Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Mantel

One of the things I love about blogging is how it keeps me motivated to get projects finished.  And since I wanted to join Layla @ The Lettered Cottage for her Christmas Mantel Party, and Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for her Boring to Better Party, it was just the push I needed to get my mantel decorated early this year.

I have two fireplaces in my house and the one I'm showing today is in our finished basement.  The room has a stone fireplace and one stone wall which gives it somewhat of a lodge feel.  So I decided to decorate it this year with warm woods and pops of red and white.  I didn't want to spend any money so I scoured my Christmas bins and my basement storage area to find pieces to use.
The window came from my childhood home.  The house was built over 100 years ago and this is one of it's original windows.  My Mom and Dad still live in the house and they had the windows replaced a few years back.  At the time I took the window I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but I love how it looks on the mantel.
I made the yardstick star a couple of weeks ago and the tutorial can be found here.
I dressed it up with a red bow to add some color.  The metal star is one that I have had on my mantel for almost five years.  I also took three old bottles and added some small game cards to read JOY.
We're not finished just yet.
The fireplace is anchored on the left side by our TV and the right side with cabinets, both with lots of upper display space.

More "shopping" around the house and lots of time tweaking the display (my legs are sore from going up and down a ladder) and this is what I finished with last night.  All I kept thinking while I was adding all the stuff was that it was going to end up looking like a TGI Friday's Restaurant.
Not my best photo but I really needed a wide angle lens (and better lighting) to capture a good picture.
After looking at this picture I think I need some garland draped under the mantel with some stockings.

Here are some additional pictures of the mantel area:
An old wood game board propped against the wall is a backdrop for a flying Santa.
The vintage lantern was an antique store find.  It was made for a light bulb but I took the electrical components out and added a battery operated candle.
The lantern is sitting atop a shelve from an old trunk and the little red truck was a toy of my husband's from the mid-60's (gotta love that his mother saved everything).
I rounded the display out with a wreath, one of my favorite Santa figures, and some trees and snowflakes.
On the right side I piled on more stuff.  A second lantern, some of my Santa collection in a wood box, a white wicker basket with poinsettias and twigs, and a well loved sled that was my husband's from when he was growing up. 

This was the first time in five years that I have decorated the entire mantel area.
I hope you enjoyed the tour.
I have seen a few of the beautiful mantels that have been posted today and I'm off to go visit some more.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Papier Mache Christmas Cone Tutorial

A few days ago I pictured a papier mache Christmas cone I created inspired by a picture I saw on June's blog, Laughing with Angels.
This is the inspiration photo from June's blog.
When I saw the cones on June's blog they looked to be made out of the papier mache material I used years ago when I created papier mache Santa's.  I haven't made a Santa in many, many years but I still had a 5 lb. bag of the Celluclay II Instant Papier Mache I used to make them.  This 5 lb. bag cost me $19.95 around 15 years ago.  I'm not sure of the price now but it can be purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michael's.  It is also available in 1 lb. packages (I made 3 cones with less than 1 lb.)
The cones really are very simple to make.  Once you get the feel for the papier mache you will be cranking these out in no time!

In addition to the Celluclay II papier mache you will need a cardboard cone (I found these at Michael's.  They came in 3 sizes and I used the medium sized cone) and some Mod Podge.
The first step is to cover your cone with Mod Podge and let it dry.  Since the papier mache is wet, this step helps protect the cone from absorbing the water from the papier mache.

While the Mod Podge is drying you can make a batch of papier mache.
Following the directions on the Celluclay package, mix the dry papier mache product with the appropriate amount of water.
This is a picture of the dry, powdery papier mache before water.
Here's a picture of the papier mache with water added, ready to be used.
 Now it's just a matter of adding the papier mache to the cone, covering the entire cone.  (The thickness of the papier mache on the cone is probably around 1/4").

Have a warm bowl of water nearby to keep your hands wet as you add the papier mache to the cone. 
 Once you have completely covered the cone it is drying time.  I let my pieces air dry and it will take a couple of days to completely dry.  If you want to speed up the drying time there are instructions included in the package of papier mache for drying in the oven on a very low temperature.

Here are the dry cones.

At this point I wanted to add a papier mache embellishment like I saw on June's cones.  
I find it easier to add the embellishment after the cone has dried because the cone is much easier to handle dry than wet.  But you could add the embellishment at the same time you cover the cone if your prefer.

