Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Morning

Quiet morning... 
peaceful moment.... 
ahhhh so relaxed,
got it all done.... 
I think...
no wait, do I have to run to town for one more thing.... no, we can do without.
Another sip of coffee... 
Steve and I feel so peaceful... 
getting ready for Christmas this year felt like giving birth. 
Another sip of coffee. 
It is overcast out. 
The fire is crackling in the stove, we are still snug in bed. 
The children are all still sleeping peacefully... perhaps this moment will stretch out until noon.
Sigh.... Christmas Eve Morning, still quiet, still peaceful. 
Time to reflect...
I haven't had a nice, sweet moment of reflection yet this Christmas.
It shouldn't be that way, but too often it is;
this year, especially,  it has seemed like those delightful feelings of the "Christmas Spirit" are so far away.
Must be the condition of the world.
  But I feel it right now (the Christmas Spirit)
So does Steve.
Am remembering Christmas's of times gone by.
Sweet, happy memories.
Thank you Lord, that you are still here, right here.
Thank you Lord for giving us the most wonderful gift of all.... your precious Son, and our ability to fellowship with You.
All this is trivial in comparison to what awaits us with You.
You are so sweet,  Oh Precious Lord.
Thank you for your "Light".  I have seen it everywhere;  shining in the darkness.  It is beautiful.
I long to make it shine from me.
 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

December's Projects

My grand illusions of all the lovely things I would make and do and post about  during the Christmas Season and all of its  happenings, were diminished by the reality of December chaos, and my lack of ability to begin all these "wonderful" Christmas projects a little earlier.... let's say maybe September.  But it seems that no matter how often I plan to be well organized and ahead of schedule, I cannot seem to begin "Christmas" until 3 weeks before, at which time my enthusiasm gets carried away, and I am "in" way too deep to blog or delightfully sip tea while I write my Christmas cards (which I did finally do by the way, and got most of them  out 2 days ago, the rest will be "New Years" cards).   I am thinking to myself that I can look at my project making in a different light by not feeling badly that it is now the morning of Christmas Eve, and I am just now posting my projects, without any instructions (contrary to what I had first committed myself to do),  and instead decided that I can look at it this way: I am an entire year early, and how wonderfully organized I am for 2011 Christmas. Ha Ha.  Here is a brief picture summary of my December projects.  I really did enjoy making them, even if I did try to push them into too tight of a time frame.

Salt Dough Ornaments
(Recipe at bottom of Post)
 Painted to look like German Pottery
 Dipped in Paraffin

 Christmas Stockings for Grandkids

 Blankets for Adults...

and Babies.

Jammies for all the Grandkids.... hope they all fit.... (didn't get a "sane" moment to take pictures of those... was over the top by that time, but loved making them... (plan to start that project again, in June next year :)

Salt Dough Recipe
3 cups flour
1 cup salt
approximately  3/4 -1 cup water
Mix dry ingredients together, then add water a little at a time until a soft dough is formed (not too wet, not too crumbly.
You may add cocoa, cinnamon or food coloring if you would like to work some color into the dough prior to making ornaments, or you may paint them after they are baked.
Roll out and cut with cookie cutters, or form into desired shapes. Place on floured cookie sheet, and bake at about 270 degrees until completely hard. (1 to 3 hours depending on the thickness of dough). Once cool and dry, paint with watercolor or acylic paints.  Allow to dry again and then dip in melted paraffin, or pray with clear acrylic spray, or paint with shellac to seal.

Note:  I have looked up quite a few recipes for salt dough, this is the one I have used the most, but they  all vary by cup of flour, some adding more many adding less; the point is, this does not have to be a stringent measurement, it all works well.  The cinnamon or cocoa are nice if you want to cut out little gingerbread men that look like gingerbread.
Have fun.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Painted Glass Christmas Bulbs

These  Christmas Bulbs I am getting ready to post came to my attention over a year ago while at Hobby Lobby. I found a little Leisure Arts book called "Ornamental Magic 2" by Martha Kenton.  (Evidently "Ornamental Magic 1" is still out there for me to find, and I look forward to devouring that one day).  I  bought it and brought it home.  When my son Nathan and daughter in Law Himilce came to visit, I roped Himilce into making them with me.  We both had a ball; and after making those, I made a gross of them, and sold them at craft fairs, and gave them away for Christmas gifts.

Supply List :
Clear glass Christmas Bulbs (both the frosted and clear work well)
Acrylic Craft Paints (I used all metalic colors)
Rubbing Alcohol
Paint Brushes or Paint Sponge Brushes
Old Tooth Brush
Eye dropper
Clear Acrylic Spray
Fabric trim and Beaded trims (The fabric department of Hobby Lobby or Joanne's, has wonderful trims of every sort... I also bought up all cheap little grab bag scraps, because each bulb takes only a little).
fuzzy yarns
beads and bead making supplies (including Jewelry wire, pliers knitting needles for wrapping wire into corkscrews and ornamental designs)

Other Supplies for optional paint designs:
Cheese Clothe
Natural Sea Sponges
Rubber bands
Wire Mesh
Mesh Bath Pouf
Hair Comb
Plastic Wrap

To begin, you will want something set up to hang your wet painted bulbs on so they can dry.  When Himilce and I first made these, we used old hangers and opened them up and hung them up everywhere. It was a big mess, but it worked, and we had fun, although a few were broken here and there because it wasn't the sturdiest contraption, and we had to run around putting newspaper underneath them so they wouldn't drip onto the surface they were hanging over.  After I decided to make a lot of them, Steve let me use his Shop Shelf Unit that was made of metal rungs, and I could hang dozens of them up at a time.  I placed newspaper on each shelf so that they would not drip on each other.

Next, I put newspaper down on my work surface and began painting. Generally speaking, I did most of the bulbs the way I am describing in the following steps, but you can let your imagination kick in, and believe me once you begin you will have all kinds of ideas come to you.
Step One
Paint entire bulb a base color so that it is completely covered

Step Two
While bulb is still wet, spray or drip, with an eye dropper, a second color that has been watered down so that it runs quite easily.  You will want to spray or drip these paints at the very top of the bulb and let them run down.  If paint does not run down the bulb readily, spritz it with water and it will begin to run. Consider adding a little more water to the paint you are spritzing with to make it run easier.  You may add a third color at this time if desired.

Step two, other options
Allow first coat to dry, and using various texturing techniques, apply a second and or third color.  You may use a sponge, or a mesh or wrap bulb with string or rubber bands, and apply another coat over the rubber bands or string.  You may use the comb or plastic wrap to apply various textures with second color.  You may drip alcohol over the wet paint or spritz the alcohol over it for a wonderful technique, or you may splatter paint with a toothbrush.  You may also squirt paint in variety of colors on the inside of the bulb, and I did a few like that.  They turned out pretty, but the paint often ran together and almost mixed  as one color.  Also you have to be sure to put them upside down in an egg carton to make sure they have all they extra paint out of them so they can dry.

Step Three
 Hang bulbs up and allow paint to dry several hours to overnight.

Step Four
Spray clear acrylic spray over bulb to seal paint and allow to dry a couple of hours so that they can be handled.

Step Five
Using a hot glue gun, glue embelishments of trim, yarns, beads etc, around top and (if desired) around the bottom of bulb.