15 December 2011

An Ornament Recap and some new stuff

Hello Readers!
Happy Wednesday!

It's time to show off the ornaments! They're all but done!
Still need to put hangers on the snowman hats, the russian stars and the last batch of birds.

1. Elf Slippers

After much debate as to whether these little slippers needed to tied together somehow, I decided they were fine as free standing slippers! So everyone will get a pair of elf slippers to do with as they please! 
I ended up with 16 pairs of them, all different colors with different colored stitching and embellishments. I ended up with only two pairs that were quite similar. Just happens that the pair in the picture is one of the two that look quite similar.

These are made from acrylic felt, various types of sewing thread, a tiny gold tone jingle bell (some of them actually jingle!), some sequins, a bead and a bit of glue. 

What I learned from making elf slippers:
Felt is a wonderful material to work with! Love it!!
Crewel embroidery thread doesn't play nicely with felt. It will suffice, but the results aren't all that pretty. 
Regular sewing thread looks great on felt even when it is part of the design.
Tiny jingle bells are a right P.I.T.A. to sew on to tiny shoes.

2. Snowman Hats
I lollagagged around and put off making these snowman hats, hoping I wouldn't even need them for the ornament project. I'm so glad they made the cut and got made afterall cause they are cute as they can be! 
I ended up with 21 snowman hats. There are three different sizes of them cause I used three different paper tubes. Most of the hats have a green hatband. I ran out of the vintage satin seam binding and resorted to the red braid (I forget what that braid is called.) All the hats have similar flowers, but there are several colors of flowers scattered amongst the hats.

These are made from toilet paper, paper towel and gift wrap cardboard tubes, cereal box chipboard, a bit of black paint, some black and silver glitter glue, clear gloss varnish, sewing findings (braid and seam binding), fabric flowers, a brad and a bit of glue to hold it all together! Most of them have a hole in the top of the hat to string a hanger through. Those hangers have yet to be added. I remembered the hole needed in the top after I'd already glued 4 tops down with quick drying glue. Wasn't not taking the tops off to make it right. 

What I learned from making Snowman Hats:
One can do some amazing things with a humble cardboard tube!
The gloss varnish I used does not play well with the black/silver glitter glue. Doesn't really show up at all, even holding one of these snowman hats in your hand, but the varnish gave them a cloudy appearance when it should have been shiny. I won't use that varnish and that glitter glue together again.
Satin seam binding makes a wonderful hatband! 
Various shaped metal brads don't make very good flower centers. Should have used a bead and just glued it down.

3. Russian Stars
These are only called Russian Stars cause of the Russian book pages I used on them.
There was much debate as to what the heck to do with these stars once I had them covered in Russian text. There was much frustration as to what the heck to do with the ones that refused to lay flat once the glue was dry holding the Russian text on. I like the shape of the stars and nothing else about these!
I ended up with 23 of these. There are 2 floating around this house somewhere. I cut out 25 stars, put Russian text on 25 stars, put red dots on 25 stars, but when I was done ....there were only 23 of them and the other two have yet to be found!

These are made with cereal box chipboard (I only call it cereal box chipboard, most of the boxes are actually  something else. Food packaging of one sort or another, cake box, cracker box, ect. I don't eat a lot of dry cereal.), Russian book pages, tacky glue, red velvet ribbon punched into little circles, gold glitter glue, green glitter glue, irridescent glitter glue, vintage sewing braid in red and white and white foam snowflakes. I didn't show you all the backsides. The foam snowflakes and green glitter glue are on the backsides. These still need a hanger also. The hanger will be a length of clear fishing line. They are about 4 inches from point to point.

What I learned from making Russian Stars:
Do not go overboard with the glitter glue. 
Chipboard will not dry flat unless you weight it down with something heavy in the drying process.
Glitter glue beats loose glitter in its ability to add bling! No mess to contend with!
I'll use this star pattern again. 

4. Tufted Paper Balls
These were an experiment from the very beginning. I started off with a large light bulb from a string of Christmas lights.....the bulbs that look like chandelier lights, ones you would put outside. I made six of them with the light bulbs and wasn't pleased with how large they were! They are pretty cool, but way too big for tree ornaments! So I used 1/2 inch wooden beads as the base for the tufts of paper instead and ended up a lovely little paper ball that is quite impressive in hand! 

