Cheri: This little bird is all decked out in his Christmas Regalia. He is just not satisfied with being just a bird, he felt the need to dress for the occasion. And when I say dress for the occasion, he really did. He has a lovely crown, quite nice decoration on his tail feathers and he is wearing some very nice wing bracelets.
The body of this little bird is felt that has been sewn together and stuffed. I then took several pieces of different colored wire and used it in place of feathers. He is a little bit of a steam punk bird with all his attire. I hope you like him as much as I do.
Lynne: We crafty sisters have been making ornaments all month, but we are not the only ones. Last week, I went to the Pear Tree Gallery to attend Teri Partridge‘s class on making a tissue paper star.
The ornament is not difficult to make, but it is repetitive and good company with good conversation speeds the whole process. Of course that meant Teri had to talk a little louder while giving instructions, but she is a retired middle-school teacher and up to any task.
Materials you will need:
white colored pencil
CD for a circle template (or something similar in size)
12 to 20 inches of 18 or 20 gauge wire
buttons or bells
wet cloth or sponge
You need about 14 circles of cut tissue paper for the completed star. Stack your tissue paper so that you can cut all of the circles at once. We used an old CD to draw around as a template for the circles. Hold the cut-out circles together with small binder clips to keep from having to constantly adjust them. Cut into the circles at the 12, 6, 3 and 9 positions of the clock and then cut halfway between each of those quarters. Make sure the cut does not go all the way to the middle. You need the center section to hold the paper on the wire. The photo below should help with my directions.
Have a little glue poured out on a throwaway lid, a dampened sponge or cloth to wipe your fingers free of glue, a white colored pencil (a darker color could mark the paper and show through the point), and the cut circles and you are ready to begin.
Position your pencil with the tip in the middle of each cut and roll the tissue paper around it to make a point. Slide the pencil out and put a little glue on the edge to keep the point from unrolling. Use the 3rd or 4th finger of your hand for the glue and you will not have to keep wiping the glue off the index finger you are using to roll the paper.
When you have all fourteen of the circles finished, you are ready to put the ornament together. Cut your wire anywhere from 12 to 20 inches long depending on how many spirals you want to make and how long a hanger you want. Make a loop in the wire to hold the circles in place. The loop should be several inches from one end of the wire depending on how long you want the hanger to be. You can also use a button or a bell to make a stronger stop to keep the paper from sliding upwards when you tighten the star.
Make a hole with a needle or ice pick in the middle of the circles. String the first 7 circles onto the non-looped end of the wire with their points down and string the other 7 circles with the points up. You want the star to have the top points pointing down and the bottom points pointing up to give the ornament its circular shape. Use a bell or a button pushed up tight to the bottom circle and make another loop to hold the bell on. Arrange the circles so the points show to best advantage and make sure the circles are bunched tightly together to make it pouf out properly. Secure the bottom bell and cut the wire or make some spirals or twists if you like. Bend the wire on the top to form a hanger and you have your star ornament.
When I got home, I liked the star so much I wanted to make a larger one as a topper for my tree. I made the circles slightly larger by using a 7″ plate as a template for the circles. Don’t go too big or the circles get too floppy and do not pouf right.
I needed heavier wire to make the ornament stand on its own at the top of the tree. I found some 12 gauge white electrical wire at the hardware store and took it to Cheri to have her bend the wire into the right shape. She used the neck of a champagne bottle to bend the wire into a coil to fit on the top of the tree.
Wire coiled around the neck of the champagne bottle.
The 12 gauge wire was harder to bend close enough to the paper circles, so we used pieces of cork above the stop loops in the wire to help hold them close together.
The star looks great on the top of our tree and if you like the topper on the champagne bottle, it would make a great centerpiece for your holiday table.
Cheri: My kids and I have a tradition. We have a standing date on Saturday where we go to our local Chinese food restaurant, China Lane. We have been doing this for about a year now and we still are not tired of it. It is nice for me because I really get to connect with my kids while doing something we all enjoy.
I always save our fortunes that are in our fortune cookies. So far I have used some of the fortunes on my fortune cookie tree, featured here a few months ago. I am always on the look out for other uses for the items I collect and I thought they would be great to put in an ornament.
This was a very easy ornament to make for the Christmas Ornament Countdown. All I did was get a clear glass ornament, took the cap off, rolled the fortune with the wording on the outside and put it into the ornament. I added some glitter and some snips of ribbon, put the cap back on and tied a pretty piece of ribbon to the top of the cap.
