For Day 13 of the ornament challenge, I knew I wanted to focus on copper. I ultimately settled on a wire technique from my jewelry-making days. I used 18 gauge copper wire, and large vintage white glass beads. Jump rings made on a size 8 knitting needle hold everything together. The heavy-gauge wire makes for a large ornament – it’s nearly 4″ tall. It was a fun ornament that went together in a few hours!
Lynne: I made this ornament “Puppy Under the Christmas Tree” from a wire armature stuffed with fabric scraps and then covered the figure with more fabric strips to get the finished shape.
I had so much fun doing this ornament. I love wire armature figures but I was sure that I could never make one. However I happened to see a book by Carla Sonheim called Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals and found a photo of a figure done with wire and fabric. I draw my own imaginary animals called Squiggles and I told myself to make a figure just like I drew a squiggle. And it worked.
I used ordinary, hardware store galvanized wire (a gauge soft enough to work with your hands) to make the armature. One long piece made up the legs, body and tail. I used a shorter piece to shape the head and ears. I had to add more volume to the body and head to hold the fabric stuffing so I wired on some spiral shapes. Just keep adding and shaping, until you’re satisfied.
Then I stuffed and covered the armature with torn fabric scraps. Their frayed edges look like fur and give the ornament a vintage look. I used strips 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide and about 8 inches long. The strips need to be narrow to follow the contours of the body without sagging open in a curve. If I needed longer strips I just tied two or three of the shorter strips together. The knots disappear into the wrapped fabric. I did not use any glue or stitching to hold the strips on. I used scissors to poke the ends under the previous strips and tried to make sure loose ends were started and finished in places that would be covered over. Small scissors are perfect for stuffing the ends under earlier layers.
I had old hat pins in my stash and I used them for the eyes and ears, but you could use buttons or embroidery. I used a small scrap of Christmas ribbon to make the collar and bow and fishing line to make an ornament loop, but I have to warn you that one look in those puppy eyes and it will be very difficult to stick the needle and fishing line through.
I’m keeping this puppy out of the ornament box after Christmas. He’s going to sit on the table right beside my favorite chair.
I really wanted to make a simple ornament with aluminum foil. I have been wracking my brain trying to think of something and it hit me while I was driving home from work. I could make an awesome ball with strips of foil and paper.
The ornament is a ball inside a ball. The style is reminiscent of a ribbon temari ball that I made years ago. I cut strips of aluminum foil 1″ wide and strips of scrapbook paper 1/4″ wide (all the strips were roughly 12″ long). I folded the foil lengthwise to not quite in half. I then folded the other edge to give myself two nice, smooth edges. This made the foil strips about 3/8″ wide. I ran a bone folder over the foil strips to make them smooth and shiny. I glued the scrapbook strips to the foil strips and let them dry.
After they were dry, I cut the strips to 10″ long, just to make them easier to handle. Then I wrapped the strips around a solid object (I used a small glass for the outer ball and the glue bottle for the inner ball), glued the ends down, and cut off the excess. I made four smaller rounds and 4 larger rounds. I made the inner ball first then added the larger strips to make the outer ball. I glued the top and bottom where the strips met.
I made a small circle of foil about 1/4″ wide and glued that to the top of the ball and attached a homemade hook and I was finished. I think the whole ornament took me about an hour to make.
I am really happy with it, although it is rather delicate. At least if it gets bent out of shape it is really easy to fix.
Cheri: I cannot believe I have done 3 ornaments so far. Christmas is coming way too quick this year.
Scrap Paper Christmas Trees
Scrap paper or scrap book paper (I used a gift bag for the green tree)
Hole punch or a needle (the hole punch needs to be a small one)
Glue (If you would like to glue your tubes closed)
The easy part:
Cut strips of paper, in different widths. I think mine were 4 inches, 3 ½ inches, 3 inches, and down to maybe a ¼ of an inch. I made all the strips about 4 inches in length. Roll the strips like you are making little straws. After you have them all rolled, just find the center in each one and put a hole in it. Make sure you go all the way through it. This can be a little tricky if the paper is thick. This is when a needle is helpful. Run the wire through the tube. You can make a loop in each end of the wire and string them separately, or you can string all of them in a row on a wire, moving from largest to smallest. I put a bead in between each one.
I really like how these ornaments turned out and I think they will be a great addition to our Ornament Advent Tree.
Loryn: For Day 9 of our Ornament Advent challenge, I’ve made a bird from old sweaters that I felted. Wool felt is expensive, so upcycling old sweaters is a crafty way to have a good supply cheaply. I sewed the bird together using blanket stitch. (For a tutorial, see my felted ornament post from last Christmas). I wanted the bird to be delicate, so I used fine gauge sweaters so the felt isn’t too heavy. I loosely stuffed him with cut up felt scraps, which gives an old fashioned look.
For the details of the face, I used gold embroidery floss for the beak, and a bead with a few blue backstitches for the eye. He went together quickly and looks great on the tree!
