My first explorations turned up only rotten twigs in the yard. I figured that I would go out another day with loppers and just cut a smooth, straight branch that I could notch.
Then I found this beauty. It's thick, old, and weathered to a rough texture complete with lichens, every bit as nice as the driftwood often used for such craft projects. I found this under the lightning-struck walnut tree near the southwest corner of our yard.
One of the key principles in permaculture is "obtain a yield." (It doesn't matter whether that yield is craft supplies, food, more wildlife to watch, etc. -- only that you get something you want out of your efforts.) For me, that yield is often craft supplies. My yard rains goodies! Especially if I'm wandering around wishing for something, the response is often, "Here, try this thing." :D
The crystals are about the size of shooting marbles There are 6 clear ones and 14 colored ones, for a total of 20. They arrived stuck in a slab of foam in random order, aside from the clear ones clustering in the upper left corner. I'm going to use the clear ones in a different project, so the current ornament just uses the colored ones.
Since I had that handy foam slab to corral the crystals, I used it to hold the ones I wasn't working with as I rearranged them into a chromatic order. Since there are multiple shades of some colors, I had to swap them around a little until I found an order that looked good. It goes from left to right, top to bottom, just like reading in English.
I cleared off a corner of the table to lay out the branch and the crystals underneath it in their hanging order. The lateral spacing is what I intended, but they're not in angled vertical order yet.
I used black thread doubled twice (so there are effectively four strands) to hang each crystal, starting from the left. They are angled so they're less inclined to hit each other.
This is where I started to notice something going wrong. The crystals were too close to each other, which threw off the overall spacing. This happened due to the lovely texture of the branch, which kept snagging the thread. Due to the curve, I couldn't simply measure and notch the thing like I would have done with a smooth green branch.
So I needed a new plan. It's totally okay in crafting to decide that things aren't going the way you want, and change them. If you're not making any mistakes, you're not learning, you're coasting. Screw up with enthusiasm! Then work the problem.
I decided to solve this problem with geometry. It is a lot easier to divide things into smaller segments, then divide again, than it is to space things evenly starting from one end. Here you can see that I have attached the smoke crystal on the far right end.
Next, I used the pink and smoke crystals at the far ends to gauge where the middle crystals (pale green and pale blue) should go. Here the middle crystals are attached, but not well justified against the others. That's okay, I'll fix it later.
Now focusing on the right side, I have placed the dark blue crystal about halfway between the pale blue and the smoke crystals. The dark blue crystal on the right is not well justified against the orange one on the left.
So I removed the yellow and dark green crystals from the left side and repositioned the orange crystal to match the dark blue crystal.
I repositioned the remaining crystals on the left side, then hung the light and medium blue crystals on the right side. Only the lavender and purple crystals on the right remain unattached.
After a little tweaking, all the crystals are attached in reasonably decent alignment. It's not perfect, but given the rough wood, perfect probably wouldn't have looked as good, and would have taken way more time and fussing around.
If you look at the top of the branch, you can see a lot of sloppy loose ends where I tied bows in the thread. I'll fix that shortly.
I wrapped more black thread, a single strand this time, around the branch to hold down the loose ends so they are much less obtrusive. I think this looks pretty good now.
I took the window ornament into the living room and waved it around until I found a good place to hang it. Examining the available attachment options, I decided to make use of the crack between the two panes of the east window.
To engage the crack, I took two paperclips and bent each one to a right angle, giving me a hook on each end. I attached more black thread (four strands, again) to the larger end of the paperclip and the other end of the thread to one side of the branch. I put the smaller end of the paperclip down the crack to minimize the chance of getting hung in there. If you need more security, use the larger end of the paperclip as an anchor.
Here is the completed window ornament with its 14 colored prisms hanging in the east window of the living room. That's actually a big bay window with east, south, and west windows. It is filled with cheerful bohemian mess of crystals, mirrors, and houseplants. This gives the fairies a comfortable place to live and discourages them from getting into trouble all over the house all the time. \o/
Works inspired by this one:
Sea-wrack Window Ornament by Dreamwidth user Freshbakedlady