Christmas Decorating 2015

Christmas Decorating 2015-2

I sometimes don’t know whether to thank my Mom–or bemoan my fate–whenever Christmas decorating time rolls around.  Mom taught me to truly celebrate events (something wonderful, of course)….but from her I also got my obsession with decorating every nook and cranny of every place I’ve ever lived (not always a good thing!–case in point: the poor little gingerbread-guy silicone potholder who got hung in my window next to the stove….he smiled the whole time, but I think he was horribly uncomfortable there!).

Luckily, 2015’s abode is small-scale, so I actually could just about decorate every inch of it with all the Christmas decorations I’ve hoarded collected through the years. (I won’t mention how many bins of UNused decorations I didn’t even have room for!)  I also got to play with some interesting and a bit different color schemes this time.Christmas Decorating 2015-6

My Christmas tree (featured in more detail here) was unique, showcasing my first-floor color choices of turquoise, bright “Grinch”-green, and a bright purple.  My living room and craft space here have been done in blues and aquas the rest of the year, so it was easy to switch out to happy holiday mode with these particular colors.Christmas Decorating 2015-3-1

 

Upstairs, I went with an equally non-traditional black and white, with some pops of red. My black and white wreath set the tone for a cool, almost icy seasonal feel, and opened into my bedroom, where I’ve happily featured favorite old photos and original artwork by a local artist, along with items that are particularly meaningful to me this time of year, choosing things that fill my heart with joy –reminding me of cherished loved ones and times gone by.

Outside decorations were truly minimal this time, but here I kept the colors traditional (to better suit the house itself) and the style warm and inviting with a welcoming wreath and lots of happy red.Christmas Decorating 2015

The only snowflakes we saw in my neck of the woods this time were in my windows–it was one of the warmest Decembers on record here! Better luck next year for a white Christmas, I guess.  2015 was decidedly more colorful!


–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

A Fashionista Christmas Tree

Dressmaker Christmas Tree 2-1Pinterest and Facebook blew up with several decorating trends this year, and I have to admit it takes a lot for me to be bowled over with truly new ideas. This one got me, though: turning a dress maker’s form into a Christmas tree.  Did you see this all over the place, too? — or is it only me, because I actually have a form like this on hand?  And my obliging friends–read that “enabling”–pointed this out to me…so I just had to try it.

There are many instructions for assembly of these cuties out there, but in the end all I needed was an understanding of the concept, some wire, and some wire-cutters and the artificial Christmas tree branches I had on hand.  (Really. I didn’t have to buy anything to make this thing. All this crafting and decorating “stuff” I’ve gathered my whole life actually pays off sometimes….)

Dressmaker Christmas Tree 7My dressmaker form isn’t a traditional/ actual one–it’s more a wire representation of one. I fell in love with it when I found it (at a bargain price) at a local antique/collectibles store; I’ve wanted one literally for decades, but could never find one that I could justify purchasing because they were all either in too bad of shape or way too expensive for the genuine article.  And short. Like really short. And I’m 6′ tall, so it was a matter of principle that I refused to buy a 3′ tall dress dummy. Hmph. But this very nontraditional wire form is almost as tall as I am. Yippee! (Hey, when you’re a 6′-tall girl, your whole life is pretty non-traditional, so finding this gem truly was a big deal.)

So, ANYWAY, since the form was wire, I basically just had to wire on my tree branches.  Easy-peasy. And time consuming. Dressmaker Christmas Tree 1But very sturdy and unique when complete.  I chose to dress my dummy in a bodice of ribbon studded with button snowflakes that my great niece had adorned her with a few weeks prior when she was in a creative mood. (See Miss Christmas Tree in wedding gown mode here at right-> )
Dressmaker Christmas Tree 3

Her Christmas greenery gown is graced with lots of ornaments, multi-colored lights, and a whole bunch of ribbon. It actually took me less time to assemble and decorate this tree than it usually does for a standard variety. And she took up zero additional floor space in the room, so it was a total win-win.Dressmaker Christmas Tree 4-1

My Christmas decor this year was all about exploring colors and a style I’ve never really done before–bold and graphic, non-typical, bright, and very girly for this old lady I am now. My tree was even complete with her very own purple satin (decorated, of course) slipper that I’d bought years ago at an art show.

