While making presents for Christmas I discovered a passion for making toys. I'm going to be opening up an etsy shop soon with "tall dolls" and balls. And maybe a few random housewares for good measure. Here's some of the gifts I made this season:
A rag doll for my niece with felt hair, underwear, and 3 outfits
A hand painted tea cup and saucer for my sister-in-law:
A hand-painted bowl for my friend:
A stuffed "bookworm" for my nephew (made from Wee Wonderfuls Evelyn Inchworm pattern)
A stuffed globe ball for my niece:
I forgot to snap pictures of the monogramed mugs I made for my brothers family and the linen napkins I made for my sister-in-laws family. I also still haven't taken pictures of the gifts to my husband and daughter, but will post those soon.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Welcome to 2011!!!!
Beautiful photo and project from Lykke kjerstis
Obviously it's too late to make this year, but I'm storing this in my to-do-next year file in my brain. This Christmas has been pretty minimal for me when it comes to decorating and gifts. I can't seem to get into the Christmas feeling yet. I'm normally a fanatic about it. It may be because all of my decor is in storage at my parents and I haven't been able to visit to pick it up. It may be that I can't find my Christmas CD's. And it may just be that I have no money for gifts this year. Either way... I'm not feeling it. Sad. I think I'll put on some Christmas tunes now.
Aren't advent calendars fun? I especially wanted one to put daily Christmas activities on it like Jordan Ferny had suggested. I'll also be adding a daily scripture too. My little one is too young to help, but this would be a really great kid project. Very easy! They could practice their number writing skills, or cutting, or knot tying! Yay for Christmas helping develop fine motor skills, hahaha.
Of course part of living simply means I wasn't going to go to the store to pick one up or spend hours (and dollars) making one. So I looked through my crafting supplies and what did I find? Green paint samples from Home Depot that I kept when deciding on colors a while back! Yes! FREE!!!!! (tutorial below)
Step One: Cut 25 triangles out of paint samples or colored paper. I used Bear paint samples from Home Depot which have 4 colors per card, meaning I needed 7. (which is exactly how many I had, lucky) I like to hand cut because it looks more tree like than perfect triangles...differing sizes slightly is a good thing I say.
Step Two: Cut strips of brown paper in different widths. I used a textured patterned paper I happened to have a scrap of, but more paint chips would be great too. These can be taped or glued to the back of the tree and stick out for the stump
Step Three: Lay out the trees in a line so you can put them in a pleasing order. Try not to have too many light colors or dark colors in one spot, space them out.
Step Four: Now that they are in the right order, paint on the numbers with white paint. You can write with a white pen or even white out too. I like the hand done look, but if you are afraid of it, use rubber stamps or number stickers. I actually tried to copy the font of some number stickers I had (which look a bit like stamps). Let dry before working further.
Step Five: Cut 49 pieces of 3 to 5 inch lengths string or twine. I used thick linen string left over from a weaving project. The longer the lengths of twine, the longer your garland will be. Keep all strings the exact same length. Now cut 2 foot long lengths for the ends.
Step Six: Using masking tape (since it is easy to rip into the right size and shape) tape the piece of string to the trees so the string come right out the top.
Step Seven: Tie Tree #1's string, one of the 12" strings, and one of the empty short strings together in one knot. The further from the ends the knot is, the closer together the trees will be. Check to make sure it is half the distance you want the other tree to be from it. Then pick up tree #2 and tie it's string to the end of the short one just tied on to #1, plus a new empty string. Keep tying 3 strings together in order until you reach the end, then use the other 12" string to end it with. Always keep the same length of string from the end of the knot on each one so that the trees are evenly spaced.
You can be done here if you like. I then wrote different activities to do each day until Christmas (see Jordan's blog post) like build a snowman, visit the Christmas lights as Temple Square, read Luke 2. You could put a different Christmas scripture for each day to read too.
VARIATION: You could put a decorated Christmas tree on the back, so that each day you have one more decorated Christmas tree. In that case, cut two trees out at the same time back to back so that they will be symmetrical. Same with the stumps. Then decorate with small ribbons and paper punches or glitter glue dots.
Tutorials for both Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf below.
Red Riding Hood: $1.50, 20 minutes.
Wolf: $8, 1.5 hours. (only $2 if you have a nightgown already)
I bought a $1 yard of red fabric from Wal-mart and thought I could just drape it over my head. It looked all wrong so I searched the internet for how to make a cloak. I found cute ideas like this one from Martha Stewart and these too, but I didn't want to sew! I didn't want to spend any time at all! Fortunately, I learned at least one thing from these...It needs to be a semi-circle, not a square. Don't even worry about cutting a hood pattern and sewing!!
Step 1 (cut cloak): Cut a semi-circle
Step 2 (wear cloak):
Hang straight edge over head, tie 1 yard of ribbon around your neck (save .5 yard for later), then pull out volume from the top for a hood. (Your done with the cloak in only 5 mins!)
Step 3 (apron): Put on a t-shirt and skirt and tuck a t-towel into the skirt to look like an apron (see first photo)
Step 4 (belt/corset): Take a piece of black cardstock and cut in the shape shown below, then poke 8 holes (4 on each side) down the center for lacing.
