One of the best parts about living in New York City during the holiday season are the sidewalk Christmas tree vendors. Every few blocks, you walk through a tunnel of yummy pine air, over a temporary, trampled carpet of green needles. And you see people walking home with a tree slung over their shoulder, just ripe for the decorating.
To give the tree it's best chance at a lasting through the month, the vendors will slice off the bottom of the trunk (kind of like cutting your roses before putting them in water). So the sidewalks are often littered with small tree stumps that are just tossed out with the trash. Tree trash is a crafter's treasure.
To make these lovely, glossy candle stands, I primed then spray painted pieces of tree trunk with bright spray paint, and then topped it off with a gloss varnish. (Here are the colors I used: Ketchup and Frozen Strawberry by Montana Gold, and Prussian Blue by Liquitex) Use these as place cards, food markers, candle stands, dessert stands...you name it!
Well, dear readers, this craft marks the last in my 10 day series of projects leading up to Christmas. I hope you were able to keep yourselves (and your kids) busy with creative pursuits over the last ten days. And if not, I hope you will pin them for next year!
'Twas almost the night before Christmas and...you have to stuff some stockings, mass produce crafty gifts for your book club, or keep your kids busy and away from the television. Here are 3 fun crafted gifts that satisfy all of the above.
I call these gifts "Half Craft" because they are just dolled-up basics. A little paint, a little bling, and they feel special and unique! Here's how they started...
And here's what I did...
Necklace: I painted 1 whole bead (beads from Oriental Trading) in pink nail polish, and 2 half beads to match. I let them dry, then twisted a very thin gold wire around the center one. I strung them on simple white cord and there you go! A pop of color for a dreary day (and a fun, homemade gift).
Paperclip tree: Ok, I had to buy this little paperclip tree from Muji when I saw it. It seemed like it had so much potential! Mostly I was thinking that it would hold my daughter's eventual colorful hair clips. Here, I wrapped it in yarn and then unfolded a gold paperclip and reimagined it into a star. Cue the awww......
Yoyo: So I'm sure you don't have one of these raw wood yoyos hanging around (no pun intended), but you can paint one that you do have and then glue on some sequins to bling it up. I added little dots of glitter glue in the center of each sequin to fill the hole. And to take it to the next level, I replaced the string with pink yarn to match.
Needing something to keep the kids entertained during the start of winter break.
Here's a craft that satisfies all three of those needs. You can use it as gift wrap, as an actual gift, or as a distraction from the fact that it's only 3 days until Christmas and your kids are bouncing off the walls!
Here's how you do it...
What you'll need:
Fine tip Sharpie
Print out a cross stitch pattern to the size that you want it (leave a few inches on each side of the image for a border on your tote). I used a snowflake from Made to Treasure.
Cut out the cross stitch grid pattern and tape it to your tote.
With a fine-tip Sharpie, poke through the paper and make a dot onto the tote. Keep going until you've completed the whole grid. Don't forget to make a dot around the outside border of the grid.
Following your pattern, use paint pens to draw x's in the shape of your pattern. Use colors that are contrasting enough that you can really see the design clearly.
Here are a few pics of the technique in progress...
I bought these cork coasters from Muji the other day, and I felt immediately inspired! Ornaments, gift tags, pictures frames...but, with Christmas crafts being my main focus here, I stuck with the ornament theme. The options are literally endless, but I wanted to use the cork as the material calls for...to be poked.
So first I did this really easy one with colored brads from Oriental Trading. (I'm obsessed with colored brads, but I rarely actually use them to fasten two things together.) So simple!
And the stitched snowflake one took a bit more time, but I printed out a line drawing of a snowflake and chose points to stitch. I then marked up the coaster with a pen where I would insert the needle and went to town. More detail to come (including a pattern)...I promise!
Mention the word garland and I'm all ears. Bunting has the same effect. I even have a whole pin board dedicated to my love of the swag. Honestly, I think I could start a blog solely on the topic of DIY garlands. Hmmm...there's an idea in there somewhere.
Anyway, back to Christmas crafts. I really wanted to make some dipped wooden beads (I got these from Oriental Trading...just $6.25 for 24 beads!) and so I decided to combine them with my garland obsession.
First I started by dipping them horizontally, and then thought it would be fun to turn the bead and dip them the other way. Below are photos of how I dried them. The green grass thingy is a bottle rack by Boon from when my kids were babes, and then I needed more space so I grabbed this foam pumpkin and used it as a pin cushion. I used watered down acrylic paint, and they dried pretty quickly. (I'd say let them sit for 2 hours to be safe.
