Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Jesse Tree!


After one month and around 70 hours of work my Jesse tree is starting to look finished!  I had bigger plans for the tree, with a border and pockets for the ornaments, but I think that will have to wait until next year.  I'd also really love to decorate the blue background with little felt angels, but again, with the beginning of the 24 days of the Jesse tree one day away, I'm going to be happy to get the velcro stuck on in time!   

For those of you who've never heard of a Jesse Tree, it's a fun, centuries old devotion.  The Jesse Tree's name is inspired by Isaiah 11:1, which reads: 
"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom."

The ornaments on the Jesse Tree represent people in the Bible (mostly Old Testament until you get to the tip top of the tree) and are based on the traditional symbols that represent people in Jesus' family tree (according to the genealogy at the start of Matthew).  Other sites have other symbols, but I used the ones in my copy of The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould.  

Here's our Jesse Tree:

I made the tree itself last night.  As I began to cut it out I realized it had to be big to hold the gigantic ornaments I'd made.  When I made the pattern for the ornaments I traced a roll of duct tape on a piece of cardboard... so that's how big each ornament is (and they're each pretty thick too!).  Which meant that my Jesse Tree ended up being a tiny bit shorter than me (it's around five feet tall).  

Now I just need to find a place for it to hang!

And since I spent the vast majority of those 70 hours making ornaments I just had to give you a closer look!  Here they are, in order:

The World is Created (globe): Genesis 1:24-28
Adam and Eve (snake and apples): Genesis 3:1-34

Noah and the Flood (rainbow): Genesis 6:11-22
Abraham (camel): Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18, 18:1

Sarah (baby): Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
Isaac (ram): Genesis 22:1-14

Jacob (ladder): Genesis 27:41-28:22
Joseph (multicolored coat): Genesis 37:1-36

Moses (burning bush): Exodus 3:1-10
Miriam (tambourine): Exodus 15:19-21
Samuel (lamp): 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Jesse (branch): Isaiah 11:1 (shown, apparently out of order, below... it's the green one...)
David (harp): 1 Samuel 16:14-23
Solomon (crown): 1 Kings 3:3-28

Isaiah (throne): Isaiah: 6:1-8 (Paul says the throne looks like an old truck...)
Jeremiah (tablets of law): Jeremiah 31:31-34

Angels (angel): Hebrews 1:1-14 (again, apparently out of order... this is what happens when I put something together at midnight...)
Malachi (trumpet): Malachi 3:1-4)
Zechariah and Elizabeth (dove): Luke 1:39-45

Mary (angel): Luke 1:26-35
John the Baptist (river): Matthew 3:1-6

Joseph (hammer and lily): Matthew 1:18-25
Bethlehem (star): Matthew 2:1-12

Birth of Christ (crib): Luke 2:1-7

And that is my Jesse Tree.  If you're interested in making your own Catholic Icing has a printable coloring set!

Now I'm just really hoping that I put these up out of order and that the felt numbers that I carefully stitched on the back of each ornament aren't out of order! 


  1. Okay, I know this is kind of off topic but you are much more experienced than me so I thought I'd ask. I've been trying to sew something with small parts and I'm having trouble with the ends fraying too close to the seams and just falling apart. As you have so many small pieces in the ornaments, any tips? I believe the fabric I'm using at the moment is silk, so maybe that makes a difference. But I actually put the project down being unable to get it to work and I want to get back to it but I'm dreading more difficulty getting the fabric and the seams to behave.

  2. Hi Katherine- The main difference is the fabric. Felt doesn't fray, it just kind of sits there, in whatever shape you cut it. When I sew silk I fold the seams under twice to sew it down. I'm not sure if sewing tiny stitches would prevent it from fraying (with a machine), since I usually turn it under, or if you have room to do that. I'm hoping someone else with more experience might be read this and be able to help too! I hope you're able to get it to work!

  3. You did such a great job on the Jesse Tree! It looks amazing!!

  4. We were JUST talking about Jesse trees last night at Philothea! Yours looks so great - you are so crafty!!

  5. Not an old truck, Cam. MATER!


  6. Cam, I never thought of folding them under. I'm relatively new to sewing. I have a machine but have no idea how to use it (on my to-do list), so I've been doing everything by hand. Thanks! I will definitely give it a try!


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