This ornament has a lot of meaning for me when I look at it. It reminds me of all the fun my kids and I have had and I will be able to think of those memories each time I look at this ornament.
This would be neat if you were to have your kids write special little messages or if you wanted to give someone a special message. I love to make ornaments that have special meaning to me. Give it a try, I’m sure the ornament you make will become one of your favorites. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.
Cheri: Teeny tiny terrariums are pretty fascinating places. Those little spaces made with very few items can evoke a whole world by what you see when you look into it.
These little spaces are really quite easy to make and once you have your materials, you can make several at once.
I love to buy things from gumball machines, not only do I like the prizes, but I think I like the containers the prize comes in even more. They certainly lend themselves to this kind of craft.
Gumball vending machine containers
Air dry white clay
Small piece of mirror or tiny glass
To start with make a hole in the container. To do this you need to remove the cap and hold the clear dome so you have the convex part toward you. I heated an ice pick to make the hole.
After I had the hole completed, I took a piece of wire and made a loop on one end. I threaded the end of the wire without the loop through the hole and made another loop on the outside of the dome and cut off the wire.
To make the base of the tiny space, I used the cap of the container. I glued a small bit of air dry clay into the base and squished the piece of glass, or mirror in the center. Then I took a piece of chenille (I used tinsel chenille) and cut it very small to look like a tree. I glued this into the clay.
I glued very small animals beside the chenille tree to make it look like a snow scene and let the bottom portion dry overnight. I do this to make sure that there is no shrinkage. After it dries I take a small paintbrush and brush glue over all the surfaces that I want to put snow/glitter on. Shake off the excess and glue the bottom onto the top. This makes it permanent. Make sure you use just plain old glue for this part. I used an epoxy once and melted the face off of a deer (kind of creepy).
And there you go, all done. The little ones would look great on a small tree and the one that is a little larger I made just to set on my desk. I really enjoy looking into it and feeling the mood of the season any time of year.
Lynne:Crafty Challenge 5 was a challenge for me. I don’t believe I have made any Christmas ornaments for several years and it was tough to get my mind back into that red and green groove.
I like long garlands and I like them to be lit. Strings of Christmas tree lights seemed to me to be the best way to start, so I bought a strand of 100 clear Christmas tree lights. I needed the light strand to be decorated and the longer I looked at them the more the bulbs looked like the centers of flowers. Why not put a flower around each light bulb? The flower I made for my Do It Best Purse in the hardware store challenge would be the perfect fit to go around the collars of the light bulbs.
I plugged in my strand of lights for two hours to check on how hot they would get. I could still hold them in my hand at the end of the two hours so I used red tissue paper. However, be safe and turn off your tree lights whenever you leave the house.
Tissue paper comes folded in its package. When you unfold the paper the creases are good guidelines for cutting the long strips. I cut through all of the layers at the same time, because there was less chance of the sheets slipping while they were still in the original folds. I used a rotary cutter and the resulting strips were about 3″ wide.
I folded the strip in half and then separated the layers into stacks of two strips each. (The number of layers can vary depending on how thick the paper is and how frilly you want the flowers.) I taped the unfolded edge with scotch tape. I put half the tape on one side then flipped the strip over and folded the tape up onto the other side. Then I used scissors to cut the folded edge of the strip into fringe.
Once you’ve fringed the length of the strip, cut it into 5″ sections. 5 inches worked best for me but you can make the sections longer if you want fuller flowers. Take each 5″ section and roll it around one of the light bulb plastic holders. The holders are plastic and I found that a dab of hot glue when you first start to roll the flower is strong enough to hold the flower in place. Once you have the flower rolled use a piece of tape to keep it closed. I put a flower on every other light bulb and I was just able to finish the garland in two hours.
I liked the results so much that after the challenge was over I made another garland and bought a white Christmas tree to put them on.
Cheri: This is my second ornament in the Christmas Ornament Countdown. I like to work in paper and when I can use paper that was something else at one time, that makes it doubly good. These ornaments are made from paper and toilet paper rolls. They are really quite easy to make.
All you need to do is take the roll and flatten it. Then take a ruler and measure in ¼ inch increments. After that is done cut them apart with scissors, or if you have a large paper cutter you can use that. You will have several rings of cardboard. I like to start out with a flower pattern and work from there. You can bend the cardboard into any shape that you want and just let your imagination take over.
