Sweetgum Holiday Wreath

My mom used to change the Christmas holiday decorations every year.  Every year, there was a new theme with new homemade decorations.  It appears that I have the same condition.

Last year, I made an amazing Paper Cone Christmas Wreath.  However, I saw this wreath from Martha Stewart and had to make something similar. I gathered as many sweetgum balls as I could from those that fell on our balcony [I refused to pick any off the ground due to the neighbors with dogs].  I ended up with 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls and this beautiful wreath.

My sweetgum ball holiday wreath

What I used:

  • 10 inch straw wreath
  • 2 gallon-sized freeze bags full of sweetgum balls
  • Floral wire cut in 1.5 to 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans of metallic gold spray paint
  • 1 container of coarse glitter
  • 2 inch wide ribbon
  • Hot Glue gun
  • Optional: latex gloves for spray painting

What I did:

  1. Cut off the sweetgum ball stems. Hot glue one piece of floral wire into one of the sweetgum ball holes.  Let dry.

    Sweetgum balls with floral wire

  2. In a ventilated and prepared area, spray paint the sweetgum balls.  Sprinkle glitter on a portion of the balls immediately after they are spray painted.

    Spray paint & glitter

  3. Spray paint the wreath.  This ensures that any holes from the placement of the sweetgum balls will not look awkward.
  4. Insert the floral wire into the wreath.  Be careful when you do this or the wire will bend.  Bent floral wire is harder to insert into the straw wreath than straight wire.  I only inserted sweetgum balls into the front of my wreath to ensure that it hung flat against the door.

    Almost complete

  5. Hot glue ribbon to the back of the wreath.  Let dry.

    Ribbon mission complete!

  6. Hang and enjoy!

    Glitter, gold, and red make for a beautiful holiday season!

    Hipstamatic Print of the Sweetgum Ball Wreath

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FO: Lapel Pins for LR Burger Caucus

Back in December, I was asked to help create a lapel pin for the Little Rock Burger Caucus, a group of politically minded individuals who meet to enjoy great burgers throughout the Little Rock area (my words, not theirs).  For a more in-depth look at the group, go here or look around on the twitter hashtag #LRBurgerCaucus.

I finished these a bit ago, but I had to keep them a secret until they were presented to the group. 

These are the finished pins. The big image is 2 inches across and the actual images are 1 inch in diameter.

Happy New Year! : 2012

Happy New Year to everyone!!  I am not the type of person that makes New Year resolutions.  When I was in college, I would make a game of making the resolutions only to see how long it took to break them.  Yes, I may be an inherently lazy person.

Despite my unexpected bout of a cold on New Year’s Eve, I did try my hardest to make a cool skirt for the parties that I was unable to attend. Long ago, my mother gave me a sequined dress that she had only worn once.  Explaining the reason for this dress would require another much longer post.

Sequin dress in all of its glory

Bad view of the deep back V

I have never, ever, ever, ever worn this dress (other than as a joke for a moment).  I’m not 100% sure that this dress was intended to be worn by a women over the age of 18.  So I decided to get crafty and alter the dress into something more wearable like this.

Sequin Skirt

Ta-Da!!

I measured to see where I wanted the skirt to fall.  Using some left-over elastic from the wedding garters, I folded the fabric over to make a waistband and sewed the fabric into a hole where the elastic was inserted.  After the elastic was in place, I cut the excess sequin fabric (Tip: Do this over a trash can because sequins will go everywhere) and I was done.  Sadly, this skirt will have to wait for another party.

Christmas Crafting: Ornaments

Usually around Christmastime, I don’t decorate a lot, but this year, I was bitten by the holiday bug.

Exhibit A: Our Paper Cone Christmas Wreath.

Exhibit B: Our 6.5 foot Christmas tree.

Undecorated Christmas tree

This tree is pretty old and has some branches that aren’t quiet connected like they should be … but this is the first traditional Christmas tree that I or Zach has had in years.

Exhibit C: Crafting ornaments.

Homemade Musical Ornaments

These ornaments are not based on any other design in particular.  They are just something that I decided to experiment with after I put up the Christmas tree.

What you need:

Ingredients for Ornaments

  • Sheet Music (3-5 pages depending on how many ornaments you want to make)
  • Craft glue
  • Small cookie cutters
  • Cardstock in your colors of choice
  • 1/4″ inch ribbon
  • Scissors

How to do it:

  1. Pick out your cookie cutters and trace them on to your sheet music.

    Ready for tracing

  2. Cut out the design.

    Christmas tree ornaments ready for cutting

  3. Flip your cookie cutters over and trace the design on to your cardstock.  Cut out the design.

    Trace again

    There should be a little extra cardstock on the sides of the sheet music

  4. Cut a length of ribbon to hang your ornaments.
  5. Glue the sheet music to the cardstock with the ribbon in between them.

    Almost finished ...

  6. Let completely dry and decorate your tree!

    Ta-da!!

    The tree topper is simply a free-handed star cut from two pages of sheet music and glued together.

    The other ornaments are gold bells with red ribbon.

    Bells and Ribbons

    The best part about these decorations is that I didn’t have to buy anything!  I already had everything that I used on the tree!

     

Christmas Crafting: Kitty Presents

For the past few years, I have made kitty presents for the cats in our lives.  I started doing it around the holidays to avoid buying cat toys or treats that they hate.  The dogs in our lives tend to love just about anything but alas, the cats are picky. Last year, I made catnip fortune cookies from felt.  I didn’t use anything down the middle or include a fortune, but I added lots of catnip.

2010 Christmas Presents for Kitty Friends

This year, I decided to be a little more ambition.  I found a bird plushie pattern that requires a bit of sewing and I immediately knew that all of the kitties NEEDED catnip birds for Christmas.  So far, all of the kitties who have been gifted with these birds love them!

Bottom of the Birds

 

6 Sewn Birds

WG enjoying the Christmas gift

Custom Fabric Testing

My friend picked maps and travel for her nursery theme.  Pair that with teal and chocolate-brown and you have a recipe for disaster.  This disaster is not caused by the theme or the colors, but by the difficulty in finding appropriate fabric for a swaddling blanket.

At least until I discovered the many possibilities of digital printing fabric.  I stumbled upon this blog post  from 2009 which compares the major digital printing fabric companies (Spoonflower, Fabric On Demand, Karma Craft & Eye Candey [which was no longer accessible]).  After reviewing the post and comparison chart, I decided to use Spoonflower for the super special secret baby blanket.  Spoonflower has been around longer than the other sites and had the best results from the blogger.  Spoonflower also is the only site with an online community which includes contests and a fabric of the week.  I liked the website interface better than the others; it was easier to use for me and seemed to encourage your creativity as opposed to simply being a service for fee.

I uploaded my image and altered the design size. I tried to make the image bigger on the fabric by increasing the number of dpi from the default of 150 to 300 (I’m not sure if this will help).  I also changed my pattern to have a half drop repeat and order a test swatch (8″ x 8″) to see if the design will be right without alterations. The price for a test swatch was $5.00 for your basic quilting cotton fabric with a $1.00 shipping/handling fee.  I should receive the test swatch in about 6 to 7 days … but in the meantime, my fingers are crossed that everything turns out perfect!

If the fabric turns out ok, I will probably end up buying this squirrel fabric for another friend’s upcoming bundle of joy, this roller derby fabric for another, and this mushroom fabric for yet another.