Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scrappy Christmas Trees

I made these last year as gifts. There were about 20, but now I only have about 5 left. I think this was one of the easiest gifts to make. I found the strips in my stash bag. Made a few color schemes and cut out triangles. I used upholstery fabric for the trunks and fleece scraps for the backs. Small ribbons were sewn in to create hangers. Some had jingle bells and some had buttons. on the top like a star. I liked these especially for homes with small kids and animals who like to attack the tree.
I like that each one is different and unique. I think I would put the cost at a roll of ribbon and a bag of poly fill, so about 5 bucks for 20 gifts. The scraps were all from quilting projects that I had made my money off of prior. So to me that was free. I love using up the items that I hold onto forever.

Beaded Snowflakes

I have been making these beaded snowflakes for years. I got a small kit when I was 13 or so that had directions, wire and beads. I used the beads and wire up years ago, but always seem to have the supplies to make more. I never get tired of making them. No matter the size of beads the patterns always work. It is nice to have a pair of jewelry pliers to help pull and wrap the wire at the end. I think they make rather nice looking ornaments. I have given them as sets or just singles tied to gifts.
This year, I used vintage beads from broken necklaces along with small silver beads from Michael's. In about 30 minutes and very little money I can make one snowflake. I usually put on a Christmas movie and make a few.  I love how these turned out. I decided to keep these for myself. I live how they twinkle with lights and stand out against the green tree.
I put them on this wire tree I made to display items. I made the tree put of a heavy iron plate and green floral wire. I just wrapped and twisted away as I saw fit until the branches seemed strong enough to hold up the items. It has been a nice accessory for Christmas display as well. Wire is fun to work with and has limitless creativity.

Watercolor Christmas Cards

I found these plain newsprint cards I was hoarding. I decided to make Christmas cards. I love watercolor and felt the paper would soak up colors well and not ripple.
I love how the turned out. I made 20 of them. It took me two evenings after dinner to paint them. It is basically what I see around me, well when it's not raining. So, basically what I saw this summer. Oregon sure is beautiful.
I started with dark heavy on the paint outlines of mountains and then hills. Then I soaked the brush and pulled the paint out and created a bit more depth and color wash.
Then I let them dry a few moments before the trees were added. They were more of a thick paint and would run into the hills if they were too wet.
Each one was slightly different,I didn't really try to make each one the same. I simply tried to keep with the same layout. Who will know anyway. I think they are amazing and show our friends and family back east what is around us. It is from the heart and not that expensive. The cards were probably under $10, I've had the water color set forever, and high quality brush dosen't hurt Also, water color painting is very very therapeutic.
Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Map Art

I love maps and photos. I wanted to make something to remember our epic road trip we took this summer. I had this huge frame from my Dad's that I carted all the way across the country. Why? because I hate to give usable stuff away and I wanted to junk up my house in OR real good. I still get mad about stuff I left behind or sold.
  I am an AAA member and before our cross country trip I went to their travel store and requested maps. I got 8 (for free) basically what my year's membership cost, valued in maps.
Once we got here from NC, the maps and frame sat in the same corner. I had seen some awesome map crafts on Pintrest. I decided to go for it. I cut them up. I felt slightly bad, because I love to look at maps so much. I figured a) we wont be driving through Tennessee and Texas again in the near future and b) I will be a life long AAA member and can acquire more maps if needed and finally c) map technology exist that surpasses paper :(
For the quick prep work: I used a heart template I made out of an index card. I laid it down between the existing blue mat from the original frame and then on some photos to be sure of the size that I desired. Finally, I determined how many photos I could fit.
Now the fun starts: I went hunting for my favorite photos from our cross country trip. This was the hardest part because I took sooo many amazing shots like this one:
or these:

IDAHO                       OREGON
I had a very hard time choosing when it is scenery like this.
 I pulled some of my favorite images off the computer that had been taken by iphone and SLR to be printed. I took my thumb drive down to walmart and had them printed cheaply. The quality if the prints certainly had a lot to with which camera I had used.
I spread the photos out on the table and started hunting for those locations on the maps and when found I centered them in the heart and traced them and cut them out.
We found an awesome quote online, " Distance is a Test to see how Far Love can Travel" by simply doing a Google search for: "Travel Love Quotes" It was hard to pick there were so many. One gripe is that, I don't know who to site.
I set my hearts on the craft/brown paper and decided on a layout, then used double sided tape to stick them to the craft paper. I traced the quote in pencil and checked it from a distance and finally went over in sharpie marker. The blue mat was already in the frame. So, for the cost of $2.00 to print the images, I got a huge piece of personal art, that reminds us daily of this amazing country and the freedoms we are blessed with, to travel as we wish.

 I know this is a bad image, I did take it.  It is hard to take pictures of glass. I didn't think of taking a picture until after I had already closed it all up.