I doubled threaded them onto silver string...I think i want to try a more vibrant cord, but mixed with a tree of bright ornaments, it will look pretty rad. Or framing a mirror. Or wrapping around the walls of a kid's room. Endless possibilities!
I love these beads so much. I love them just sitting on a plate on my mantle. Maybe there's a necklace in my future.
I don't know what it is, but everytime I see a glass cloche in a magazine or blog, I'm instantly attracted. I've yet to own one in my life, so I decided to make this festive little one out of a seltzer bottle. (Reminds me of this lovely bottle, no?)
Have you finished all of your holiday wrapping? I'm going to venture to say the answer is NO. I am all about simple wrapping paper (yes, butcher paper is my fave) with fun tags and decorations. But with the volume of gifts that we wrap this time of year, they can't require too much labor.
When I started making this tag, I had the ornaments hanging from a glued-on stick. That felt too fragile. Then I created a tree branch out of yarn. That felt too laborious. So I tried it with this very simple design, using the circle stickers as ornaments to house each letter of the recipient's name. Honestly, it's really easy, fast, and you can let your kids help!
Cut tag to fit the recipient's name. The tag should be about 2" wide and for a 5 letter name, a 4"-long tag is the perfect size. Add a little length for every additional letter. (For names like Charlotte, Henrietta, and Jonathan, consider using just initials!)
Adhere one sticker to the far left in one color, then the correct number of stickers for each letter in the name (or initials) to the right of that in a different color.
Adhere the words "to" or "for" in the single colored sticker and the letters of the name in the following circles.
Use silver paint marker to draw a little square on the top of each circle. The draw a line up from that square off the top edge.
Punch a hole at the far left and thread string through.
Maybe this trend is so 2012 (don't say 2011, please) but I can't get past my love of feathers. I love them in decor, I love them in kids' craft, and, really...who can resist a boa? There's no reason in the world that feathers and Christmas can't hang out together. Which is why I crafted these 3 different DIY feather ornaments. Here's how you make 'em...
SUPER-EASY PAINTED FEATHER ORNAMENT
What you'll need:
Paint stripes, dots, or zig-zags on your feather in various colors of craft paint. Let dry.
Embellish design with glitter glue.
Tie string to the feather's needle and hang from the tree.
EASY PASTA FEATHERS
What you'll need:
Cut a leaf shape, about 6" by 2" (at the widest point).
Paint 7 to 10 pieces of linguini to match your paper. Let them dry.
Glue one long piece down the center to make the spine.
Glue short pieces from the spine outward, breaking them at the ends.
Leave some spaces between noodles to cut out little slits or sections.
Tie string to the spine and hang from your tree!
WASHI TAPE FEATHER ORNAMENT
What you'll need:
Pencil and paper
3-5 rolls of washi tape; various patterns of the same color
Draw a 6" line on paper and lay transparency on top of it. You might want to tape it down to keep it in place.
Adhere 3" pieces of washi tape to cutting mat and with a straight edge, slide the tape with X-acto knife into very thin strips, about 1/16" to 1/8" thick.
Begin laying tape from center line outward, tearing the middle pieces to about 1" long. (You can lay a photo of a feather underneath the transparency as a guide.)
Work up and down the spine of the feather until it's full.
When finished with step 4, adhere a 1/8" by 6" strip of colored tape on top of the drawn line to create the spine.
Cut out the feather shape from the transparency and tape a string to the center spine end to hang.
I'm a big fan of wine corks as a crafting supply. (This in no way reflects how much wine I drink. It doesn't. Really. Ok maybe a little.) But I've never actually made anything with a champagne cork. (Bubbly gives me the hiccups.) After making this little elf, my mind is racing the the characters that a champagne cork can become. Bring on the Veuve!
What you'll need:
Black straight pins
Hat: Roll a small piece of felt into a tall cone shape and seal along the seam with tacky glue. Trim the bottom edge so it's straight. Add a 1/4" band from contrasting felt and glue it around the bottom edge. (I cut it with scallop shears, but you can use regular scissors.) Glue hat to the top of the cork.
Eyes: Push 2 black ball pins into the face about 1/2" apart.
Scarf: Cut a 6"-by-1/2" piece of felt and fringe the two ends. Tie it around the "neck" of the cork. Glue down if necessary.
Arms: Push 2 toothpicks into either side of the cork's body and trim down to about an inch. Glue a small bead to the end of each as a hand.
Legs: Trim skewers to 3". Wrap washi tape around them and press the points into the bottom of the cork. Glue beads on as feet.
Put your elf on your windowsill, your mantle, or a bookcase. Or fine, you can also put your elf on the shelf.