While the plastic ornaments wouldn't fit on my plant-support form, they fit perfectly on wire hangers. So I scoured my closets for the few wire hangers I owned, and set to work making wreaths using them and my stash of ornaments from the dollar store. The verdict? Great success! I was so happy with how the first one turned out, I got a little obsessed and made two more. As I mentioned before, I followed Eddie Ross's instructions with a few exceptions:
- I didn't hot glue gun the tops to the ornaments (I did do this for my real glass ornaments, but skipped it with the plastic. I have had a couple ornaments come off, but not enough to make me regret this decision).
- Shaping the wire hanger into a circle was simple enough, but untwisting the top of the hanger to get it apart was difficult. Not impossible, but definitely a major pain. If you don't have some heavy duty pliers for leverage and/or hands and forearms of steel, you might want to grab your husband to get the task started. Human hands attempting to undo machine twisting of unflexible wire = difficulty. The hardest part is getting it started, after that it's not a big deal.
- Similarly, re-twisting the top of the hanger together to make a complete circle was not so easy. You'll have a bunch of ornaments flopping around, and you're trying to twist together wire that is really inflexible and hard to work with.
- One thing I noticed after hanging the first finished wreath was that if you leave the top of the wire hanger in its original position (pointed straight up, vertically), your wreath won't lay flat against the wall/window. So I started bending it back, not at a full 45-degree angle, but far enough so that my wreath hung flat against the wall when hung.
While there were a few points of annoyance along the way, I love love love the end results! The final cost of the red and green wreaths amounted to $7 each. You will need approximately 75 small ornaments, so hitting the dollar store is definitely the way to go. I also found that having some smaller ornaments was helpful to "fill in" along the way, so definitely look for a couple of different sizes.
I'm keeping this silver wreath up on the window of my kitchen door for the rest of the "snow" season (more like gray season here in Mississippi, since snow is a rarity here!) so I can enjoy it a little longer. My favorite part of these wreaths is that they are basically double-sided (see below). That makes them perfect for hanging on windows, as they look pretty on both sides (that way you can enjoy them inside and outside!).
Old traditions ...
I always pounce on the $5 amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs at Walmart the minute they put the Christmas stuff out. Not sure if I planted them early enough to get blooms by Christmas, though!
This year I lucked out and got a bulb sending up two flower stalks (!!!). That's never happened for me before!
.... and new traditions! I first stumbled upon the idea of using books for an advent calendar at the cute craft/art/family blog, Jupiter Buttons (she discovered the idea on Ohdeedoh). I've always loved advent calendars, but wasn't into the idea of candy and presents everyday. Books? Now that's a tradition I can wholeheartedly support. I tried to keep them all holiday/winter themed, and have displayed them in descending order so you can always see how many days are left until Christmas by looking at the mantle. We started a few days late this year, but here are the books we're using:
- A Wish to be a Christmas Tree, by Colleen & Michael G. Monroe
- Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn & Mark Buehner
- Llama Llama Holiday Drama, by Anna Dewdney
- Bear Stays up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
- Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, by Mercer Mayer
- Cross-Country Cat, by Mary Calhoun
- Little Critter: Just a Snowman, by Mercer Mayer
- Auntie Claus, by Elise Primavera
- Madeline's Christmas, by Ludwig Bemelmans
- The Gingerbread Pirates, by Kristin Kladstrup
- Olive, the Other Reindeer, by Vivian Walsh
- Cajun Night Before Christmas
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss
- Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry
- The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, by Robert Kraus
- Snowmastodon! Snow Day Adventure, by Aimee White Beazley
- The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Clement C. Moore
- Red Sled, by Lita Judge
- Jingle Bells, by Kathleen Daly
- Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten, by Steven Kellogg
- Morris's Disappearing Bag, by Rosemary Wells
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
So far, it's been a great success! We're keeping the books out in a basket in the main living room, and they're getting read over and over and over. I can see this tradition continuing for many years to come!
