Monday, December 5, 2011

DIY Christmas Part 2

Today is another ornament day!  This time, bum bum bum...

Cranberry Wreaths!!!

Here's what you need:

Cranberries (we used just over 1 12oz bag to make 5 wreaths and a garland)
floral wire
scissors or wire cutters
hot glue gun!

Prepare yourselves, because making these is ridiculously easy.  Ready? Here we go. Decide how big you want your wreath.  Our wire pieces were between 12-14 inches.  String cranberries onto wire.  Twist ends together, and make a hook out of the wire that you've cleverly left over for that very purpose.

Now you could stop here, but aren't these just crying out for a bow?

We tied about 10 inches of gold ribbon from our stockpile around the twisted wire at the top into a bow. Fuss with the bow till it looks nice.  Then, put a big dollop of hot glue on the back, covering the wire and some of he bow on both sides to hold everything where you want it.

It's hard to see in that photo, but the blurry part in the middle is a big dollop of glue.  I promise. :)

Even easier than yesterday, huh?  I think the cranberries were 2 for $5 at the market, so 5 bucks made us wreaths, garland, and cranberry sauce for dinner some night this week.  Hooray!

To make a garland, thread a needle with a long piece of thread.  Knot the ends together, then string cranberries to your hearts content, or until your garland is long enough, or till you run out of thread or cranberries.  Your choice. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DIY christmas, Part 1

My sister and I just got an apartment together.  It's her first time moving out of the house, and I'm trying to save a ton of money while my husband J is deployed, so we are both on pretty tight budgets.  It's Christmas time, though, and we can't NOT decorate for Christmas.  I can't believe you'd suggest such a thing.  So we started to plot and scheme and google and try to figure out how we could still decorate without spending a lot (or any) money.  This is part one of what we came up with.

Dried Fruit as Ornaments!

Here's what you will need. (Note, I took this photo and then after I started making them, I decided hot glue was easier than a needle and thread)

Dried fruit (We sliced two naval oranges and one apple crossways so that the 'star' in the middle is showing and then put them in the food dehydrator over night.  Actually, we left them in there for too long, so our fruit is quite, shall we say, crispy. :)  Anyways, if you don't have a food dehydrator, putting them in the oven for a few hours on a low heat will work well.)
Contrasting ribbon, to hang them with
Hot glue gun (not pictured)
Measuring device (not actually strictly necessary) 

Place a small drop of hot glue on the wrong side of a piece of ribbon (mine was about 8.5 inches, but play around with your fruit and see what you like best)

Place the other end of the ribbon on the hot glue so that the right side is facing up.  This creates a lovely little loopy.  Next, pick which side of your fruit slice you want to be the front.  Pictured below are both sides of an orange slice.  I liked the way the one on the left looks best, so I decided to make that the front.  Obviously, this is a matter of personal preference.

Glue the ribbon, right side touching the fruit, to the orange slice.  I used a pretty decent amount of glue here to make sure it stayed put.  Probably, that isn't necessary, but I don't need one more thing for my dog to throw around the house like it's a toy. :)

And there is your finished ornament! Easy peasy, and cheap, too.  I think that the oranges were a dollar a piece at my local market on sale and the ribbon was 2 dollars at the fabric store for 18 ft, of which I used about half, so that makes the 10 ornaments I made cost about 3 big ones.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.

To make the apple slices, do exactly the same thing, substituting one fruit for another.  Change up the ribbon color if desired. Also, spraying the apple slices so they glitter would be a fun idea.  Have you made any ornaments this year? I'd love to see them! Stay tuned for more cheap and easy DIY Christmas ideas!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Party Invites

The other day, I made invitations for a Christmas Party my mom is having.  I'm rather pleased with how they turned out.

I used all Close To My Heart products, but of course this basic design can be modified in countless ways to suit your supplies and needs.  You need 3 different colors of paper, 3 different colors of ink, sparkles if desired, glue, and brads and a punching kit of some kind, also if desired.

The card is 4''x5.5'', and I stamped on the front and back so it doesn't open.  I used Colonial White (a bit of an ivory color), Grey Flannel, and Pacifica.  For each card, you need a 4"x5.5"piece of Colonial White, a 4"x1.5"piece of Pacifica, and two pieces of Grey Flannel, one at 6"x.5", and one at 2"x3.5".  I made 20 cards.  It was a lot of cards.

You also need 3 shades of ink.  I used Grey Flannel, Pacifica, and Outdoor Denim.

You also need several stamps.  I placed them on both sides of the blocks to make things easier.  I used stamps from four different sets.  The christmas tree and the sentiment  were from the October Stamp of the Month set.  The border is from the set that comes with the Dreamin' Workshop on the Go.  The tag with the who what when where stamps is from the September Stamp of the Month set.  The snowflakes are the medium and large snowflakes from the Snow Flurries set.

First, in Pacifica, ink the edges of the blue strips using a sponge.  Then, with Grey Flannel, stamp a row of medium snowflakes across the top.

Ink the edge of the white card with Outdoor Denim.  Attach the blue strip to the top of the white card.  Stamp the tree using Pacifica, and the stump with Grey Flannel.  Stamp the Sentiment in the desired position.  Add a large snowflake in Grey Flannel.  

Ink the back of the card (I liked how it looked with a thicker border on the back than on the front).  Stamp the large snowflake, using Grey Flannel all across the back.  I like how it looks with some lighter and some darker snowflakes.  To get this look, ink your stamp, stamp once on a piece of scrap paper, then stamp on your card. This technique is called stamping in 'second generation'.

Make the tag. Stamp using Outdoor Denim, then trim the card to fit the stamp.  Edge in Outdoor Denim if desired. (I meant to, and then was so tired of edging at this point after making 20 cards that I didn't.)

Next, the ribbon!  This is the hard part.  Stamp the skinny grey piece with the border stamp using Grey Flannel ink.  Score at the following points. 1.25", 1.5",  2.25",  2.5",  3.5",  3.75",  4.5",  4.75".

Fold.  It's really hard to see in this picture, but basically, you start at the middle and make it look like a folded ribbon. The finished piece will be 4" long.  It's very helpful to use more glue than you think you will need as the ribbon has a bad habit of unsticking.

If you'd like to use a brad, now is the time to do it.  Glue the tag to the back of the card, then pierce the tag and card where you want the brad.  Add brad.

Attach the paper ribbon to the front, under the snowflakes, cleverly hiding the back of the brad. (Isn't that cool!) The ribbon might look a little wonky, but it's pretty easy to straighten it out as you glue it down to make it straight and pretty looking.  Unless wonky is your thing, in which case, totally go for it!

Add a sparkle to the snowflake on the front of the card, fill out the back, and your invitations are ready to be sent.  Let me know how yours turned out!

To purchase these products, or anything else by Close To My Heart, check out my friend Elizabeth's blog Broken Treasures.