Cheri: I love comics, funnies, and cartoons. And I really love using comics for craft projects. This one is a favorite of mine. I hope you like it.
Circle template (cup, glass, anything circular and in whatever size you would like, my circles were about 2 ½ inches in diameter).
Glue (any kind is fine).
Cardstock, (just a small circle is needed).
6 inches of ribbon
Fold the Sunday paper up so you can cut as many circles at once as possible. Then cut all of the circles in half. When you roll the paper, you want the circular edge to be the outer rim of the cone. Make about 45 cones and lay them aside.
Cut a smaller circle from the cardstock, this is just for a base to glue to.
Lay your cones around the cardstock circle, with the points touching, when you like how it looks, put a small amount of glue on each one and glue down. Place the next row of cones, try to put these in the little valleys created by the first row. You will be using a few less. Finally, glue one straight into the center, there should be a small spot for it. Do the same on the other side of the circle of cardstock.
Look at your ornament, and if you notice any thin spots just glue another cone into the spot. If you would like, you can glue more cones inside of the first cones. This gives the ornament a rose bud look.
What a fun project to make with the funnies, just make sure you read them first.
Lynne: I was surfing the web hoping to find an idea for our Advent Countdown when I came upon this great video from EepyBird. I fell in love with the sticky note pinwheels and started to think how I could modify one into an ornament. I needed a pad of pop up sticky notes, a glue stick, a darning needle, monofilament fishing line, micro glitter, spray adhesive and two buttons.
EepyBird.com counts out twelve pairs of pop up sticky notes and then glues the endnotes of the stack to each other. The structure is rotated three times to make the pinwheel. I must admit that I had to watch the video several times before I understood how the turns were done. If I watched where the doubled edges were each time the figure was turned, I could manage the proper sequence. Their excellent tutorial video is here.
The resulting structure holds its shape enough to roll down an incline, but not well enough to hang on a tree. I decided to gather the fins (the doubled edges) to prevent the pinwheel from coming apart. I used a large-eyed darning needle (sharp enough to go through the paper) with about 20 inches of fishing line. I used fishing line since it is invisible and I had a spool in my craft drawer. Using the needle to punch a hole about 1/8 inch from the edge (see photo below), draw the thread of fishing line through each fin until all the fins are gathered in a circle. Pull the line tight and knot the ends. Don’t cut the thread.
I used the two buttons to cover the hole in the middle of the pinwheel. Thread one of the buttons onto your fishing line and then push the needle through to the other side of the pinwheel. Gather these fins the same way, add the other button and tie a knot to keep everything together.
I used spray adhesive and micro glitter to add some holiday sparkle. For the hanger, I made a loop with the fishing line and attached it to two fins (see photo below) for the best balance.
I really like how the pinwheel looks and was especially pleased to make something with such an unusual material.
So, I make jewelry. In my collection of jewelry supplies are all sorts of materials and findings for really old projects that I just cannot get rid of. I guess you could call me a supply hoarder (I don’t feel too bad about this as I think Cheri has a bigger collection). Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that I am a museum for clothes and supplies (I still have some beads from my very first Fire Mountain order around 20 years ago, and crap did I just make myself feel old). Anyway, the gold rings I used in this Christmas ornament have been in a drawer for years. I made a pair of earrings for my M-I-L out of them and of course, I did my usual M.O. and bought way too many supplies and was stuck with a bag full of various sizes of gold jump-rings.
For this project, I laid down some wax paper and pulled out my bottle of bead glue (super glue). I used some tweezers to place the rings where I wanted them and glued the whole piece together. I like the project so much that I think I am going to make a set of earrings with a similar shape for the holiday season. The ornament is around 3 inches top to bottom and side to side, not including the hook.
This is a very simple project and looks great on a Christmas tree. The jump-rings are available at most craft stores in the jewelry supply section.
Cheri-December 12, 2012. Day two of “The Crafty Sisters Advent Ornaments“.
Snowflake ornament made with Tinker Toys
This is a super simple ornament to make and it really is pretty neat. It may not make the best ornament as it is a little large but it would be a great tree topper or a wall hanging.
All you need to do is get some Tinker Toys and pegs. I found some orphaned ones at a garage sale last summer and decided to give them a new life.
The design fell in to place pretty easily and then, I just hot glued the pieces together.
The hard part for me was the painting. Spray paint seemed to be the best way to go, but the paint soaked right in to the Tinker Toys. After several coats (and a patchy finish), eventually I finished painting it with acrylic paint and glittered it.
This was a fun project and the possibilities are endless.
So we have arrived at Christmas! I hope everyone is having at wonderful holiday. For those of you who have been following along with our ornament countdown adventure, you know that Cheri and I have been showcasing our ornament creations this year. We have been alternating days which is about all we had time for with our preparations for Christmas as well. We have gathered them all together here in one post for easy viewing.
It has been a wonderful craft experience to work in so many mediums. Cheri and I had a great time creating all of these amazing ornaments and look forward to another showcase for next year (which will include all the Crafty Sisters, not just us two).