Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Winter Solstice!

I love the Winter Solstice!  It is my equivalent to the New Year.  The Northern Hemisphere has reached it's furthest tilt away from the sun.  From this point, until the Summer Solstice, the days will increasingly become longer, and as still as the world seems at this very moment, life will soon begin to stir, grow, and bustle.  

The Solstice is a time to pause and find peace in all the beauty of the winter stillness, the ice crystals, the morning fogs, and the small splashes of color that remain. And after pausing in the wintry peace....time to gather indoors, snuggle with the loved ones, warm the house with an oven full of goodies, love and be loved. 

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season, and hoping you find peace, joy, and love in all the holidays you celebrate!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas....Idea #6

Potato Print Snowmen

These little snow people are so much fun to make!  The Snow Family shown above was printed on black velveteen by my daughter.  These fun snow creatures could be printed on napkins, towels, tee-shirts, pillows, cards, wrapping paper...or any number of things.  

Here is what you need:

    a few different sizes of potatoes
    fabric paint, or acrylic paint and fabric medium
    something to print on
    beads, buttons, bells, or other embellishments

Here is how these snow people were made....

Select a few different sizes of potatoes.  I used some potatoes that had sprouted and were a little on the shriveled I didn't feel like I was wasting potatoes. Then slice the potatoes in half.  

Pick a paint to use...if you are printing on fabric and the finished piece will be washed it is important to use either a fabric paint, or acrylic paint with a fabric/textile medium mixed in. I used a white acrylic paint and a little glitter paint, with fabric medium mixed's what I had on hand.  

Pour a generous amount of paint onto a flat surface, I used a plastic plate.  Stick toothpicks into the potatoes, as shown.  The tooth picks are very handy when lifting the potato halves out of the paint and off of your print.  

Place the potato cut side down in the paint.  Thoroughly coat the potato in paint. I recommend doing a test run on a scrap piece of fabric, to get a feel for how much paint you need on the potato.  

Place the potato, paint side down on your fabric.  I recommend starting with the base of the snow person and working up.  You can use different potato sizes to create the base, body, and head of the snow person.  Make sure to apply ample pressure to the potato before lifting the potato.  

After your snow people are complete, sit and patiently watch the paint dry.

After the paint is completely dry...we gave it a couple of days...add any embellishments you wish.  We used black beads for eyes and mouths, and wooden beads for noses.  Buttons were added down the front of the snow people.  

Here is how I added the hats and scarves....

Old, holey shirts and sweaters can be given new lives as hats and scarves for the snow people.  For the scarf cut long strips of knit fabric.  I used my once favorite striped knit shirt.  Sew the strips of fabric to the snow person where the pins are in the picture.  Once the strips are sewn on, tie the "scarf" around the neck of the snow person.  After the scarf was tied, I tacked down the scarf so it would lay correctly. 

Cut a piece of fabric into a rectangle that is the correct width for the snow person's head, and the desired height of the hat.  For the hats on these snow people I used a knit shirt and a sweater.  I utilized the hems on the shirts and sweaters I cut up for the bottom hem of the hat.  

Pin the rectangle into the shape you would like the finished hat to be.  

Using a zig-zag stitch sew the hat to your snow person.  After the hat was sewn on I ran a running stitch across the top of the hat and then gathered up the top of the hat. 

I tacked down the top of the hat and a button was added to finish off the hat!

This beautiful snow family will soon be a pillow on our couch...

For other DYI Holiday Gift Ideas, check out:

Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #7Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #8
Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #9
Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #10

Friday, December 14, 2012

Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas...Idea #7

Painted Terracotta Pots....

My children and I love to paint flower pots!   They make lovely gifts.  Some times we put blooming flowers inside the pots, some times we plant spring bulbs or seeds, and some of the pots I use as storage containers. In the pots pictured above we will place poinsettias and give them as gifts to the children's teachers.  

Here is what you need:

         Terracotta Pots
         Acrylic Paint
         Paint Brush

     other things that are helpful:

         Two Cans
         Scrap Paper

     fun things to add:

        Other Embellishments

Begin with clean terracotta pots.  Consider covering the area where you will be working with newspapers or other scrap paper...this can get a little messy.  

Paint a base layer on the bottom portion of the pot.  It's always nice to have a friend to help.  

Once the base layer has been painted let the paint dry.  

After the base layer is dry you can begin painting your pot.  It is helpful to place two cans on either side of the pot to free up your hands for painting.  

Brushes work great for large areas, but Q-tips work better for adding smaller details....especially for small hands.  

I like to paint a solid color around the top of the pot, it give a nice, clean, finished look.  Paint the inside of the upper portion of the pot.  There is no need to paint the entire inside of the pot.  However, painting the top portion of the inside of the point looks lovely once the plant or dirt have been placed in the pot.   

Here are some pictures so pots painted in years past...

