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Sunday, December 4, 2011

China Head Butterfly Angel Doll Ornament Tutorial

I can't walk through a store without thinking that something intended for one purpose can actually be used for something else. That was the case here. I found some beautiful Christmas ornaments and home decor items that I thought would make a really unique angel...and a project was born...

In the supplies section, I've listed approximate measurements based on the items I purchased. Feel free to adjust the sizes to the items you have on hand. To make this project, you will need:

China doll, clay, paper mache or porcelain doll head (about 2" long). My doll head is made from polymer clay which I molded from a vintage China doll head I have on hand;
A butterfly wing ornament (5" tall by 6" wide);
Tassel - 6" long;
Sheer flower ornament with wired beads or a large silk flower;
Batting - one strip measuring 1 1/2" wide by 10" long;
Tulle - 1 1/2" wide by 20" long;
Satin ribbon - 1/4" wide by 15" long;
Beaded trim - 1/8" wide by 15" long;
Glue gun and glue sticks;


1) Cut the hanger off of tassel. Glue the hanger to the center piece of the butterfly.  Set aside.

2) Put hot glue on top of the tassel and set doll head on top, pressing it into place. Let cool.

3) At the back of the doll's left shoulder, place a dab of hot glue. Attach the long end of the batting to this shoulder and bring batting around to the front, wrapping the doll in a criss-cross pattern. Be sure to end wrapping at the back of the doll. Hot glue the end of the batting in place.

4) Repeat the wrapping process with the tulle as shown in step #2.

5) Disassemble flower by dividing it into sections and clip these into individual petals with scissors. Clip off the beaded wires (if they are attached to your ornament) If your flower does not have beaded wire, you can make your own by threading several colored beads on thin gauge craft wire and giving the wire a twist around the bead to keep it in place. Attach 3 beads to each wire; make a total of 7 wires. Leave 1/4" at the top of each wire so it can be glued into place.

6) Apply hot glue to the top edge of the beaded wire. Stick the wire underneath the gathered waist of the tassel/doll so it is hidden underneath the gathers at the waist.

7) Beginning about 1" down from the waist of the tassel/doll, glue flower petals around the tassel using hot glue, slightly overlapping the petals. At the waist, glue a second row of flower petals around the tassel.

8) Criss-cross satin ribbon at the shoulders of the doll, working from back to front. Glue into place. Glue satin ribbon and beaded trim around the waist. (I wrapped the trim around the wait twice.)

9) Use hot glue to attach the back of the doll to the butterfly.

And there you have it - a unique and beautiful handmade ornament doll for your Christmas tree!   Be sure to stop by regularly.  I have more Christmas projects up my sleeve to share with you during this lovely holiday season!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Retro Recycled Christmas Bracelets ala 1950's Style

I can't believe it's been two whole weeks since I last blogged. My gosh - between my son's wedding two weeks ago and Thanksgiving the following week (the week I made THREE turkeys - one for home, one for the office and one for my son's gathering), the days have passed by in a blur! Wow! I'm pooped just thinking about it! 

Over the weekend, I had some time to work on some retro Christmas bracelets. I absolutely adore the images from 50's and 60's and couldn't resist incorporating these into my latest creations. All of the bracelets feature images from vintage Christmas cards and retro gift wrap decoupaged affixed onto wooden disks. The beaded dangle charms consist of Christmas tree garland that I disassembled and made into charms. Pretty cool, huh?

Retro Snowman:

Retro Snowman (back of disks = wrapping paper designs):
 Retro Santa:

 Retro Santa (detail):
 50's Kids:

50's Christmas bracelet (detail):

Like potato chips, I couldn't stop at just one, so I made a whole gaggle of these bracelets and posted them to my EBay and Etsy stores.

I have a myriad of Christmas projects I want to share with you in December.  Please check back often for some really neat handmade gift ideas and tutorials this coming month.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trip to Chicago - Grandmother's Garden Quilt and Imported Food Galore!

Last week, I was in Chicago helping my family care for my uncle who had surgery. Along with other family members, I stayed long hours at the hospital. True to form, I can never just sit still and relax. I always have to be doing something. I decided to spend my time working on a Grandmother's garden quilt I had started many years ago. This little quilt is made from dime-sized hexagons. Because it is so small, it is easy to transport, so I usually work on this project when I travel. Here are some pictures of my little quilt-in-progress:

Since I only work on this quilt when I travel, I may end up making it into a little wall hanging instead of a full sized quilt so I can complete it in my lifetime. Only time will tell...

On another note, I was born in Chicago and I lived there until I was eight years old.  Because I still have family there, I like to visit there every now and then.  One of my favorite things about Chicago (besides my family, of course) is the vast assortment of ethnic food available to consumers.  You name it - they've got it - regardless of the culture.

One of my favorite places to shop at is the Eurofresh Market in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago.  This store absolutely fascinates me because it literally carries food and ingredients from all over the world.  I can easily find things there that used to be prepared by my beloved Polish-German grandmother when I was a child.  These things always evoke great memories of my childhood.  Needless to say, I couldn't resist taking pictures while in the store.  Here are some pretty cool finds at the market:

Packages of sauerkraut imported from Poland. Who would have thought there were so many varieties?

Matzo ball soup mix made by Lipton.  Who knew???

