Monday, December 28, 2015

Pre-Christmas Paint Party With the Girls

When we did our first painting in October we liked so much we decided to give it another try. Looking around the room there were many wonderful paintings hanging, and on one specific wall were the paintings that were going to be offered for the next couple of months.  We all liked this one. Here are the stages of my painting.

Starting at the top with the teal color, stroking it downward.

Adding a little white to the brush and blending it downward to almost all white.  Then to add the branches.

 Branches were added in brown and then added a little black to fatten them up.

And I missed a picture of the step to add the needles - they were added to the branches in the teal color again with a little black and then we added white to highlight them.  

Pine cones were painted with a mixture of black and brown in a "pizza slice" shape.  Then we went back and added some white highlights on the tips of the pine cone petals.

And then, of course, the snow was added to the branches, the pine cones and softly falling dotted snowflakes.

And here are the artists with their finished product. 

We were all pleased with the outcome and plan to do another painting soon.  It was a fun evening that started with dinner together and time catching up before the extra-busyness of the holidays!

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Christmas Elf and Squid - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

These woven paper stars were the "Christmas Elf's" gift to the staff at our school this year.

Little white clothespin wishing PEACE and JOY!

Hung from gold, silver, and red cord, and woven in red, green, blue and dark pink scrapbook paper. (Directions here.)

To be hung from a branch with the clothespin.

Tucked into their mailboxes the last day of school before break.  And speaking of the last day of school - it was one of those wacky days - wear what you want, and this student certainly did coming to school with his "squid" headdress!  He even signed in late as "The Squid"!

Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day buffet at behind me now, so I will get to relax the rest of the evening and contemplate how good it was to be with family celebrating.  Hopefully you, dear readers, will get the chance to do the same.  

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Is There a Christmas Connection?

The prompt for Our Beautiful World this week is the word CONNECTION.  How timely that I had just finished working on this project for our school office.  It's something I saw on either Facebook or Pinterest and with the right tools, pretty easy to do.  Here is the link to the creator's website Stubbornly Crafty.

All you really need is cardstock and jute twine.  I used silver cardstock for the light sockets on mine, but you could use black or dark green, or really any color that you would like your sockets to be.  They are cut into strips measuring 1 1/4 x 4" and then scored every 1/2 inch.  The third and 6th segment are punched. 
And then use a good adhesive (I use redline tape) to attach both ends together so it looks like a paper bolt kind of.

Then cut various shades of cardstock into strips measuring 1 x 8.5".  Gently fold each piece in half - don't make a hard crease if you want the bottom to look like a real light.  Hold the tops together and punch a hole in both at the same time so they line up.  Then just hold at the punched end and a gently press the creased end into the palm of your hand to give the paper a "bulb" shape.

Then you need to CONNECT them with the jute or I suppose you could use ribbon if you wanted.  It wasn't necessary for me to make any knots to keep them in place because of the size of the punch that I used, but if your punch is bigger or you use ribbon instead of jute you might need to secure them in place. 

This is the view from my desk with my IKEA felt tree and you don't see all my holiday-related solar dancers on the counter.

And one more project that I'm working on (because who doesn't need just one more project to work on before Christmas?) are these "chair socks".  I'm crocheting them and I've found that I can even do that when I putting in my time on my stationary bike in the morning.  (That is providing I get to do the bike in the morning as the mornings this week have been pretty full of other things to get done before work.)  I only need to do, well, I'll do what I can do before Christmas Eve.  But, I have to say that they are not hard to do and they do make such a difference with the chairs on the wood floor.  We had those stick-on felt pads on the bottoms of each leg, but they are constantly slipping off and guests would even find them stuck to the bottom of their shoes when they got home!  I picked out yarn in various shades of brown, but I've seen them made in a multitude of colors - user's preference.  And I've been using my Michael's 40 or 50% off coupons to buy the yarn. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Decorations - Our Beautiful World

Last weekend HWNSNBP brought down the tree, brought in the rocks for the "tree skirt", and we had our annual frustration with the lights, but the tree was set up by late Sunday afternoon.  I prefer to decorate the tree in the daylight hours and working all day and not getting home until just before dusk meant that the actual "trimming" of the tree was done today.  

