25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 12

I suffer from a condition known in the crafting communities as Startitis.  There are people in the world who will finish one project before they start another.  And then there are some who will get distracted and start a new project, and then a new project, and then a new project.  People like me.

Sometimes I get so distracted that it takes me a while to go back to a project and finish it.  I started this sequin ornament way back in December 2011.  I also stopped working on it way back in December 2011.


So yeah, it’s taken me a while to get back to it.


It took me two thirds of Forrest Gump, but I’ve finished it.


It was really hard getting myself to stop actually.  There was always another tiny piece of polystyrene that needed covering up.  Teeny tiny specks.  But I enjoyed doing it.  It was soothing.  And I kept thinking of other ways to lay the sequins, or patterns that I could make.  I expect that in the New Year I’ll get some supplies and do some more.

25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 11

Day 11 revisits my new interest in pens: specifically dip pens and writing with paint.  I’ve been meaning to see if using acrylic paint as an ink is as successful as using watercolours – as I wrote about in that post.

I picked a nice bright Christmas red, and got started.  I had a couple of false starts while I tried to work out the right consistency..


…but I got there in the end.


After that I got to doodling.


I still need to work on the amount of ink/paint I’m loading on to the nib – you can see a few blobs here and there.  I plan on redoing that gift Zentangle next year, to see how my skills have improved.

25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 10

Day 10 is an old traditional favourite… paper snowflakes!

Now, I used to do them like this.  I’d take a square of paper, and fold it in half diagonally over and over again until it looked like this, drawing a curve to make a rounded snowflake.


I’d draw on a pattern at random…


…and then cut it out.


At which point I’d be vaguely cheery until I saw some of the fancier ones online.  This year I did some research!  First of all, I’ve been folding the paper all wrong.  This video shows you how you’re meant to do it:

So I made one, to keep as a template for next year, and a whole bunch to play with today.


Now, I’ve collected a LOT of snowflake designs in the past, and I plan on getting round to all of them eventually.  But I started with the three designs posted in the middle of the tutorial video.


My folding isn’t particularly precise, and I was using the worst pair of scissors I own, but don’t they look fab?


After that I took a picture I’d found on Twitter…


..zoomed in and figured out the patterns.


They don’t look like the originals, cos I didn’t have all the angles and things right, but they do look good.

The last two I improvised, and they’re definitely better than my old style.


The one on the left especially points out the failings of my foldings.  The centre is all squiffy.  I need to work on my precision.

There are seven hundred bajillion thousand snowflake designs online if you know what to search for and where to look.  I have a good percentage of those sitting in my ideas folder, so I’m fairly sure there’ll be more paper snowflakes this year 🙂

25 Days of Christmas – Day 8

Day 8 is a nice quick simple one.  Well, a simple blog.  The process itself is a little harder.  I made a Christmas notebook using coptic stitch binding.

Step 1:  Gather your supplies.


There are two cover pieces, with holes punched.  And there are 7 signatures, of three folded pieces of paper each, also with holes punched.  Also included are string, beeswax for the string, and a curved needle.

For the method, I used the same tutorial I used when I made this notebook.

Et voila!


Stay tuned for Day 9, which brings us back on track 🙂

25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 7

Day 7 was, apart from being 2 days ago, a failure.  But it was an interesting experiment in a craft I don’t have a lot of experience with.  Once upon a time I was intrigued by chainmail and I made this very badly photographed bracelet.


That was back in 2010.  Since then an interest in chainmail has continued, but I’ve never really gotten around to working on it.  Then, when searching through my ideas folder for this 25 Crafts of Christmas thing, I found this picture and an attached scan from “Step By Step Wire Jewelry, Winter 2010” (The pattern was designed by Shelley Hubbs who has a website at Metaldesignz.com).


I thought, well they look fairly simple.  I could make those.  So I looked at the pattern, made a note of what rings I needed, and had a look on eBay.  The actual sizes required were 2.4mm and 4mm rings, which seemed VERY small to me.  So I tried to maintain the ratio and scale up.

Which brings us up to December.  I gathered my supplies…


…and started off reasonably well.


At this point I realised that all the smaller rings needed to be closed, and in coloured pairs.  So I spent a good hour doing that, and getting a small sore on the end of one finger as a result.  But I had lots of pairs.


