Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting into the Christmas Spirit (or at least trying to)

It is getting closer to Christmas and I am getting in the mood to start making ornaments.  Been looking at various pieces of jewelry on Pinterest.  As stated before, many of my ornament ideas come from pendants, earrings and other pieces of jewelry, especially if I am designing ornaments for a miniature tree.  Sometimes, the piece can be enlarged to “normal” ornament size just by increasing the size of the beads, other times not and the enlarged ornament will need to be re-worked to include the additional use of beads.  With an increase in the number of beads, also comes the increase in weight from the additional supplies.

Thinking about doing more of the wooden spool ornaments from last year, already have eight designs for people who are fans of the University of Alabama, and my godson will be ‘graduated’ from Mickey to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which have been designed to make four different ornaments.

Over the years several people have received miniature trees from me and I have about four (4) 2-foot trees in storage that I thought about making with the possibility of selling.  Usually each tree has 80 to 130 mini lights on them mixing both battery-powered as well as outlet, usually will use white lights.  I will put about 100 miniature hand-made ornaments, 25 different styles with four ornaments placed around the tree.  Most of the ornaments will be between 0.5 inch and 2 inches in height so that the ornaments are in scale with the tree.  The first tree I made 10 years ago, had over 40 pairs of earrings mixed in with the miniature ornaments.  Since then, I have been on the look-out for earring designs which I can make as miniature ornaments.

Have many old designs of miniatures from past years which I already have extra ornaments hanging up and have ‘discovered’ several more that can easily be turned into miniature ornaments.  So the new trees would have enough variation of ornaments so each tree won’t look a-like.   I try to make four of each design so that one can be placed on each quarter of the tree with two of them placed on the top half and two on the bottom half.

The only thing on the tree I usually don’t make is the tree topper, I will purchase a pre-made miniature topper but will add elements to it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Exchange for 2015

With a New Year starts a new rotation of individual quarterly exchanges: February-April; May-July and August-October.  For this quarter’s exchange, I decided to use some of the ornaments left over from 2014 Christmas.  Many of the ornaments I made used wooden spools, painted with finger nail lacquer and I used scrap-booking paper (along with paper I designed).  I decided to add another element to the left over ornaments, to create a new design.  Several years ago, I purchased a gross of various Christmas jewelry which had lots of Christmas themed charms.



The tools I used to make the new ornaments.




Here’s a shot of the elements used in the ornaments.  Inside the spindle hole I used 6mm faux pearls to help stabilize the ornament, preventing it from sliding back and forth on the 20 gauge wire.  Went though and replace the head-pin with an eye-pin which allowed the dangle to be attached.  Had four different charms, with four different colored spools.


 All four finished re-purposed ornaments.





The ornaments will be mailed to Nova Scotia later this week.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finally got the rest of the ornament photographs processed.  Here are the rest of the 2014 ornaments I gave for Christmas this past year.  These two beaded chandeliers went to a co-worker's daughters.  Each year they have received a Pink or Purple ornament.
 


Was getting tired of the pearl teardrops so I changed to fluted metal teardrops and switched to 3mm pearls in lieu of the metal beads.

Additional spools that I gave.  Large snowflake:


Small snowflake:


 

Additional 2 Mickey Mouse ornaments:


Small ornaments which were given as a set:
 






Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Ornament Style - Wooden Spools

I have lots of variations on the decorating the wooden thread spools over the past year, so I thought I would do some for Christmas 2014.  I used finger nail lacquer to paint the spools, usually it took three coats, so it isn’t an ornament to make in an evening, but you can ‘assembly line’ the process by having several spools being made at a time.  I used both the medium and large wooden spools available through many craft stores.

I was also able to customize the spools using both scrap-booking paper and searching images on the internet.  I few I had to use my Graphic Design background by taking a couple of elements, such as the houndstooth background and over laying the Alabama “A”.  Still have a few to go, but here are the ones which have been photographed and edited.

The Alabama ornaments will be going to several friends who are fans.








The Mickey Mouse ornaments will be going to my latest god-child who just turned 2.  Have four (4) but need to re-take the red spool as well as the white spool.



 The Minions will be going to another friend who loves them.








The red spool with the musical notes on pine colored paper were sent out to one of the ornament exchange groups I am a member of.  Original was going to send the holographic gold large spools, but I forgot them at the office so I substituted the red spools.  I also have green spool with crimson paper.



The Ren & Stimpy ornaments are going to the mother of my god-child while his father will be one set of the Alabama spools.



