Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 16

My apologies... it has been nearly a week since my last post so I have a bit of catching up to do. I've worked full time this week, plus done over time, plus done a couple of after hours evenings on my other work so to be honest I've not had time to do any crafting or posting, so I hope you can forgive me.

Day 16 - Egg Nog

Yes I know it's a really big stretch to say this is Christmas Crafting... but I crafted it with my husband's assistance, so I'm counting it. This was a first for both of us as we had never tried egg nog before. Yes I know it is generally a cold weather drink (Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere is cold) and yes I know it is the middle of Summer here in New Zealand... but we served it cold!

I found an easy peasy recipe online - Best Recipes but modified it for what we had in the fridge and pantry at home.

Our modified recipe for Egg Nog

6 whole eggs (no separation as hubbie can't do that particular task)
1 C white sugar
1/2 t vanilla essence (as I didn't have vanilla extract)
1 C Malibu White Rum (the only non-premixed bourbon/whiskey or rum in the house at the moment)
1/4 t nutmeg (though we didn't measure it, just sprinkled what felt right)
2 C milk
1/2 pottle brandy cream
1 C cream (ordinary, unthickened, straight from the bottle)

Beat eggs until light and fluffy (note: use a bowl that is big enough to fit everything in so you don't need to change half way through making the recipe - for hubbie's benefit)
Gradually add vanilla, sugar and nutmeg while beating
Stir in milk, cream and brandy cream
Chill (all good in theory but we couldn't wait that long)
Sprinkle with a little sugar (really didn't need it) and/or nutmeg

Warning - as this recipe includes raw eggs, please do not consume if you are pregnant, elderly or very young... but then if you are any of those should you really be drinking it because of the alcohol????

Drink and enjoy... first sip, you taste a hint of rum... by the third sip... ohhh yeah, there it is!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - Gift Tags

I know some people really put some effort into creating some truly amazing gift tags... and I applaud you for your efforts but I have a youngish family who barely even look at the tags on their way to ripping the wrapping paper off to see what is hidden inside...
So I decided a few years ago that simple (aka quick and easy to make) was the way to go for me and this year has been no exception.
I was struggling for any idea on what to make for this year's tags. I'd been stalling really... the presents have just been piling up in my studio waiting for the inspiration to hit so I could wrap them up and label them to make sure they went to the right person.
And then it hit me... die cut!
I have a die cut machine (well several but shuuuuussssshhhhh)...
I have tag dies to use in my die cut machine...
I have other dies to use in my die cut machine that would make ideal embellishments for the tags...
Duh!!! Too easy...

Step 1 - pull out die cut machine
Step 2 - select die for tag base
Step 3 - select die for tag embellishment
Step 4 - select cardstock for tag
Step 5 - select patterned paper for embellishment
Step 6 - trim cardstock and patterned paper to size of die (to minimise wastage)
Step 7 - cut out as many tags and embellishments as I can get from selected cardstock and patterned paper
Step 8 - glue embellishment onto tag in opposite colours, with embellishment slightly off centre
Step 9 - add jute tie to tag
Step 10 - write to and from and add to parcel

From two sheets of cardstock and two 6" x 12" pieces of patterned paper I was able to make 36 tags... the exact number I needed to make. (Well OK  I could have done with maybe four more... I made do!!!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - Painted Glass Baubles

This is another Pinterest find... too many really great ideas on there... it's hard to choose favourites!!!

I bought some of these last year for some of my Christmas Crafts Challenges and really like using them, so after Christmas I picked up some more, slightly smaller than my first ones, on sale (bonus!!) with this particular craft in mind.
Last year's creations - music bauble, Sonia's tinsel bauble, beads bauble and joy bauble.

These first ones were made by carefully drizzling acrylic paint of various colours inside the baubles. Again not all acrylic paint is created equal... the more liquid the paint, the better (and easier) the flow around the inside of the glass bauble. I've included pictures on both my usual black background but also in front of white background as they look quite different.

Metallic red, silver and yellow. I really like the way these blended together. The silver was really thick though and didn't flow all that well. 

Navy, light blue and green. More gaps between the paint flows this time. All three paints were more liquid and I found it was much easier to get a flow down the inside walls of the bauble.

Pink and red... only two colours, so this left more gaps. Looks really cool below with the white background. 

