Monday, November 29, 2010

Ornament Month! Flower pot bells

My last ornaments for the month are these cute little flower pot bells!  My mom loves bells so we always have bells on our tree.  When I saw these little flower pots at Michael's, I immediately thought of bells!

They were pretty easy to put together, but I admit I had to think a little bit about how to rig up the clapper for the inside.  I started off by painting the flower puts in cute bright colors, just because that's what paint I had on hand.  These guys aren't going to end up matching anything I have on my tree...

 After that I had to figure out how to make the clapper for the inside.  I wanted it to tied together with the hanger, but the hole in the bottom (well now the top...) of the flower pot was too big to just tie a knot on either side of the hole.  Instead, I put a button on either side of the hole and strung my cording through that.  I used a 2-hole button on the top, but a 4 hole on the bottom.

 Let's see if I can say this clearly... I tied a knot on top of my outside button strung the cord through the 2 holes of the top button, and then I strung them through two opposite holes in the inside button.  I another piece of cord through the other two holes of the inner button, and attached a bead and then tied a knot under the bead.  THEN I tied the two ends of the hanger cord into a knot, and trimmed all the edges.  You can kinda see what I'm talking about in this photo.  Maybe...

So, that brings us to the end of ornament month!  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I still have a few more ornaments that I haven't posted about yet, so I might be putting some of those up in December.  Or I could just save them for next year :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ornament Month! Button Wreath

 Today's ornament turns this:

 And this:

 Into this!

 When I started this ornament I wasn't sure it was going to work out, so I didn't take many "in process" photos, but I'll try to describe how I put it together as best I can.  I started out by "sewing" together a bunch of large green buttons in a circular shape using dark green wire.  I didn't really have a method for this, just up through one hole in the button, down in the opposite button, and then up through one hole of the next button and down through the opposite and on and on and on.  I twisted on more wire whenever I needed it, and twisted together the two wire ends to connect the circle ends.  My circle was pretty flimsy at this point.

Then I added a layer of smaller buttons on top of that, sewing them on to the previous layer using the holes in the bigger buttons.  The more buttons I added the more solid my shape became. I kept adding buttons where they were needed to fill out my wreath and where I needed to add stability, always twisting together my wire ends when I got to them  I kept going until I had a pretty stable wreath.  Here's a photo of the finished wreath before I added my red "berries" on.  You can also see the circle guide I drew for myself before I started.

 After I got all my greens "sewn" together I cut off all the excess wire sticking out - there was a LOT - this thing was a mess...  To help you picture this, here is how scraggly it looked after I attached the five red holly berry buttons.

 And here's a close up of some of my twisted wire,  maybe this will give you an idea of how I put this together.

 Then I attached a red ribbon onto my wreath for a hanger.

 I made sure to hide it under the buttons on the front, like so:

 Then, although it was pretty stable at this point, I figured it could still get bent up pretty easily when it was packed up for the year, so I hot glued a felt ring on the back of the wreath.

 Now all that was left was to glue my ribbon bow on the front.  It was a lot of work, but I'm so so happy with how this turned out - it is pretty much exactly how I pictured it.  It's my favorite ornament creation so far.  Is it dorky to say that I'm really proud of myself?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ornament Month! Cute Crocheted Baubles

If you know how to crochet this is a super simple, super fun, super cute ornament you can make.  In fact, I made mine while I was lying on the couch, sick with some sort of horrible cold, and I made it in like twenty minutes.  While I was on my sick day I came across this great tutorial on Craft blog.  I thought "Hey, I have everything I need to make this right now!"  So I did.  And it came out great - better than I thought it would. For mine I used purple sugar n' cream yarn and a size G hook. I think I'm going to try it again with some thinner yarn, I think it will look a little more delicate that way.  The directions were really easy to understand,  I think anyone with a little crochet experience could pull it off, so go ahead and give it a whirl! I think you'll be happy with the results.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ornament Month! Pom Pom Ornaments

If you've been following me for a while, you may remember that a long time ago I made a whole bunch of pom-poms for no apparent reason.  Well, I put those pom-poms in a box, and they have been there ever since.  Until NOW!  I finally came up with something to do with them! (Apologies in advance for the photos - it was really hard to focus on these little suckers!)

