Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cut, Paste and Color A Paper Angel Tree Topper

      I designed this brightly colored angel for one of my small trees last year. She is very light weight and made from card stock, scrapbook papers and markers. Simply download and print the pattern below. Cut and trace around the features that you would like in fancy papers. Then embellish the features with permanent markers, glitter and small decorative snowflakes. I colored both sides of this angel and included the "Rejoice" text on the front side of her gown.
      Glue both the front and back sides together along the edges only. Let the tree topper dry overnight before stapling in the paper toilet tube. Make sure you staple together one end of it before inserting the tube between your layers of card stock. (see picture below.) The tube will be the place to fit a narrow branch at the top of your Christmas tree. The tube helps prevent tearing and keeps the angel from losing her shape over time.
      You can decorate an entire tree with brightly colored papers ornaments and top it off with this angel. A tree topper such as this one will compliment a variety of styles and colors. Choose coordinating papers and or colors to achieve your own unique tastes. I will include more paper Christmas ornaments on this blog that you can cut, color and paste to go along with my angel in the near future.

Close up details of my finished paper angel tree topper.
I stapled together the ends of one half of a paper toilet roll and then inserted it between my two colored angels. Then I positioned it firmly over the top branch of a small tree.
Paper angel tree topper pattern. Enlarge the image to fit an 81/2 x 11 sized paper before printing.
More Paper Tree Toppers:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Craft a Snow Baby From Cotton Batting

Close up of my first snowbaby.
     This cotton spun snow baby is made by layering cotton batting and white glue on top of a chenille stem figure wrapped with masking tape. The process, although contemporary, is very similar to those used by German and American cottage industries before and during the First and Second World Wars. If you should choose to make one for yourself, be patient and and allow for plenty of drying time between applications.

Supply List:
  • white cotton balls
  • translucent white glitter
  • white school glue
  • white tacky glue
  • chenille stems
  • newsprint
  • masking tape
  • a small china or clay head of a child
  • acrylic paints (black, brown, blue, red, flesh tone, white)
  • flesh tone oven bake clay (if you are making your own head)
  • fur and/or hair trims
  • wire for hanger
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1.  Twist and bend a small figure from chenille stems, crushed newsprint and masking tape.
  2. Apply white school glue to this figure and wrap a first layer of cotton batting around the limbs. Let dry.
  3. Crush and mask a snowball for your figure to sit upon.
  4. Cover the snowball with one layer of cotton batting and white glue. Let dry.
  5. Now glue the figure and snowball together with white tacky glue.
  6. Glue a hook firmly to the back of your figure at this point so that it may be covered with several layers of cotton batting.
  7. Use tacky glue to adhere either a china, composite, or clay mask or head to the body. Let this dry over night. You can see by the pictures below that I twisting wire around my clay mask in order to hold the face in position while it dried over night.
  8. Now you can layer rolled cotton into place with glue in order to "fill out" the body of your snowbaby. I chose to give my snowbaby a plump belly and bottom. 
  9. Next, add with glue a soft shaped hood around the mask.
  10. Let the figure dry overnight again.
  11. On the third day I am ready to add my last cotton batting layer. Let this layer dry completely.
  12. Add a dusting of translucent white glitter to the snowy areas. My snowbaby is holding two snowballs in her hands. I also glued glitter onto these.
  13. Paint the snow baby's facial features and glue on bits of hair and fur.
  14. I twisted a layer of cotton to a hook for hanging my snow baby as well.
Step-by-Step photo process of making a cotton batting snow baby.

Different views of my cotton batting snow baby figure.

More About Snow Babies:

Sew Primitive Sock Snowmen Ornaments

      As my children grew, I seemed to loose many matches of socks! But being a thrifty parent, I saved the random selection of socks in a basket just encase I ever managed to find a matching pair. 
      After several years of this ongoing frustration, I decided to use up the matchless pairs in a craft, of course, and now you see the result of my endeavors pictured on the right.

Supply List:
  • white baby socks
  • old white button
  • plaid felt (brown tones)
  • small wire stem with leaves
  • yellow wool
  • hook for hanging
  • batting
  • needle and tan or white thread
  • black embroidery thread
Tea Bath Supply List:
  • black tea
  • small pot of water
  • stove top
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Bring a few cups of water to a boil on the stove top; then turn off the heat.
  2. Add the black tea bag to the water and let the tea bath steep for ten minutes or more just to ensure that you stain will be dark. Don't remove the tea bag.
  3. Now soak the white baby socks in the tea bath for 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Remove the socks and set them outside on a glass surface to dry. Make sure that you don't leave these to dry on top of something that you care not to stain! Do not dry the socks in a drying machine. The tea dye will leave a residue that may stain other clothes. Do not rinse out the socks either, this will remove some of the tea stain.
  5. Now stuff the socks with a poly-fill batting. 
  6. Wrap a small strand of embroidery around the middle of each sock to create a segmented looking snowman.
  7. Sew over this knotted floss, a small clipping of wool for the snowman's scarf.
  8. Twist the wire stem with leaves into a wreath shape and tack this element onto the front of the snowman's belly with thread so that he looks as if he is holding the miniature wreath.
  9. Sew on his button nose and add two little black "cross stitch" eyes.
  10. Cut from the plaid felt two triangle shapes and sew these right sides together leaving the shortest end of the triangle open to fit on top of your snowman's head.
  11. Turn the little hat right sides out and stitch the pointed hat to the top of the snowman's head.
  12. Push the wire hook through the back side of the knit material to hang up your primitive snowman. 
  13. Not only does he look cute, he smells good too!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Snip, Stitch and Tuck Snowmen From Notions