This will likely be the only year I go this particular route with my Christmas decorations, but it was fun to do and gave me an outlet for creative expression I needed.

And made me smile.


–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

 

Christmas Trees for Relay

Christmas Cone Trees 2015-10

My Relay for Life team captain and I sat in on another fundraiser at a local crafts fair again this year. Along with a few Christmas ornaments, we filled our table with tabletop Christmas trees this time.

These papier-mache-based “cone” trees got their start in last year’s inspiration (see post here), and then we just went a bit wild with color, paper, buttons, punches, and lots and lots of ribbon.  I think I tied about 30,000 bows again, and we likely went through a million yards of various ribbon in this process (just a slight exaggeration, though it doesn’t really seem like much of one!).

As in the past, we donated the materials and our time and all money made went to our upcoming Relay Team efforts, which in this case will go toward the 2016 event.

I think we had a gorgeous selection and it’s always good to get crafty knowing it’s also for a good cause.


–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

 

Merrily Retro Paper Playing

Retro Jolly Jingles

Honestly, I’m getting a new camera (phone) soon. But right now I’m concentrating on getting over being sick….and riding out some arctic air in the area, so phone-shopping is not high on my to-do list. Meanwhile, I’m always playing with paper, in a merrily retro fashion. As in, staying nice and toasty via losing myself totally in creative challenges–much more fun than merely shivering to keep warm! This card kept me busy layering up stuff for three different challenges again.

Retro Jolly Jingles 2

Always Playing With Paper’s “The Challenge #22” gave me the bones of my card, as it provided both a sketch and a color combo to Challenge 22work with. I tinkered with the sketch just a bit and pulled the background horizontal strip to the front to accommodate my chosen stamp–which is the retired Jolly Jingles Jumbo Wheel.  My colors of Chocolate Chip, Old Olive, Whisper White, and the retired but still-my-favorite-red Poppy Parade yelled Christmas at me again, so, since I also included a few snowflakes on here (via the white sequin-flakes from SU’s Holiday catty, and the three that I punched out of the Chocolate Chip background DSP and attached to the little MM140snowflakes on the left bottom of the stamped image) helped me meet the Merry Monday Christmas Challenge 140‘s criteria to make a card with a snowflake. Thankfully, one of the Design Team made a card that did NOT have the brown and blue also, so I felt okay with throwing in some really definitely NOT brown and blue into this. I love Merry Monday because it enables  encourages me to keep my Christmas projects and supplies out all year long and work on them happily..

Retro Rubber #05’s tool challenge this time was to use a crimper–which I don’t own. But, thanks to the wonderful suggestion to use a scoring tool in a similar fashion, rrbc05I did just that, and added both a “bunting” Poppy Parade swag over my Tea Lace Paper Doily, as well as a pop of a lolly (lolli-pop??–sorry, my brain gets sillier when I’m cold!) behind my stamped flower. Both the Jolly Jingles Wheel and the other stamps from the old Berry Christmas set –done mostly in tone-on-tone in the vertical rectangular panels–further fit RR’s challenge. I really love pulling out these old stamps and giving them some play time. And I like it even more when this also inspires/allows me to use older, but still very much loved, supplies. My stuff like this only “gets gotten rid of” when I use it up!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

…and some Shiny Christmas Wishes

Shiny Christmas Wishes-2

Okay, yes, Christmas IS over for 2014. But, partly because I’m just now having time to play with paper again, and partly because I pretty much work on Christmas stuff all year long anyway, I’ve got another one for a couple of challenges.

nac121

NAC121 from Nacho Average Challenges has been added to my permanent list of favorite sketches. Both exactly as it stands–and then also flipped, rotated, whatever.–it’s sheer perfection for accomplishing just about any kind of layout.  I chose to do a mirror-image version of the sketch this time…and to use it on a non-card item. I couldn’t find anything in the challenge rules to exclude a 3-D project, so here goes with entry #2. (And, while I’ve created a wall-hanging here, the exact same items, from the layer of silver with embossed snowflakes on up, could easily be a card front.)

