Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

(Apologies in advance for the bad quality of the pictures, I took them in my car as I waited in line to pick up the kids, after all the work I was out of time.)

This year, after a successful RS activity where I orchestrated re-making ornaments, I decided to make an ornament for each employee at work. There's only about 150 of us.

So I took several chunks of time and crunched out several options for them to choose from. Some were simple:

Some were very complex, like painting the continents on these globes:

And others were not so hard because I know a few tricks:

This last one was very popular, even though none of the people I spoke to who picked it guessed that it was supposed to be the North Pole. Ah well.

S&ST #9

I was wrapping my friend's gift and wanted to do something special for the card.
I remembered that my mom used to emboss stationary for my grandmother. So I grabbed the roll of funny paper I have that has paper on one side and foil on the other. I used a crochet hook and the groove in my paper cutter to put in the lines of a square. Then using the 60 degree angle marker I made the lines of a snowflake. Then I put the card on a Styrofoam plate and embellished it. I found the Styrofoam made a great surface for freehand embossing.

Then I remembered that we have an event at work that we need snowflakes for, so I got on the phone with a friend and did these, two at a time:

I used a printed out hexagon to get the placement right, but the rest I just free-handed on the Styrofoam plate.
Out of curiosity I did a set with foil from the kitchen.
It worked fine, but the metal on metal thing was a little uncomfortable in a mild nails-on-the-chalkboard kind of way. It was fine when the paper hexagon was on top though, so keep that in mind. I also thought, well if anyone reading this isn't the freehand type, if you print out pictures of snowflakes you can lay it over the foil and trace the whole thing for a foil replica.
You have to be a bit careful to not press too hard and tear the paper/foil, but it was a lot of fun and it sure looks pretty.

Spindly snowflakes

I have a bunch of snowflakes on my tree. Some of them my sister made, some of them I got from the thrift store. I wanted more, but as I looked at them and compared them to my recent research on snowflakes I decided I wanted a more spindly effect. I thought for a while and then realized that I wasn't thinking about it right. All I had to do was chain out for each arm and spindly lobe and then single stitch back.
So, I made several. When each was done I would pin it to a Styrofoam plate and use a dosing syringe to apply starch to it.

When they were done they looked great on the tree.

Crochet and Bead Snowflake earrings

It's my friend's birthday tomorrow. I've been making snowflakes for my tree, so once I had made enough to know what I wanted to do I made these:

For those that speak crochet:
I put the beads on the thread before starting. I took the last bead that I put on and re-threaded it, then tied the ends so that the bead was in the middle of a figure eight of thread with just a little room on either side so I could stitch into each loop. Then I put six singles, three on each loop making a circle around the bead. I built four stitch chains between each single then half stitch climbed up the first loop to the center. * I chained out six, then turned and single stitched into the second chain. One more single stitch and then I brought up a bead and went around it to tack it in with a half stitch. then I chained out three, turned and single stitched into the second chain again. I single stitched my way down the side of the lobe and arm then used half stitches to move to the top of the next loop. I repeated from * until I had completed all six arms of the snowflake and tied off. I pinned the complete work to a Styrofoam plate and used a dosing syringe to apply starch to it. In the morning it was dry and I added the ear hooks.

Vamp it up

At the beginning of the school year Tali picked out several shirts that were marketed to teens that love Vampires and the new Alice in Wonderland movie. I bought a few for me too and then we picked out stuff to make necklace and earring sets for all three of us girls to match (well okay, so Jordi doesn't have earrings). I was wearing mine (which I would show a picture of, but it's in the room with a sleeping husband right now) to work one day early this month and my friend Eric saw it. He asked where I had gotten it, because he would like to get one for his daughter. I explained that I had made it, and would happily make one for his daughter and he could just pay me back for the supplies.
So I made her this set:

And he insisted on paying me nearly twice what I spent on supplies, wasn't that sweet?
Most of the supplies I got from Wal-mart, as it is now the only store in town that sells craft supplies. I did use a few things that I had salvaged from other necklaces from the thrift store.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Kicks

and Elf Ears. I did whole elf costumes for our float in the parade tomorrow, but I figure the boot covers and the ears are all I'm going to bother posting.

Christmas Kicks
ie covers that look like curly elf shoes
For this you will need:
Christmas music playing in the background, I recommend Frank and Bing.
Boots, or shoes to wear under the covers
Felt by the yard, not the bitty squares
Pipe cleaners
Velcro (or not, if you are wearing over tights)
elastic (just a foot or so)
faux fur for the top
sewing machine, thread
needle, more thread
jingle bells
measuring tape

First, put on the boot/shoe and measure. You will need to know how big around to make the leg part, how tall to make the instep, and the circumference of the sole (heel, around the toe and back again.

Second, measure and cut, leaving half inch seam allowance. So, calf measure divided by two plus one inch is the width of each half of the the top of the boot, etc. Notice the toe is on the fold and is not cut.

Then cut the curl like so:

Notice the toe is still not cut.

Sew down the front of the boot and around the curl.

Then zig-zag on a pipe cleaner in the toe/curl for support. The stitches on the fabric will stretch out and be invisible if you use the same color thread.

Once you are to where the seam is you can bring the pipe cleaner into the center of your zig-zag.

Sew back seam or sew Velcro in at back seam hard side on the outside soft on the inside. Sew on the faux fur.

Turn, straighten the pipe cleaner and stuff with scraps from when you cut the boots out. I stuffed to an angle at this point, and then baste stitched by hand to keep it in place at the angle to rest right on the boot toe.

Fit to boot, pin a piece of elastic about 3 inches back, running under the sole. Remove and sew, this keeps the cover toe down and the curl standing up.

Add your bell.

Put them on and tap your feet to the music while you sew the rest of your costume.

Elf ears:
You will need:
The plastic cross-stitch stuff, don't ask me what it's called, I don't think I've ever used it for it's intended purpose.
Great Stuff - That's the brand name, it's spray insulation foam from the hardware store, in the insulation isle, and if you can get the "gap filler" not the "window-door" gap filler is sturdier.
Paint the color of the skin tone you want. Personally I'm "buttermilk."
Knife, scissors, paintbrush
PLASTIC SHEETING AND RUBBER GLOVES (great stuff does not come off ANYTHING it gets on when it is wet, I've worn it for a week before I shed enough skin to get rid of it)
TIME, Great Stuff must cure over night before you can move it, then the modge-podge must dry overnight. The paint doesn't take as long.

Cut the plastic grid stuff into the shape you want. You are making the backing for your ears. This way you can sew through the foam and it won't rip off the thread. I traced my ear onto a paper towel with a marker and went from there.

Lay the ear backings you just made on the plastic sheeting. Leave large gaps between them, great stuff expands.

Shake the Great Stuff can until your arm hurts, screw on the pipe thing and carefully, gently dispense to cover your ear backings.


(If your husband squawks about wasting the can of Great Stuff let him go play with it in the basement, but make him hold a paper towel under the tube as he crosses the floor. My husband can save a can for later use, but it's a pain and isn't 100% effective to clean the tube like he does because sometimes it clogs inside the can.)

When the ears are dry you can leave them bumpy and misshapen or shave them to a better shape with a serrated knife, like a steak knife.

Paint with modge-podge. Modge-podge will stick to the great stuff, paint just beads off. It will also help fill the little holes. Let dry.

Paint with paint, let dry. Sew onto a stocking cap or headband.

Somehow I did not get pics of that part... ah well. Maybe I will get some before the parade.