What a cute way to recycle old odds and ends from your sewing box!
       Some ornaments are "sew" easy they hardly take much consideration at all to assemble. Make these fun little fellows with your children on a lazy Sunday afternoon. All you need is a treasure trove of old sewing notions and an nice skein or two of white wool yarn.

Supply List:
  • white wool yarn
  • thimbles and a flexible measuring tape
  • pins and needles
  • buttons and old hooks
  • old wooden spools
  • card stock
  • hot glue gun and glue
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Wrap wool yarn around a bit of card stock over and over until the wool forms round balls. 
  2. Attach and stack these yarn balls to each other with a long threaded needle using a similar color to the white wool.
  3. Hot glue an old wooden spool or a old tin thimble to the top of the snowman's head to serve as a "hat"
  4. Sew onto the snowman's face tiny odd notions: buttons for eyes, old hooks for noses, flexible measuring tape for scarfs etc...
  5. Weave a thin wire hook into their backs for hanging.
More Ornaments Made From Recycled Wooden Spools:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Craft Easy Nativity Star Ornaments

This Nativity ornament is so easy to make but yet it looks as though took a long time to craft!
      I just love the way this easy little star ornament turned out. I took very little effort on my part to produce it. Depending upon the stickers you use, this project could look quite different. I purchased these nativity stickers at a Michael's hobby store but you could find similar ones at any number of retailers. This is a perfect Christmas ornament project for those who love to scrapbook.

Supply List:
  • plastic star ornament container
  • white glitter
  • white school glue
  • sand paper
  • wire hanger and one cotton ball
  • silver tinsel
  • Nativity stickers
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  1. Rough-up both the inside and outside of the plastic ornament container with sandpaper. This will help the glitter stick to the plastic surface.
  2. Then layer white glitter on both the outside and inside of the plastic star. You may choose to brush on the glue but I used my finger tips instead. Make sure to give the ornament extra coats of glitter around the edges of the star.
  3. Glue inside the ornaments a small amount of silver tinsel. Many retailers sell this material for mere pennies during the holiday season.
  4. Now add extra glue to the backing of your stickers and firmly press these to both the inside and outside your glittery star!
  5. Cover and wrap a wire hook with cotton batting using white glue. Twist the wire through the plastic hook or hole provided and hang the ornament on your tree.
Left, plastic star ornament containers come with two sides; so you can craft two separate miniature dioramas. Next, rough up the surface of any plastic form in order to give it a surface that will except glue/paint. Center, apply the glitter and glue generously in stages. Far right, glue inside the star ornament a bit of inexpensive tinsel. This ornament has real bling!
More Nativity and Advent Ornament Crafts:

Sew Easy Iron-On Embroidery Rose Heart Ornaments

      You can make these simple layered heart ornaments with scraps of fabric, embroidery threads and embroidery decals. I trimmed my layered fabrics with a blanket or button hole stitch. Normally you would iron on the embroidery patch only and finish off the project. However, I added an additional blanket stitch to the edging of my iron-on embroidery roses because these examples were cut from an old recycled pair of jeans. I then added a ribbon to each one for hanging.

The blanket stitch demonstrated.

Learn More About Embroidery Techniques on Machines:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Assemble a Milkweed Pod Baby Ornment

The milkweed pod babies I craft for fairs and to hang on my own tree.
        These little milkweed pod babies are so easy to make. I love to go for long walks in the Fall with my family. Sometimes we collect a few milkweed pods from a field or roadside for fall crafting. If you should choose to do the same, make sure that you do not take all of the seeds. Spread some of these to the wind so that there will always be milkweed in the area you harvest from. 
      I crafted these little pod babies by first hollowing out the seed pod and setting aside the soft fibers and seeds for the finishing touches. 
      Then I squeezed a generous amount of glue into the pod. Fill this pod with soft cotton and glue into one end of the pod a little clay baby head. These may be easily manufactured from a press mold. You can choose to use flesh colored clay when you make these but I painted my pod baby faces using acrylic paints: pink, flesh tone and brown. Glue the soft fibers with a few seeds back onto the surface of the cotton for a finished look.
      The milkweed filaments from the follicles are hollow and coated with wax, and have good insulation qualities. During World War II, over 5,000 t (5,500 short tons) of milkweed floss were collected in the United States as a substitute for kapok. As of 2007, milkweed is grown commercially as a hypoallergenic filling for pillows A study of the insulative properties of various materials found that milkweed was outperformed by other materials in insulation, loft, and lumpiness, but scored well on various metrics when mixed with down feathers. Read more...