I painted these snowmen.  Inside I placed spring bulbs!  

The children painted these last year for their teachers.  

I love hand prints!  This is one my son painted many years ago.  It sits high on a shelf and contains dangerous Sharpies!   

For other DYI Holiday Gift Ideas, check out:

Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #8
Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #9
Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Idea #10

Monday, December 10, 2012

10 Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas...Idea #8

Bird Seed Ornaments

Last year on the Winter Solstice, the kids and I made these lovely bird seed ornaments.  I found an excellent tutorial at Saltwater Kids.  We made two batches.  Some were used to decorate a tree outside for our feathered friends and the others we wrapped up and gave as gifts.  We followed the Saltwater Kids tutorial, with one exception...on the second batch we boiled the water in order to dissolve the gelatin. 

This is a very kid friendly project and the finished ornaments are lovely.  My children love to get the cookie cutters out and play with the different shapes.  We found a shape for everyone in our lives...even the hard-to-find-gifts-for men!

The ornaments were fun to make, fun to give, and much appreciated by our feathered friends.  We will be making them again, this Winter Solstice!  

Interested in other DYI Holiday Gift Ideas?Check out....

           Idea #10 and
           Idea #9

Monday, December 3, 2012

10 Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas...Idea #9

Snowflake Stenciled Tea Towelssnowflake stencil

Stenciled tea towels make a lovely present all on their own, can be added to a gift basket, or given with a jar of homemade preserves.  Here is what you will need to complete the project and a step by step "how to"...complete with helpful tips!


       Sheets of plain paper
       Fabric paint OR acrylic paint with fabric medium
       Large paint brush with stiff bristles
       Glue Stick
       Tea Towels

Begin by folding a piece of paper in half, in half again, and then in half a third time so your paper looks like this....

With a pencil, draw the points of the snow flake down both edges of the folds.  Very carefully cut out the shape, cutting only on the line, so both the in snowflake shape and the negative of the snowflake shape are preserved.  It is also fun to cut out a center shape. Use a hot iron to very gently press the snowflake and the stencil flat. 

how to make a snowflake stencil

Pick a paint to use.  Fabric paint works great, or acrylic paint can be mixed with a fabric medium and works just as well.  Acrylic paint without fabric medium will wash out, unless you get some on your shirt, then it will stay forever.
Pick a paintbrush to use. There are brushes specifically designed for stenciling, but I have found that any brush with stiff bristles will get the job done.  

Once you decide where to place your snowflake, use a very small dab of glue to help keep the inner points of the snowflake down, and to keep the center of the snowflake in place.   

snow flake stencil

Keeping you paintbrush straight up and down and dab the paint on to the project with a straight up and down motion.  

snowflake stencil

Once the area inside of the stencil has been covered with paint, carefully remove the stencil and the center of the snowflake.  It is very handy to have a piece of newsprint or scrap paper to set the wet stencil on.  

The stencil my be used over and over again.  If the stencil becomes too wet and feels fragile, let it dry for awhile.  As the stencil dries it will begin to curl.  Don't fret, simply iron the stencil flat again once it has dried.  

Another fun technique is to use the snowflake to create the negative impression of the snowflake.  Simply use a very small amount of glue on the points of the snowflake and stick it in place.  Paint around the shape, using the same up and down technique as you used with the stencil.  
In the example shown below, my friend Karen used this technique both with the snow flakes and with the snowflake centers to create small snowflakes.

Here are some of the different designs Karen and I came up with in an afternoon...the possibilities are endless!

  I've included a couple of non-winter tea towel ideas from past projects.....

Apple Print Tea Towel
A bundle of Sunflower stenciled tea towels
Hope you have fun making snowflake stencils!
Stay tuned for Super Duper Idea #8!  

10 Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas...Idea #10

Sunday, December 2, 2012

10 Super Duper DYI Holiday Gift Ideas...Idea #10

Personalized Jelly Jars Glasses

fimo clay glasses

 We have granite counter tops, tile floors, and two children....we go through a lot of glassware.  I started saving these cute little jelly jars.  Thanks to all those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they quickly accumulated in the cupboard. As it turns out the little jelly jars make the perfect, kid-friendly size of glass.  To help combat the urge to grab a clean glass with every trip to the water pitcher, I needed a way to "personalize" our little jelly glasses. 

fimo clay project

This summer, while friends were visiting, we had a Fimo-clay-project-afternoon-extravaganza! It proved to be the perfect opportunity to experiment with making different fun shapes to glue on the glasses.  

Here is what I learned....

       The glass you are gluing to needs to have a flat surface.  
       Find a glue that specifically lists glass as one of it's "stick to" surfaces. 
       The back-side of the shape should have a nice flat surface, for optimal "stickability."
       Turns out these glasses are totally dish-washer friendly....they have been washed thousands of times at this point.  
       And best of all, this is a project the whole family can get involved with!