And then I continued.  I still had two rows to go when I realised that it wasn’t quite working..  Here’s where I stopped.


With context, you can see that it’s meant to be a Christmas tree, but there are a few problems.

The ring size ratio is off – I really should have gone with the original sizes.  The green rings that I bought are way too soft – I didn’t even need pliers to manipulate them.  The multi-coloured rings I bought, from a different eBay seller – are all slightly different sizes, and different finishes.

Being unhappy with your materials is a surefire way to be unhappy with your finished product, so I stopped there and called it an experiment.  In the New Year, when my finances have recovered a little from the holidays, I’ll get some rings from an online beading shop that my friend Cayden uses, and I’ll get the proper sizes, and I’ll have another go.


25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 6

This will be a short post, because I am a muppet and forgot to take progress photos.  I made this cute little felt Christmas tree.


It was made essentially in the same way as the button tree back on day 1, but with random squares of green felt.

It’s simple, but effective.

(Yes, I know it’s the 8th today.  Hopefully I’ll get at least one more post up today.)

25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 5 Part 2

Okay, so I did warn you that I might not be able to keep to daily posts.  A combination of depression-induced sleepiness and trouble with the craft have put me a little behind.

Day 5 was supposed to be a nice simple Christmas cross stitch.  I’ve been experimenting with waste canvas with the hopes of being able to make patches one day.  I have a blog post all set up for January about my first attempt.  Day 5 was to be my second attempt.

I cut my felt and my waste canvas and basted them together.


And then I got to stitching.  The problem I have is that when using waste canvas you’re supposed to stitch through these teeny tiny holes…


…which are really hard to see amongst all the other holes. The fabric is made that way so you can easily pull out the strands once you’re done, but when you look at the normal cross stitch fabric (aida), you can see why it’s so difficult.  This is where you put the needle in aida.


So I’ve been having real trouble with the waste canvas.  I got this far into my project…


…and I was really unhappy with it.  So I decided to do it on aida and see if I could just pull the strands out.  So I cut my felt and my aida, and basted them together, and had a much much easier time of the stitching.


Looks good.  Next step, remove the basting stitches, trim the aida a little and attempt to remove the strands one by one.  It did not go well.


At this point I decided to go back to the original piece of waste canvas and have another go at the teeny tiny flipping holes.  The little bit of blue on the right.  I also had a go at using the bigger holes, in the hopes that I’d still be able to remove the threads – that’s the blue square.


Removing the threads didn’t go so well.  I got all but one out of the little piece, but the stitches were all distorted.  I got part way through the square and had trouble.  I also removed the threads from the original, badly stitched, attempt.


I was getting exceedingly frustrated at this point.  Very, VERY frustrated.  I looked online to see if I could find a waste canvas with more stitches per inch – maybe that would be easier to use.  I searched for YouTube videos, I googled tutorials.  And I calmed down a little.  I remembered the first rule of learning something new: practice, practice, practice.

I recognised that although it was harder, removing the threads whilst stitching through the bigger hole was still possible.  So I set my horrible red felt aside and got a fresh piece of a nice blue.  I stitched myself a little gift…


I trimmed it down and removed as much as I could easily.


And then slowly and gently, and patiently, I kept going.


The stitches are still more distorted than I’d like, but I guess I still need more practice.

25 Crafts of Christmas – Day 4

Day 4 is relatively simple, because I’m at a craft fair today.  Well, it was supposed to be simple.

I’ve recently become the owner of some circle punches, for various reasons which I will be getting into in the new year.  And so when I was rooting through my ideas folder and came across this picture…


… I thought, Ooo, I can do that.  And so I grabbed my bag of circles…

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… and dug out all the green ones.  And then I got my box of craft paper and punched myself some more green ones, until I had a lot.


The next step was to cut and glue down a trunk – although I couldn’t find any brown paper so it’s a plant pot.


The next step was a bit of experimentation.  I laid out some circles in various ways…

…until I decided the winging it technique works best.  And so I started gluing.  Which is of course when one of the cats decided to come and play.


After a whole bunch of kitty cuddles, I got back to my little tree.


I got a bit carried away and ended up going over the edges a wee bit, but I’m pleased with how it looks.


The circle with a star wasn’t punched deliberately, but when I found it in my pile of green circles I knew it had to go on top.

I have lots and lots of green circles left…


…so I may well make one (or three) more 🙂