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Does your gift list have you stumped? Can never figure out what to make for Great Aunt Felma?  Each day through December 24, we are featuring a fabulous gift tutorial!  Check out the 2017 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide for (free!) recipes, patterns and more.
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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Parent Gift Ideas 2 - old window collage on: December 19, 2004 12:51:53 PM
Follow-up to the story in my last post, this is what I did last year.

I saw these things at fleamarkets, they were totally overpriced, but kinda cute, and I thought "I'll just go home and make that." 

It's an old 6 or 4 pane window that had a solid piece attached as a back.  In between the back and the window were dried flowers, old photos, etc.  Some had scripty writing along the frame of a poem on one of the panes.  Basically, it's like a little rustic still life hanging on the wall, it looks like you're looking through the window at the stuff that's attached to the back.

So my folks have a real rustic, kind of country decor going on, they deal in antiques and stuff, and I made this last Christmas and they *luuuuved* it.

Took an old 6 pane window that was behind the house I was renting at the time.  It was missing a pane, but I think that adds to the charm.

I cut a back out of foam core that's the dimensions of the window.  To the front of this piece, I used spray adhesive to cover it in tea-dyed linen.  You could also use pretty paper or a nice paint-texture effect, but I was kind of last minute in it, and so are you, so fabric is quickest, full coverage with no drying time.  This is what you're going to see as a background when you're looking from the front through the window.

At this point, it's best to take a pencil or artist tape and mark on the background where the window frames will lie.  You want to avoid these areas so that nothing gets squished inbetween (this could keep the back from attaching flush) or at the least isn't visible.

Now I was going for the field of flowers look, so bought a pack of the bulk dried flower bouquet (the kind that has baby's breath, reeds, the cheapo flowers, there may be one or two really nice stems in it, but for the most part it's filler), and a few really interesting special dried flower pieces (cat tails, higher quality blooms, a spirally stick, etc,).  Lay them out on the background, try to make it where one of the nicer flowers shows in each top frame.  Don't worry if the stem isn't long enough to reach the bottom, this will be fixed later.  Now fill in by arranging the cheaper filler flowers.  Hot glue this whole mess on to the background.  Remember, it doesn't matter if the bottom of the stems don't line up.

Now, it's winter so most of the grass is dying.  You can go out and get a lot of dried blades.  This is going to cover up the stem ends and be the foreground.  I laid a length of tape out the width of the window, stuck all the grass ends on it just to keep them all together.  Then slowly and surely hot glued the grass on top of the flower stems.  It covers all that up and gives a nice foreground, something to look at through the bottom panes.  You could use moss as well.  I had an old bird nest I had been keeping, and I stuck it in the bottom corner. 

When all this is set, lay the window on top of the background you've created.  Carefully turn it upright, then over and staple or screw the foamcore to the back of the window frame.  Attach heavy screw eyes and wire for hanging.  Take care in this, it's very heavy and it will be ruined if it falls from the wall.

As far as the condition of the window frame, I knocked all the paint chips off that were loose, but it sitll had a nice weathered effect.  Did some dry brushing to dirty up the white paint. 

That's pretty much it.  Like I said, you can use old photos (sew them to the backing cloth with your sewing machine and leave the strings hanging at the end), letters, anything really.  Paint on the glass or the frame, you have three surface depths to work with (the front of the glass, back of the glass and background). The beauty of old windows is that everything inside is protected by glass, you don't need a frame because it's self framing. And the piece looks really substantial because it's huge and heavy, and it all looks like a lot more work than it is.  It took me an afternoon to make.  And if you get the window for free, it's cheap cheap cheap.

The hardest part is finding the window.  If you live in a neighborhood with older houses like I do, drive the alleys.  They're usually sitting out directly behind the house or behind a garage.  People don't like to throw things away, so they just put them out of sight and never think of them again.  Let your conscience be your guide as to the procurement method, but most people would let you have them if you asked, especially if you told them *sniff sniff* that you want them as a christmas present component for dying granny or whatever.  If you absolutely can't find one freerange, try calling window companies, they are often charged with getting rid of old windows once they're replaced.  You'll probably have to pay a little something for them since they do recycle the panes out of them, but it still shouldn't be more than $20. 

Sorry I don't have a photo, but I think it's pretty obvious what the idea behind the project is.  It's not something I'd like in my own home, but it's the perfect gift for a certain kinda person.

2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Misc. Gift Idea Brain Blockage / Parent Gift Ideas 1 - retro candy on: December 19, 2004 12:20:18 PM
Hi all. Delurking to share my solution for parental x-mas dilemma.

As we both get older, I find it increasingly difficult to gift my parents.  They have pretty much everything they need or want (in *my* pricerange anyway), so store-bought gifts are generally out unless they're completely mundane stuff that I'm not comfortable giving as a special gift. 

Also, handmade gifts are turning into one of those "Oh, look what Jes made... well isn't that nice" situations, and the aforementioned gift is never displayed or used.  What - am I eight years old again?  Yikes.

So, thought I'd share what I'm doing for them this year and what I did last year in hopes of helping out.  The project from last year is in a different thread because they're so totally different.

This year, I went to one of those vintage candy places online and bought up a bunch of 50s candy.  It's not actually 50 year  old candy, I think many of those companies never stopped making that stuff, it just came off the store aisles.  But it's amazing, all this great classic candy, ranging from .35 to .75 per piece, so you can make off with a lot for $20.  Package in a cool container covered in vintage fabric or decoupaged ephemera (still working on container ideas actually - anyone?).  The beauty of this is that it's not super-expensive, and I expect most anyone would be totally delighted to get all this great candy they remember from being a kid.  The site I shopped from was www.hometownfavorites.com   Beware, if you google "classic candy" many of the sites require you to order a box of each type, but this site sells by the piece.  The downside is that it has to be shipped, so you'd need to order NOW and choose a fast shipping option to get it time.  But I was totally at a loss and this has helped me out, thought someone else might like the idea too.  They go all the way back to the 20s, so this might be a good grandparent idea too, assuming they still eat candy.

Any clever ideas on packaging?  It would be nice to be able to keep with the vintage theme.

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