These are made from a medical dictionary from the 1940s. I cut the dictionary pages into roughly (I didn't measure, just cut) into 1 1/2 inch squares. The little squares were wrapped around the non-working end of a small paint brush, dipped in hot glue and attached to the wooden bead. The wooden bead got a length of wire folded in half to form a U glued into the hole in the bead before the paper tufts were attached. These went very quickly! Some of them have a pinkish hue to them because the dictionary pages were edged in red and only some of the little squares had red along the edge of one side. 
I ended up with six of the larger tufted balls and 53 of the little ones. The little ones are about 2 inches across.

What I learned from making Tufted Paper Balls:
What you use for a base doesn't always turn out like you plan. Shapes are deceptive once they're covered in tufts of paper.
Dictionary pages are quite thin and quite easy to wrap around the small end of a pointed stick.
I love my hot glue pot! 
If you don't have a lot of time to devote to a handmade gift, these tufted paper balls are a great choice as they are impressive and sinfully easy to make!

5. Paper Flower Balls
These aren't quite done yet either. I was going to spray paint them gold this afternoon cause the weather was finally cooperating but I spaced it out and they still don't have any gold on them!
These were a bit of an experiment as well. I knew I wanted a few different paper ornaments but I'd never made a kudasuma (?) ball before. I bit off a bit more than I wanted to chew but once I got started on them, I couldn't stop till I had enough for the ornament project. 

These are made from magazine pages, glue and length of white cotton string.
The balls are roughly 3 inches across. I stared out with 2 inch squares cut from magazine pages. It takes 60 little cones to make one flower ball. 
I ended up with 19 of these.

What I learned from making Paper Flower Balls:
I don't know a lick of Japanese!
Folding tiny squares is very therapeutic.
If you're in a hurry to produce an ornament, these are not the ones to take on!
Television comes in handy when you're doing mindless work.
(You all know I don't own a TV, so I sat in front of my computer watching TV shows on hulu.)
Making these from one color of paper makes them much prettier than the magazine pages, but I didn't have enough of one color of paper (other than the orchard paper, brown kraft paper and white copy paper) to make enough of these for the project.
Thicker paper than magazine paper is easier fold.
The bigger the square you start off with, the bigger your finished ball.

6. Folded Paper Wreaths
Another sinfully easy and impressive ornament!

These are made with a map of Oklahoma (I used 4 maps for 32 ornaments), green glitter paint and a tiny fabric ribbon. Hangers are clear fishing line.

They start out as 8 pieces of paper cut to 4 inches by 2 inches and folded so they interlock. There is no need for glue, they'll stay together without it! I painted mine with the green glitter to give them a bit of sparkle and to hold them together a bit. 

What I learned from making Folded Paper Wreaths:
Outdated maps are useful in creative endeavors!
If you don't cut your papers square,  your folds won't turn out right and you'll end up with a wonky wreath.
Fishing line makes a great hanger for lots of things!

7. Polish Stars
Another experiment that turned out just right!
These look a heck of a lot more complicated than they are! 

These are made from orchard paper (not sure exactly what orchard paper was used for originally. There are different opinions according to google. It wasn't, however, originally made for arts and crafts!), tacky glue, memory wire used in jewelry making and two sequins to hold it all together. You'll need a sharpened pencil as a tool to make the points. 
This is mindless work one can do in front of the television. I watched every episode of Chicago Hope while making 23 of these buggers! They aren't quick by any means, takes about an hour for each ornament.
I plan to make more of these! Next ones will be made with some fancy gift wrap paper. Any paper will work though!

What I learned from making Polish Stars:
Beauty can be found in humble paper!
A regular old #2 pencil is a great tool.
Some things you cannot glue together with glue stick.
Patience is indeed a virtue! If you can make your first one of these without pulling all your hair out, you'll make a hundred of them!
Memory wire is some really cool stuff! (I'd never used it till these were made.)

8. Red Flower Ornaments
I had my doubts about these turning out as good as they did. My photography skills need a bit of work but you get the gist of the idea. These were really fun to make! I hadn't worked much with egg cartons before this experiment.

These are made with  pressed paper egg cartons, red and green acrylic paint, some green yarn and gold tone jingle bell. The leaves and flower cups are all cut from egg cartons, painted and assembled with the green yarn.  The leaves are painted with two different colors of green. This is an easy ornament that you could make with your kids. There's no getting it wrong! 

What I learned from making Red Flower Ornaments:
Egg cartons should never be thrown away! (recycled, yes, tossed in the trash, NO NO NO)
A sharp needle will go through a pressed paper egg carton flower with NO TROUBLE at all!
Egg cartons take a lot of paint to get the color right cause they are quite absorbent.
Green yarn is easily found at the thrift store!

