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71  Valentine Hearts in Valentine's Day by Jenxx on: January 05, 2012 08:58:14 PM
I made a Valentine for my daughter last year that was a bit different than usual.  I began with a chipboard heart, topped it with a layer of batting & covered it with a flower print fabric.  I made another smaller one the same way but with a differrent fabric & glued it to the center of the larger one.  Then I glued lace around the edge & ironed on a piece of fusible interfacing to finish the back.  Last, I glued a small fabric pocket onto the back into which I inserted a gift card.

I also made decorative hangings by making 3 similar hearts in different sizes & gluing them together.  I decorated these with ribbons, flowers, buttons & birds and added a ribbon loop for hanging. 

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72  Inexpensive, Giant Valentine/Wedding heart decoration in Valentine's Day by Jenxx on: January 01, 2012 10:45:31 AM
I spend the winter in a retirement community in Florida so I often help with the clubhouse decorations for special occasions.  For several years we've used a huge Valentine heart I've designed.  It was one of those occasions where my hubby said, 'It won't work.".   BET ME!  Isn't it great to prove a guy wrong?

He helped me in the construction but it really wasn't difficult.  It consists of 3 strips of vinyl lattice trim.  After we stacked 2 strips & drilled 2 holes in one end, we used bolts & nuts to fasten them together.  We then drilled two holes in the other end of the 2 strips.  Laying them on edge, we separated the 2 strips & bent them around to make a heart shape.  We used a 90 degree metal bracket to fasten the bottom end---again with nuts & bolts.

This looked great laying down but was too flimsy to hang upright so we fastened a 3rd lattice strip across the top for stability.  I simply wired it on because I wanted it to dismantle easily, altho I could have used more brackets.  We draped & wrapped tulle or nylon netting around the framework & trimmed it with flowers & ribbons.  We've given it a different look for different years.  I printed a banner that taped to the crossbrace to disguise it (Can you see it?).  

It's extremely lightweight so we were able to tie thin wire to the crossbrace (fishing line would work equally well) to hang it from the ceiling.  Since it hangs free, we moved it aside & positioned our couples behind it for a photo op.

The lattice strips cost only a few dollars at Home Depot.  The tulle was by far the most expensive part of the project but it was inexpensive for the look we achieved.  

Done in the bride's colors & with a banner giving the couple's names, this would also be great as a wedding decoration---either hung against a wall or across a corner as ours was.  

I'm sorry if I wasn't articulate enough in my description.  I've done a bit of research (Checked with the Boss) & found that I was using the wrong term.  I've corrected it & added photos.  Hopefully, this will explain it more clearly.

The term I should have been using is LATTICE.  These are available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. as vinyl lattice trim.  They are vinyl coated strips with a polyresin core.  We bought three 8ft strips that were about 1&1/4 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.  I'm guessing at that measurement.
I've made a sample of cardstock (not to scale) of what the framework looks like.  The pics are of the front & back.  The black dots represent the nuts & bolts.  The red pieces are the metal brackets.  We used only the one at the bottom & wired the crossbrace in place. The crossbrace extends beyond the edges of the heart but I think we still had to cut off some of the excess.

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73  Painted wooden trays in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: December 24, 2011 07:13:00 PM
Last Christmas I found three bargain priced wooden trays in the Wal-Mart clearance aisle.  They had a rather  "Plain Jane" appearance so I used acrylic enamels to paint a veritable flower garden on each of them.   After painting them I was worried that the colors were a bit garish.  I gave them a protective coat of acrylic & I found that the spray somehow reacted with the finish already on the trays & changed the bright colors to lovely muted tones.  All of the recipients seemed pleased with their gifts but neither daughter uses her tray for serving.  The firstborn uses hers to hold items on her bedroom dresser while the lastborn has found a place for hers on the coffee table where it holds a few of the treasures she's collected from her travels.

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74  Felt Christmas ornaments in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: December 12, 2011 07:44:26 PM

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!

I just finished making ornaments for a gift exchange with my online friends.  I decided 3 ornaments per person would be a nice gift.  Times 10 participants equals 30 ornaments.  It was a job but I feel it was well worth it....Hopefully, they'll think that way too.

All are my original designs, felt stuffed with poly fil.  All of them measure about 4 to 6 inches either way.

The cupcakes were actually the most difficult because I cut 4 layers (wrapper, cake, icing, cherry) glued them together & then matched them to the opposite side.  The problem was getting them the same size so I could sew the 2 pieces together.  The rest was easy.  A running stitch gives the impression of pleats in the wrapper.  Sewn on beads are colorful sprinkles.