Tried this using a hot pink glitter paint. The paint was quite runny so covered the inside of the bauble really easily but it looked really thin, not much substance and the glitter was not as obvious as I would have liked. This paint also took the longest to dry!!!! (It's probably still drying!!!)
While it was still wet, I carefully shook in a selection of other colours of glitter to give it a bit more oomph. The problem with this was that it meant it really didn't photograph well at all. My camera only focused on the outside of the near side but in real life it is quite transparent so you can clearly see the glitter on the inside.
 The last two baubles I decided to experiment a little with some alcohol ink. Very quick drying and quite smelly so use in a well ventilated area.
At first I didn't let one colour dry enough before I added the second colour, so it all ended up one jumbled colour that look like a big black blob in the bottom.
So I kept adding a bit more alcohol ink... then a bit more... then some more... and eventually got a density of colour that I liked. These both have two colours each to create these effects.
Despite the fact this bauble looks deformed... it's not... not sure why it turned out like this... maybe the lighting??

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 13

I know I'm late.... only a day or two but I've been doing overtime this week at my temping job... and this week by the time I got home I was just too knackered to do much!!! (But I'm really looking forward to the pay cheque!!!)

Day 13 - Secret Santa Swap - Part 2... this is what I received from my Secret Santa - Tracey

My parcel all wrapped up before opening... 
Close up of the decorative frame and insert on the top of the lid. 
 I really liked this idea. This is the inside of the lid. Tracey created a little pocket and slipped a postcard journal block inside. On the back of the journaling block, Tracey wrote a lovely message to me.
 The inside of the lid... without the journaling block in the pocket. Tracey accented parts of the image with glitter and dimensional magic... very cute!!
Inside the box after taking off the lid... hmmmm red, my favourite colour!! 
My Christmas box was filled to the brim with lots of scrappy goodness!! 
I can't believe all of this was squished inside. I really loved the Japanese paper lunch bags in the back left corner... so cute!!! I've never seen anything like them before... I feel a paper bag album is needed in the near future!! 
All the goodies in the plastic bag... beads, chipboard, brads, pegs, bull dog clip,  jewelry bits and bobs, gemstones...

Thank you so much for your generosity Tracey xxx

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 - Recycled Star

After I had finished making my recycled heart, I knew I wanted to make something else, as it was so simple to make, yet looked really cool. I knew I had some tissue leftover from the box I had decorated for my friend Jude's Secret Santa Swap. A star covered in stars sounded perfect!!

The steps to make this were exactly the same as the steps for the heart, except for the flower embellishment. Instead I added a simple jute bow to match the string. I didn't have a star template, so I hand drew this. To make it  less obvious that I didn't use a template, I made it a stylized design with uneven star points... no one will ever know!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 11

Day 11 - Wire Christmas Tree

Take a polystyrene cone...

Wrap it with wire...
(I used 18 gauge wire, but I would suggest using something thicker so you could make a bigger, stronger wire tree)

Remove the wire and add a star on top...

Place tree on table top and stand back to admire the end result...

Time taken... about 5 minutes, plus glue drying time... 10 minutes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - Recycled Heart

Okay... that title doesn't sound the best, though it is the truth. Everything I used to create this heart, was recycled...

I cut the inside heart first from the flap off a packaging box. I used the inside edge of the smallest Fiskars heart super template. Once I had cut it out, I pulled off parts of one side of the heart to give it an instant aged and distressed look. I also added some Tim Holtz Distress Ink - Walnut Ink around the edge of the heart. The trick to this was using a mini cotton wool ball to do the inking. This enabled me to do both the hills and valleys of the corrugated cardboard.

I then cut a larger heart out of recycled cardboard (cereal packet) using the outside edge of the same heart template. I coated one side with Elmer's glue then adhered some scrunched tissue paper. 

Once this was dry I cut around the heart, leaving an edge of about 3/4" to fold over to the back side of the heart. I glued this down as well and left it to dry overnight.

I adhered the corrugated heart to the middle of the tissue wrapped heart. I also inked the outside edge of the tissue heart to coordinate with what I had done on the internal heart. 

To finish, I punched a hole in the top of the heart and added a string to hang the heart. Finally I added a wire flower with a bead accent I made for another project, but then didn't use.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 9

AKA.... yay I'm up to date!!!

Day 9 - Paper & Glitter Baubles...

These were another Pinterest find. To make matters even better... I knew I had some leftover polystyrene balls from last Christmas and patterned paper certainly wasn't going to be an issue, nor was glitter so these were definitely on this year's crafting list.

The good news is these are relatively easy to make... the bad news is you need to be patient when making them. You need to allow drying time... you can not resort to the trusty heat tool to speed things up!!!

I found the polystyrene balls, picked out some paper, cut some jute and pulled out some glitter paint (for the next day).