This was another project hard to photograph, due to all the shininess–this time added to by the glare from the glass of the photo frame. I like to add paper and fabric embellishments to the OUTSIDE of a glassed print–or, as in this case, an empty, matted frame–it creates more layers that way.  Since I’m so very much NOT a CAS girl, this works well for my style…is “many-layered and cluttered” a design style?

Shiny Christmas Wishes

This one also qualifies for the ‘Tis The Season challenge 32 with all that bling! Seems that when I start with a “theme”, I run with it til I’m either out of that supply or time.

tts32For the paper contributions here, I used some Silver CS embossed with snowflakes from the Northern Flurry EF, some red metallic CS embossed with the Stylish Stripes EF, and once again reached for my Silver Stampin’ Emboss Powder to stamp the lovely dove and sentiment from the retired Gifts of Christmas set onto some Basic Gray CS. I also added some shiny red snowflakes from an old punch. I love this silver, gray, red, and white color scheme, offset and enclosed within the white-matted, black frame.

I didn’t stop with paper. I had cut out several snowflakes from silver roof flashing awhile back, with the sadly-now-retired Snow Flurry Bigz Die, and this one leftover yelled at me to include him on the frame (attached with Glue Dots).  And ribbon–HAVE to add ribbon at Christmastime! I reached for more of my leftover-from-a-Paper-Pumpkin-kit shiny white and added in some more of the Silver 1/8″ Ribbon atop it. Of course, I also had to add in a blingy embellishment atop the bow. It’s a Frosted Finishes piece from the 2013 Holiday catty. Wish I had more of these guys!

So I think I may be done with Terri’s shiny Chrismas stuff for awhile. Back to the real world of work tomorrow after a lovely extended Christmas vacation. Thanks for visiting my Little Corner Today!

 

Shiny Dasher

Retro Dasher-2

Here it is a couple days after Christmas and I’m still wanting to play with Christmas goodies.  That’s the beauty of a couple of the challenge sites–they encourage a Christmas/holiday card all year long.  I missed a lot of card-making time last year, but hope to really work on my Christmas card stash throughout 2015. (And then maybe I’ll actually have plenty of cards to send for a change!)

Anyway, my card today works with not one, not two, but THREE fabulous challenges. First, the whole thing revolves around Retro Rubber, because I’m *ahem* required to use my old stamps (that I hang onto for dear life!!). Challenge #rrbc04 is a color challenge

rrbc04

that just screams Christmas to me anyway, and I immediately thought of my Dasher stamp. He is definitely a most dashing little fellow, and I’ve always liked him best done with Silver Embossing Powder on any deep shade of blue.  Since I not only hoard hang onto my old stamps, but also every scrap of paper I’ve ever purchased, I’ve still got a bunch of SU’s old shades of blue (my favorite color!)…just waiting for these opportunities. So, Dasher dashed a silver streak across a scrap of Brilliant Blue CS to get me started.  For good measure, I grabbed a scrap of Midnight Muse CS to make the banner that sits under the Dasher layer. Hey, #rrbc04 called for blue–no specifics–so I took this opportunity to go boldly blue. The rich, dark MM blue showed up so nicely with the Whisper White CS background, and gave a needed depth to all that crazy amount of silver I went wild with.

You will note my difficulty in properly photographing my dashing reindeer. With all this bling going on, catching the shine and the colors without washing it all out with photo-editing efforts was near to impossible.  I did my best to let the little guy shine, though.Retro Dasher-3

Which brings me to challenge number two involved here.  ‘Tis The Season, TTS32, is an inspiration challenge, from which I took away the major desire to use a LOT of bling and snowflakes.

tts32

 

 

 

 

I added some Frosted Sequins and glittery Silver 1/8″ Ribbon atop the shiny white (a leftover from a Paper Pumpkin kit!). And, after running that WW CS through the Big Shot with the most wonderful Northern Flurry Embossing Folder, I added some glittery glitz, first with silver and then with diamonds. Dasher is about as sparkly as one reindeer can be!