After I had them glued together, I spray painted them with silver metallic spray paint, then I sprayed adhesive glue and sprinkled them with glitter.
When you are faced with an empty paper roll, you may want to think twice before throwing it out. You never know what you can make out of it.
Cheri:Kristin’s ornament was so awesome that I have to admit I was a tad bit intimidated by this challenge. Actually, this type of challenge really brings out the best in both of us.
My ornament was made with scrapbook paper too.
I cut about 35 strips of paper and pushed a hole in all of them on both ends. I then took some floral wire that I had and made a loop in one end, and fed all the strips onto the wire. I then took the very last strip and threaded it on to the other end of the wire and continued to do this until all of them had been put on.
I fanned them out into a ball, and made a loop in the other end. I really like to use scrapbook paper that has stripes on it because the pattern seems to flow better. So one down 7 more to go.
Cheri: Well, another project come and gone. This one did not freak me out too much. I am always making little projects.
Sometimes I will see an object that I really like because it stirs up memories of being a kid. That is what happened when I bought these Christmas tree light bulbs at a garage sale a few months ago. I was drawn to the color, (pink) and I really liked the vintage feel of them too.
I knew that I would never use bulbs like these on a lighted string (who could trust them), but I still liked the look of them. They were the kind of lights we had on our tree when I was a kid. I don’t even know if these are sold anymore. They do have a tendency to get hot and really the newer, small lights are brighter.
When I saw them for 50 cents, I couldn’t think of anything to do with them at the time so I tucked them away for when an idea came. When this project was discussed, I felt that I could possibly use the light bulbs for something. I was pretty sure what I wanted to do and I was also sure that the idea would work pretty well. All I really needed was hot glue, ( I am the Queen of hot glue).
For the 14 point star ornament, I started out with glue on the metal tips and then I put one light bulb in the center on each side. I tried to do this mathematically but as I am math challenged, I decided to go by sight. It came out pretty well the first time and I knew that I really didn’t want to press my luck so I decided it looked pretty symmetrical.
For the eight point stars, I just glued 4 together and glued 4 more together and attached them. I hot-glued buttons onto them to cover the glue in the center.
I then decided I needed a hanger that was not very noticeable. In the box were 2 bulb clips, so I took one bulb off the star, attached the clip and then glued the bulb back on. This way I can attach a hook to it.
All in all I was quite pleased with the outcome and I think it will look terrific on a tree. The best thing is it was really simple and cheap. I just love it when a plan comes together.
The back of the 14 point star ornament with hanger.
We have just finished our Crafty Challenge 4 and are ready for number 5! This one is all about the time of year. From around now until Christmas, the Crafty Sisters begin to get secretive. We tend to stop discussing our projects with each other and mutter a lot, or at least I mutter a lot.
For us, this is crunch time for Christmas gifts and we do make a lot of them. In this vein, Crafty Challenge 5 is all about Christmas Decorations. We did need to limit this somehow and due to the whole Christmas crunch time I mentioned, the best idea was an actual time limit. So, the challenge is to create a Christmas decoration in less than two hours. We even set a specific time. December 4th – 10am until 12pm is the making time and the unveiling will be at 12:30pm. We can think all we want and purchase the supplies in the meantime, we just cannot start making the decorations until 10am.
To get us in a holiday mood, I thought some examples of a few of our past Christmas decorations was in order. So, get your mind in gear and get thinking (but don’t get making yet!).
If you have any questions about any of the above decorations or would like to know how they were made, ask us! You can email us in the Contact Us section of the blog.
These were all decorations I had in my Christmas storage and I realize that almost all of them were made by Cheri. You can definitely see who we will be comparing ourselves to. Wish us luck and you get crafting!
Cheri: This spool challenge was a lot of fun to do. I think all of us had a really good time and our projects were all so different. For my spool project I decided that I wanted to do a Halloween project. That being decided, I realized that I wanted to paint some monsters on the spools and then I thought it would be so cool to be able to change the parts of the monsters around. I spent a few hours painting the spools and then I had to decide what I wanted to display them on. I had picked up some old alphabet blocks maybe a year ago and they just had the right feel to them. I started working with the letters to decide what I wanted to spell and finally felt that “SPOOKY” was a very appropriate word. I drilled a small hole in the top of the blocks and then I cut 5 pieces of dowel. I then hot glued the dowel into the blocks. My son suggested that I paint the dowels black so they didn’t stand out so much, and voila!!! My project was completed. I think we all did an awesome job and I can’t wait to get started on our next project.