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Shelley Levis of Sow & Dipity Talks Unusual Christmas Trees, Decorating, And Crafting

By Goedekershomelife @goedekers
Why yes, that is a saddle in a Christmas tree. From the creative genius of Shelley Levis.

Why yes, that is a saddle in a Christmas tree. From the creative genius of Shelley Levis.

If you think trimming a single Christmas tree is a challenge, try decorating 30 or more each year. That’s just one of many hats Shelley Levis of SowAndDipity.com wears as a crafter, horticulturist, and sometimes professional Christmas tree decorator.

Shelley, who describes herself as having “two green thumbs with glitter in my veins,” does a bit of everything, from gardening to crafting in many different mediums, to working at a nursery in Langley, British Columbia. It’s part of that latter job that makes her art of particular interest this time of year, since in part it involves decorating a lot of Christmas trees.

Shelley took some time away from dishing out the tinsel to speak with us about her crafting life.

Goedeker’s: How did you get started in gardening and crafting and all the creative endeavors you are engaged in?

Shelley: My earliest childhood memories are of being fascinated with flowers. I recall Dicentra ( Bleeding heart ) and snapdragons as being my favourites, even over dolls or toys. My mother likes to tell the story that while other girls played Barbies or read picture books, I browsed through seed catalogs and saved pictures of plants I wanted to have when I grew up.

I need to always be creating something. Whether it’s designing gardens, refashioning an old pair of jeans, or decorating Christmas Tree’s… I have to be constantly expressing myself through creating unique things. It’s like breathing to me, something all artists and creatives can relate too.

Goedeker’s: What is your preferred way to learn new creative skills and develop your talents?

Shelley: I just dive right in and try everything. I had a hankering to make primitive dolls a couple years back and went on a tangent for a couple months designing and sewing these silly things. I now have a collection over 30 different little dolls, cute but completely useless, sitting on shelves in my craft room… A.K.A my Creation Station. Not all my ideas work out, in fact some of them are just plain ridiculous that even make me laugh at myself. But I’m not afraid to try something new and learn from my mistakes.

My biggest downfall is my inability to just do one thing….as soon as I feel I have gotten a good grasp on something, I lose interest and look for something else new to try.

Goedeker’s: When you were the lead designer of the largest Christmas store in Western Canada, what are some of the decorations you have had the most fun with?

Shelley: I moved on from that design position to being the Manager at Milner Village Garden Centre.  As we are also a nursery/Christmas store, my creative themes have continued to expand. I love to stay current and follow trends, and shoppers get a kick out of seeing things they can relate to.

A Downton Abby Christmas Tree by Shelley Levis.

A Downton Abby Christmas Tree by Shelley Levis.

This year I had fun designing a vintage/shabby chic tree using the British Hit, Downton Abbey, as my inspiration.  Ladies who are hardcore fans swoon when they see this tree.

I love to inspire people to try different things but you have to create over the top displays to get their attention. If I can wire an item, no matter how big it is, into a tree… I will. Like my Milner Downs Tree, it’s country themed so putting a few cowboy boots, real barbed wire and an actual saddle into the tree makes it unique… And the horse lovers went crazy over it!

Goedeker’s: What are some of the most unusual themes you have ever used for a Christmas tree?

Shelley: I like to name my trees. Last year I had over 33 trees, all with their own personality and a name to match. Some of the themes I’ve done include, an upside down ‘Elf’ing Around’ tree where little stuffed elves hung off the branches and mini ladders; a Diva tree called ‘Christmas Contessa’ with leopard print purses and gold stilettos, and one for the guys called ‘Pirate’s of the Christmas Tree’in’ complete with a Captain’s hook and pirate hat as it’s tree topper.

For more inspirational themes and craft ideas, check out Shelley’s Holiday Décor and for tutorials on how to use Sinamay to create over the top gorgeous trees and wreaths, check out her Youtube video here:

You can keep up with her crafting and gardening adventures at SowAndDipity.com.

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