 I selected a couple of ornament sized pom poms from my stash, then added on some holiday embellishments.  I just put a little glue on the ends of the embellishments and stuck the ends into the the center of the pom-pom.  Then I added a tied a hanger onto each one using some cording I had on hand.  I did this by cutting a fairly long piece of cording, folding it in half and tying a loop towards the folded end.  Then I strung the loose ends through the pom-pom and tied a knot on the opposite side of the pom-pom.  I secured each side with a little glue.  I wish I had remembered to take photos of this part - it would probably make a lot more sense if I had...  Anyways, here's a close up of the multi-colored ornament.

 I'm very happy to have finally come up with a use for my pom-poms!  They came out so cute too!  Hooray!  They came together so easily too - I know anyone could do it :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ornament Month! Button Snowman Ornament

Here's another quick stacked button ornament I pulled together.  Today it's a little snowman!  (This is one of the shapes that Martha highlighted in her tutorial)

He was slightly more complicated than the little tree, but not much.  He just required a little more button matching.  Once I had all my buttons sorted out, I strung them on double ply black wire, and twisted in a few strands of brown for the arms.  I opted not to put a nose on mine like Martha suggested, but I'm thinking I might tie a little red ribbon on the neck for a scarf.  Totally cute right? 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ornament Month! The "This didn't actually work out" Ornaments

I mentioned in a previous post that I'd reused an ornament that I'd screwed up from another ornament attempt.  I decided to go ahead and show you that attempt, so you'd get that silly idea that I'm perfect out of your heads.  I'm real, just like you. Sometimes, however rare it may be, I do make mistakes (ok - I screw stuff up all the time!)  This is what happened with my "painted-on-the-inside" ornaments.

This seemed like SUCH a good idea when I thought of it.  I'd seen some ornaments before that looked like they'd been painted on the inside, and here I had some clear glass ornaments and some paint leftover from another project.  This was going to be a breeze!

I just squirted a couple colors of paint in each one, and swirled them around until the whole inside was covered, and then tipped them upside down until all the excess paint dripped out  Well, the paint never actually dried.  It just dribbled out little by little by little until they ended up...


and see through.

Oh well.  So much for that idea.  I just used cheap acrylic paints for this, and I'm pretty sure they still aren't entirely dry inside...  I'm convinced that it would work with a different kind of paint though, because they looked awesome before they started to look awful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ornament Month! Sequined Ornament

Today's ornament caused me a lot of physical and emotional stress. No - for real!  It is one of those ones that starts out as a really simple idea and then kind of becomes bigger than you expected it to (due to poor planning on my part...)  Anyways, as Monk would say, here's what happened.

I had some styrofoam balls left over from last Christmas so I decided I was going to make an ornament of sequins and pins.  At one point I told my husband this and he said something along the lines of "What does secrets and pins mean?"  I guess I need to work on my enunciation.  Here's the initial supplies I gathered for this project.

1 box of pretty pearl head pins
1 styrofoam ball
2 packets of white sequins
1 spool of ribbon

My ball had a seam around the middle so that seemed (no pun intended until I realized it was "punny") like a good place to start.  I stuck one pin and one sequin into the ball and continued that all the way around.

Like this:

I found it was easier to "stick" my sequins with the pins before I stuck them into the ball, but that is a personal preferance.

It became clear very early on that I was going to have sore fingers from sticking all these pins into the ball.  It was a pretty solid one!  This brings me to "things I would do differently next time #1": Buy a less dense styrofoam ball. 

And Things I would do differently #2 - Buy shorter pins.

Moving on...

Once I finished the first row I added a second row on top of that.  Everything was looking good!

This is where the pictures stop.  This is because this is also where the frustrations start.  That is because about 4 rows in I ran out of pins.  Ummm... oops?

Things I would do differently #3 - buy more than one box of pins.

So I went to Jo-Ann and bought another box of pins.  Yes, only one more.  I don't know why I thought that one more box of pins would be enough, even though I clearly hadn't covered half of my ball yet.

Things I would do differently #4 - buy cheaper pins.

Those multicolored pearlized quilting pins sure are pretty but they aren't exactly cheap!  I was looking for a quick, easy and cheap project to use up these styrofoam balls and this one was not it!  So of course I ran out of pins again and went back to Jo-Ann's and bought 2 more boxes.  Surely this would be then end of my troubles.  Then, about 5 rows from finishing, I ran out of sequins. I mean, this was like maybe a little circle about an inch and a half in diameter left uncovered AHHHHH!!!!