You could use hot glue instead of staples, and it might be more sturdy.
Your done! Just put on some tights and shoes and do your hair however. I used a basket as my purse. You could just wrap all your belongings in another tea-towel so they aren't all visible. Have fun!
Step 1: (Snout)
Get a paper cup (ask for an extra at the coffee shop in the morning) Cut out the bottom and cut up the sides so that one half is about 1/3 (the lower snout) of the cup and the other is about 2/3 (the upper snout) of the cup. Cut a little more of an angle pointing to the bottom so its more triangular. (see second photo below)
Cut jagged edges on the sides of both the upper and lower snout. Then on the larger (upper) snout tape a ball of black tape around the end for the nose
Tape the inside of the mouth black, then tape the two pieces together at the top (jaw). (Now they are connected, but flexy so that you can bite on the lower jaw with your teeth to make it open and shut. Bend the teeth toward the inside of the mouth
Step 4: Using the cup parts, trace a pattern on the back of the fur and cut the fur out using an exacto knife (if you use scissors the fur will look funny and you'll have fur everywhere.) The just staple the fur on top and bottom of the snout. Strap a rubber band around the jaw so you can put it around the head, and your done!
Tissue flowers on twigs to make cherry blossoms is not a new craft, but I adapted the flower making technique, and I really like the look of the result. Many of my visitors actually thought they were real at first! I love these for spring when I have no trees to pull from (and lets face it, I wouldn't want to hurt my cherry tree's if I did have some).
What you'll need:
1. Fold a sheet of light pink into many layers so you can cut out many flowers at the same time using a flower outline template. Repeat with white in the same size. For the dark pink, you can just cut out a smallish wonky circle. I cut out smaller flowers at first but soon realized the shape doesn't matter so much, the dark pink will just be poking out in little punches.
2. Layer the flowers with white on bottom, then light pink, then dark. The petals in the white flower should peek out between the petals in the pink flower.
3. Form the flower by pulling the inside into a point
4. Staple about half way up, just enough for the dark pink to peek out, but not be covered up completely. Floral wire would work wonderfully, but I never seem to have that on hand, and stapling is so quick. :)
5. Flare out the flower and shape it up a bit, it really doesn't have to be too symetrical/perfect to look good so don't be a perfectionist.
6. Hot glue them onto some branches, and you're done!
I used marbles to balance my branches and hold them in place, but I think it would look much better without, or in a non-transparent vase. I'm thinking I'll move them to my non working fireplace soon actually.
Storage tip: If you want to keep these to use next year, but don't want to store big awkward (live) items, just pull off the blossoms, put them in a tiny box, and glue them on to new branches next year.
Great News! I found my camera cord! Which means I can start posting tutorials, (my original main purpose for this blog). Look for a new tutorial at least once per week.
First, the Bird Bath Tutorial. Wonderful decoration for Spring or Easter. I love spring, and I love the little tiny bird baths I'm seeing in the decorating stores, but at a $60 price tag? Not so much. This one was made with a $2 price tag (since I had the glue and spray paint already).
Step 1: Find yourself a wide shallow bowl with a flat(ish) rim/lip, a vase with the desired shape (I like it bigger on bottom), and a little birdy. I had better luck at the thrift store for the dishes, but birds abound in my local dollar store.
Step 2: Glue vase and bowl together with a glue gun centering the vase on the bottom of the bowl. High temp is better. If you want the bird to look like part of the bath design, glue it on now before painting. If you want the bird to look as if he's landed there wait until after step 3.
Step 3: Spray paint. I used a satin finish in the color Almond. When spraying always stay at least a foot away and do many light coats. Don't be tempted to get in close and coat it thick, you'll only ruin it with drips (believe me it just takes more time to fix if it can be fixed at all at that point) Stay back, circle around it and spray light.
Step 4: After it's completely dry glue on your bird. If the lip of the bowl slants downward make sure you have a bit of a clump for the bird to sit upright on, otherwise it doesn't look natural if he's slanting inward.
Done! So easy, so instantly gratifying. I love spray paint and hot glue!
I set mine out on the entrance console table to collect my keys, pocket change, or ipod. Corralling the clutter is a simple way to make life easier and more beautiful, and I always know where to find the essentials (wallet/keys) when I have a collection bowl near the door. What do you use to stash your pockets full of stuff when you walk in the door?
Upcoming spring related tutorials: Beautiful paper flowers for centerpieces (or whatever) and my realistic version of the tissue cherry blossoms
This post is part of the link party on Tea Rose Home!
The Relief Society is having it's 168th birthday this March, and I volunteered myself to do the centerpieces for our church celebration. The two challenges are: very tiny budget (we're talkin' teeny tiny) and long rectangular tables rather than round. Surfing for inspiration:
Paper bag flowers and mini daisies via The Hostess With The Mostest; Jello Daisies from Martha via The Mom Buzz; Painted tin cans via Country Living; paper roses from crafter shock vie the kitchn; fabric flowers via Poppy and Leo by Emerson Made