9. Little Book Ornaments
These were an adventure to make! I've made a ton of little books this year and these are the smallest of all of them! 1x1.5 inches. Once you learn to make books, you can tailor the size to your liking! Books are quite easy to make once you master a few techniques. 

These little books are all hand sewn in the coptic stitch. They have five signatures of  3 sheets of copy paper, giving them 30 blank pages to do whatever you want on. The covers are made from game boards, gold foil paper and green velvet material. There's a bit of hot glue holding the page blocks to the covers and tacky glue holding the covers together. I glued the bales in between the page block and the spine of the cover so it's not going anywhere unless you give it a big yank! There are beads strung onto a christmas tree hook and attached to the bale along with a few lengths of broken necklace chain.

What I learned from making Little Book Ornaments:
Work quick when you got hot glue involved!
Velvet is lovely cover material. Nice to touch. It glues wonderfully.
Gold foil paper (wrapping paper) isn't a good choice for end papers. It doesn't play well with hot glue.
Metal Christmas tree hook wire is an excellent substitute for jewelry wire when you're making rigid pendants with beads. It's a nice shiny silver color too.
Little kids are fascinated by such tiny books!

10. Angels
I had a fabulous time with my mother making most of these little angels. She and I made 16 one day, I woke up the next morning faunching at the bit to make more and ended up with 36 of these.
Ma found the pattern for these in a book....The ones in the book were almost a foot tall! Much too big for an ornament on the tree. We sized them down a bit and went off the pattern a bit with the angels hair. The book angels had doll hair.

These are made from a wooden skewer cut down to about 6 inches in length, wrapped with quilt batting secured with white cotton string, a wooden bead glued to the end of the skewer, wings are wired gold mesh ribbon, halo is a length of wire wrapped around a large Sharpie to make it round, hangers are copper wire. Each angel has an embellishment on her chest. Some are plastic gemstones, some are fabric ribbon flowers and some are fabric roses. The angels' hair is gold glitter paint and their faces were put on with a brown sharpie. Glue used is hot glue and tacky glue. Some of the angels were slapped with some irridescent glitter glue along the white parts of their bodies, some weren't. 

What I learned making Angels:
You don't need to buy a thing, just look in  your stash, you probably have everything needed to make these. If not, you can probably improvise. Make them your own!
Quilt batting isn't just for quilts.
If what you see in a book appeals to you but you don't like it quite like they've presented it, 
change the rules! That's allowable in art!

11. Paper Mache Birds
I sold one of these birds right out from under the project this afternoon. That was a pleasant surprise!
These were the first of the ornament project. They actually inspired me to make a whole set of different ornaments for all the families I know for Christmas this year. Should have started on the ornament project way earlier in the year, but at least I did start (and finished it!). 
I made a total of 21 birds. One of them still needs the details painted on it, nine of them still need some sort of hanger attached to their backs and the last batch of nine that I made, I decided they weren't getting legs and feet. Good thing I made that decision too cause I left my needle tool at my sister's house 160 miles away and it is a vital tool for attaching legs to paper mache birds! The last nine birds will get an eyehook in their backs to hang them.

These are made from newspaper, watered down (1/2 and 1/2 more or less...I just eyeballed it) white PVC glue (plain ol' white school glue), white tissue paper, wire and crewel embroidery thread for their legs. some acrylic paint, white paint pen and black sharpie.
Each little bird is different. There is no way to make two of them alike! They range in size from a sparrow to a small parrot. Their legs can be posed to perch them on a branch on the Christmas tree or anywhere else you might want them to sit. 

What I learned from making Paper Mache Birds:
I didn't realize just how much I enjoy doing paper mache till I tackled the bird project!
Humidity makes paper mache dry very s-l-o-w-l-y. Take that into consideration when you determine the schedule you need to adhere to when making paper mache on a deadline.
Who would of thought old newspapers and a dab of paint could be so cute!

12. Inchie Cubes
I made these way back in July not even thinking about the ornament project at the time. They aren't very Christmassy but they do look adorable on the tree. My tree this year has a modgepodge of different ornaments so these do blend in quite nicely. I think there are six or seven of these on my own tree this year. 