Things I would do differently #5 - buy 2 packets of sequins OR buy bigger sequins.

I happened to be at Hobby Lobby one day so I thought I would buy another packet of sequins there, but it turns out their white sequins are yellow tinted and Jo-Ann's white sequins are pink tinted, so I had yet another trip to Jo-Ann's for sequins.  That makes this 4 trips to Jo-Ann's to finish this ornament.  Do you think I'm a doofus yet?

Here's my final supply list:

1 styrofoam ball
4 boxes pretty pearl head pins
3 packets white pink-tinted sequins
1 spool of ribbon

My original list?  Way off.  I didn't even use the same ribbon.  If you're interested I just attached the hanging ribbon by sticking it under one of my sequins.  This ball is so solid I was not worried at all about it pulling out.  Anyways, I think in the end I ended up with a pretty cool ornament, but I definitely will not be making another - this one came with way too many "I'm such an idiot!" moments. So much for quick easy and cheap!!  It does feel pretty cool to run your hands over all those pins though. Maybe one day I will be able to look at it without any feeling of resentment.  Some day...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Card Fun!

Hi everyone - I'm going to take a little time out from ornament month today - I hope that's all right!  Instead, I thought I'd tell you about how much I love Shutterfly.  I've been using Shutterfly for a while now for greeting cards.  I like to take pretty photos of flowers and whatnot when I'm on vacation, and then I turn them into blank greeting cards when I get home. Then I always have a greeting card on hand when something comes up.

Pretty right?  I've always been pleased with the results - high quality stuff!! And Shutterfly always have great deals too!

This year I think I'm going to get my Christmas cards from Shutterfly.  They have a huge selection of Christmas Cards! I don't know how I'm going to choose, but here are a few of my current favorites.

I really like the holly detail on the top of this one. I'm not sure if I will be able to find three pictures of Stephen and myself though. 

Here's another holly one that I love.  So cute!  I like all the white on this one.

I like this one for going the simple route.  I fell like it really lets the picture do the talking.

I can see Stephen really liking this one.  Who am I kidding - I like it too!  I love the brown and plaid combo.

I feel like I'm really going for the red and brown ones here...  I love the branch detail in the background of this one.

This one is a really strong contender for my favorite.  I love the snowflakes!  I really wanted a card that says "Merry Christmas" but most of the designs I like say "Happy Holidays". This one dodges the issue - I can just add my message to the inside.  Love it!

I'm really liking the idea of having a folded greeting card to send out this year.  I mean, I liked the cards we sent out last year, but they were just those printed-on-photo-paper-4x8 kind (which shutterfly has too if you are interested! Great for if you are on a budget!)  An actual folded greeting card just seems so much more special to me.  I'm so excited!!

So keep Shutterfly in mind for your holiday cards this year.  They also have great calendars and photo gifts.  I'm a big fan of their stationary cards too! Upload your photos and have fun!!

*This post is part of a special promotion Shutterfly is having for bloggers - check it out here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ornament Month! Decoupaged Ornament

Today's ornament is a lovely decoupaged ornament!

I started with one of my clear glass baubles (actually I reused one that I screwed up from another ornament idea...) Then I pulled out my stack of gardening catalogs and cut out a bunch of pictures of white flowers.  I trimmed them as close to the blooms as I could with my embroidery scissors. Next I Mod Podged them (glossy) all over the outside of my ornament.  At this point I thought maybe white was not a good color choice, since my flower pictures started to get see-through when I podged them.  However they dried back in their original state.  Yay!  I also just let the pictures wrinkle however they wanted, and squished them down as flat as they would go.  Does that make sense?  Then I gave it a good coating of podge all over the surface.  Done!

I feel like this ornament doesn't come across that well in photos.  Trust me, it looks great in person! Here's a photo of the other side - lovely lovely lily!

This ended up being a fun but very messy project (Who doesn't love peeling the mod podge skin off of your hands?), but I'm totally happy with the result!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ornament Month! Fanned Security Paper Ball

 For today's ornament, I whipped out my collection of security envelopes - this time, I only chose the blue ones.  Here's what I did:

1) Trace circles onto your envelopes.  I used the top of a small tin for mine, it was probably about 3 inches in diameter.  I don't know how great I am at eyeballing measurements though.