nac121

Retro Dasher

So I needed something to give some shape and direction to my plethora (LOVE that word!) of blingy-bits, to help them properly showcase handsome Mr. Dasher.  This brought me to the sketch challenge 121 at Nacho Average Challenges. This is a really fabulous, simple, but incredibly versatile sketch to work with.  (I like it so much, I ended up making a couple different projects using it before I was done crafting for the day.) On this particular card, I had to move the smaller rectangle over directly onto the banner, to make Mr. D “fit” better, and to allow the snowflakes to show up more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, my finished product is a hard-to-photograph, silvery, sparkly, shiny, retro, dashing, blingy-thing that took a very CAS card layout and made it anything BUT.  I have a problem leaving white space alone…at least with the fun of Retro Rubber, I don’t have to leave my old stamps alone anymore!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

Shiny Baubles

Ornaments 1

After playing with shiny stars for a couple of days, I was back to working on shiny Christmas ornaments. Thankfully, we’ve had several special orders for the “Ornaments for Life” my friend and I have been making to raise funds for Relay for Life, so you’d think I’d tied enough bows to last me a lifetime, just doing that. Instead, it’s inspired me to make some ornaments for gifts and personal use, too. But I definitely chose to go the non-breakable route on the base for these baubles, rather than the LOOKOUT, THAT’S GLASS!! of our Relay ornaments!

Ornaments 1-1

As with all things shiny, it’s hard to photograph the finished product.  Here’s a shot of some of the component parts, which hopefully show up better:

Ornament components

A 6-pack of shiny PLASTIC (read that: pet- and kid-friendly!) Christmas ornaments from the local crafts store, along with both some additional shine (from the ribbon with the medallions), and some decidedly UNshiny, more natural-looking elements (from the “Merry Christmas” cotton ribbon and the little pine cone picks), yielded a half-dozen very elegant-looking, yet rustic, happy additions for my sister’s already rusticated Christmas tree this year.  And easy-peasy they were: some hot glue, a bunch of ribbon, a base-bauble … and done!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

Many Merry Stars–finally!

Many Merry Stars 2

It took me awhile to get around to it, but I finally played with some of the pieces from the Many Merry Stars Simply Created Kit, from the SU! 2014 Holiday Supplement. I put together the largest star (that thing was huge!) and gave it to my niece Many Merry Stars Kit(and, unfortunately, forgot to take a photo). In the process, I realized these cuties will make wonderful package decorations….and they’re a lot of fun to put together, whether or not you play along according to package directions.  (I seldom follow directions when it comes to these kits, although I do read them, just to see what it is I’m NOT doing!)  After putting together a couple of them, I ended up totally abandoning the “box” idea–which, of course, was the whole point of the kit. Ooops!  Oh well, now I’ll have a bunch of strips, in varying sizes and papers, to use for something in the future. And, since I also realized at some point how fab these stars will be for a “patriotic” project I’ve got to get started on in early 2015, I’ve got a lot of stars to play with in the near future, too.

Meanwhile, here are a couple more of the ones I came up with for Christmas, using just the pieces in the kit. So many, merry stars–so many possibilities for creativity!

Many Merry Stars 1

May all your Christmas stars shine bright, and thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

Ornaments for Life

pink ribbon ornaments2

I’ve worked with my local ACS Relay for Life for several years now. A couple years ago, our “theme” was holidays–which meant we chose one to build our campsites, activities, etc. around. My team chose “Christmas”. And what better items to sell as fundraisers than, well, CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS??

One of my friends-for-life in my golden-oldies-girls-group loves crafting as much as I do,angel feather ornament1 and we’re in Relay together, so we went crazy with the opportunity to get to do all the things we loved to do in one fell-swoop: create/craft, talk/laugh, raise money to fight cancer. It was a win-win-win situation. And, while we haven’t broken any land-speed records with our efforts, we did help our team reach and surpass our yearly goals the last two years. And I had my personal-best fundraising year in 2014, due largely to the ornaments we made and sold.

So, we’re at it again this year for the 2015 Relay season (always looking ahead to next year–I like the optimism that comes with that forward-thinking), and we’re kicking it off at a couple of our area’s 2014 holiday crafts fairs this month. Our first one started today–which coincidentally would have been my father’s 79th birthday. If he hadn’t passed away from cancer nearly 2 years ago. What better way to honor my Dad’s memory than working hard to raise money to help fight this blasted disease?

