Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas in November #23--Glittered Ornaments

Today's project is Glittered Ornaments. I have tried to do this project on so many difference occasions across the years but I just couldn't tweak it just the right way. I have scoured the Internet to try different methods but just couldn't get the glitter coverage that I was seeking. Either I was using the wrong gluing method/product or the wrong glitter.

So as I was preparing for this series, I decided to try again. I had tried ModPodge, Mop-n-Glo, Future floor polish, PVA, Methyl Cellulose and Elmer's glue. I then came across the product Glitter-It and decided to try it.

Supplies Needed
Glass and/or Plastic Ornaments (I used one of each)
Ultra-Fine Glitter (I used WOW glitter, on sale at Target)
Glitter-It product
Drinking Straw (cut one end on the diagonal)
Dixie Cups to hold your ornaments/excess
Newspaper to plastic to cover your surface
Wax Paper cone (optional)
White Vinegar/Water solution (I used 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water)
Latex craft gloves

Rinse the inside of your ornaments with the vinegar-water solution and let dry. I don't know how necessary this step is but the product instructions said to do it and I wanted this to work.

Cover your surface with newspaper and/or plastic.

Use two Dixie Cups for each ornament.

Remove the spring loaded tops and and set them aside.

Pour the product into one ornament and swirl. Work in a rotating fashion and take your time to get an even coverage. Place upside down in one Dixie Cup.

Take the second ornament and repeat the above process. Take the first ornament off of the "draining" Dixie Cup and place it upright in a second clean Dixie Cup. Take the second ornament and place it upside down in the "draining" Dixie Cup. The instructions say to let each ornament cure for 20-30 seconds before adding glitter. By the time you get a second ornament ready with the product the first ornament will be ready for glitter.

Returning to the first ornament in upright position, put glitter in this ornament. I used the drinking straw because it allows more control but feel free to used a wax paper cone. Keep in mind, depending on how much glitter you use some of it will clump up due to the amount of liquid still in the ornament. Once you get a feel for the correct amount, you won't waste too much glitter. Swirl the glitter in a rotating fashion to cover the ornament. It is easy to add glitter to bald areas by using the straw to place glitter directly where you need it.

Place this ornament upside down in a third Dixie Cup. This will be your "glittering" cup. Return to the second ornament and place it upright in the second Dixie Cup. Return any liquid product in the "draining" cup to the product squeeze bottle.

Take the first ornament from the "glitter" cup and place it upright in the fourth Dixie Cup. Take the second ornament and place it upright on the "glitter" cup. Put glitter in the second ornament and rotate until satisfied. Turn this ornament upside down so the excess glitter drains into the "glitter" cup. Once the excess is removed, place it upright in the second Dixie Cup that should be clean.

When you are finished with one set, you should have the "draining" cup, the "glitter" cup, a dry cup with the upright ornament one, and a dry cup with the  upright ornament two. Toss away any remaining glitter in the "glitter" cup because you probably won't be able to use it again.

Glass Ornament
Plastic Ornament
I found this product to be amazingly useful. I had no problems with the coverage and the adherence of the glitter. I purposely used a low-budget glitter because I didn't want to waste my good glitter should this project not work. This glitter worked fine with this product.

The product worked well on both the glass and plastic ornament, much to my surprise. There were no discernible differences between the two results.

I will next try on some of the off-shaped ornaments that I have to see how these directions work. I have hearts and boxes to try and will report back.

Be care when working with glitter with children because the glass glitter can be very harmful if it gets into cuts, etc. Also, be careful when handling the glass ornaments once the spring loaded tops have been removed. I was very happy to report that the edges has been rounded and were not sharp to the touch. Because of this, I felt comfortable placing a finger over the opening and shaking the glitter. In past years, I have actually cut my fingers on the sharp edges (which was one of the reasons why I switched to plastic ornaments).

I found it very helpful to use latex gloves when working with this glitter project. I seem to have kept the glitter monsters at bay but only time will tell how truly successful I was.