2) Cut out all your circles.  I think I had about 24 in all.

3) Fold all your circles in half.

4) Take your glue stick and start gluing your halves together,

       like so:

5) Once you have all your circles glued together, set them on an edge somewhere to dry.  The edge of my stamp box worked nicely.  Don't glue the two ends together yet though!

6) Ahh! I didn't take pictures of this part - try to use your imagination ok??  Cut several lengths of embroidery thread in various shades of blue, fold them in half, and tie a knot in it about an inch and a half from the folded end to form your hanging loop.

7) Put the loose end in the center of your paper fan ball and glue the remaining two sides together.

8) Tie a knot at the bottom of the ball to keep it from sliding off the thread.

TADA!  You're done!!

I'd say this ornament turned out pretty well, although I didn't do a super excellent job with my gluing, so the ball is a little loose in some areas.  Looks kind of like a Chinese lantern to me.  If I were to do this again, I'd use fewer circles.  Maybe something like 16?  Mine is a little too full for all of the fan leaves to be seen.  Not bad for just throwing together a few things I had lying around, huh?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ornament Month! Tiny Tree Ornament

Today's ornament idea came from everyone's favorite crafter (Besides me of course) Martha Stewart!
Here is her tutorial for these cute stacked button ornaments: Button Ornaments.  Note that the little Christmas tree was totally my idea though ;)

I didn't use pipe cleaners.  Instead I used this fun colored wire I got on clearance at Michael's!

If you happen to get your hands on this stuff, be careful.  I've broken it a few times just by twisting too hard.  So for my ornament I used double ply red wire and then CAREFULLY twisted it into a hanger at the top. 

Other than that, all you need is buttons!  I happen to have tons of buttons right now (I got a whole bunch in the dollar bin at Michael's with a 20% off entire purchase coupon, so that worked out to be a pretty good deal!  In fact I might get some more this weekend when my new 20% off coupon becomes active. I absolutely love shopping the dollar bins with a 20% off coupon!)

I love buttons! Even though it is pretty tiny, and may get a little lost on a big Christmas tree, I really like how my little tree ornament turned out so I'm thinking I'll try a snowman next.  Here's hoping it turns out great!  And if you love buttons as much as me I have another even more awesome button ornament to show you soon :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ornament Month: Tiny Yarn Ball Ornaments

One more quick and easy ornament to fill out the week!   Aren't these tiny yarn balls adorable?   They are some of my favorite ornaments so far :)   I got my inspiration here.  I didn't do mine exactly like this tutorial though.  I didn't use a Styrofoam base, instead mine are solid yarn. Instead of dowels, mine are toothpicks with wooden beads on the end.  I also didn't use any glue - I just left a long end at the end of my yarn ball, stuck the end through my little yarn ball using a needle, and tied a loop on the other side.  Then I hid the remaining end inside the ball.  I have tons of yarn, and already had the toothpicks, and found the beads on clearance at Michael's, so this ended up being a super cheapy cheap ornament - and I love them!  Yay! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ornament Month! The Spools are Back!

Welcome to the second installment of Ornament Month!  My collection of spools gets to make another appearance today, in this quick and easy ornament.  We're going to have a lot of quick and easy ones to start the month out - mostly because I'm short on computer time!   These were made simply by stringing beads, spools, and jingly bells on thin ribbon.  Piece of cake!

 This is the first one I made.  I just strung the ribbon through the loop on the bell, and then put both ends of the ribbon through the spool and silver bead.  Then I tied the ribbon in a bow to complete the hanging loop.  Done!

The green one was the next one I made, when I decided I didn't really like having the bow at the top.  So I kind of did this one backwards of the last one, and tied the bow around the top of the bell.  Cute right?

 This is the last one I made.  I had some pretty purple ribbon that I cut out of a top I bought recently.  Why it needed hanging ribbons as long as it had, I will never know.  I just know those ribbons needed to go!  They came in handy though!  For this one, I added an extra pretty bead, and put a button between the silver bead and the spool to keep the silver bead from dropping too far down into the spool.  Pretty clever right? 

That's it for today's ornament installment. It's cute and totally appropriate for a crafty tree, don't you think?  I bet, if you already have some spools on hand, you can make these with just stuff you have lying around the house!