Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Decorating 3

This is the last of my posts on Halloween decorating. Someone asked me a question about using the Jack-o-Lantern punch and what kind of ideas that I had in using it. There are two punches that were available. The EK Success punch that I gave away to my friend. The second punch is the Martha Stewart punch.
The first idea that I had was a flat card that could be used for any number of occasions. A note in a child's lunch. A note left for a loved one around the house. This can be used alone or with a business sized envelope.  This is simply a layered card with the punch used on the overlay (the orange layer) that was then glued to the black background. You can use this with any standard envelope or get a nice vellum envelope if you want to dress it up.
The second idea was a simple A2 card that used a purchased fold-over card (in orange) that was then punched and lined with while paper. Once again, this card can be used with a standard white envelope or a vellum envelope.

The third idea was a place card for a dinner party. This is a reverse card that uses the smaller card on the outside in black card stock. This allows you to use a silver or gold marker for the written name. If you are unsure of your handwriting you can reverse the colors and send the orange card stock through the printer for the inking of the name of the dinner guests.

The final idea was using the Martha Steward punch which is an anywhere punch that allows you to punch anywhere on the page. I am not a fan of this punch because you can't see where on the page you are punching and it also can only be used on thin card stock (60 lb or less). It does not work well on thicker card stock or patterned card stock. 
Where the punch did work well was on handmade envelopes. Also, who says that you have to use traditional Halloween colors during the season.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Decorating 2

There were to decorations that I wanted to spend a little bit more time discussing on how easy it really is to take something simple and turn them into something special. I usually use these trick when decorating for Christmas but as luck would have it, I saw some really nice Halloween items that could be altered.
The first idea is to take something for one purpose and decorate it for the holidays. I always believe that a gift of decorating should leave them something that they can repurpose or reuse for the future holidays. In this case, I took a clear pumpkin cookie jar and filled it with Halloween items. Here are some glow in the dark stickers and eyeball bouncing balls. To fill up the jar, I flooded the bottom of the jar with flavored tootsie rolls. For Christmas decorating, I will use clear vases or bowls and fill them with decorative glass ornaments.
For the second idea, I found these glitter skulls on sale at Target and decided to give them a hair style by using Tootsie Pops and Blow Pops. These were a big hit and can easily be refilled since the holes are already in place.  This simply was nothing more than pushing the sticks into the Styrofoam heads. Once you start adding weight, you need to evening place the candy so that there aren't heave spots that then make the heads fall down. For Christmas, I usually use the Styrofoam trees, cover them in ribbon and put spiced gum drops (connected with toothpicks) as ornaments.

As you can see, these are really easy decorations but can transform something simple into something more fun. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort but just a little imagination.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Decorating1

For those people who have been reading my blog, you know that I am not a big Halloween person. I don't dress up in costumes, I don't decorate, and I don't hand out candy. I really don't know why I have never been a huge Halloween participant but I'm just not. Now Christmas is a totally different story.

So, image my quandary when the performers in our current show decided to do a Secret Santa for Halloween--they called it getting "Boo"ed. I decided to play along. I decided to Boo my of my friends who works in the wardrobe department--mainly because, she REALLY REALLY gets into Halloween.

After a trip to Target and the Dollar Store, I came up with some decorating ideas for her workstation.
I decided that I didn't want to get too fussy with the decorations and I also needed her to be able to work at her station so I had to keep that in mind.

Step One was to put up some Halloween lights. These were free because I had a Buy One Get One Free coupon at Target. So, I convinced them to let me buy Christmas Lights and then get the Halloween lights for free. There lights are orange and purple on the same bulb. They are pretty bright but it is a full look.

Step Two was to put up a garland that I got from the Dollar Store. Since the process was getting "Boo"ed so I thought This was a cute garland. I could probably have made this myself and will probably do something similar for Christmas. The shapes are easy to cut and gluing or even stapling the figures on ribbon would be very easy.

Step Three was getting stuff. Most of this stuff was found at the dollar store. The drink cozies were each one dollar. The stuffers were $1 each as well. The pencils, stickers, sticky eyeballs were all easy to just display.  There is also a Jack-o-Lantern punch as well.