First I tied the jute I would hang the ornaments with and pushed a bead pin through the middle to push into the polystyrene ball. I put a small blob of super-grip glue where I wanted to add the string then pushed the pin into the middle of the glue blob. I didn't want the string coming off while the ornament was hanging from the Christmas tree!!

For the first one I tried I cut my paper into 1" strips... then cut these into 2" lengths and then after trying to glue the first strip on I cut the rest into 1" squares. These proved to be still a little difficult to glue in place (square onto a round object do not easily go) but I persisted. Glue underneath, and glue on top seemed to be the magic trick to making it all work.

For the other three baubles, I punched out a whole lot of 1" circles out of my patterned paper. The circles were definitely much easier to glue in place. When the first coat over the top was dry (or nearly dryish) I added a second coat of glue then left them all overnight to dry completely. 

The next day (after a good night's sleep on my part) I coated the baubles in glitter paint. Over the red bauble I used a pink paint base, the other three all had a clear paint base. Again once the first coat was dry, I added a second coat to two of the three clear painted baubles. And finally on one of the baubles, I then added some strips of rhinestones to add a bit of bling. The rest all stayed plain though you could add anything you liked to decorate them more.

Although these took 2 days including drying time, they were still relatively easy to make, if somewhat mucky... I definitely ended up with glue covered fingers.

Light beige and white patterned paper with one coat of clear paint with crystalline glitter. This was a little difficult to stick down as it was the thickest paper. Though it wasn't a very heavy weight paper, it did prove that the lighter the weight of paper, the better it stuck to the polystyrene ball.
Green and white plaid paper with two coats of clear paint with crystalline glitter. Finished with strips of green and clear rhinestones. 
This was the red patterned paper which I cut into 1" squares. I coated this with one coat of bright pink paint with pink glitter. 
White patterned paper with black music print. Coated with two coats of clear paint with crystalline glitter.

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - Crochet Wreath

While I'm on the subject of wreaths...

I've just started to crochet... so I've spent a bit of time online looking for patterns and instructions and ideas and as part of my trolling I've found a lot of patterns that just aren't me... (no offence to the dedicated crocheters out there, but I'm never going to wear a crocheted shawl or hat)...

But I did see a really cool picture of a crocheted wreath... so I figured I could do that. It came with a pattern so the first obstacle was learning to read the crochet pattern... the second obstacle was learning how to make the various stitches required...

After crocheting the wreath (and concluding I am never ever going to make another one) I added a ribbon to hang it from and some beads to give it a more authentic holly look. It's only a couple of inches in diameter but it's still really cute... but yep... never making another one LOL.

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 7

Still catching up... but that's cool...

Day 7 - Bauble Wreath

I first saw these on Pinterest so I decided to make one myself... since then I've seen these all over the place... even my local supermarket.

I was determined to make this for as little as possible... and I managed to make it for under $10.00 - not too bad for a wreath about 12" in diameter (and in whatever colours you want instead of what you can find.)

The base is a wire wreath. I found it and the baubles at David's Emporium in Manukau. The baubles were 16 for $2.00... a bargain. I tied them on with jute from my stash, so I could remove them later and change colours if I wanted to. I finished off with a layered bow made from leftover material from a swap I did several months ago.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 6

Day 6... Secret Santa Swap... Part 1

I love Christmas time (in case you hadn't noticed...)

I love it because I love giving gifts...

I also love receiving gifts especially when they are scrap booking and crafting related...

I don't usually get much (read anything) scrap booking or crafting related from my family for Christmas or birthdays... so I really, really, REALLY love a swap like this when I know I am definitely getting something scrapping or crafting related from someone who knows what are the really useful and cool things that someone like me will like... 

This year I was given my friend Jude to buy and create a present for. I knew she liked vintage, shabby chic styles so I knew I would have to do some shopping as I really didn't have much in my stash or my store that would fit the bill. 

I have to confess that after my shopping excursions for Jude's gift, I now have a bit more vintage style stuff in my stash as I bought a few things for myself as well along the way.

