Okay so this year I decided to take on the task of creating a wall-hanging tree with felt ornaments. I've seen these on Pinterest but actually derived the idea from one we had growing up - it hung on the wall and there were lots of ornaments and as we did good deeds during advent, you'd get to put an ornament on the tree. Eventually we would each sort of adopt a particular ornament type and claim it and it evolved into a bit of a competition over who could do the most good deeds and have the most of their ornament on the tree.
Anyway, fast forward 25 years and I wanted something like this for some of my nieces and nephews but I know their parents are unlikely to really encourage it the way I'd like so I thought to do it for my younger nieces and nephews who are too young to do it that way right now anyway. I have five older nieces and nephews (ages 7-13) and then another 5 that are all under 3 (and a 6th who may be here before Christmas even comes!) and they're all in different households (three are biological and 2 are my best friends who are totally family), so I needed 5 sets.
Plus, if we're being really honest right now, I'm thinking of doing ornaments for everyone for next Christmas and I'd really rather the little ones have something to distract them and thus hopefully my gifts will remain in tact a little longer
And here they are all together...
I took more detailed pictures of the different types of ornaments but I won't bore you with all of them now. But the types were: - Round monogrammed initial - Teardrop retro-style glass - Poinsettias - Holly - Dove - Candy cane - Gingerbread person - Snowflake - Stars - Golden6+3.9- 9- snitches (Christmas isn't Christmas without a touch of Harry Potter, right?!)
The trees are green fleece and all of the ornaments are felt. Everything is stuffed except the holly and the candy canes (well one was but I didn't like it). I decided to go ahead and use velcro on the backs of the ornaments - all black so it gives the kids extra learning to match the black-to-black velcro pieces.
This was my first time to attempt any embroidery and it's all exceptionally novice but I'm okay with that. I learned a lot and I can tell a huge difference between my early stuff and my later pieces.
Here's what they will look like (only the tree will be hung on the wall)
FYI - If I were to start all over, I would do a few things differently - namely, stick with one or two basic shapes (like the round) - these sewed up SO much faster than the other nonsense. Secondly, skip the metallic embroidery thread unless you're more practiced with it - loved the effect, passionately hated the work.
Okay, so I knew this was gonna be a struggle since I suck at both cooking and baking. But here goes...
Challenge: DA - Have a Drink at the Hog's Head House: Gryffindor Project Name: Fondant Topped Cupcakes Brief Description: A few weeks ago I bought fondant cupcakes for my husband and they were a big success. When one of the girls I sometimes babysit was having her birthday while I would be there for a couple of days this week (including yesterday - her birthday), she requested fondant cupcakes again. This time I decided to give it a go myself - at least, give the fondant a try. The cake was still out of a box
So the yellow cupcakes were from Duncan Hines and I used a prepared whipped buttercream icing under the fondant.
My fondant was a marshmallow one which supposedly doesn't hold as long as other fondants but was super delicious last night (and, yes, today), so we'll see how it goes. But I figured with just some circles of fondant topping each cupcake, it was a good time to try my first time with fondant.
Here goes (I followed the recipe on the Wilton website. I do think in the future I may try it with homemade marshmallows which seems like the only thing I'm good at).
1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows (use a good quality brand) 2-5 tablespoons water 2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening Makes:
About 2 pounds marshmallow fondant.
step 1 To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).
step 2 Place 3/4 of the confectioners' sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners' sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn't stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.
step 3 It's best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.
(I did NOT let it sit in the fridge overnight but I did start early yesterday and they were in for probably about 6 hours)
step 4 When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.
step 5 To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners' sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.
(I left mine white)
So then I just topped my cool cupcakes with the whipped buttercream and then just put basically a white circle of fondant on each cupcake.
I also decorated them - green is her favorite color! I couldn't find green liners but I did get green ribbon and some pearls and she loved them!!
Okay, so I don't know if this is where this goes or what to call it but here we are anyway.
I had two of these peg hanger thingies that I was going to paint for my niece and nephew when they were 3 and 5. They are now almost 12 and 14, I kid you not, and I was still toting these things around. So I decided it was fine for me to go ahead and use one for a new kid since it's a bit small for teens.