Vintage Tin Snowgirls

We’ve got a varied assortment of orbed-goodies to help deck the halls this year. There are a lot of the decorated glass balls that we’ve adorned with my many-splendored bows and my friend’s beading handiwork. We’ve also got some really sweet handpainted Santas (friend Shay is a whiz with a paintbrush!), among other painterly things.  And there are some very-definitely-Relay-themed items, festooned with ribbons in all the awareness colors. And–naturally–we even threw in a couple of actual traditional-Christmas-looking items!

DH ornament

Murray ornament

Santa sticks1

We each donate all the materials….and all the hours and hours of time….to churn outBowdacious Relay 2014 these Christmas creations. It’s a labor of love and a chance to do our part against something that’s hit us both hard and made the fight against cancer very personal for us: friends, family, and ME–all have fought and either sadly-lost or blessedly-won our individual battles with various forms of a vicious disease.  Our Ornaments for Life are our little bits of bow-dacious beauty thrown in the face of a whole lot of deadly ugliness.

Harvest Crafts Fair 11--14-15--2014

Above is our setup this weekend–feeling pretty festive and hoping a lot of folks will come by to see us. You can visit us any time at https://www.facebook.com/OrnamentsForLife . Wish us luck in our efforts again this year–and thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! 

A forest of tabletop trees

Bowdacious Relay 2014

As we concentrate on selling our handmade ornaments for my Relay for Life team, I’m getting ready for a couple of arts and crafts fairs that are happening toward the end of the month. I’ve spent a LOT of time with ribbon, glass orbs, and even more time planning. But, just for ME in all of this, I wanted to make a trio of trees to adorn the crafts tables. I’ve been inspired by fellow stampers to make the paper trees, and I’ve seen the burlap ones everywhere this year. I thought they’d be lovely additions on our tables, and then I’ll have some decorations all set to go…for ME!

Christmas Tree Table Decor 1

All three tree bases are the papier mache ones I found at my local Hobby Lobby.  I used retired SU Christmas dsp on both of the paper-covered trees.  And both of them have all that fabulous dsp cut out with the Tree Punch in the holiday catty. I bet I punched 3 billion trees to cover these two…well, at least my hand felt that way after awhile. But it was so worth it–the punching went very fast and then I had the perfect pieces to layer and create with.

The colors used on all trees reflect the more “natural vibe” we’ll be striving for in our crafts-table setup…Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla, Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Baked Brown Sugar, Old Olive,  and some Gumball Green in Tree 1.  Tree #1 also has retired lace ribbon and a little bow of Very Vanilla Seam Binding at the top.

Christmas Tree Table Decor 2Tree #2 is edged along the bottom with a row of the retired ruffled ribbon and topped with a burlap “bow” and some streamers of 1-1/4″ Burlap Ribbon and some retired tulle ribbon. I save everything and eventually use it up somewhere. All these items worked together so well–color-coordination and “feel”.  I think they ended up with a timeless and traditional-Christmas quality.

My burlap-covered tree was a big ole “ouchy” to put together. At least the “base” of it was. After covering the plain papier-mache with a camo-styled wash of Cherry Cobbler, Baked Brown Sugar, and Mossy Meadow inks, I used a glue-gun to attach both some of the SU 1/4″ Burlap Ribbon and some box-store wider, open-mesh ribbon. I interspersed the two, to give it an even more textural look, and it was using that open-mesh ribbon that …um… kinda toasted my fingertips. I let out a couple of genuine screams a couple of times when I found the still too-hot glue with my skin instead of the ribbon!

Christmas Tree Table Decor 3

Thankfully, I survived the base layer and was able to attach my massive amount of very-randomly placed buttons with glue-dots. I’ve got a stash of buttons I save for exactly this kind of project… some of the green ones, in particular, are likely 20 years old!!…so this project is vintage in the very real sense of the word.

Atop the tree, I dangled some Linen Thread adorned with more buttons and then added some tulle streamers, a Burlap bow, and an Early Espresso Seam Binding bow atop that. I went through a bunch of ribbon on this one!  All this layer of bow-dacious effort is attached with some more of the dreaded hot-glue. I managed to NOT burn myself when I added this crowning touch.

I’m looking forward to adding these into the table scheme, both at the crafts venues, and later at home. I must remember to photograph both settings to see if all this work paid off!

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!