Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yarn Angels (LOADS of pics)

I promised I would post this tutorial weeks ago, and I've finally got around to the pics this morning. I've been making and giving these angels away for 20 years and even sold them at craft fairs. They are cheap and easy to make and so much fun, plus they look so pretty on any style of tree.

This post is photo heavy, so please be patient. I'm trying to cover all the steps with pics and instructions.

I have made these angels using all types of yarns and fibers, including string, flat lace, ribbons, torn fabric and jute twine. Each material has its charms and the look of your angels will change with each different material.

BODY-I have used a paperback book for this demo. It is easy to use and the proportions are just right for the angels for most every fiber except for small string. Wrap your yarn about 50 times around the book, longways. Tie it at the top with a piece of yarn and cut the yarn through at the bottom of the book, so you have 50 long pieces of yarn tied at the top like the start of a tassel.

Tie the head off about 1" down from the top, forming a neck.

Now split the rest of the yarn approximately in half and separate as shown.

ARMS-Wrap yarn 25 to 30 times around the short side of the book. Tie off at one side. DO NOT CUT the looped yarn.

Slip the tied loops off the book and you will have a bundle that looks like this.

Put the tied loop bundle inside the divided angel body and pull one group of cut body yarn thru the arm loop. Adjust so the tie on the arm bundle is at the top.

Pull the body yarn down and tie off the waist of the angel just below the arms.

Pinch the arm bundle at the tie and twist it towards the angel body 2 or 3 times to get a nice bent arm shape.

Hot glue the tied arms to the waist of the angel body. I use the blunt end of a crochet hook to "comb" the skirt yarn. Anything smooth will work as long as it doesn't snag the yarn.

WINGS-I use lace for most of my angel wings. Wrap it around the short side of the paperback 6 to 8 times.

Slip the bundle of lace off the book and tie in the middle. DO NOT CUT ANY LOOPS of the wing bundle. Hot glue wings to back of angel, right below the where the neck is tied off.

Your yarn angel is taking shape!

HAIR WIG-The smallest hair bundle makes a wig with a bun and is best made by winding yarn around four of your fingers about 25 times. Tie off the bundle but do not cut the loops.

Slip the wig bundle off your fingers. It should look like this.

Tie the bundle close to one end to form a ponytail/bun. You want the head part of the wig to be larger and open to fit the angel's head.

Put hot glue on top of the head just a little forward of the center tie. Center your wig front over the glue and press down while the glue sets. Press and arrange the wig as you wish then hot glue the sides to the head right about where the ears would be.

Put another dab of hot glue at the back of the neck to secure the bun part of the wig in place.

Your angel's hair should look like this from the back. If you wind the wig yarn around the short side of the paper back and tie it off you will have a longer ponytail. If you wind the yarn around the long side of the paperback and tie it off you will have a nice long wig that looks awesome in a fat braid!

Here she is dressed up in white foofaraw. I love going into my stash and finding small embellishments for my angels. Scrap book gems, buttons, lace, beading, you name it, you can use them on these little angels!

Here is one done in chunky white yarn and gold embellishments. I made her wig out of thinner yarn so it wouldn't look so big. Once you get the basic steps down pat you can make these angels out of lots of different fibers. I've made them as small as 3" tall out of string and as large as 18" out of chunky yarn. They all look great!

Here is one made of lace with a dowel and thread spool base.

And here is one of my favorite style of angels, made out of crochet string.

Barely 3" tall, she has shaped wings made of sheet music with glittered edges and she carries a little book of the same paper. And here's the sweetest part.....
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Her extra long hair is tied into a thick braid down her back. Cute! I've started doing these long chunky braids on all of the angels I'm making this year, and I love the look.

I'll be posting this in the parties on my sidebar, starting Wednesday, so please come visit and join the fun. Lots of creative ideas are out in blogland!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Burlap Santa Claus

I am still getting my fine motor skills back after my breast cancer treatment, so sewing and painting have been on my list of skills I want to rebuild and maintain. Usually I make LOTS of Santas for my Etsy shop at this time of year, including from paper mache, but as I said, I'm still coming back.

That said, I am REALLY pleased with this primitive Santa Claus doll with an outfit and accessories made of burlap. Once I painted his face I knew he was a "go." He is my doll #921 and he made me smile. Of all the dolls I make, my Santas are my favorites!

He stands 20" tall and I had a great time putting all the details together.

I added burlap ruffles to a twig wreath and added one of my string angels and a tiny twig star. They are perfect together!

The jointed teddy bear in the stocking is golden plush and a tiny beauty. I buy them whenever I see them, they are the perfect size for my dolls. The stocking is white burlap trimmed with tan furry felt.

With his wired arms this Santa is totally poseable and he can hold small items. His hat is wired, too, so it can be twisted and turned.

