Thursday, November 27, 2014

Make a Christmas Village Fence

Create an adorable fence for your Christmas village!

-mini craft sticks

-skinny sticks
-wood clothespins
-hot glue gun and hot glue

Step one: line up 12 small craft sticks and put a line of glue across the top. Lay a skinny stick across the top like the picture below, repeat with the bottom.
Leave some of the skinny stick laying off of each edge, and join the sections with a wooden clothespin.

-Step two: create gates

Trim the skinny sticks down and attach all of your pieces to make a fence! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Up-cycled Pumpkins: Frosty the Snowman and Crystal

I saw a cute idea on Pinterest where somebody had made snowmen out of pumpkins painted white. 

When I was a little girl my favorite movie was "Frosty the Snowman." My Grampy used to take care of me, and he watched it with me a million times. 

After one snowfall, we built a snowman together. I was devastated when it didn't come to life. I was a very young and a very determined little girl. I told my Grampy tearfully that it was the wrong hat!! He tried to construct a hat out of black paper to look like his hat in the movie. Still no "Happy Birthday" came out of his mouth.

I can remember that day so clearly, and I'm not quite sure why it has always stuck with me in such a strong way...but I loved my Grampy. So, here are my snowmen here in GA...

Olaf Lightbulb Ornament

I make a different ornament each year as my "Annual Ornament." I use my annual ornament as gifts for friends and family, as well as my children. Each year of my childrens' lives I have made them at least one special ornament. This year, I decided to make Olaf, since Frozen is big this year! 

-light bulbs (old style, I have been collecting used light bulbs for a long time)
-white acrylic paint
-orange acrylic paint
-light blue acrylic paint
-black paint pen, fine tip
-brown pipe cleaners
-hot glue and glue gun
-an old box and a utility knife (to make a drying stand)

Step one: carefully wash all light bulbs. If they are dusty the paint will not adhere properly.

Step two: After all bulbs are completely dry, paint them white. Use a light coat of paint and then after it has completely dried carefully add a second coat. If you are impatient and do not wait long enough--the paint will peel off

Step three: draw two circles for the eyes (see photo). The eyes should be touching, and the right eye should be slightly smaller. Add pupils and fill them in.

Step four: draw a curve for the first part of his nose. Add a bump at the end, and then another curve for the bottom (see photos)

Step five: starting at the upper right side of the light bulb, draw a curve to create the side of Olaf's face. This line continues in to create his mouth. 

Step six: add the large tooth, and create a dark background for his mouth.

Step seven: draw the left side of his face, which curves under to create his chin. 

Step eight: draw a curve for his left cheek.

Allow black paint outline to dry, and then fill in Olaf's nose. Also paint the back of the lightbulb blue. 

For finishing touches: wrap the top with a brown pipe cleaner about halfway, leaving th remaining pipe cleaner sticking up. Repeat with two other sections of pipe cleaner. You should end up with the three stems poking up from the top.  Trim the pipe cleaners and use the scraps to embellish the stems.

Then, use two small pieces of pipe cleaner as Olaf's eyebrows. 

I hot glued a loop of pipe cleaner to the top so that I could hang Olaf from the tree! 

DIY Lighted Holiday Marquee

Ok, so Home Depot once again was not clear on their advertising and they were VERY inconsistent from store to store. They advertised that the November "Do it Herself" workshop would involve a lighted holiday marquee, inspired by Ana White. Also, there was a FULL PAGE ad in HGTV magazine bragging of gift bags sponsored by HGTV that all attendees would get to take home. 

 Some reported that their gift bag was an empty paper bag! My store gave us each a lovely poinsettia and some Home Depot swag. I heard horror stories from across the country: They didn't have it set up at one store. 

 One store charged a $35 materials fee. At my mom's store everybody made one out of styrofoam, but they had so many people show up they were panicked and my mom and her friend left to go shopping instead.

 I stayed for a little bit, but then had to go to my sons' concert. One was playing percussion and the other the french horn. However, I did hear murmurings of disappointment in the room that people weren't going to be able to make their own. I REALLY wanted one, so I thought about how it would be easier to make. 

Anything would be easier than trying to cut the letters out myself. Here it is: 

Materials List: 
~Pre-cut out wooden letters to spell out the word of your choice 
 ~These particular letters are $3.99 at Hobby Lobby, I purchased them for 50% off. Letters are also available at Walmart for $1.97 
 ~Paint in the colors of your choice. The red was $.50 and the iridescent white was $1.97 at Walmart 
~A set of lights. These gem lights are wired, and it is $9.97 for a set of 60 at Walmart. If you choose a shorter word, (such as JOY) a set of 30 should be sufficient. 
~Liquid Nails or another strong adhesive (wood glue will also work) 
~Glitter, if you want your home to sparkle like mine does 
~White glue if you wish to make snowflakes as accents 
~A piece of wood for the background: I used a 12X24X48 piece of pine which cost about $8. If you have plywood or other wood lying around anything the proper size will work.
 ~A drill with a 7/16 inch bit (if you use the gem lights) 

 Step One: Paint Apply paint to the letters and the background. Be sure to paint the edges of the letter. My letters were white when I bought them, and I put about 3 coats of the pearly white paint on them. I put only one coat of the red on the pine board.

 Step Two: Position your letters on the piece of wood, and glue them down. You must let the glue dry overnight in order for it to work 100%. The liquid nails does take awhile, as does regular wood glue.

 Step Three: Mark the spots where you would like to place your lights. On mine, I put the lights about 2.5" apart. This is going to depend on how large the lights you choose are. Smaller lights can be put closer together, and larger lights can be put farther apart ONLY if there is enough cord in between each light. 

 Step Four: Drill holes. Choose a drill bit that is LARGER than the base of the light (the part that is green) so that it can be pushed through from the back. However, your bit should be SMALLER than the top of the light (the bulb or if using LED lights, the part that is going to get put on from the front). In my case, the led lights slip through the back and the gem covers snap on through the front.

After drilling, suck up the debris with a vacuum and brush dust off of the letters so that you have a clean surface. If necessary,  you can lightly sand the area around the holes. I simply cleaned off the dust. My lights cover the edges of the holes.

Since there are chips around the edges of the holes, I re-painted the letters. Since I wanted to add some glitter, after painting each letter I sprinkled glitter on while the paint was still wet. I used ultra-fine diamond glitter. 

To thread the lights through, wait until everything is dry. If using the lights I used or similar lights, pull the plastic tops off (carefully so that you don't pull the whole light out like I did--that was a whole other nightmare). Starting at the top of one letter, push the light through the back, and PPP the plastic piece back on the front. I used a set of 60 even though I only needed 35 lights since some of the distances were longer than the light would allow. In those cases I just skipped a light and taped it down to the back of the board. Leave the plastic piece off. After you have finished filling each hole with a light, just tape the excess lights to the back of the board. I DID NOT put the gems back on them. 

There are many battery operated lights available, which I recommend--but the original set I bought didn't have enough lights. I also recommend buying lights that stay on even if one bulb is pulled out. Mine did not, and I spent FOREVER trying to fix one bulb that I messed up when I accidentally yanked it out with my brute strength.

I then used glue to draw different snowflake designs using plain old white school glue. After you draw the design, cover it with glitter and let it dry.

Use screw-in eyes and wire to hang the marquee.