Anyway, did you know pencil on wood that's been there for 8 years won't erase? I didn't know that but I do now
So this was for MacKenzie, my best friend's daughter, for her 2nd birthday. She loves Bubble Guppies!
I didn't actually get to see her open it or know if she likes it - I was in a horrific car accident on the way to the party! (This was like six months ago though, I'm mostly fine now.) And apparently for the hour and a half I was in and out of consciousness, I just kept telling the people at the hospital that I was sorry I was so fat (since I'd wake up every time they'd have to move me) and that someone should call Brandi and tell her I wouldn't be there. I was also very concerned that this had been destroyed in the car. Miraculously, it turned out to be like the one thing that wasn't and I have been assured that Kenz loved it!
Class/Challenge/House Pride: Defense Against the Dark Arts House: Gryffindor! Project Name: Oil Painting?! Project Page Link: none Brief Description: Okay so I love to paint and I have worked primarily with acrylics and additionally with glass and ceramic paint, fabric paint, watercolors, soft pastels, and so on, but I have never, ever worked with oil paints. That just sort of fell into the category of 'art' whereas I live very firmly in the category of 'craft'. But I decided to suck it up, get a cheap set of oils, and play around a bit.
It's worth mentioning again that the goal here was to PLAY AROUND A BIT, explore how oils work and what not, not actually make a work of art.
Anyway, I did this stag patronus based on an HP shoe on Pinterest (it seemed made for oil paints but I wouldn't think it would be feasible to use oils on shoes if you intend to wear them) and then the flowers were based on a different painting, so essentially these are both imitations of other paintings (thus I continue to remain firmly in 'craft' and light years away from 'art' ) Project Picture:
(Can someone please tell me how to get these photos rotated correctly?! On my computer it's correct but then I upload it and it's sideways...?)
Class/Challenge/House Pride: Dumbledore's Army - Fear of a Name (Challenge 1) House: Gryffindor! Project Name: Embroidered Heart Ornament Project Page Link: none Brief Description: So as I mentioned when I gave my OWL update this past weekend, until the past three weeks or so I had never once embroidered anything. I just sort of thought it was too refined for me since it seems so delicate and precise and I am much more of a broad strokes kind of girl. But I so love how it looks and was just insistent that I learn a few basic embroidery skills. Between the internet and my mother, I thought I might kill someone in the process, but I have learned how to do a basic backstitch, a blanket seam, chain stitch, and a lazy daisy stitch. I also learned how to do french knots since yes, I mean I didn't even know how to do that.
My skills are a billion years away from good but I keep working at it. I made this little piece based on a Pinterest pin (like an actual pin you would wear) and I loved how it looked but I don't wear pins so I decided to make it into a little ornament! I kept it simple and I totally love it! Project Picture:
Okay so I have been working all this past week in my spare time on my Charms OWL but last Friday I hit it particularly hard and yesterday I hit it extra hard again. But I didn't have a chance to take pics until today.
So I've never embroidered a single thing before. Ever. In fact, later I'll be posting my DA Fear of a Name challenge that included my first embroidery stitches and project. Since I can't sew AT ALL and I often feel like my hands are so clumsy that embroidery just always seemed so delicate and elegant for me to be able to tackle. But that's all more relating to the DA challenge, so moving on to my OWL.
I finally decided that each tree (I'm doing 5 mini Christmas trees to hang on the wall for little ones to be able to decorate) should have 10 ornaments: star at the top, a round ball ornament with each kiddo's initial, a tapered ornament in a vintage-y style, a poinsettia, a dove, a gingerbread man, a snowflake, a stocking, a candy cane, and a golden snitch* (of course!).
Thus far I've done top stitching on all the stars, all the ball ornaments, all the tapered ornaments, all the doves, all the gingerbread men, and all the snowflakes**. This pic only shows one example of these (unless they're all different) but everything on here I've done all 5 of (so like you only see 1 dove but I've done the stitching of all 5 for example)
All the stars are the same, all the round balls are the same except for the initials, all the doves are the same, all the gingerbread men are the same, all the golden snitches are the same, and I anticipate all of the golden snitches, poinsettias and candy canes to be the same. I played around with different versions of the retro tapered ornaments, the snowflakes are all different, and the stockings will have some variations.
