December 22, 2008

last-minute ornaments

(posted today at f.pea)

Scissor ornament

Last year I first tried my hand at making some d├ęcoupage ornaments.

This is a fancy French way of saying that I glued some stuff on glass balls from the store. Sadly, the balls weren't hand-felted from locally-raised sheeps' fleece or anything like that, they were just on sale after Christmas. Glass (or glass-like) ornaments also turn up in the thrift stores right after Christmas, which is a good way to both be more green, and to stock up if you're one to plan holiday projects 11 months in advance.

Anyhow, last year I really had a great time with it, and decided to do it again this year. This is a fun project for one evening at home with some hot chocolate and a new album of holiday songs. It's a very kid-friendly project, as well. I'd love to see versions made from kids' drawings!

Last year I made a set of Darth Vader ornaments for a friend, made with dark purple glass balls, and Vader pictures from a comic book. This year I decided to use drawings I'd done myself of little crafty scenes, and a couple of boxes of silver balls, to make ornaments as little gifts for my friends.

Here's everything you need for this project:


1. A box of ornaments; 2. A set of small drawings (small enough to fit on your ornaments, which is pretty small); 3. Mod Podge glue and a paintbrush for applying it; 4. Colored pencils or crayons; 5. Scissors; 6. Glitter (optional, but why would anyone skip the glitter??).

Just color the little pictures and cut them out carefully. Don't use markers to color them - the glue could make the colors run. Crayons or colored pencils work best. When trimming the pictures, I like to cut away as much white space as I can - this eliminates paper wrinkles when you glue them onto the ornaments.

Little drawings, colored

Paint the back of a picture with Mod Podge, and then carefully place it on the ornament. Don't worry if it doesn't lie flat at first. Paint over the top of the picture, smoothing it down as you go. There will probably be some minor wrinkles - just try to keep them in the blank spaces rather than in the drawing itself. Flatten them down with the handle of your paintbrush, and make sure that everything is lightly and smoothly painted over with glue.

Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Really, a light touch is plenty here. The ones I did when I was generous with the glitter don't look half as good.

That's it! You can do a whole box of ornaments on one mug of hot chocolate if you're quick.

Crafty ornaments

Okay Sew Greeners, I know you can come up with some ways to make this project even greener. I've been thinking about greener sources for the ornaments themselves (the thrift store, your attic...). What else could I do to make this a more eco-friendly project in the future??

December 2, 2008

Green Giving :: For the Kids

December has arrived, and Advent has begun in our house. The countdown to Christmas is a tradition brought from my own childhood where we would be rewarded daily with a new picture to discover behind the flap of a paper Advent calendar. In an effort to minimize "stuff" - and inspired by Stephanie - we made a move to a homemade "experiential" calendar a couple of years back, where every night would bring us a new activity. Build a Fort. Take a Walk to look at the neighborhood lights. Have breakfast for dinner. Write letters to Santa. Lie in the backyard and look at the stars. We tucked these ideas, written down on paper, into numbered miniature stockings I made out of felt and hung by the chimney with care.

There are many great ideas for handmade advent calendars to be found. A few from flickr:
Advent Calendar inspiration
1. first, 2. advent calendar, 3. Baby sock advent calendar..., 4. Advent garland, 5. Advent calendar for the boy, 6. advento, 7. advento, 8. stockings 1234, 9. Advent calendar, 10. advent calendar, 11. stockings_1234, 12. advent calendar

and more at the Creative Advent Calendars group.

And this great pattern over at the Purl Bee.

Another source of holiday inspiration, the New American Dream website is chalk-full of ideas. I find myself rereading many of the articles this time of year. A good start here.