Christmas card placemat 2009
Apr 8th, 2010 by Dawn

Yeah, it’s April.  So sue me.

This year’s ornaments
Dec 22nd, 2009 by Dawn

It was a last minute scramble but I did manage to make a few.
These were made from glue-together foam kits, very simple. I added the Christmas tree lights to the 3D reindeer and a few other touches to spruce them up a bit, but the hardest part of these kits is holding everything together while the glue dries. Foam doesn’t really glue that well, although the end result seems strong. The only way I could get the 3D reindeer to stick together was to use pins.

This is one of those balls made by sticking pins through beads into styrofoam. They’re aren’t hard to do (except on the fingers) and the result is very fancy.

Noah’s Ornaments
Dec 11th, 2009 by Dawn

Here are two ornaments Noah made for me this year. Santa is made from beads that you place on a peg baord and then iron to set. It takes a lot of patience. The snowman is a painted suncatcher. I guess Noah takes after his Aunt Dawn.

Christmas card placemat 2008
Dec 31st, 2008 by Dawn

Last year I made my first placemat out of Christmas cards. I got another beautiful hand drawn card from K again this year so I added to my collection. I think I need to make more friends though because it’s tough to accumulate enough cards for even one placemat per year. This one includes a card from my car insurance company.

Basket weaving
Feb 21st, 2005 by Dawn

Remember in high school how “basket weaving” meant a gimme class? Maybe we should have tried it. I think basket weaving requires more hands than I have. This was made from a kit. I got better at it as I went around but you can see that my shaping efforts fall somewhat short or perfect symmetry. You need one hand for the sewing needle, one hand to hold the bunch of pine needles you’re weaving in, and the other hand to help shape the basket.

I’m using this to hold spare buttons. Isn’t it purty? My grandmother has given me a book of advanced patterns and I might try another basket if I can find a good source for the supplies.

Ugly cloth ornaments
Jun 29th, 2004 by Dawn

When Todd saw these in the book he said, “I don’t know. They look kind of bunchy.” Well, he was right. These are made by taking two cloth circles and trying to ease them around a styrofoam ball. The result is kind of bunchy. Add to that the difficulty of getting everything square and centered (it’s hard to find the middle of a ball) and the results are crooked and, yes, bunchy.

I made three because I kept coming up with ways to do the easing better and/or do the math better but the results got only slightly better for all that work. In the end (the green one) I was hand-sewing the two circles of cloth together and pinning and marking every conceivable measurment. And it’s still not so cute. One thing that would help, I think, is to use cloth with smaller scale patterns. The green velvet with silver applique flowers turned into green with random silver blobs once it was disected into quarters. That’s why I added the rhinestones.

I will say that they look much cuter lying down than they do hanging up.

Bottle brush tree ornaments
Jun 2nd, 2004 by Dawn

I got this idea out of a book. Hideous isn’t it? It’s huge for one thing. So I went back and looked and it’s meant to be a tree topper, not an ornament. But that only makes it slightly less hideous. I don’t have a good tree topper but it’s not going to be this one either. I’ll make something some day.

So why did I make this thing if I think it’s hideous? Here’s how it happened. When I got all the books in the post-Christmas sale I flipped through them noting that I didn’t have the supplies to make any given project in the book. I needed cookie cutters or stone molds or gold leafing or . . . . So I went to the post-Christmas sales at various craft stores and as I saw things that had been on the materials lists I picked them up. I guess I saw the bottle brush trees and remembered seeing them in the book.

On Sunday I was working on my latest quilled project but I wanted to take a break so I pulled out the books to see what I could make and determined that I almost had enough supplies to make the bottle brush tree thingy. I went out and bought what else I needed and on Monday I made it. Only then did I really look at the picture and notice that it was hideous – not just my version, the version in the book too.

Then I took the leftover bottle brush tree and glued some glittery pom-poms and gold stars and ribbon to it and made this:

which is much cuter.

“Stained glass” ornaments
May 25th, 2004 by Dawn

Some more ornaments based on ideas from the Christmas craft books I got in a post-Christmas sale this year. I got three:

Christmas Ornaments to Make, Christmas Comfort & Joy, and Simply Christmas.

These were done using a special kind of paint that creates a stained glass effect. As with the gold leafing, learning on a spherical fragile object may not be the best plan. I also learned that it was worth it to spend a little extra on the supplies. For my first attempt I used a boxed kit that had tiny samples of a lot of different colors in little pots like the cheap paints made for kids come in. The results were very blotchy and irregular. It was hard to apply the paint from the pots and I think the quality of the paint just wasn’t that good. I was also trying to create my own design from lines and liquid leading (drawing the lines on by hand using a kind of paint). I’m no artist.

So the first one was butt-ugly and got thrown away. For my next attempts, which you see here, I bought individual squeeze containers of paint – much easier to apply uniformly. I also got some of the shaped leading lines they sell. I got stars, diamonds, and circles and used them all as you can see. I still have something to learn about getting a really even coat with no bubbles but the results were significantly better. I especially like the one with the stars.

“Gold leafing” ornament
May 21st, 2004 by Dawn

I got several nice books on decorating for Christmas at the post-Christmas sale at Border’s this year. They’re full of ideas for ornaments, one of which was to apply gold leafing (which comes in both real and fake varieties – this is the fake) to clear plastic balls in various designs. Two things about this:

1. Gold leafing is kind of hard to do on a ball. It might be better to learn the technique on something flatter and easier to handle.

2. Glass was wrong – plastic was right. The way that gold leafing goes on is you apply a glue first, wait for it to almost dry, then rub the gold leafing on to it. In order to get a good transfer you need to rub pretty hard. Well, luckily they must coat the insides of those glass balls with something to keep them from shattering so I didn’t actually sever my thumb, but I certainly did destroy the ball.

This pattern of random dots was my third and last attempt at applying gold leafing to glass balls. It was the only one I kept. One ball got broken just trying to remove it from the plastic tray it came in. So out of a box of 4 balls, luckily acquired very cheaply in another post-Christmas sale this time from Michael’s, I got one ornament. I do have plenty of gold leafing left though and perhaps I’ll give it another try some day on a surface either flatter or less fragile.

Spool elf
Mar 17th, 2004 by Dawn

This was a very cute and simple kit.

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