I have done a complete stuffed ornament for a couple of them and I've done a stitching mock-up of everything but the candy canes and stockings.
Anyway, that's my first update but I think they're coming along nicely although holy crap they take forever But Charms are important and this is all for 5 of my littlest nieces and nephews (all between 1-3 years old) so we persevere
*My mother said it's ridiculous to include a golden snitch. I told my mother to suck it. (but nicely. ) **My mother did make one of the snowflakes when she was showing me how to do french knots and a basic backstitch. You can tell - hers is much more artistic.
Class/Challenge: ***SPEW Mission*** for the Aquahearts! House: Gryffindor Project Name: Totally Rad Awesome 80's Cartoon Stamps! Project Page Link: none Project Description: Thought since Erin seems to like many of my favorite things from childhood, I'd whip up a couple of simple character stamps to send over to her! I also made a Care Bear one but my wand seemed to be suffering from some kind of malfunction and it didn't work out. Project Picture:
Class/Challenge: Bertie Bott's - Lobster House: Gryffindor Project Name: The Best Thing About Home Project Page Link: none Project Description: Decided to finally do a pillow I've been wanting for forever. Not only is it red, but the fact is that while I love my family, home for me is definitely my husband. So here's to a lot more years of making out! It is totally needing some touchups and cleaning which I'll do but at least the stenciling is done! Project Picture:
And I, in turn, received from watsonc7 today!! YAY!! (I received FOUR swap packages today and have been squeeing for like hours now)
She claimed me for some story board stories - specifically, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. FIVE SETS of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And felt for the storyboard background. AND bags for each set of pieces!! I am going to have the world's most spoiled nieces and nephews!!!
An example of ONE full set... (note table, chairs, porridge, beds, Goldilocks, and (you guessed it) three bears
Close up of our cast of characters
And in each of their SUPER adorable little bags!
I was CRAZY spoiled, I know!! Thank you SO SO SO much!!!
Received my dopp kits from Averia over the weekend (I totally suck at being timely about pictures!) and received from artista83 today! Yay!! Since I got four packages altogether today, I got on the ball with my camera
So from Averia - THREE black cotton Dopp kits with PUL (that's what it's called right?) material on the inside! Will be the perfect gifts for my two brothers-in-law and father-in-law! YAY - Christmas solved!
(one is on it's side, one is normal, one is open)
And then my absolutely GORGEOUS painting from Artista83!! The original from my wist (for comparison)
And the one she painted
I know, right?!
Way to make me feel stupid for trying to make zombie art for you, artista; your artistic abilities are so incredibly superior to mine it's laughable (it's probably less humorous to you who got shafted but it's hilarious in a shameful way to me because I scored HUGE!)
Thanks to both of you ladies so much (and my husband is particularly thankful to you artista83 as well ) (though that's just because he thinks presents for other people, including those in HIS family, just magically appear before Christmas and birthdays averia )
I received my package from GlassKicker on Saturday and it was AWESOME!!! Seriously. I asked for some butterfly punch-outs or a punch since I am in love with like 45 different pinterest butterfly projects (and yes, I really do love butterflies that much)
THIS bounty is what she sent:
aaaaaaand....she sent a punch of a whole other butterfly AS WELL!!
This is literally my first paper punch ever and I am so psyched about it, I already used it for TWO of my outgoing swaps!
And reason #682 I love my husband is that while he was initially alarmed when I showed them to him, he didn't even blink once I explained that the butterflies would be actually be in the air, on the walls, and so on all over our apartment as long as they weren't just strewn about (which is ridiculous since I have properly treated these things like the precious delicate gems they are since they arrived!)
Feline - Ditto what alwaysinmyroom said!! Relax! We have all had those swaps (well, if we haven't all then some of us are creepy perfect because how can you not?! )
And if you really do want some notecards, I may do them again in a SSS but I also am totally open to personal swaps (and don't stress if you can't commit right now - I'll be around )
I have received my lovely buttons from Eiseldora and my marvelous minky scarf from GlassKicker but I'm actually not sure where they are right now since my husband "puts things away" and then doesn't remember where they are. I'm sure I will stumble upon them soon and will post pics as soon as I do
I did get my vinyl wristlet today!!! (ooh and aah as appropriate)