Have you started Christmas-themed crafting projects yet? We have a strict no-Christmas-decorations-prior-to-Thanksgiving rule in our household, and I feel like I'm cheating a little bit with projects like these. But if I don't start now, Christmas will come and go and my project will only be half-done!
Don't forget to check out the other WIPs at TamisAmis!
Below, I've cast on with the gorgeous Malabrigo I snagged in St. Louis to start my Mom's Vest from the Fall 2011 issue of Knit Simple. The back is plain stockinette, but the front will have some great cables. The Malabrigo, as usual, is knitting up like a dream. It feels like a soft cloud! Love, love, love all around.
Don't forget to check out the other works-in-progress at TamisAmis!
Felting was one of the things that really got me into knitting, so it will always hold a fond place in my heart. No matter how many times I successfully felt a project though, I always have a moment of doubt--a moment of, "will this really work out?" Felting is always a leap of faith for me. Take the above picture, for example. This is my "before felting." What do you have before felting? A massive, misshapen, floppy bag. Frankly, a god awful, ugly bag! No matter how many times I do this, I always have a fleeting moment of fear when I see how unattractive the project is before felting.
Don't forget to check out the other FOs this week at TamisAmis!
was once this?
When I first heard about making jewelry out of pop cans using paper punches (the kind used for scrapbooking and card crafting), I was a little skeptical. But the idea was so crazy and ingenious I just had to try it during my last big chunk of time over the three-day weekend.
Consider this a quick and dirty tutorial on my process:
3. Slip your now flat-sheet of colored aluminum into your punch. This is the apple punch from Martha Stewart's line (in the picture below, I've flipped it over to be able to see how I've lined up the image). Once you've lined things up, flip your punch back over (otherwise your apple will shoot up towards you!).
4. Punch out an assortment of colors for your project.
5. Using a 2mm hole punch, I punched one hole in the corner of each apple to attach a jump ring.
Here you can see how I positioned the hole. I thought about punching it in the stem/leaf, but that seemed too narrow. I liked how the apple dangled at an angle by doing this, and it had the added benefit of positioning the stem in a way that would keep it from tangling in the bracelet's chain.
6. Attach your cute new apple charms to your pre-made bracelet chain, and then enjoy!
- You do need to be careful about sharp edges with this project. I found that the cleaner line you cut, there weren't any issues. Small jagged edges can be filed with a nail file.
- The charms ended up being really lightweight. Which is great if you don't like heavy jewelry! I think I'll try this method again for funky earrings/necklace pendants. My only worry about bracelets is that you may easily end up bending your charms during your daily activities (the aluminum bends really easily).
Having grown up on a five-acre apple orchard, apples have a fond place in my heart. When I stumbled across this fabric in the bargain section at Hancock Fabrics, I knew I had to make something using it. Have you seen a cuter apple print? (unfortunately, the selvedge has no labeling, so I have no idea who makes it if I want to track more down ...) But what to make? My first thought was kitchen. My Mom's been on the hunt for a bright, cheerful tablecloth for the better part of a year now with no luck. Bright and cheerful? Check. Tablecloth it is!
My plan was to feature the apple print, and then make up for the lack of width with some piecing around the perimeter (my sisters got me the dimensions of Mom's table, and then I added 9 inches to each side to give it a good "overhang"). With so many colors in this print, there were a lot of different ways I could go in terms of picking a color scheme. Since I wanted to keep it bright and cheerful, I decided to stick with orangey yellows and throw in some classic apple red. I ended up doing long horizontal strips of the yellows and oranges, with smaller pieces of red in between each strip (just enough to keep it interesting, but not so much that the red took over). I staggered my strips (see below), a method I love for a couple of reasons: it looks interesting, and I don't have to obssess over making sure things line up perfectly.
And here's the finished "top." I am so happy with how it turned out! My plan is to attach a backing (a red flat sheet purchased from Wal-Mart) and finish the edges with binding. I'll do some simple quilting to hold the front and back together, but nothing too elaborate.
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