The mittens are a bit more then they appear.  There's a built in pocket that extends about half way down the inside of the mitten.  I can put small candies or gifts inside before hanging. 

The cheeseburger is deceptive in it's simplicity.  It's mostly circles.  I gathered a larger & smaller circle to make the bun halves.  A lightweight cardboard & polyfil help it keep it's shape.  The burger is 2 circles sewn with polyfil.  The cheese is a single square of felt while the tomato slice is a piece of red felt painted with seed chambers.  Lettuce is a strip of tulle  colored with watered down ink or acrylic paint.  I tightly zig zagged one long edge & gathered the other to fashion a rosette.  Gold paint sesame seeds.  I ran a large needle with gold cord thru top to bottom & back to connect everything.  It can still be opened to show the insides but will stay together when hung on the tree.

I've had good reports on all items but my lastborn is unsure about putting a cheeseburger on the Christmas tree.  My thought on it is that they hang pickles & spiders on the tree so "Why not a cheeseburger?".  If necessary, I'll write a fable about it's being a good luck symbol like the spider & pickle.  How about.......The expectant couple stopped by a McD's on the way to Bethlehem where a kindhearted kid there felt sorry for them & used her last coin to buy a quarter pounder & fries for each of them---thus the lucky burger?  Actually, we'll let them split an order of fries & have a cupcake for dessert.  Will that make it appropriate?

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75  Stick Horses in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: December 08, 2011 10:00:06 PM
I have always liked children's stick horses & have made several.  The larger ones are about 3ft tall but designed more as a wall decoration than for rugged play.  Pink upholstery fabric for a nursery, Red crushed velvet for Christmas & black felt for an ornament. This last one is about 6 inches tall.

I was asked for instructions for these items on another site so I decided to add them to this posting. 

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76  Christmas un-tree inspired by Lelyonna's in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 27, 2011 06:47:06 PM
My Christmas tree this year is inspired by Lelyonna who has her tree posted on this thread.  I love what she's done &, since we're snowbirds in Florida for the winter with no holiday decorations, I decided to use her idea.  I followed her diagram for the layout of the wires but slanted it a bit more to my tastes.  It's made of fence wire, lights, garland & fishing line.  For decorating it, I purchased a packaged assortment of ornaments at KMart and a few larger ones as well.  I'm very pleased with the results.

Thank you Lelyonna for the inspiration. 

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77  Cheers! in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 21, 2011 09:38:06 PM
I've created some festive partyware for my Holiday entertaining using inexpensive wine glasses & recycled wine bottles.

The individualized the glasses are painted with various Christmas symbols so my guests can easily spot his/her drink. I used a glass paint which can be made more durable by baking.

I even added a bit of colorful glitz to some of the items by glueing on tiny flat backed gemstones. 

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78  Toy Soldier with instructions/diagram added in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 18, 2011 10:08:49 PM
A toy soldier I created to stand guard at my front door during the Holidays.  Surprisingly, he's made from mostly castoffs.  Can you find these items?

1 Paper Ice cream container
2 Gift wrap cores
2 Paper towel cores
1 Ribbon spool
1 two liter soda bottle
1/2 Cork
3 paper mache eggs
(Actually there are 5 eggs.  His feet are flat paper mache eggs)

With a bit of paint, trims, buttons, fur & feathers I transformed those throwaways into a Christmas decoration who stands about 2 ft. tall.

Thank you.  I'm happy that some of you like my little guy enough to want one.  Hopefully my instructions will help.  Unfortunately, I no gave him to my sister & she's a thousand miles from here so I can't give exact measurements.

Carefully clean & thoroughly dry the ice cream container.  Place it open end up on a table & stand the 2 paper towel cores at his sides.  This is so his shoulders will be straight.  Hot glue the cores to his sides about 2/3 of the way.  Leave the area at his waist so  you can slip the belt between his arms & body later.

While he's still upside down, place him on a piece of posterboard, cereal box, heavy cardstock or other very light weight cardboard.  Draw around all 3 pieces to make a single piece to cover his shoulders.  Follow the dotted lines on diagram A to fill in the area where the cores meet the ice cream container.Cut this piece out & glue it to the top of the ice cream container & his shoulders.  I don't know how long his arms are but you can cut them to any length you like.  I prefer shorter body & arms, & long legs.

Paint the entire piece red---I used acrylic but spray paint will work too.