Envelope #327

November 23, 2014

This ends the week's  background series. I was amazed how comforting I found it working with repetitive patterns.  Today's pattern is supposed to represent a spotted koi fish. Spotted koi are highly desired in Japan for pond purposes. The more colors a koi has the more expensive it is. The blue lines represent the water in which the koi is swimming.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Envelope #326

November 22, 2014

Christmas in November #22--Pillow Boxes

I have always been infatuated with these pillow boxes. There are now scoring boards that allow you to make them. The only problem with the scoring boards is that they only allow one width for the pillow box. I wanted to make the boxes myself for the dimensions that I wanted.

I knew that it would be a matter of mathematics and construction but I had some extra time on my hands and felt up to the challenge.

First order of business was deciding what I wanted to include in my pillow box. I decided to make some boxes to hold a gift card. The gift card is 2 1/8 inches by 3 3/4 inches. So I cut out a rectangular piece of card stock 5 1/2 inches (width) by 5 3/4 inches (height).

To calculate the dimensions of the card stock, I doubled the size of the width of the item (2 times 2 1/8 inches). I added 1/2 inch for the flap that gets glued to the inside of the box, I then added 3/4 to allow for the filling of the box. For thicker items, you might want to add a little more to this dimension.

For the height, I took the height of the item (3 1/4 inches) and added an one inch to the top and bottom (added a total of two inches) and then added an extra 1/2 inch for clearance.

Scoring guidelines and
Step Two: Score the card stock. Score along the long edge 1/2 inch from one edge. You can score the card stock again 2 1/2 inches from the same edge if you like. I simply took the opposite edge and folded the paper to the first score line to get an exactly half measurement.

Step Three: Round the edges and miter the flap. Take a rounded object and align one end to the left edge of the card (the left edge is the edge opposite the flap as shown above). Align the top of the curve to the top of card stock. Mark the curve until it meets the center crease. Move the rounded object and align the end so it meets the center crease. Again, align the top edge and mark the curve until it meets the crease on the right. Continue this mark so that you have a right triangle on the top right corner of the card stock.

Rotate your card stock 180 degrees. Repeat the above steps but reverse the order. In other words, work, right right to left. Your first markings should always be opposite of the flap so that the right triangle is the last item to mark.

Turn your card stock over (patterned side up). Repeat the same steps opposite of your cut lines but SCORE rather than mark your lines. The resulting shape should look like an eyelid.

Step Four: Take a half round punch and punch the center panel at both ends.

Step Five: Using your markings as a guide, trim the card stock.

Trimmed and punch
card stock
Step Six: Assemble the box by folding on all score lines. Apply glue to the top side of the flap (the pattern side). It is easier to shape the curves while the box is unglued so pre-form these creases.

With the flap to the right, fold the flap to the inside of the box (starting pattern side down to begin with as shown above). Bring the left panel to meet the edge formed by the folded flap. The glued flap should adhere to the inside of the left panel.

Form one rounded end by folded the punched out center section into the box. Take the remaining flap and fold down. Turn the box over and put your gift card inside. Close the box by folding down the punched center section and fold over the top section.

Traditional Pillow Box
Alternately, you can press both sections of the box simultaneously until the top flap catches the center punched section. This takes a little finesse but I prefer this look because it maximizes the shape of the box.

Alternate closing of pillow box

Notes: There are several YouTube videos which show both the score board and handmade versions of these boxes. The problem I had is that none of them showed how to determine the dimensions of the box.

For the rounding of the box, I used a plate and a jar lid. The best item that worked for me was a set of acrylic French Curves that I had. I was able to mark them with a Sharpie so I could consistently get the same curve within the project and every time I make this size box. In the future, I will probably make a template of the curve out of chip board so I can quickly get the measurement each time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas in November #21--Snowflake Cone

A couple of people mentioned that I wasn't creating anything for Hanukkah, at which point I commented on how the series was called "Christmas" in November. Next year, I will do a Hanukkah series. Anyway, I decided to do something that could be used for both celebrations: a Snowflake Cone or shortened--A Snow Cone.

Using the traditional colors of silver and blue, I decided to cover a Styrofoam cone with ribbon and then overlay it with punched snowflakes.