Seasoning mixes from Poland for every kind of dish imaginable.

A full aisle dedicated to olive oil from Italy and all sorts of vinegars known to man. Amazing!

And let's not forget the magazine section so you can keep up on all of the latest news and gossip.

I ended up buying way too much store while visiting Eurofresh, but hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do, right?  Here's just a sampling of what I purchased:

Chocolate from Poland.

Coffee from Germany.

Seasoning mixes from Pakistan to make chicken curry and from Poland to make stuffed peppers and cabbage.  (My mouth is watering just thinking about it...)

Mustard from Poland to go with all of the deli meat I purchased.

Vanilla sauce mix, vanilla sugar, vanilla and almond extracts from Europe just in time for my holiday baking.  Can you tell I LOVE vanilla?

Thanks for letting me share my adventures with you.  Be sure to check back regularly. I have some awesome handmade Christmas projects and tutorials I will be sharing here over the next month. :)

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arts Center of the Ozarks 5x5 Exhibit

Wow!  The past couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind!  Please forgive my lack of presence here in blog land.   Between out of town visitors, my son's upcoming wedding and a trip to Chicago to help care for a family member, it has been a truly crazy couple of weeks.  And just think - it's going to be even nuttier with the holidays right around the corner!

On 11/3/11, the Arts Center of the Ozarks held it's annual 5x5 Exhibit and fundraiser.  Artists from the area donate 5x5 pieces of art which are exhibited and displayed in the two story gallery.  This year, there were over 300 pieces of donated art.  Five of those pieces of art were donated by me, my husband and my daughter, Brianna, and I'm happy to report that each one sold!

Here I am standing by my Our Lady of Guadalupe picture.  It sold for $45.00. :)

Many people came to view and bid on the art.

A jazz band played and appetizers prepared by a local chef were served.  Appetizers included spicy meatballs, stuffed mushrooms, candied bacon and chocolate truffles, among other yummy things.

My friend, Thespa, from Vintiquities Workshop was there; she also donated a couple of pieces of art.

Here's the artwork made by my daughter, Brianna with a little help from my husband, Michael.  It actually is a pop art conception of one of my dogs, "Dos".  It sold for $45.00.  :)

Some of my other favorite pieces of art included:

"Flower Market in Venice" by Karolyn Ferrell

"Mille Fluer" by Dixie Westerman (I LOVE the bright colors used in this creation)

"Morning Drive" by Mark Thomas

"Rose" by Carol Cooper

"The Hog" by Kimberly Kolbe

All in all, it was a fun evening.  As much as I enjoyed going to the previous year's 5x5 exhibit, it was even more fun when participating in it.  I look forward to doing it again next year.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Burlap Country Wedding Wreath Tutorial

My son, Joey and his fiancee, Hailey are getting married in a couple of weeks. They are having an intimate country-style wedding. In keeping with the country theme, the wedding decor will consist of burlap and flowers. Hailey and I are making all of the decorations. One of those decorations consists of a wedding wreath made from burlap roses and a fabric portrait of the happy couple. The really cool thing about this wreath is they can use it to decorate their home long after the wedding is over.

 Here's how we made it:

  • Wreath of choice - we used a 14" straw wreath;
  • glue gun;
  • glue sticks;
  • scissors;
  • pinking shears;
  • burlap in several colors (we used aqua (which we dyed ourselves), oyster and light brown;
  • felt in coordinating colors to match the burlap;
  • fabric image(s) and word(s) printed from home computer (we used June Tailor's Sew-in Colorfast Fabric in the pink package);
  • a handful of batting;
  • heart template to complement the size of the project (we made ours out of regular white printer paper).


Take a wreath and wrap around it with a strip of burlap. Glue ends into place with a glue gun. Set aside.

Make up a whole bunch of burlap roses. We used this tutorial by Craftaholics Anonymous for making the roses and varied the directions slightly to accommodate our project.   For example, we made the roses in varying sizes.  The smallest roses were made with 10" strips of burlap; the larger flowers were made with 15" strips of burlap.

In addition, since we had so many roses to make, we hot-glued the flowers in an assembly-line fashion to the coordinating felt pieces, let them cool and then cut around the roses with scissors.

Set the roses aside.

Place heart template over desired photo.  You can either trace around the template and then cut out the heart, or carefully cut around the template with scissors.  If you wish to use words in your wreath, go ahead and cut them out now, too, but not too close to the letters.  You will need to have a scant 1/2" border around the letters.

Turn fabric image (heart) over so the right side is facing the work surface.  Apply a thin line of hot glue around the inner edge of the heart.  Do not apply glue to the bottom of the heart.  Carefully turn the heart over and place it on top of a piece of felt.  Repeat with the word(s), making sure to leave one edge unglued.
Let cool.

Once cool, take batting and lightly stuff the heart and word(s).  Don't overstuff these or they will be difficult to close.

Carefully apply hot glue to the underside of the open part of the heart and word(s).  Press down onto the felt.  Once cool, cut out the heart and word(s) with pinking shears, taking care not to cut into the glued borders.  You now have mini, sew-free "pillows" to personalize your wreath.

Use hot glue gun to apply the flowers, picture and word(s) to the wreath.  And wa-la - there you have it - a unique, personalized wreath perfect for wedding decor or to complement any room in the house.

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