Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fir, Boxwood, Cedar & Light

Cold air, early night and a stark landscape elevate the beauty of the simplest things in winter - a candle's flame, a ring of evergreens, the tarnished trinkets that reflect the delicate light. Such thoughts inspired the scene above; the wreath uses a sturdy Fraser fir wreath as a base, complements of Green Valley Christmas trees. In the center I added some cedar sprigs and a ring of bright green boxwood cut from the yard. Glass ornaments add a subtle luster."Yet in thy dark streets shineth, The everlasting Light, The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O Christmas Tree

This year, Green Valley Christmas Trees kindly treated me to a mail-order tree to decorate and share with you here. I chose a 4 ft Fraser Fir and it's just stunning, even at this small size. I love the neat definition of the branches in this particular type of tree. I knew it deserved some first rate trims. I decorated it with some store-bought finds as well as 32 handmade ornaments (whew!), in five styles (one of each is pictured below). I know, Christmas day has come to a close, but I wanted to provide templates and brief/informal tutorials just in case you'd like to try these next year.
Click the photo above for a larger view.

The Felt Pinecones, were inspired by my mom's friend Denise who made little brown ones to top off a woodsy s'mores kit. I also used Suzonne Stirling's tutorial for Family Circle as guide (she has a much tidier method for transferring the pattern to the felt, and other great tips). Here's how I made mine: Gather the template, scissors, a pen, felt, fabric glue and a wooden skewer. Use the template to trace and cut 6 small, 8 medium and 12 large felt pinecone layers. Then stack them on the skewer in the following order 1 S, 3 M, 12 L, 5 M, 5 S. Stagger the points to make the pinecone look realistic and dab a little glue between some of the layers to help secure it - especially top and bottom layers. Trim away excess skewer. Form the point of the pinecone by pinching it at the bottom and securing with glue. Finish the top by cutting a felt circle about the size of a nickel. Poke a hole in the center and thread ribbon through for hanging. Attach to pinecone with glue.
For the Paper Cone, download the template and trace onto patterned card stock. Cut out, then score and fold along the dashed lines. Glue closed using the tab and let dry. Decorate with desired trims. For mine, I sewed a crepe ruffle from a party streamer (this makes a great garland as well; set your machine to the longest stitch and it should gather as you sew). I also added velvet ribbon, a wired pom pom handle and holly leaves made from cut paper, velvet flocking powder and a bead.
The little putz-style Church Ornaments are my absolute favorites! The template I used is from the Little Glitter Houses site (scroll to the bottom of the page for the church). I scaled the template down a bit in order to make it appropriately sized for an ornament, and used thin white cardboard and Tacky glue to construct them. Poke a hole in the roof of the steeple and thread with a loop of string for hanging before completely assembling. Also, cut an "X" with a craft knife in the back wall of the church, so you can poke a light through when you hang it. I free-handed the windows and cut them out with a craft knife, adding window frames cut from card stock as well as a door. The rest is just painting, glittering and decorating. For the pipe cleaner wreath, bend a pipe cleaner over on itself and twist it together, then wrap around a circular object to give it its shape, and glue to church. Cover the seam with a bow.
For the Glitter Ice Skates, I used watercolor paper because it's sturdier than card stock, and I happened to have a pad of it that was going unused. I find it works well though. Using the template, cut two skate shapes and one blade for each ornament. Glitter the skates with iridescent white glitter and the blade with silver glass glitter (I gave the blades a coat of silver paint and let it dry first). Once the glitter is dry poke holes through one side of the skate with a sturdy pin and sew on "laces" with silver embroidery floss and a needle. To complete the ornament glue together the two skate shapes with the blade and a loop for hanging sandwiched in between. Place under a heavy book or clamp together with clothespins as it dries. As a final touch, glue on a 1" pom pom as shown
For the Glitter Leaf, use the same method as the ice skate. The leaf shape is provided on the template. Cut two and glitter the sides that will face out (leaves are not symmetrical). You can give them a base coat of paint the same color as the glitter if desired. String a loop of ribbon through a bead before gluing between two glittered leaf shapes. Clamp and let dry.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Santa

Once I was one of many children writing to Santa, coloring holly leaves around the edges of the page and asking how to spell every other word. For this year's Christmas card, I designed my own stationery set with those old days in mind, recalling the classic colors and the unwavering belief that my mailed letter would make its way to the north pole. Of course, any letter traveling that far should go by air, so vintage airmail envelopes and labels provided inspiration as well. In Illustrator I made an envelope, two patterns for the envelope interior, a sheet of labels, and flat cards with plenty of room for a handwritten message.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peppermints & Candy Canes

These candy gift tags were an assignment I did for HobbyCraft, a UK publication. The story was unfortunately cut at the last minute, but I wanted to post some of the photos now that it's Christmastime. To make these, gather colored card stock, scissors and glue. Use the template to cut out the shapes and assemble as shown. You can add crepe paper "wrappers" to the peppermints, by gluing an additional paper circle to the back of the tag, sandwiching gathered crepe paper pieces between the layers. As a final touch, I dusted the finished tags with crystal glitter. Use these to embellish a package or decorate the tree!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Year of Victoria

My year as the Artist in Residence at Victoria magazine has come to a close and I wanted to share my last project (the snowy scenes above) from the November/December issue. I also wanted to take a moment to say what a rewarding experience it has been and how blessed I feel to have had this opportunity to learn and to contribute!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'll Have a Blue & Red Christmas

Hello again! I'm so excited to share this batch of projects I made and photographed for Adore Home, a beautiful new online magazine created by Australian designer, Loni Parker. I loved working with this color palette - it's fresh, fun and oh-so-cheery. Read more about how to make the gift wrappings, paper pom poms and cookies shown above in the current issue of Adore Home magazine.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Berries & Frost

Well it seems the holiday season is in full swing! I've been busy with deadlines over the last month, but in the coming weeks I'm going to set aside some time for personal Christmas projects. Meanwhile, I have a backlog of completed work on my list to share with you, so stay tuned. I've been meaning to post about these mini-wreath escort cards I made for Project Wedding; I think they'd also be lovely used as place cards at a holiday dinner or as ornaments, tied onto to tree branches with seam binding or ribbon. These are made out of a wired berry garland, and "frosted" with a dusting of fine glitter. Find the full how-to here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The End of November

I love this time of year. The way the sky fades at dusk, soft and pink around the edges. The last of the light gets caught in the trees, where pin oak leaves are red and vibrant in the early shadows. After sunset, chimney smoke lingers in the still, cold air.