Materials Needed
Wire Edged Ribbon (I used a 1.5 inch silver satin ribbon)
Styrofoam Cone (I used a 2 7/8 inch by 5 7/8 inch cone)
Card Stock in the colors of your choice (I used five shades of blue vut in 1.5 inch strips)
Snowflake Punch (I used a 1 inch snowflake punch by Marvy)
Color Ball Pins (lots and lots of pins--I used multicolored ball pins)

Punch out your snowflakes. Punch bunches of snowflakes. For this cone, I used over 200 snowflakes.

Take your ribbon and wrap once around the bottom of the cone. Overlap the ends and trim the ribbon to size. Take one pin and snowflake and pin it in place.

First row of ribbon
As many of you already know, it is difficult to get ribbon to not pucker when formed around a rounded surface. To ensure that the ribbon lies down, pinch the top edge of the ribbon to tighten the edge against the cone. Since these areas will be covered with the snowflakes, it won't even show on your final result.

Just a little pinch
Once you have covered your entire cone with ribbon, fill in all of the areas with snowflakes

Finished product

I used a lot of snowflakes on my product (over 200). I didn't realize how many it would take. 

I haven't tried the pinching method without wire edged ribbon but the wire edged ribbon really lies flat when using this method.

Envelope #325

November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas in November #20--Candy Cane Name Card Holder

I am always looking for great and innovative table settings or tablescapes and as you know, I love me some candy. This is an easy place card holder that is simple, fun an doubles as a hostess/host gift for each guest.

Materials Needed
Traditional Candy Canes (3 per card holder)
Ribbon (I used wire edged ribbon)
Card Stock
Die Cut Letters (or sticker letters)
Glue Stick
Cellophane Tape

Invert two candy canes (rounded tops to the bottom) and tape together at a 60 degree angle.

Invert the third candy cane and tape it to the other two at a 90 degree angle so that all three candy canes will balance on their own. Tape in the same place so that all tape overlaps.

Take a length of ribbon (I used 24" of 1 inch ribbon for the smaller version above; I used 36 " of 1.25 inch ribbon for the larger version below)

Tie a knot and a bow around the three candy canes in order to cover the cellophane tape.

Cut a small piece of card stock (I cut a rectangle and folded it in half along the long edge).

Adhere the letters (either die cut or stickers) to the card.

Place the name card between the tops of the joined candy canes. Usually two canes will naturally join together in front or back of the card and the third candy cane will appear on the opposite side of the card. In the example above, you see one candy cane in front and two in back. Below, you see the opposite version.

For the top example, I used Bob's candy canes in a box of 18. They are a very standard shape and although thinner are still easy to work with. As the holiday season continues make sure that the individual canes are not broken in the box.

For the second example, I used artisinal candy canes from Cracker Barrel. The packaging makes them a little more finicky to work with but they are a great visual on the table. Work slower and more deliberately when working with these candy canes because the labels tend to slow things down.

Envelope #324

November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas in November #19--Candy Candle Holder

This is another easy and quick idea. Take your glass pieces and turn them into candle holders. Fill them with candies in the colors of the seasons--in this scheme: red, white and green.

Supplies Needed
Glass containers (I used a bell jar and a candy dish)
Pillar Candles to fit your container
Holiday colored candy (I used large gumballs and jelly beans)

Place the candle in the holder. Use some double stick tape if the bottom is uneven.

Place the candies around the candle until stabilized.

Cover the candle with candy until satisfied.

Bell Jar, Gumballs and
Cherry Pillar Candle
Once you use these candies, I would not plan on eating them. The candle wax and scent of the candles will probably transfer to the candies and make them inedible.

Normally, I would remove the plastic sheath around the candle before placing them into the containers. The plastic sheath shown here was for illustrative purposes only.

I don't know if I would actually light these candles. I don't know if the candy is flammable or not. I would do a supervised test to see if the candies or the sugar within them would turn them flammable. Keep this in mind when choosing your candies to use.

Candy Dish, Jelly Beans and
Pine Pillar Candle

Envelope #323

November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Envelope #322

November 18, 2014

Christmas in November #18--Napkin Ornament

This ornament is a little fussy but very easy. I like the way they look and I will probably do a series of these. I am going to try these using Holiday tissue paper and Mod Podge.