Here are some pictures of the altered box as well as the goodies I included inside...
This was a plain paper mache box from Spotlight. I painted it white with Gesso. I scrunched up patterned tissue paper, then smoothed it out so that it still had a little texture to it, then I adhered the tissue paper using Elmer's glue. The tissue paper also lines the inside of the box as well. Around the edge of the lid and the bottom of the base, I adhered a single stripe of washi tape in a coordinating script pattern.
On the lid I also added a little clear paint with a crystalline glitter in it to highlight the larger stars, though it's probably too subtle to show in the photograph. I also added a wired ribbon bow I made as well as some white paper roses, carnations and small flowers which I spritzed with gold Glimmer Mist.
All the goodies packed inside the altered box. 
 This was what was included inside... stick pins inside a decorated petal-fold envelope, laces, doilies, wooden butterfly buttons, paper flowers, glitter coated flower stems (because we make a lot of flowers as swaps), bag of ribbon slides and charms, some vintage style printed tickets and a bottle of My Huey's mist in white.
The doilies... from KaiserCraft in the packet and some that I hand made myself... proof I have learnt to crochet... as long as it's a round thing!! 
Close up of the stick pins and some plain fancy pins.
 I covered some recycled cardboard in some leftover tissue that matched the box and then wrapped the laces around them. One for whites, the other for ivories and creams.
The paper flowers I enclosed... roses, carnations and mini flowers in white and pink. If you like these I will soon be adding some to my stock so be sure to look up my website for these and many other styles, sizes and colours.

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 5

Day 5... Junked Up Doily Tag Swap...

Okay this swap wasn't intended to necessarily be Christmas themed and when I started planning my tags, they weren't. The scope was that the tag had to include an altered doily in its design somewhere, somehow. I spent a good couple of weeks trying to find doilies... I searched high and low and inside this store and that store and couldn't find any. 
Finally I went to Spotlight and found some that KaiserCraft manufacture. They were cute and I ended up buying all three packets that they had, but I still thought they were a little big for what I wanted. They were great for on a scrapbook layout, but just too big for on a tag. Still when you can't find any... you end up buying what you can.
As I continued to wander around Spotlight... as you do looking for bargains... I stumbled upon the stand with all the crochet thread and crochet needles. 
I need to add some history here... as a young girl, my Nana tried patiently to teach me to crochet... and I quite honestly and openly confess that it was pretty much an Epic Fail!! 

I couldn't get it. 

At all!

So I decided to hate crochet... with a passion... 

As I have matured... and mellowed... my stubborn streak has gradually continued to grow to the point where I had decided that I was simply not going to let crochet get the better of me. Finally I decided that NOW was the time I was going to learn to crochet... come hell or high water!! (Of course my timing could have been better... given it was only two weeks until the doily tags were due...

Anyway I digress...

Given my acute lack of time, especially with working full time... I decided to look for alternatives... just in case... and when I least expected it... I found the coolest Christmas Tree doily die cut die... it is so cute!!!

So anyway... as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what I was going to do for my doiley tags...

Aren't they just the cutest! I really love this Christmas Tree die cut .. though it was a little fiddlier to cut than I had hoped... (it didn't cut completely on a couple of the trees so I had to do some hand cutting)... and the gluing wasn't something I considered until it was time to glue but I still think all the effort was worth it.
I also like the effect of adding the circle doily as well to look like the glow of the star on top of the tree.
They are definitely an eclectic collection of Christmas bits and bobs, but I do like the end result. I hope the girls in the swap do as well.

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 4

Confession time and apology... I know I missed a few days but I did have a really good excuse... I was working overtime and by the time I got home I was simply too tired to do anything! 

I will make up the missing days... so you might see two days posted on the same day... but them's the breaks.

Day 4... quick and easy... Santa Hat Stick Pins

You might need to squint your eyes and step back a little to really see these but the idea is there. I wanted to make a little extra for all the girl's doing the various Christmas swaps I'm involved with so I bought some beads on sale (as you do) and quickly made these little stick pins.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Craft Challenge - Day 3

Day 3... Christmas Ornament Swap

Those crafters over at Scrappers Obsessionz keep coming up with really cool ideas for swaps and try as I might to keep myself from over-committing myself, I keep signing up for lots of swaps for that very reason.

First there was the Christmas Card swap, which you saw on day 1. Today is Christmas Ornaments. 

I've wanted to do these for a while... years... I've looked for patterns but just never got around to making them until now... so here they are...

Beaded collars for baubles...

I've made six different colour combinations for the six ladies in the swap... not sure which is my favourite, I like them all!!

Here they all are lined up... looking from the front... 
And the top. 
This is one of the ornaments inside the storage container I made as well. The tube is made of acetate and has a fitted base (but no top). There is a handle to the tube, which matches the string to hang the ornament. I've decorated the tube with a simple strip of wired ribbon and a vintage Christmas ticket.
Looking down you can see hte ornament sitting nicely in the tube. 
 The tube without the ornament inside.
Pink and blue. 
Green and blue. 
 Green and red.
Opal black and green. 
Light blue and opal black. 
Red and pink.