These are made with inchies I made throughout 2009. I made 970 some inchies that year. Missed my goal of 1000 by just under 30. The inchies are mostly markers on recycled cardstock. Some are done in other mediums as well and others are done on recycled paper quite similar to cheap watercolor paper. It was originally photo album paper...you lifted up the flap with a square hole in it and put your picture there. I cut all I had into 1 inch squares.
They're taped together with regular old scotch tape. I fashioned a hanger from a length of copper wire and seed bead to insert into the corner before they were all taped together. 

What I learned from making Inchie Cubes:
It takes a long time to make 1000 inchies!
These were easier to tape together than you would think.
These make wonderful rear view mirror ornaments for your car.

The ornament project was a success! I still have a few little details to work out and find some sort of box to package them all in but I'm pleased with my progress~!

Here are a few other things I've been working on!
A close up of the plastic origami crane hanging on the Christmas tree. Even if I could take good photographs, I don't think a photograph would do this little crane justice! I'm going to make more of these throughout the year for my inventory for the craft show in September.

Another close up of ornaments on my tree. There's an inchie cube up at the top right/middle, a folded paper flower ball made with white copy paper with poetry written in red on each of the little squares used to fold the cones and then edged in black sharpies before folding. I really like how it turned out! You can't read a lick of that poetry but that's how I intended it! I was just going for the handwritten look, not the value of the poetry. I wrote the poetry, all my words...but that's irrelevant. There's also one of the Polish Star ornaments off to the left top. I've never had those wooden bead garlands on the tree before this year. I like how they look with the variety of ornaments.

I went on a sewing spree yesterday. 
My computer monitor bit the big one and there was no playing on the PC last night so I sewed hot pot holders. They all need some binding around the edge still. They're all slated to be Christmas presents.
Hearts Hot Pot Holder

Reclaimed sweater material, fleece material, velvet, and cotton. All material came from old clothing. Four layers for the hot pot holder itself and then the hearts and circles (freehand cut circles!) were sewn on with regular red sewing thread in a whip stitch.

Orange Kid Hot Pot Holder
Again all material is from old clothing except for the felt used on the dress. Yellow and green are felt. Old sweaters and fleece for the hot pot holder itself. Four layers. I used various types of thread to sew the parts on to this one. It still needs a binding of some sort around the perimeter of the hot pot holder.

Owl Hot Pot Holder
Reclaimed material from old clothing with the exception of the owl's feet which is from a fat quarter I bought some time back. Four layers of fleece, old sweater material. The owl is made from a sweater that had 'hair' so he's kinda fuzzy, stringy. 
On all the pot holders, the four layers are sewn together with a running stitch like you see on the owl pot holder. I just wanted to quilt them together so they didn't shift on me while sewing the pictures on. Collage with fabric is what these are! All hand sewn! I don't get along with a sewing machine!

I discovered a new endeavor the other day and while the PC was out of commission last night, I wove this little mug rug out of odds and ends of yarn and crewel embroidery thread on a cardboard loom.
I had expected it to turn out SQUARE. The loom is square. The mug rug isn't square but it's big enough to sit a coffee mug on without any trouble at all! Weaving takes a long time. I worked on this little rug for almost three hours from beginning to end. That time includes the making of the loom as well. The loom was 5 inches square. The rug ended up being about the size of a postcard. I need to figure out a shuttle for this tiny loom. I fashioned what I thought would be a good shuttle out of a piece of copper wire. It works pretty good till you get to the end of your weaving. Then it gets to be a tight squeeze and doesn't work so good. I will just have to fiddle with it to see what I can come up with.

And since I've not shown all the critters for a few weeks, here's my furkids.

Lola taking a bath. 

Fred sleeping in my recliner. His head on the end table cause he's way too big to fit in that chair! Oh my goodness, you should have heard the snoring coming out of that dog when I took this picture! He was sound asleep! He sure doesn't look very comfy! He always acts as though I've burst his balloon when I make him get out of MY chair so I can sit in it. He moans and groans and makes a big scene.

And last but far from least, Billy asleep on my bed. That patchwork quilt he's sleeping on is one of the best buys from a yard sale I've ever gotten! That quilt is machine sewn but hand tied, made from corduroy, an old blanket and flannel for a backing. It's the warmest blanket I own! I gave a whole dime for it!
The foot of my bed is Billy's favorite sleeping spot. He spends hours every day sleeping in this spot!

You all be good to one another!
Spread some smiles!
Give some hugs and kisses!
Peace, my friends!

1 comment:

soulbrush said...

That header is just perfect! All that space- blissful sight when you live in the middle of London as I do.
Love love all you have done and are doing. Merry merry dear heart and an arty healthy 2012.xxx