The Countdown Has Begun

It’s just around the corner you know . . .

And I don’t mean the first day of school.

I mean Christmas!!!!

Ok, ok! Stop pelting me with your assorted slippers, sandals, and salad vegetables! 😉

Seriously though, Kids, it’s never too early to think about Christmas – especially if you’d like to make gifts, ornaments, or design your own Christmas cards! Those things take time and you don’t need me to tell you it’s more fun to do them at your leisure than last minute.

(I do need to tell myself, however. In fact, I need reminding every year!)


For me, getting a little jump-start on the holidays brings an added incentive. You see, thinking of Christmas during the steamy days of summer makes me feel cooler!

So, here’s Exhibit 1, my first ornament of the 2012 holiday season.

The components are Czech glass seed beads, glass bugle beads, and Swarovski Crystals. Definitely more sparkly in person . . . I think it will just twinkle on the Christmas tree. 😀

Also perfect to tie on a package, a box of chocolates, or even a bottle of spirits! It was fun to make… quick and easy, too!

(You can find the pattern by clicking here!)

Hugs,

crystal-1b3-copy-flatfullwidth

When you care enough . . .

snowsceneYou’ve probably heard the Hallmark Cards slogan that says “When you care enough to send the very best…” I have a feeling that making the card yourself would probably mean the most, though. 😉

I haven’t made many cards but I love to receive a handmade card and occasionally I have fun playing with pretty paper, rubber stamps, punched-out shapes, and ribbons. It takes me back to the time when, as a child, I’d watch Captain Kangaroo on TV. Does anyone know who the heck I’m talking about? LOL

That really was a long time ago, but the Captain used to pull out the colored paper, paste, and blunt edged scissors for a segment of the show he called “playtime”, where he’d demonstrate how to make something fun.

the_play_date_cafe_challenge__7

Lately, I’ve been entering my jewelry in The Play Date Cafe’s weekly Creativity Challenges, but since most of the others enter cards, I thought I’d try one this time.

Here’s my entry for Challenge #7 with the colors green, white, and red:

Brr card400

I love snowmen and when I saw that I had some appropriate buttons in my button box, I was off and running. The little guy needed a scarf to snuggle around his neck. I decided to use embroidery floss to crochet one. The hat is black felt and the trees were made with a Martha Stewart paper punch. With all that personality, I just knew he must have a heart. Luckily, I had a heart-shaped sequin for the finishing touch!

‘Til next time,

crystal-1b3-copy-flatfullwidth

12 Ornaments of Christmas – Pt. 4

toys2

Is it Friday, already? Wow, that was fast! OK then, for this week’s Friday Favorites, we have the 4th ornament in the series: “12 Ornaments of Christmas”. 😀

As you all know, there are lots of wonderful ideas for handmade ornaments out there. Some of them are incredibly detailed and take hours to make. I love that kind, and I’ve made a bunch of beautiful but labor-intensive ornaments over the years.

Sometimes though (especially if you want to make several new ornaments this season) it’s “Cute, Quick, and Easy” that you need! My goal for this series is to give you some choices that you can squeeze into your busy schedule while you’re doing all the things you usually do!

“Ribbon Candy”

RibbonCandy

When I was a little kid, I was fascinated with ribbon candy! It was so pretty and colorful and the peppermint flavor was my favorite. This ornament takes me right back to the time when I was a wide-eyed child, mesmerized with the colorful lights, the smells, the flavors, and the wonder of Christmas.

With a few simple steps, you can make your own “Ribbon Candy” ornament. Whether you put it on the tree or dangle a few of them in different colors, and at different lengths, from the ceiling or a light fixture, I bet you’ll receive compliments!

christmastreeborder1

Ribbon Candy Ornament

Supplies for one ornament:

Wired Ribbon with Stripes, 1-1/2” wide, 1 yard
Ten Faux Pearls (8mm)
Quilting thread
Tacky gel glue or “Fray Check”
Sharp Needle that will easily pass through the hole in the pearl

Directions:

Quick Note: I found it helpful to pre-shape the ribbon ahead of time in order to estimate where the soft folds would fall on the piece of candy. In that way, I had a pretty good sense of how the finished piece would shape-up before I began to actually “sew” the folds in place.

1. Using a long piece of doubled knotted thread and the photo as a guide (Click on it for a closer look.), stitch thru the center of one end of the ribbon candy and then string the first pearl. (The pearls help to keep the folds of the candy slightly separate.)

2. Next, take a stitch through the center of the first rounded loop of the candy and then thread another pearl.

3. Continue in this manner until you have 5 loops on each side and have used all ten pearls. Your thread should now be coming out of the other end of the candy. Cut away any excess ribbon at this point. This will be the top of the ornament.

4. Pull the thread with a light tension and take a couple of tiny stitches to secure, but don’t cut the thread just yet.

5. Separate the two pieces of thread and let them untwist. Once the ends have untwisted fully, tie a knot at the top – this is now your hanging loop.

6. Use a toothpick (or a pin) to apply a very thin line of glue to the very edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying.

7. Finished! Isn’t it cute?!

christmastreeborder1

Maybe you’ll decide to experiment with wider or narrower ribbon, and/or substitute sparkling crystals for the pearls.

Have fun! 🙂

crystal-1b3-copy-flatfullwidth

12 Ornaments of Christmas – Pt. 3

The 3rd ornament in this series is a miniature winter hat! It measures just 2-1/2″ tall – so sweet!

Now please don’t worry if knitting isn’t your thing, because this will probably be the last knitted ornament that I present this year. I wanted to make it now while I still had my yarn and knitting needles handy, but next week I’ll be moving on to another craft. 🙂

Tiny Knit Hat with Tassel

knithat

So here we have another quick and easy design – only basic skills required. The pattern (found here) also includes several variations if you’d like more of a challenge. There’s an adorable Aran knit, for example.

In the interest of speed, I chose this striped style and then decided to add a tassel instead of the standard pom pom – just to shake things up a bit. 😉

A collection of these little hats would be darling on the tree, but they’d also make great package tie-ons or party favors. In the pattern photo, there’s even one “dressing-up” a gift bottle.

But then, you might have a mini bear who’d be delighted to keep snuggly warm this winter in a slightly over–sized hat!

Bear1a

Bear2aa

crystal-1b3-copy-flatfullwidth