Materials Needed
Paper Mache Ornaments (I bought mine from Michaels)
Holiday themed paper naplins
Scissors (optional)
Glue Stick (or other adhesive)
Brush for gluing (if not using a glue stick) (optional)
Acrylic paint or Gesso (optional)
Brush for paint (optional)
Sealant (optional)

Depending on your napkin or the look you want, you can paint your craft ornament.
Craft Ornament
Separate your napkin layers. You only want to use the top layer of your napkin.
Decorative Napkins
To separate the layers, Spread open your napkin. Wet one corner (I just place the edge against my tongue). Slightly tear the wet edge to gain access to each of the layers. Separate the layers.

Cut/tear strips of the napkin. I cut strips a little wider than each facet of the ornament.

Apply glue to the ornament. The napkin is very fragile so it is best to apply glue to the ornament rather than the napkin. 

Apply the napkin to the glued area and flatten. I worked on each facet before working in an adjoining area. Because the tissue is so thin it is easy to overlay layers without problem.

Cover the entire ornament and let dry. Once dry you can spray a sealant if you like. I left mine unfinished. I might go back and put a coat of matte acrylic sealant. I like the matte finish of these unsealed ornaments.

Iron Craft 2014 Challenge #23--Long John Shorts (Project 46)

For this challenge, we were asked to be inspired by "coziness." With the onset of winter like weather here in the United States, we were tasked to make something that resembles "cozy." I was going to make something else but got behind due to a variety of other commitments.

One of the problems that I have with the winter weather is that I really LIKE it. I usually will be walking around in t-shirts when I can. I also sleep with the windows open because I am always too hot with the steam pipes and radiators blasting full strength in my apartment.

Another problem that I have is that many of the winter clothes are just too warm for me. I usually don't wear long johns because they make me sweat because they are so warm. To combat this problem, I decided to shorten a pair of long johns that I have.

So, I decided to break out my sewing machine and dusted it off. After practicing on scraps to get the tension right, I decided to attempt to shorten these long johns so they would of a similar length to my board shorts (here and here).

One of the parts that I was most anxious about was that I didn't want to have a hem. I decided to cut off the ribbed cuff from the bottom of the long johns and reattach it to the bottom of the shorts. Because this was such as stretchy fabric and since I didn't have a serger, I was a little skeptical. In the end, I just slowed down and practiced my patience.

Once the ribbed cuff was cut off, I realized that I need to tailor the outside inseam to taper it the knee where I would reattach the cuff.
Overall, I am very pleased with the way these turned out. I might have to start using my sewing machine more often. I do know that I need to take the machine to shop and to get a professional cleaning.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Envelope #321

November 17, 2014

Happy Opening Side Show on Broadway

Christmas in November #17--Paper Scrap Ornament

This is an ornament that is a variation of the washi tape project that I shared here. I realized after the fact that everyone isn't as enamored with washi tape as I am (well, you SHOULD be). I decided to create an alternate ornament using paper scraps. This is a great way to use those smaller pieces of paper that you are hoarding (and you KNOW who you are). You can use this as an ornament or a gift tag.

Materials Needed
Scrapbook Paper scraps
Card Stock
Glue Stick (or any adhesive of your choice)
Ruler/Gridded Rule/Paper Cutter
Ornament Template (I used a Christmas Tree from Yahoo! Images)
Hole Punch (optional)
Ribbon/Twine (optional)

Trace your template image on card stock and cut.

Cut strips of paper wider than the widest part of your ornament base. The height of your strips can be anything you wish. They can be all one height or varying heights. I chose to use 1/4" and 1/2" heights in order to add variation.

Glue the strips to your ornament base in any way you choose. I chose all horizontal orientations. In future ornaments, I will do vertical strips, diagonal strips and then a combination of all three.

Once the ornament base is covered, trim off the excess with scissors or a scalpel/Exacto knife.

To han, punch a hole in the top portion of your covered ornament base and thread with ribbon or twine.
Image found here