Evidently a Santa in a burlap outfit is NOT a nutty idea, since this handsome guy sold in my Etsy shop in about a week! Really, burlap, who knew? I wish Christmas wasn't so close upon us because I'd make more of this style Santa if I had time. Perhaps I'll make one for practice and inventory and if he doesn't sell, well, he would look GREAT with my holiday decorations! I'll call that the plan, that's the ticket.

Thanks for checking my burlap Santa out. The world is a wide and interesting place, you never know which idea will please somebody out there.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kitchen Christmas Tree

We were charmed with the bay window and breakfast nook at one end of the kitchen when we bought our house, but more and more it's become a backwater of stacks and storage. I decided at least for Christmas we needed to clear it out and make it work for our Holiday desserts and treats.

I threw red velvet over the oak table and added a lighted tree in a garden urn. For a kitchen theme I started pulling little kitchen items out of the drawers and red ornaments from the rest of the house. I also found a box of old salt dough stars that look like sugar cookies and some dark brown applesauce/cinnamon stars from way back. Score!

So this project cost nothing since everything we used was already on hand from years past.

Then I loaded it up with everything small, red and kitchenny I could put my hands on. Kitchenny. That's a word, isn't it? I tied red plaid Christmas ribbon to a bunch of utensils and made bows out of the rest of the ribbon and piled it on this little tree.

My grandson made the snowflake garland using a Martha Stewart punch and pages from an old dictionary and phone book. Glued from point to point they make a really pretty and easy garland.

See the little stars? They look like little bitty shortbread cookies but they are baked salt dough. I added measuring spoons, wooden spoons, tin cups, a flower sifter, silvery tart pans and twig wreaths, along with glittery glass hearts and rolled felt roses.

The applesauce/cinnamon stars still smell sweet and a group of fake gingerbread ornaments went up there too.

The snowflake garland is a nice white touch on the otherwise red and green tree. I just tied ribbons to ordinary flatware before hanging them up.

A tin cup, fork, tea ball, measuring spoon, fir cone and more stars mix with the snowflake garland.

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I added red plaid ribbons to a few wooden utensils and grouped them in a red container then put some treats on cake pedestals. The blue glass jars are a perfect counterpoint color. I've got my eyes open for more kitchen ornaments for this tree because I really like the way it's turned out!

And at night it sheds a pretty, glowing light in the kitchen instead of the light in the range hood. Much more festive, too. I love projects like this. Spur of the moment, done with items on hand, not a lot of time invested and a really nice result. What's not to love?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Teeny Tiny Wine Cork Reindeer

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Look! A tiny reindeer made from wine corks and twigs for your Holiday decor!

If you accumulate a lot of wine corks or keep running across them at yard sales and thrift stores, here's a nifty little project for the holidays that is so stinkin' cute and sort of easy, plus cheap. I make these little guys to go with my Santa dolls and while making them today I went ahead and took pictures of the process.

Here he is surrounded by the supplies for his creation. Wine corks, little twigs (some with forks) and round headed pins. You will also need a tool for cutting like a razor craft knife and wire cutters.

Punch four leg holes at a slight outward angle in the bottom of one cork for the twig legs. Use a nail or ice pick or whatever gives you the right size holes. The holes need only be about 1/4" deep. Cut four sorta matching twigs for the legs, about 2" long, using a razor knife or wire cutters like those shown.

Put a bit of hot glue in the hole or on the twigs and insert the twigs into the holes. You can press the sticks in with gentle pressure against your work surface or use a pair of pliers. Stand the body up and if any leg is out of whack trim it JUST A LITTLE with a knife or the wire cutters. If you take off too much you'll have to trim the other legs and then the first leg again and it will only end in tears, trust me on this.

BUT, if this happens you can use a heat gun or blow dryer to soften the glue and remove the sticks so you can start over with 4 new twig legs.

If your chosen head cork is too large, trim one end straight off with a razor knife til the proportion seems right. Do the same same punch-holes-trim-twigs-glue-in-holes for the tiny forked antlers and the neck twig. Notice the neck twig is angled, so punch your holes with that in mind.

                                          Look! Teeny tiny super cute wine cork reindeer!

LOVE these little guys!

But wait, what are the ball pins for? This little guy needs a red nose, of course. I snipped the pin off short then painted the ball bright red.

Then I added a bit of tiny green tinsel around his neck. Perfect. You can add more tiny trims like the bow on his brother in the top pic, or a tiny star, or a little bell.

They are great in a tabletop display or trooping across your mantle. They are not strong enough to be used as toys but for your Christmas decor, what could be easier or cuter? And now you have a nifty project to use all those wine corks you have in that glass jar.

I'll be posting this to the blog parties in my sidebar. Come join the fun!

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