That is an unusual title for any written piece, I believe. But, it does adequately describe the topic of this piece. I have found that using old stumps from things like cedar trees and azalea bushes can be a fun way to create interesting table top decorations. In the pictures accompanying this article, you will see two or three which I created recently. One was used as a display in one of our local school libraries leading up to Christmas. Another, I used to accompany a fictional short story I wrote and posted on my short story blog which drew a fair amount of praise. Folks seemed intrigued by the idea of using something which is often discarded as useless.
Where others see trash or something for the burn pile, I see the possibility of creating something unique. I use azalea bushes or cedar tree stumps for this.
The Basic Idea
I use stumps of azaleas and cedars which seem to have a little “character” about them. The stumps must have some of their root system still attached. For the cedars, I turn them upside down and clean them well with water and a scrub brush. Then let it dry. As I view it for a view days, usually an idea will begin to form of how I can turn this upside down stump with its “root forest” or “root jungle” into something unique. I then usually trim a little bit here and there for shaping purposes. The second step is to varnish it or to use something like Mod Podge to cover it and create a shiny look to it. It also seems to make the natural reds and browns in its color to stand out.
At this point I usually have an idea. Most of mine run to thinking of birds usually, since my wife loves bird watching. However, the Honey Stump I created which is shown in one of these pictures accompanying this article, actually grew out of my browsing through various things at a local Hobby Lobby. I was looking for small birds to attach to the roots when I saw these bees. That led to my thinking of what might be used as a sort of honey pot (think Poo Bear). A little more browsing and I found the wooden barrels and bucket. Then I found some honey colored paint, and I was on my way!
Don’t be afraid to experiment. I actually created the two with the Christmas themes so that those things can be removed from the stump and another seasonal theme can be developed. Warning: if you want to do that be sure you do not glue things to the stump!
As for tools you might need, I found that a pair of needle nose pliers to hold things while painting or attaching them can be helpful. A small saw for trimming and a pocket knife are also sometimes helpful. A couple of good small and pointed paintbrushes were useful as well as a little larger brush for the varnish or Mod Podge sealant. For paint, I used the bottled acrylic types which sell for around .89 to about 1.50 each. They are water cleanup types used for crafting, usually.
The fun of doing something like this, for me, is the experimentation and the uniqueness of the creations. Where others see a stump which needs to be burned or trashed, I see the possibility of creating something which makes folks stop and smile. I hope you do, also. Have fun!