I don't know if they still sell the flat, paper mache egg shapes but if you can t find them you can cut them out of  a foam core board or matboard.  Glue them to the bottom of the gift cores & paint them black.  Adjust his height---the cores will reach all the way to his shoulders.  You'll have to balance him on his feet.  Mine stood on his own when the gift wrap cores were placed apart & all the way to the back of the ice cream container so I hot glued them where they touched the back of the bucket, as well as around the top of the cores where they touched his shoulders.

Take the flat sides off of the ribbon spool so you have only a cardboard ring left.  Paint it black & glue it to the center of the ice cream container for his collar/neck.  Again, I can't give measurements for the paper mache eggs so you'll have to see which fits & looks best.  The diameter of his head should be about the same as the diameter of the soda bottle---perhaps a bit larger.

Use a sharp knife to cut a wine cork diagonally top to bottom & glue it on for his nose filling in any gaps with glue.  Paint his face & hands pink/flesh tone.  You can finish his face however you choose.  I used an ice pick to poke holes & glued purchased eyes into the holes.  Marker for his mouth & pink blush for his cheeks.  Glue his head & hands in place.

Cut enough of the top off of a 2 liter soda bottle so it will come down over the head.  Cut out the front section so it fits just above his eyebrows & in front of his ears.  Cover it with faux fur.  It will probably have to be done with several pieces of fur cut, fitted & hot glued on.  Feather glued on & 2 buttons glued on with a chain draped between.

You can draw his chinstrap on or glue on a piece of cording, shoelace, ribbon, etc. so it extends under the edges of his hat.

I added gold fringe to his shoulders & gold braid to his collar, epaulets, cuffs & between his buttons.  Also a stripe down the side of his legs.  I either cut the backs from the buttons with a wire cutters or poked holes with an ice pick to accommodate the shanks.  (Can't remember which)

His belt is a white faux leather with an old shoe buckle, glued in place.

I hope I've covered everything.  Let me know if you have any further questions & be sure to post photos if you make him.

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79  Grinch Christmas Ornament made from a gourd. in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 16, 2011 08:05:44 PM
I have no idea who designed the original Grinch ornament but he/she deserves plenty of kudos for the idea.  As soon as my friend posted a photo of one on her site, I knew I would make one for my daughter---He's her favorite Holiday character.  I wish I could take credit for the design but my only contribution is the furry collar. 

My daughter's was made with a gourd (same as my friend's) but I've since made a number of them & found that a paper mache egg works as well & is much easier to find.  There is also the advantage of consistency---not having to adjust the hat pattern to fit different sized gourds.

I drilled a small hole in the top of the egg/gourd & inserted a kabob skewer with a dab of hot glue so I could paint the egg more easily. I made a stencil that I used to paint the white part of the eyes & then sprayed the entire egg with an acrylic finish.  When it dried, I put the stencil back in place & outlined everything with a permanent black marker.  I learned the hard way that the acrylic spray will cause the marker to run---even a permanent marker.  At this point I snipped the skewer off even with the egg & the stub was later hidden under the hat.

I folded a wedge shaped piece of fabric in half, sewed the one short seam, turned it & glued it in place.  I glued both long edges under for the hatband & hot glued it in place over the raw edge of the hat.   I glued the collar to a circle of cardstock, folding the edges to the inside, before I glued it to the bottom of the egg.  With the addition of the collar he can either hang or sit.  A puffy ball on the end of his hat & a gold cord for hanging finished him.

I made a number of these for friends & even taught a seminar at a motor home rally.  My daughter loves hers, as do my friends, & about 15 people left my seminar with cute little Grinch ornaments.

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80  Making Faces in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 13, 2011 08:51:51 PM

I seem to be obsessed lately with making faces---clay faces!  I've been taking clay classes for more than a year now & it seems that quite a number of my projects are faces.

When I began I intended to make only one.  I pressed the terra cotta clay into a mold, carved leaves & vines into it when it was leather hard & added leaves & a flower instead of hair.  She is finished in a deep bronze color & is named Ophelia.

 When I realized she was a good representation of Earth, I created a series of 3 more using the same basic mold.  Number 2 became Pyro representing Fire.  The third is Algae or Water.  Fourth is Zephyr who, of course, is Air/Wind.

I've since made a 5th that is not part of the series, even tho I used the same mold for the basic face.  I'm still trying to find a name for him.  To me he represents a person who tries to be so open minded he has no thoughts or convictions of his own.

The mold for all of them is about 7-8" long. 

I've abandoned the mold for the time being & created another series of 5 more faces.  I just modeled these from balls & slabs of clay.  These vary in size from about 4" to 6" & are named Monkshoods.  They remind me of hooded monks or flowers---There is a flowering plant named Monkshood.

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