The Doctor Who spools are for a friend who enjoys the Matt Smith years.




Still to go are some snowflake spools, both large and small.  These will be done on spools painted white and light blue.  The metal connectors will be silver-toned and I have some small snowflakes which will dangle from the bottom.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Exchange ornaments

This year I had three (3) different handmade ornament exchanges from two different Yahoo groups.  I have been involved in ornament exchanges for almost 20 years.

I had two exchanges which were from the Yearly Ornament Exchange group.  Those that are signed-up are assigned to groups of (usually) four others and everyone makes an ornament for each person.  And if everything works out, you will receive four handmade ornaments.  No style or medium is set so you can (and usually) get four different ornaments.  In past years, I have received ornaments made from beads, polymer clay, wire, cross-stitch, plastic canvas, paper, cloth, wood, and puzzle pieces.  These have been both religious and secular in nature.  I will do the same ornament for each exchange partner unless they are duplicated in both groups, then I will make another ornament, usually same designed but a different color or different focal element.

The third exchange group is from the Christmas All Year group.  This group you sign-up and the co-ordinator instructions have many ornaments you need to make.  One rule is that the ornaments which you make all have to be the same. So that when the ornaments are re-packaged, everyone in the exchange will receive the same ornament from you.  This the magic number was eight (8).  Trying a new ornament design for this group and hope everyone likes it.

Will be posting photos of both ornaments I send out after Thanksgiving, along with instructional photos of the new design and variations on the theme.

On the personal gift/ornaments front,   I usually joke with people that I have several lists I make at Christmas, an “A” list, a “B” list and a “C” list.  The C-list gets a card, the B-list I will buy something for and the “A”-list will get an ornament or a set of ornaments. 

The lists are not set in stone as this year I found a ceramic Krampus head I bought for a friend, and my soon-to-be step daughter and husband, I have Egyptian glass ornaments which will go with the set I gave them last year.  They married last year and I gave them a group of four blown ornaments as a way to start their own ornaments.  They had a baby in February of this year so I will be making her a little commemorative ornament with her name and birthday date on it.  I am planning on making 2 of these, one for the tree and the other sealed to be given to her when she moves out on her own, so she will have her own set of personal Christmas ornaments.

I have many ornaments in various stages of creation.  Many people will be receiving personal ornaments this year.  I have one person who loves the Minion characters from the “Despicable Me” movies, another enjoys “Doctor Who”, several who pull for Alabama, UNC or NC State, and another who loves Mickey Mouse (okay he is only 2 years old).  I have either found pre-printed fabric and scrap-booking paper in these themes, but I always have had to create copy to use.  Luckily, I have a very nice commercial laser printer available to me through work, as well as the programmes (Adobe Creative Suite Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) and knowledge to make my own compositions.  Sometime my job does come n handy outside of work.  So Deb will get four Minion theme ornaments, Matt will get two Doctor Who theme ornaments.  Chuck and Little Jimmy will received four Alabama ornaments each, Ayden - two (maybe four) Mickey Mouse.  Robert a new set of UNC ornaments, Roger and (another little) Jimmy will receive NC State ornaments.  Others like a specific color, I’ve got an Orange person, a Pink person, a Purple person, and a Dark Blue person, another person likes the color combination of White, Black and Gold.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The latest ornament plus visions of future ornaments

Have started on the ornaments for this year's exchanges.  Making the teardrop dangles currently, then will start the actual construction of the individual ornaments.  Will make at least 12 of these, then I'll start on the individual ornaments.  Have a few 'special' ornaments to make such as an Irish flag version; plus several rainbow; a black seed bead, pearl accent & teardrops, and gold version; and several non-beaded ornaments.


I used this ornament as the 2nd Quarter Exchange and liked it so much that for the Annual Ornament Exchanges I am making extra.  It is different enough from last year's ornament design that I thought about using it for many of the people I give to at Christmas. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting back in the saddle

Aside from making the recycled icicles (previous post), I was finishing my "Pay It Forward" gifts, each person who agreed to "Pay It Forward" received a set of miniature dangles made with rhinestone rondelles, glass teardrops, metal beads and beadcaps.


There were ten colors of rondelles and I was lucky enough to find seed beads in a close match to the rhinestones.  Small and delicate enough for a miniature tree, the over all length was around 3 inches.

I also had a contest to name the person portraying Santa in the photo I am using as my Facebook cover photo.  The first person to correctly identify him would receive something during the year.  The received a set of pearl dangles which were around 5 inches tall.  Another good size for a miniature tree or could be used on a regular sized tree.