and told him about my tree, he invited me over to pick up what I wanted. Score!


Now, is this manly Christmas garland, or what?


From the supplies I was able to pick up at the surplus store, I managed to make a few ornaments, like this washer/nut snowflake.


I just hot glued the washers together in a pattern that I liked. In fact, if you look closely, you can see I wasn’t even all that neat about it. Oops. A little ribbon through the middle and you’ve got an industrial, manly snowflake.

I knew I wanted to make some Monkey Fist Bulbs for the tree. If you haven’t seen it, I used the Monkey Fist knot last year as drawer pulls for my Double-Wide Ombre Dresser that I made.


The surplus store sells a lot of paracord, and with leftover beads for the center of the knots, I whipped these up for the tree. You can watch this YouTube video to see how to make the Monkey Fist knot.

Man Tree-001

I also made a Good Luck Knot ornament from the paracord.


You can watch this YouTube video to learn how to make one. Since I was in a knot-tying mood, I decided to make some other knot ornaments. I used some twine for some other bulb ornaments. This knot is called the tiny globe knot.


I made a larger one with three strands instead of two and a larger wooden ball for the center. You can see it here next to the scout ornament. Every year we try to buy an ornament that represents things that happened throughout the year. Noah worked at a scout camp this summer, hence the scout ornament.


I used some leather lacing that I had in my craft supplies to tie a Celtic Tree of Life Knot that I think looks a bit like a wreath.


I decided to make Santa Suit ornaments out of the spent shotgun shells. I used a Magic Eraser to clean up the shells. The words on the casings came right off. I drew the belt on with a Sharpie and used silver Duck Tape for the buckle. I tied some twine around the top to hang it on the tree.


Some of the other ornaments were just swiped from the family tree. Like the bike for Hubs for the years he was in a bike race and won.


I got this lantern for Hubs last year when I discovered his not-so-secret-obsession with lanterns.


Or the chicken we got this year, since we now have a flock of chickens. Not that we have any black and white chickens yet, but next year, I hope to get a couple of them.


We also have an out house ornament to signify their love of camping. We got the beagle ornament last year and he looks a lot like our Fur Child, however, this picture is very fitting at the moment, as Brutus is very much in the dog house with me. Well, out house, is actually more like it.


The other day, I spent all day getting a Christmas stocking and box put together to send to our daughter, Ryley, who is serving a mission for our church. This is our first year that she won’t be home for Christmas and I worked really hard on that box. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that I would need to put it out of reach when I left the house to run an errand.

Hubs came home to find presents strewn all over the floor, along with nuts and little scraps of chocolate-covered foil, but not a scrap of chocolate to be found anywhere. Brutus had torn apart the stocking and ate every last bit of chocolate. The presents were fine, but Baby Girl will be celebrating Christmas chocolate-free this year. Despite rumors to the contrary, dogs who eat chocolate do not die or even get sick. I am not that lucky. Do NOT let this innocent face fool you!


He’s definitely in the out house! #StupidDog #StupiderPetOwner

I loved making this little tree. It was the first time in months I have exercised my creativity in this way. Most of what I have been doing in the past few months has been more along the clean/organize/repair/unpack mode, so it was refreshing to take my creativity out for a spin and see that it is still working.

In fact, I may have annoyed my people when I would giddily show them my latest creation. The boys were very gracious in telling me how much they liked everything but I’m sure there was ample eye-rolling going on once my back was turned. It’s okay. I know that teenage boys don’t necessarily get into these things.

However, when we were at Walmart the other day, Hubs came up and threw some fishing lures into the basket. When I asked why he had them, he just nonchalantly replied, “For the Man Tree.” Huh. I think they really do like it. Sam actually got a great kick out of the Santa Suit Shotgun Shell ornaments.

Man Tree-002

My absolutely favorite part of the tree is the “star.” I’m not sure what this tool is. I believe it is some type of industrial stripping tool, but it was just too cool to pass up. The store had a lot of new ones, but I wanted the rusty one.


At first, I just stuck a branch of the tree through the hole and bent it against the “star” to hold it in place. I knew I wanted something in the center. I played around with some of the ribbon/twine/paracord to make a bow for the center but I didn’t like how that turned out. Finally, I glued some more of the washers I found at the surplus store together and came up with a design I liked.


I have no idea what those giant, wavy washers are used for, but they sure are fun. It’s the perfect star for the man tree. I love this shot with the bullet garland and the other chain garland. It’s such a fun little tree and my guys are happy that they now have their own tree.

I’m curious, though. Would any of your guys like this tree? Which ornament do you like best? Any suggestions for other “manly” ornaments I could add or make for next year? I was thinking of a way to come up with a star out of arrows, but we will see what happens next year.

Suesan Signature

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