Tomorrow I will share some decorations that took a little more effort.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another 3D Snowflake

I can't seem to stop myself with these 3D snowflakes. Here is another example of how simple and easy these snowflakes are. This is a larger version which is much easier to make. The overall size is about 7" tall and about 8" wide.

I learned from the mistakes I made in the first version of the 3D snowflake that I make for Just Crafty Enough.

Lesson One--score the snowflake in half on the vertical plane before sewing. This makes it easier to to sewing and to later fold at 90 degree angles to make the ornament appear 3D.

Lesson Two--sandwich the two FOLDED snowflakes together when sewing them. The crease will create a groove that allows you to follow the center of the snowflake arm that you are sewing. This is equivalent to sewing down the center of a text block when you are sewing a pamphlet stitch.

For this snowflake, I decided to use a black thread (previous versions used a brightly colored thread for illustration purposes) and I also decided to leave the middle of the ornament open. In this example, I stitched from the inside of the ornament to the end of the snowflake arm (as previously mentioned) but I tied off a knot on both ends of the bottom arm.  For the top arm, I tied off a knot in the on the bottom of the top arm and then tied a loop to the top arm and tied it off.

The beauty of this example is that the 3D effect creates the star in the center of the snowflake so I didn't want the thread to be visible.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Paper Ornament #5


This week is my final ornament for the Advent Calendar project on Just Crafty Enough. I knew that I wanted to do a paper cutout for my final ornament and I wanted to do something that was easily adjusted for different skill levels.

This is a 3D snowflake ornament. Here is the master image. This is a clip art image so you can copy and use it for your personal use. You can enlarge or shrink the image for the size of ornament that you prefer. Please keep in mind the orientation of this image. The image is only symmetrical on the orientation that you see above. Notice the two vertical  bars in the above image--they must be vertical and not horizontal--for this to work.

Needed Materials

Two snowflakes
Sewing Needle
Thread (preferably clear)
Glue stick (optional)
Beads/crystals--top and bottom holes (optional)
Scissors/cutting utensil
Card stock

There are three variations of this snowflake. These directions will be based on the snowflake above with the floating star on the inside.

Step 1: cut out the interior star from each of the snowflakes. Simply snip the star at each point where it touches the snowflake.
Snowflakes with the center stars cut out.
Notice that one is the corrent orientation
and the other is not.

Step 2: layer the two stars on top of each other. Trim each arm of the star so that it will freely float inside of the snowflake.

Step 3: thread your needle.

Step 4: layer the two snowflakes on top of each other. In the bottom arm of the snowflake, working from the inside of the opening to the point of the arm, start stitching down the middle of the arm until you reach the end. I use three stitches for my sample. If you don't use a bead for the bottom of your ornament, tie a knot at the end of the snowflake.

Notice that there are only three stitches
and the bottom has already been secured with
a knot and a bead.
Step 5: cut off the excess thread and needle.

Step 6: thread your needle at the opposite end of the thread.

Step 7: repeat sewing the opposite arm of the snowflake (the top arm). Pull the thread taut before tying off but not too tight that it pulls the paper out of shape.
Notice that the ornament lies flat.
This is how it will appear in your Advent Calendar bag.

Step 8: form a loop at the top of the ornament and tie off.

Step 9: match the two stars and place glue on one inside surface. Sandwich the two stars on opposite sides of the thread. Be sure that there is clearance between the star and the interior walls of the of the snowflake.

This is the final shape of the ornament before placing it in the Advent calendar bag. It will be placed flat inside of the bag.

Final Assembly
To make the flat ornament into a 3D ornament, simply fold the arms around the thread at 90 degrees to each other. Take your time since it gets a little fussy towards the top of each arm. You might want to get a flat instrument to help you along (bone folder, butter knife, exactly knife, etc.)

Optional Options

You can leave the center open in you want. In the version below, I placed a bead above and below the snowflake and left the center open.  In the other version below, I placed beads above, below and in the center of the ornament. I used beads because that is what I had on hand but crystals could easily be used.

Also, you can use colored papers, glitter papers, and any number of other items to color coordinate these ornaments. These also work on a larger version and as garland.