Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hand-made Holiday Ornaments

Let's hope none of the recipients of these Christmas gifts read this entry... hehehe. For the rest of you, here are the results of my "Advanced How-to Hand-made Ornaments Class." As you can see, you can get pretty elaborate. The pink ornaments (nicknamed "Princess") was made using a faux pearl necklace that had fallen apart. (Invest in a good pair of metal clippers. They're invaluable for crafting.)

The purple and white (for my mother-in-law) was made entirely of recycled materials, many found on Etsy.

The pale blue was made with recycled trim from BethQuinnDesigns. The only new items in each were the pins and the styrafoam. Even the silver beads I pulled off an old necklace. Oh, how smug I can feel today.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

How-to: Hand-made Ornaments

My grandmother, Ladybug, made so many gorgeous hand-made ornaments that we now have two huge boxes labeled "Ladybug's Ornaments" at the house. And it wouldn't be Christmas without those sparkling treasures. Although hers, and now mine, involve both recycled as well as new elements, you can make your own ornaments using almost all recycled materials.

You'll need:
recycled narrow ribbon (several pieces of about three yards)
one round or egg-shaped styrafoam form (you can find these used, or at Michael's)
a box of straight pins
glue gun

Begin with narrow ribbon you have (of course) saved from prior gift-giving. In the photo, you can see the color-coordination--in this case green and yellow--but you can do multi-colored for a more playful look. Other ideas are silver and white, gold and brown, or bright mixtures, like orange and turquoise. And, red is always appropriate for the holidays.

Fiddle around with the ribbons; I like to pin one end of a ribbon, and begin to wind it around the form just to see where it goes. See how it would be if you did one loop, or two or more. Add another color and see how they look together. Each time you made a circle, fasten with a strait pin. This way, you can take it out and start over until it looks right to you. Wrap the ribbon so it overlaps slightly with the loop beside it. Wrap with ribbon unitl the entire globe is covered. Once it is, add whatever decoration you like: sequins, beads, and ric-rack work well. Once it's done, make a ribbon loop and attach to top with a glue gun AND a pin or two.

My other ornaments now involved beading, left-over or recycled trims (find some good ones at Green Trims on Etsy) and the occasioanl glue gun use. Most end up about sixty percent recycled materials. Not too bad, for holiday gift-giving.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Less Waste at the Holidays

Here's an idea for a zero-impact holiday gift: yummy food items in used containers. Sounds great, huh? OK, it sounds like you're giving someone an old can of beans. But, it can be lovely and tasty to give green this season.

First, visit a resale shop, like Good Will, Salvation Army, or locally in the Bay, Urban Ore, or Out of the Closet.

Purchase some great mason jars with lids (it's OK if they are the half-lids; just use a fabric square to cover your goodies). You can also choose used holiday tins, or other creative containers, like muffin tins (great for home-made candies) or bread-loaf pans that you can bake a loaf of gingerbread in.

Then; make something special! Pictured are mom Mom's famous candy nuts:

2 C mixed or single-type pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamias
1/2 C sugar
2 T butter
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
Melt butter in a metal (not iron) pan. Add nuts. Add sugar. Carmelize. Add salt and vanilla, and pour onto a plastic cutting board. Break apart. They'll be very hot!

Add a ribbon or a fabric square to deocrate your gift, and voila! Green giving!

Friday, December 7, 2007

How To make a BOX WREATH -Part 3

A note on this series: I will make a single listing after all posting are completed with all photos.

Part 3: Get out your pins and your glue gun. Clear a large space, and set down your wreath form, surrounded by the large size wrapped boxes.
Angling each box so that one short end touches the table on the outside of the wreath (see photo) attach large boxes all around with long straight pins. Then do the same with the boxes touching the table on the inside of the wreath. Each box corner should touch on the inside round. You should have a base when completed.

Now, begin to layer the presents going largest to smallest. Place each one and then glue it. Make sure the distribution is even. Don't be stingy! (See close up-photo). You want to have quite a build-up of presents. It looks best on present-overload.

You may run out of boxes... make more.
Then once all the boxes are on, add some toys and little festive elements. See the photo for some examples. But, good additions are miniture wooden toys, little gold or silver instruments, tiny wooden alphabet blocks spelling out names or greetings, and jingle bells.

When it is complete, it should look something like this! More pictures and a full blog entry with complete instructions to come.