Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mixed-Media Photo Tree Skirt

A Very Maki Tree Skirt

One of the reasons we don't like decorating for Christmas is that our decorations aren't very us... in fact, they're not "us" at all. We bought a bunch of stuff at Lowes, very generic balls etc., when we were first married ( nearly 16 years ago) and called it done. We aren't very tchotchke-oriented to begin with so the trappings of Christmas don't really fit our space. It's got to the point where I don't feel like hauling out the crap ever again. Something had to be done. So I started with our pathetic tree skirt. 

Tree Skirt 1

Please click on the pictures to see them up close.

Start with one of those dollar store, batting tree skirts:

Add fabric to it. I used the same technique I did with my dish mats and it went fine. The fabric is just a base, no need to worry about perfection or even matching:


Paint with thinned gesso. We used a mix of thinned and full strength gesso for variations in opacity:


Start adding some paint. I didn't worry about letting anything dry. But when painting wet on wet you need to have a light hand.


Add more paint, stamps, stencils - whatever you like :-)


Thin black paint with water and start writing meaningful text over the tree skirt. This part was really fun as the kids yelled out suggestions so ours has everything from "Saltine Toffee" to " No SAT" and "Elvis"

Keep doing this until you like how it looks. A lot of the writing will get covered up over time so don't stress about imperfections. Be sure to add some drips and splatters while you're at it:

Let it dry, overnight is best as the batting weight base really holds the moisture.

Meanwhile, print your photos onto fabric. I used Claudine Hellmuth's Sticky Back Canvas - it's awesome! In Alisa Burke's Anti-Scrapbooking Class  I learned a technique where you paint non-essential (or distracting) parts of the photos with gesso:


And journal in the open space. Cool 'eh?:


Once the skirt was dry, peel off the backing on the canvas and stick the photos down randomly. Since my plan is to continually add photos to it, I didn't worry too much about placement.


Add paint to the edges to blend them in with the background:


Decorate the painted edges, paint pens work great:


Add some doodles:


You might have a few corners pulling up; I solved this by adding messy, decorative stitching, but you could also use adhesive:


Stitching such an unwieldily gigantic project is horrible. Seriously. Not fun. It helps to roll up the sides to shove the excess through the sewing machine. Speaking of the machine, don't be surprised if it gets a little paint on it. Oops. 

Consider this man-handling of your project "distressing" and it feels a lot less traumatizing.

And yes, we do have zombie pics on our tree skirt... their called "memories" :-)

You should end up with something like this:

Hope there was something you can take away and use from this tutorial. If only, be yourself.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local Scrapbook Club

Our LSS has a page club where you get a bag of product and make a LO with only the stuff in the bag using at least a little of every item.  You can't add anything else but pictures. Inking the edges is fine but stamping, painting etc. is prohibited. This one was tricky as the papers weren't my style, and I rarely use printed titles.

But, in the end, it came out okay. I really loved the challenge.

Here's a close-up:

Close up

And this is what I had left after my page was complete:


If you're ever in Utah, Heartfelt Creations is an awesome store filled with crafting and quilting goodness. You should definitely pop in.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crepe Paper Ornaments

Crepe Ornament
Please click on the photos to see them up close.

Hey Everyone, ready for Christmas?

When I saw Juliet Marsh's ornaments made from crepe streamers in the December issue of Cloth Paper Scissors I just had to give them a try. I have to warn you in advance, they aren't simple and they're really addictive you just want to make more and more and more of the things. I made a couple of minor adjustments to her directions to suit my own way of doing things. 

In Progress

(See. I meant a lot!)

Here's what you need:

Cut your streamers into five foot lengths and trim one of the long edges with decorative scissors. I found this worked best if I folded the crepe up into about a foot-long piece :
Step One- Streamers and Thread

Whip Stitch the long, straight edge:
Whipstitch Crepe

I like to load the needle as it seems to support the delicate crepe better:
load the needle

You'll end up with something like this - pretty:

Un-twist your crepe snake and pull the thread until you get a circle. This is tricky, don't hulk out and pull your knot right through the whole thing. Did it. Don't recommend it. Take your time on this step.
Pull into circle

Tie a Knot to secure your thread. Don't stress about this step, there is more securing coming up:
Tie a Knot

See, all gathered and knotted. You may need to squish and flatten it a bit to get it to look right.
Gathered and Knotted

Get out your Podge (or glue of choice):
Get out your Podge

And brush glue around the center gathers. This gives your ornament a lot more structure and support. Now it won't come apart. Yay!
Glue it up!

Gently spray some glimmer mist or whatever spritzable dye you use on your ornament. Don't forget this stuff is basically toilet paper weight and we all know what happens when you mix TP and fluids. Don't use much spray. Hold your hand far away. A little is plenty!
Spray carefully with color mist

Let your ornament dry completely. It really doesn't take long at all. I promise. 

Brush the face of your ornament with a little Mod Podge. Don't stress about covering it all or being perfect. Just slap a little bit on:
Dry completely then brush with Mod Podge

Sprinkle with glitter:
Sprinkle with glitter

Now do the sides:
Now do the sides

Glitter and Shake! Shake! Shake!
Shake it out

Instead of clear glitter, you can go monochromatic:

or contrasting

Allow to dry. Thread a ribbon through the center:
run ribbon through hole

Tie a Knot or bow. I use a knot if I'm hiding it in the hole for a "clean" looking hanger. I use a bow if I want a pouf at the top:
Tie a Knot or bow

Add a tag, journaling spot or decoration to the center and you're done:
On a tree

Pink Ornament

These are great for packaging treats:

or you can hang them in a window to showcase their gorgeous translucent qualities.
Shining Through

I plan to make some graffiti, Bombshell, Day of the Dead, absolutely, positively me-esque ornaments in the coming days and I'll post them here. All of these tags feature journal spots from Elle's Studio.

P.S. I have this rule that I have to make one project for each magazine I keep so expect to see a lot of "inspired by" posts in the near future.

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