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71  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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72  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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73  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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74  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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75  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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76  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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77  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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78  Fanciful beaded bird, Fanciful hat in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: November 12, 2011 08:39:11 PM
I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to post this item because, even tho it's clothing, it's not something most people would wear.  I hope it's OK here.

I created a very fanciful beaded bird to embellish an equally fanciful hat.  Beginning with 2 layers of fabric fused together, I cut out a very long bird shape (about 20" long) & sewed various beads individually over the entire surface.  I learned the hard way that it's not a good idea to try sewing thru the bonding material as it makes the fabric quite stiff.  My fingertips became very sore but I persevered because I wanted the finished piece to be stiff enough to keep it's shape.

After I completed the bird, I made the pattern for the hat.  It took several tries to get the size & shape I wanted.  It's fully lined & the fusible interfacing is the heaviest I could find---doubled.  The scalloped brim is just an added bit of whimsey. 

When I glued the bird on, it circled the crown almost completely.  I left enough gaps in the area under the wing so I can change the hatband as I desire.  A tiny gold earring holds the band fastened in the back.  It isn't really a wearable item but I've sewn a small ring under the front of the brim & it looks quite nice hanging in my bedroom. 

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79  Reversible mood apron in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: November 11, 2011 10:16:38 PM

I created an apron  from a sturdy hunter green fabric.  I first designed the pattern in a pinafore style that wraps across the back & buttons at the shoulders.  I made facings all the way round but sewed the inside edges  down so I could make it reversible without lining it completely.

I then used fabric paints to produce an array of fruits & vegetables on the front side with the reminder: "Fruits & veggies 4 good health".  My darker side appears on the back with a delicious assortment of goodies noting : "Chocolate 4 ever".  It can be worn with either side out, depending on mood but, it's probably easy to guess which is my favorite side.

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80  Decorated Beer Bottles for Gifts in Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 08, 2011 01:48:50 PM
I recently found a great recycle for those small beer, wine & cooler bottles. I've made some lovely small gifts for those occasions where you want to remember someone but don't want to spend a lot of money. 

It began last February when I was looking for a Valentine for my grandling.  He was 17 so the normal things wouldn't do.  After I washed a brown beer bottle & removed the labels,  I decorated it suitably for the occasion with painted hearts, I LOVE YOU's, etc.  Then I filled it with M&M's.  I found a small bag of them will fill the bottle & leave a small handful for me to munch on as I work.  I tied a few strands of raffia around the top, added some colorful beads & corked the bottle.  A little tag tied to the raffia finished it off.  Grandson loved it but, since I mailed it off to him, I don't have a photo of it.

Instead, I have pics of some I've made since then.  For those of you who don't have painting skills in your repertoire, don't dispair.  I've found other ways to decorate as nicely. 
The first bottle in the photo is one I painted with one stroke flowers.   I glued a few flat backed gemstones to the flower centers for a bit of sparkle.
For the second, I cut butterfly printed paper into small squares & used Mod Podge to adhere them in an overlapping pattern.  I tried to work it so most of the whole butterflies were showing.  The tiny butterfly I found in my stash looks nice tied to the top with a gold cord.
Bottle three is a clear cooler bottle that I filled with jelly beans after I Mod Podged thin strips of foil gift wrap with a few punched pieces interspersed among them.  Ribbon & beads for trim.
A coat of a light colored spray paint will give the bottle an entirely different, cheerier look.   I did that for bottle four.  Then I cut out flowers from tissue wrap & Mod Podged them in an overlapping manner.
The last is my lazy way bottle.  I found underwater creature stick-ons that I just peeled & pressed to the bottle.  Ribbon & beads again finished it. 
If you check, some of the bottle openings are just the right size for a dime to slip thru.  Decorated appropriately, it makes a fantastic gift for a newly expectant couple. Tag it with instructions for them to begin saving all of their dimes.  They'll add up quickly if they can get the grandparents-in-waiting to join in.  Open a bank account when it's full & refill until the baby is born.  It will give a nice beginning for baby's future.

Everything here can also be done with larger wine bottles but I've not calculated how many bags of M&M's it would take to fill one so you're on your own there.   

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