Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A fitting conclusion

Here we are on New Year's Eve with the 52nd entry in this crazy self-challenge. And this one was a doozy! I started working on it around Thanksgiving. There are a lot of beads covering this tiny 2 1/2 inch ball.

The swags were made first and they have two layers - a flat ladder of beads and, on each row, a swag of beads. Then the five tassels are made separately, each with the three strands of beads. These took FOREVER! The longest in each group has a main strand of 80 beads, then 72, then 64. I'm not a fan of counting out that many beads. Attaching them inside the swags was even more frustrating. In fact, as I finished the ornament, one came unattached but it was easy to fix.

Next, there were four dangle pieces that attach each pair of swags. These were fun to do so it was good it was at the end - kept me going this morning! Finally the hanging loop and top decoration was done. I love the
technique of covering a larger fire polish bead with strands of seed beads. I'll probably use that idea again.

I'm pretty relieved to not have to make an ornament next week. But, there were at least two that I didn't get to at the end: a green glass tree ornament with a bead cover that I got from the same website as this week's ornament (I'll try to add a link) and a chain maille one from Blue Buddha. I will get to them - but probably not next week! I have really enjoyed the blogging aspect and am thinking about keeping it going. The Karen's Post Weekly Ornament Blog? We'll see. Happy 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I finally got to use that word! Is it weird that I remember learning its meaning when I missed it on the PSAT? Anyway, next to last ornament done! This is a bit of chain maille that I designed.

Chain maille is tricky because you have to get the ring size right to make it stable without being too stiff. The diameter of the wire and ring are both important. Then there is just the placement of those rings - there is some choice in how you connect everything while not making it bend into a tortured object. I have not designed much of it because the idea of trying things until they work is pretty annoying to me. And, yes, this was annoying. I finally had to hide my tools from myself so I'd stop moving rings around. I do still have the Christmas Eve bread to bake after all.

I thought I'd also share a little ornament tragedy from last week. When I was removing my towels from the washer I found this:

The wool roving angel I made a few years ago apparently flew into the washer and felted herself. Here's what she used to look like:
I guess I might need to make another one?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The homestretch!

What a week! I had the ancient carpets cleaned which involved furniture in many strange places. Then we had a wind storm which took power out - fortunately only for 6 hours. I now have something like 20 kinds of cookies made. And nut rolls and my lemon variation on them. And there was the annual pierogi making day. I have the same group of special friends over for Christmas Eve - I think this year is the 35th! I used to dread the day I made 200 pierogi until my 4 wonderful best friends offered to come help. We do the work and then sit down with some pierogi for lunch, accompanied by a few bottles of my favorite sparkling wine. I do have a few hours of boiling and packaging for the freezer to do after they leave (probably slowed by the bubbly truth be told) but the day is now one I look forward to instead of dreading. Friends do make life easier and more special, don't they?

This week's ornament  is another idea I got on pinterest - what did we do for ideas before pinterest??? It's a bunch of 1 inch squares of pretty paper, folded and pinned to a styrofoam egg shape to make a pinecone. The one on pinterest had some fake berries and leaves at the top but I wasn't going to the craft store and I think it looks pretty good with just a bow.
I promised a photo of the little ornament display I'm using for these ornaments this year. Here it is!
It's quite crowded but I think that highlights the excess of this crazy project.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


2 little snowflake ornaments this week! And 3 weeks to go. I must admit I'm feeling the need to do some other crafting soon. I think we'll transition to "Finish it in Fifteen" for the new year. Not a project a week though. Enough of that kind of pressure!

The ornament on the right is from pinterest. It is made with plastic snowflake buttons - not shank buttons, ones with holes. I ended up buying 2 packages trying to get six large ones of one kind to make the bottom ring. I ended up not liking  the ones that matched so I alternated 2 styles. I had plenty of matching smaller ones - they were small enough that I need more than six to go around. I used a hot glue gun to glue the top layer on. Since each overlaps 2 lower ones it holds that layer together. I had three tiny buttons I liked so I put them on the top. Cute and easy!

I started this one last week. It is like the blue star  from last week but three layers thick. I found the directions to stitch the layers together relatively incomprehensible! I made something up that seems to work. You might notice some threads hanging out - I need to put some glue on before I cut them.

Today I bought a cute little metal tree-like thing. It will be crowded but I'm going to us it to display the ornaments from this year. Hopefully I'll have a picture next week with an update after the final three ornaments are done.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This is how it happened!

Remember this project started because of an overabundance of ideas and kits for ornaments? One has to wonder how that overabundance occurred. I think I figured it out this week.

It's the time of year when making ornaments makes sense. The tree - with all those wonderful handmade ornaments - is being put up. What better time to add some new ones? The problem is I have a severe Christmas overachievement problem!

We have several big parties and I make LOTS of cookies for them. We're talking over 20 kinds of cookies. I start in early December and keep them in the freezer until the parties at the
end of the month. And of course the freezer has to be cleaned out and organized first. And there's Thanksgiving too. You get the picture ...

So I'm still woking on the beaded ornament. It is definitely involved but it's been weeks! Only a bit of time every week though.I'm sure you'll see it soon.

In the absence
of that I made a few very simple ones. These two are  VERY easy Pinterest ideas. They are simple metal cookie cutters and Washi tape. I tried adding tape on the inside of the star - it keeps lifting so it might get pulled off. We'll see.

The blue star is a simple pattern with acrylic beads. I also have a little snowflake which is more interesting but didn't get it done (cookies, remember?).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tweet tweet

 It appears to be bird week - although neither of these birds says tweet! The cockatiel is inspired by my son Chris's bird Archimedes. Archi, as we call him, used to say "Hey Baby" every time he saw me - probably because I taught him to say it. Last week, Chris was not available to cover him for the night. I walked up and started to pick up the cover. Loud and clear, "Hey Baby!" I guess he thought he could charm me and I'd let him stay up and engage with me. He does a great telephone ring, including talking caller id with a random caller name. And he randomly yells a LOT!

Anyway, I ordered some cute wooden bird shapes from Willy Kay Studios on Etsy a few years ago and we thought maybe
they could do a cockatiel for us. I painted and glittered the others right away but was a bit worried about pleasing Chris with the Archi lookalike. This seemed to be the time. He thinks I did pretty well!
The other one is from the just crafty enough
blog. I found it on pinterest and thought it was cute (and easy). It uses a doll peg (I had no idea what these were before this!), paint and a bit of felt.

I'm still working on a beaded ornament cover - maybe it will be done next week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twinkle twinkle

I got this cute kit from Stampin' Up recently. It says it makes 26 stars but I'm pretty sure these are plenty for the tree. Not only were there a lot of the star "boxes" but there were tons of embellishments too. My only complaint is that the adhesive on the sides doesn't stick very well.  I will need to use some extra sticky in some places.

I especially like this one. It uses six of the stars. I folded them
down the middle and glued them together. I can imagine doing it with all kinds of shapes.

Six ornaments to go. I've started on a few because things always get crazy in December - a lot of cookie baking. And  some festive fun. There are a couple of beaded ones that would need to be done over more than a week even in normal times! I think the coming attractions are two chain maille, two beaded, some painting and one more paper craft There might be one or two bonuses thrown in as well.