Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Memories Keepsake Frame

I have so wanted to create a Christmas Memories Keepsake Frame after having seen one illustrated in "Gooseberry Patch Christmas all Through the House". From the kindness of readers who have sent me vintage whatnots, the time is finally here.

Supplies gathered; a vintage Christmas hankie was sent to me by a reader of my blog as well as vintage tomato red rick rack, an inexpensive white frame, a very rare photograph of my husband and his siblings.

Scrapbook paper traced the size of the frame glass. The glass will be the backing for the project.

Rick rack hot glued in place every two inches.

A fat-quarter of fabric is folded in half to create a two-layered thickness. A center found, 1/2" pleats made towards the center line and ironed crisply.

Using my frame as a guide, I center my fabric on my paper and determine where I need to create my outside edge pleat. It is just at the inside edge of the frame.Make a finger crease and then iron crisply.

I have repeated this step on the other side using my frame again for the placement of the crease.

 I have cut off two corners of my hankies and centered them over the pocket openings.

I have used the creases of the pockets to determine where to fold inwards the edges of the hankies. Iron and then slip into the created pockets.

I promise this project took only an hour to make! A last step, I slipped card stock between the two folded layers of fabric for a nice presentation.

Ready for final assembly, I have centered my pockets about 3/4th of the way down my cut out background paper. Fold back the left pocket and run a bead of hot glue down center line. Fold pocket back in place and press on center line to smooth.

 In turn, lift the outer edges of the pockets and hot glue down length.

On back of project, I have hot glued outer edges of fabric layers ONLY to glass. The bottom edge is kept in place when inserted into frame to prevent bunching. Place project inside frame. replace backing panel for hanging.

The ABSOLUTE fun part for me was tucking in the tuck-ins I have been sent in the mail. Little silver frames hold photos of my husband in his snow suit.

Childhood Scrabble letters added last. Christmas Memories to last a lifetime!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Snow Cute on a ME Monday

Since becoming a part of this creative community, I am having such fun revisiting the pages of Home Companion with the thought that perhaps I can make for myself some of the wonderful crafts to be found. I thought I would share with you my attempt to recreate this adorable snowman candy container in the hopes that you will be inspired to create one as well.

With my "use what's on hand" crafting philosophy, an empty vintage jar with a lovely shape will become my base. A Styrofoam ball becomes the base for my snowman. Creative Paperclay purchased at Michaels for $6.00, a bit of water to wet your fingers.

I am like you in that I don't know if I can make something I see, but I do have faith that I can "work at it" until the cuteness reveals itself to me. Flatten Styrofoam by pressing it on hard surface. Keep clay you are not using in saran wrap to keep from drying out.

I have no idea what proper technique I should be using, but I know I need a snowman shape! Press small amounts of the clay with your thumb onto the surface of the ball. You want to "feel" the same thickness under your thumb. A thin layer will dry more quickly.

I notice in the photograph the cheeks seem slightly raised, two round balls created as well as carrot shaped nose; I have used my pencil point to scar the clay for attaching pieces.

Press shapes onto surface. Dip fore finger into water and begin to smooth edges of shapes. The paper clay is magical and very forgiving to beginners. I just kept working at the shapes until they appealed to me.

Check the photograph in the magazine, check my work, close enough! Let dry overnight.

While my snowman is drying, I work to create a base for him to rest. My jar does not have a lid, thinking cap on again. I have traced the mouth of my jar on cardboard, and then cut slightly larger to accommodate the jar's threading.

Trace cutout cardboard circle twice onto printed paper, pink around drawn line. Cut strip of paper to fit over threads of jar neck, two printed paper, one card stock. I have pulled them between my thumb and pen surface to give them a rounded shape. Glue stick layers together, the "Sandwich Method".

Fit strips to jar neck, hot glue overlapping edges.

Bead of hot glue along strip edge, center round base. I have created crepe ruffles for the snowman's collar.

 Hot glue edges of ruffles to form circle. Apply dollop of glue to center of round base, form rosette twice.

I have used craft paint and a slightly stiff brush to apply the simple colors shown in the magazine example. Paint white, repaint cheeks white again adding small amount of pink while still wet. Back of paintbrush is used to make black face dots.

At this point I'm not sure my funny little snowman will end up looking like the example, but I forge on!

