Third place in the 2011 Holiday Crafts Contest: Jeweled trees

Crafter: Carole Bellacera, 58, of Manassas. She is a romance novelist and also makes jewelry that she sells on Etsy.

What it is: Bejeweled 13-inch Styrofoam trees are embellished with tiny glass beads and wrapped in garland she fashions out of repurposed pearls and bits of jewelry.

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(Matt McClain/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST) - Carole Bellacera's Styrofoam trees are covered with repurposed pearls and jewelry, year-round. The crafts came in third place.

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How long it took: Bellacera, who has completed five trees, says it takes her about a month to make a tree, working about an hour each day. There’s a lot of gluing and then waiting for it to dry, she says.

Finding the ingredients: She buys the Styrofoam trees at Michaels or A.C. Moore. “As far as the jewels go, I find them at antique or thrift shops or places I can get big bags of old jewelry cheap enough.”

Why do you enjoy crafting? “It’s my therapy and unwinding time. You aren’t thinking about anything else while you are doing it. It’s meditative. After a day of writing, I watch ‘Dr. Phil’ and do my thing.”

Where do you put the trees? “I display the trees year-round in my living room. They are just too pretty to put in a closet.“

Best crafting tip: “Do it because you enjoy it, not just because you feel like you have to. Make something because you have a passion for it. Enjoy the journey.”

 
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