Monday, 19 December 2011

Crochet Snowflake

Just a quick post to show you the crochet snowflake I made earlier, as you know my husband and I usually try to make some new decorations for the tree each year. This year I have already made quite a few things but I set myself the challenge of making a crochet snowflake... so here it is.

Not too bad for a first attempt... I hope anyway. It is made with metallic silver thread and I was thinking of making a garland of them for the window but I have dropped the thread in my coffee and had to wash it. Really hope it will be OK but it seems to be taking ages to dry so one hanging decoration will have to do. I got the pattern for this snowflake from pinterest, if you would like to make one I'll post the link to attic24 here.

Bark snowman

There are some trees near us that seem to shed some of their bark in Autumn every year, it's very distinctive because they look camouflaged while this is happening. This year we collected a few pieces to see if we could make something from it. The children love to work with all different materials.

It's best to cut it to shape just after you collect it as the more it dries out the more brittle it gets. This bark was only collected from the ground after it was shed, no trees were harmed. The bark was then painted, we chose white for a snowman.

Then added all the felt extras, like a scarf, hat and face. If you look closely at the snowman the texture of the bark shows through the paint, and I have been thinking that it would be a beautiful texture for an owl, so I may have to try that too.

This is our finished snowman, he will either have a ribbon to hang him from the tree or maybe he will be fixed to the front of a Christmas card.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Old Christmas Angel

We all have memories of Christmas past, for me opening the Christmas tree decorations every year holds so many memories of times past that I really need to pause to take it all in. There are the decorations for each of my children's first christmas, the one to symbolise our wedding, the beautiful vintage French ones my husband bought me, all the ones we have hand made over the last few years.... I could go on but first I would like to introduce you to a dear old friend of mine, this is her 22nd Christmas, she looks a little worse for wear but she has been greatly loved by lots of little children.

She is the sole survivor from a pack of three, still smiling and bringing cheer from behind her tired, faded blue eyes and tattered wings. This year I decided to try to make her some new friends, the idea came to me when I made the nature faeries for the Autumn solstice and I was quite excited when I found exactly the right type of small pine cone the other day.

To start with I cut the pine cone off the twig leaving a little stump, to insert into the bead for the head, this makes it a little stronger and a better fix for the bead using a hot glue gun.

Then traced round the old angel's wings onto the new wing material, I have used thin foam self adhesive sheeting, the other side is covered in silver glitter. I cut two wing shapes out for each angel and stuck them back to back to make both sides glittery but card would work just as well here.

Then we spray painted the new angels in silver, I really love the little acorn cup hats so decided to add these to our angels. These were also spray painted silver and had glitter sprinkled on top, my husband drilled the little holes so that we could add the string to the top to hang them from the Christmas tree.

Then you just need to assemble all the parts, we threaded silver thread through the hat and also added a little hair before we glued the hat to the head and the wings in place.

Three finished angels, I'm not sure whether to add faces or not so I have left them blank at the moment while I think about it.

Here they are together hanging on the tree, they look quite similar and I would love to think mine could last 22 years. I may keep a look out for something more angelic to use for the wings but in the meantime my youngest daughter loves them and has already given them a few kisses to welcome to the family.

This is one of the nature faeries that I made for the Autumn solstice, I sprayed him silver too so that he would kind of match the others.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Paper and glue snowman sculpture

We have recently been making seasonal models from paper and glue, we saw a more adult version on a Home made craft show with Kirstie Allsop. I loved the look of the birds on the show and may at some point try a decoupage model myself, the link shows you the one from the show. We have adapted the decorating slightly to fit in with what the children wanted to make.

First make the basic shape using scrunched up paper, we wanted to make a snowman so we scrunched up some newspaper balls and taped them into the correct shape. Be generous with the tape and cover the entire ball until you have a smooth shape. At this point it is easiest to paint over the tape with acrylic paint to give the glue something better to adhere to and leave to dry. On one of our models we missed out this step, the paper still sticks but may take a little extra glue.

Once your model is dry, use PVA glue and stick small pieces of paper all over it, a bit like papier mache. The artist on the television show used brightly coloured paper for this and produced a lovely decoupage effect but we used white paper, as we had plans for our models. My son decided to make a plesiosaur, not technically very seasonal but he loves dinosaurs. Instead of making scrunched up balls for this we had to mould the paper to the correct shape and tape on the limbs.

For the snowman, we covered him in glue and rolled him in a bag of fake snow so that his whole body was coated. Then we just stuck on his face and added a very simple felt scarf and tiny feet to complete the look... a very cute little snowman. Anything you can make out of newspaper and tape can be given the same treatment as you have seen with my son's plesiosaur, which he has decided to paint.

It is not finished yet as it needs another coat of paint, some facial features and a couple of coats of varnish to make it more durable, but I think it looks lovely.

Altered Wreath

Just a quick post to show you our door wreath, I brought the one below locally for just one pound 7 or 8 years ago, and for a couple of years we just hung it as it is with no alterations. 

But for the last few years we have been altering it quite a bit using the original wreath as a starter point. We have quite a large amount of overgrown ivy at the bottom of the garden, which comes in handy at this time of year for the decorations, the holly is also from a little bush by our front door and the pine cones collected from some of our many nature walks.

The ivy is very easy to intertwine through the twigs of the original wreath, I used some copper wire to fix a couple of pieces in place and for the pine cones. We have also added some hawthorn berries for extra colour, I really love these natural looking wreaths at the moment and because we have decorated it ourselves it can be made exactly the way we like it. My daughter helped me to collect the plants from our garden today, (well mostly she ran off with the trug) so it will hopefully add to the lovely family memories we have of the season.