A step I should have thought of earlier but didn't, my pencil inserted in the bottom to hold the head as I glitter. I used Modge Podge as my adhesive because it is what I had on hand, but any white craft glue with a little water will work just as well. I used MS glitter purchased at Michael's. It is very fine and just wonderfully sparkly.

A Very Merry hat is made from a paper cone and tinsel stem, hot glue in place. My little snowman is as sweet as can be and a perfect place to hold my white poms, a little skier girl add charm to the scene.

This is my hard working snowman. He's all business keeping my Christmas red ribbon collected in one spot. I'm smiling, I hope you are as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mrs. Rhodes

My mother's ability to meet new and interesting people had an unexpected way of trickling down into my reserved and shy world. She would come into my room and announce I would be taking some lesson or another from someone who was now her friend. This is how I came to take piano lessons from Mrs. Rhodes.

Mrs. Rhodes lived in an older neighborhood whose houses had been built just after World War II. Postage stamp small, cookie cutter cute, several steps up to knock on the door. A very thin woman with not a smile to been seen, a cane at her side,  motioned me to the piano bench just inside the door.

John Thompson red primer set above the keys, a small red spiral notebook given at the end of the lesson with practice warnings made very clear. Mrs. Rhodes was not someone to tolerate a student who did not practice. I was in fear of Mrs. Rhodes.

Trepidation soon set in, fingers shaking over keys I knew by heart, taps to the wrists if ever they should sag. A sticker placed at the top of the page signaling satisfaction complete. I begged my mother not to make me go, Mrs. Rhodes had a heart of stone.

Christmas holidays approaching, good cheer not to be found, John Thompson red clutched to my chest, doorbell waiting, four o'clock dread. A different Mrs. Rhodes greeted me at the door.

Every surface, every nook and cranny, from the ceiling to the mantle, from the kitchen to the piano was decked in red and green. Poinsettias and garlands, stockings and packages, holiday scenes for the eye to catch, Christmas cards one after the other hung along the ceiling. I could not believe my eyes.

Page after page of stickers at the top, red notebook practice warning, satisfaction complete. Mrs. Rhodes set aside her cane and began to play along with me. She began to play alone. City sidewalks and silver bells, I didn't want the moment to end.

I would take lessons from Mrs. Rhodes for four more years and came to love my days in her small home. Not a single day would pass that I didn't practice for hours in the hopes of pleasing Mrs. Rhodes. My brother would tire of my endless attempts at perfection and would push me aside to play my pieces through perfectly by ear.

My brother is a gifted pianist who teaches now at school. At Christmas time my brother will tell me he can see red and green through the windows of Mrs. Rhodes home. I didn't know she suffered terribly from arthritis and was always in great pain. I like to believe the Christmases I spent with Mrs. Rhodes let me see who she was at heart.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Peppermint Sledding Ornament

How sweet are these little ice skating ornaments for Vivian's swap! They look as though they are preparing to step on the ice of a skating extravaganza.

Chilly and wonderfully cold today, a perfect day to begin working on my Peppermint Sledding Ornaments. Oh my! so many steps with such tiny pieces.

Simply sweet faces painted, the backs of paint brushes used to make dots.

The same pattern pieces are used as were with the ice skating ornament. Use Tacky Glue to adhere white felt trim. White snow glitter would also be wonderful for the edging. Allow to dry.

A dab of hot glue at center of neckline. Slightly overlap back of dress, hot glue as well. Bow: 2 strands floss thread through first pom, tie bow leaving needle on thread, thread second pom, cut ends. Use Tacky Glue to adhere to collar of dress. After boots are glued on, legs will be crossed as though sitting.

Cut chenille arms slightly longer than sleeves, hot glue to back of sleeve. Free cut mittens and hot glue in place. Crook wrist to rest on sled edge. Boot: Apply small amount of hot glue to back of stem, place in center of boot piece, apply hot glue to one side of boot and fold over to meet other sandwiching between your fingers. Use sharp scissors to cut away any glue showing. Hot glue pearl beads in place. Fold legs. Head piece: a little cone hat would be cute or silver tinsel. I have cut a strip of felt and snipped away the back of a pom to make it flat. Hot glue is used.

 A 1/3rd measuring cup is just the size to create the sledding saucer. Trace on folded over foil with pencil (makes easier not to tear). I have placed foil circle inside a bowl shape and used my fingers to give foil a bit of a lip for tinsel stem to be added. Size is the same as circumference of measuring cup. Snip excess. Hot glue to foil.

First one to the bottom!