Can you see the rocks around the base?  HWNSNBP brings them in by the bucket, washes them off in the downstairs shower, and when dry, places them around the tree stand.

We have lots of ornaments accumulated over the years.  And a lot of them are handmade.  I thought I'd show a few handmade ones.

HWNSNBP and I started making tree ornaments together before we got married.  Back then they were the kits you picked up that consisted of a ball or other shape, beads and/or pearls, some trims, and tiny straight pins.  There are a pair of these boots with our initials on them and a dozen or more other various ornaments of this type.  Not all of them go on the tree these days, but when they do, they're usually the ones that get put "into" the center of the tree to be illuminated by the lights.

I moved on to painted ornaments.  This egg Santa was one of the first I tried my hand at.  

And then there were some sewn ones. 

These little felt bears were fun.  We have a set for the family.  The blue-vested one is my son's and the one dressed in lace my daughter's. 

These trains I made from two different types of clothes pins.  HWNSNBP would cut the wood for me and I did the assembly and painting.  We used to go on a Santa Train Ride with the neighborhood families when the kids were little and I had made these for all the families that year.

And with practice over the years my painting got a little more polished.  I adapted a nativity set pattern to create this holy family ornament. 

And found a pattern for this heart-shaped one. 

In 2001, after 9/11 I took part in the "Angel Project".  A craft magazine (which I've forgotten the name of) organized a collection of angel-themed ornaments to be distributed to the families of those lost that day and to the many first-responders.  This ornament was adapted from a decoration designed by my good friend (and painting teacher) Linda K.  I put together kits and had several gatherings of friends and families to make lots of these.  One friend had me come to her classroom to help her students make them, and another friend got her company to pay the postage on the box of finished ornaments that were shipped out.

I happened to be doing a long-term subbing assignment right around the holidays that year in a Kindergarten class and this is the ornament that I did with them to commemorate that year.

A couple more painted ones using various wooden pieces and parts. 

This one uses those wooden tongue-depressors and popsicle sticks.

I added the face and hat to these glittered tree light ornaments.

And last year, these were the bottlecap snowmen that I put together for the staff at work.

There are so many memories on the tree - some store bought and some handmade and each time I put an ornament on the tree those memories become so very real.

I'm sharing my decorations at Our Beautiful World this week.  I can't wait to see what has been shared from around the world.  Won't you come along and have a look too?  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Leftovers - Jingle Belles Style

The Jingle Belle challenge for the last two weeks has been to use your scraps or leftovers.  Well, heaven knows I have plenty of those!  My only problem was finding the opportunity to get up into the stamp cave and get cooking.  So last night, I vowed to get in there and not come out until I had done something productive.  

I was tempted to straighten up first, but that would be like having dessert before dinner right?  So I grabbed my scrap tray and scooped out some possibilities.  Their were no set recipes to follow, just a bit of a hash and here are the results. 

This started with the card background having already been stamped with the snowflakes and embossed.  It was originally discarded because I had taken some glitter paint and added some dots here and there and subsequently decided I didn't like them.  Then I found that little owl already colored, his hat matching the color of the background.  Yea, he would look good floating around with those snowflakes.  There was a pile of the glitter stars on my work table from a previous project that I have been using, and I decided to use them to add to the sparkles in the background.  I took another scrap of glitter paper and die cut the sentiment.

In the tray I found both the wreath and the cardinal on the card below only needed to be cut out.  So I did and then grabbed a neutral card base.  That looked a little too plain for me so I fished around in my washy tapes and found this one with the gold hearts on it to go with the gold berries on the wreath.  It begged for something in the opposite corner so I used some scrap gold foil paper to die cut Merry Christmas.  Pretty pleased with this one too!

This last one was kind of fun using scraps of recycled things.  The tree was originally on a gift bag, the snowpeople were cut from some wrapping paper, the silver glitter jingle bell garland was just sitting in the tray, waiting to be used, and the pompom garland actually came to me on a package from my closest Jingle Belle friend last year.  I'm loving how these colors came together.

And you know what?  They really didn't take that long to put together.  I bet I could probably get a lot more cards out of that scrap tray.  (And I just might have too!)

Won't you join me and click here to see what other concoctions the Jingle Belles have cooked up!