I took some of my leftover mixed papier mache (you can store unused mixed paper mache for days in a ziplock baggy in the refrigerator) and rolled it out to approximately a 1/4" thickness.
 Using a cookie cutter I cut out my shape.  I used a heart on one cone and stars on the other two.  Place the embellishment on the cone and blend the edges of the embellishment into the cone (make sure to have a bowl of water handy to help blend).
Now more drying time.

Once everything is dry, drill a small hole on both sides for a ribbon or wire hanger. 

At this point you can leave the cone as is or paint it.  The papier mache has an antique white color to it so I left it as is.  I also chose to dress the cone up a bit with some lace but this step is entirely up to you.  Since the top edge of my cone looked a little unfinished, I added some vintage lace to cover the edge.  I also added a second piece of lace with a Christmas ribbon slide for additional embellishment.
Here's one of my finished cones with some greenery and pipe cleaner candy canes added.

There are so many ways you could decorate these cones.  If you decide to make some be sure and let us see how they turn out.

And if you really get into covering things with papier mache, you can give these a try.  

These are some Santa figurines and ornaments I made back in the '90's.  
Using the same basic instructions as used for the cone, cover a styrofoam shape with papier mache and then add all the features.  After they are dry, paint as desired.  

Hope this tutorial is helpful.  If you have any additional questions just let me know.

I'm linking today with Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday  Diana @ The Girl Creative for Just Something I Whipped Up
and with Carrie @ Dittle Dattle for her very first linky party, Amaze Me Monday.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Santa Collection

The SNS party theme this week @ Funky Junk Interiors is Collections.  Donna has challenged us to share something that we collect.  This was a difficult one for me, not because I didn't have a collection to share, but choosing what collection of several I was going to post about today.

But since I have spent the better part of the morning getting out Christmas decorations, I thought I would share what is probably my very 1st collection.....Santa's.

My collection of Santa's started in 1988, the year I was married.  This is what started it all.
I love handcrafted Santa's and concentrated my collection on Santa's purchased at craft and holiday fairs.  If the pieces were not signed and dated by the artist I would date the piece myself so I had a record of what year each Santa was made.  Over the years I have received several Santa's as gifts expanding my collection to probably near 100.
I will be sharing some of the ideas I have for displaying the Santa's in future posts but today I thought I would just picture some of the handcrafted Santa's that make up my collection.


 These papier mache Santa's are ones that I made in 1993 and 1994.  I haven't made one in over 15 years and think I may need to get out the papier mache and see if I still have the patience to create these.

Thanks for stopping by.
I guess I had better get back to decorating!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Papier Mache Christmas Cone

Last December the lovely June @ Laughing With Angels posted some pictures of her beautiful holiday decor.  

I'm always in awe of June's gorgeous photos but that day this one stood out.
I loved these cones and knew I had to try and make some.

I didn't have a chance to tackle this project last year so I bookmarked the page and put it on my list of this year's projects.

This past week I found some time to make a few cones and I am planning on posting a full tutorial later this week (or weekend).  My sister is flying in tonight and I need to get to the airport to pick her up.

Here's a picture of one of my finished Christmas cones.  Not my best photo but I lost the daylight before I could get the picture taken.  I'll have plenty of photos later this week with the tutorial.
I'm joining the party with Kathleen @ Faded Charm for White Wednesday.
Lots to see...make sure and check it out.

 I won't be posting again until after Thanksgiving so I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope it's a wonderful day filled with family and/or friends.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Star Ornament

This past summer I posted about one of my best garage sale finds:
55 folding rulers
Since buying these I have bartered a few, sold a few, and used a few in my decor.

After I made my yardstick star a couple of weeks ago (see post here),
I decided that I would make some stars on a much smaller scale for my tree using parts of a folding ruler.

I took one of the folding rulers and broke it apart.
 I sawed each piece to a 4" length and sanded the edges.
Using the same basic directions as the larger yardstick star, I took five of the ruler pieces and laid them out in the shape of a five point star.
 After drilling a small hole at each point, I inserted a brad (these are from some of my scrapbook supplies) into each point.
The brad ends fold back to hold the points together.
Side note: Be careful when drilling the holes at the points.  The wood can crack easily and you can end up with this:
 But that little accident actually helped me decide how to embellish my ornament.
After putting some glue in the crack to insure the piece would not break off, I dug through some more of my scrapbook supplies to find an embellishment that could hide the crack.
This metal "Happy Holidays" ribbon slide and ribbon not only helped hide the crack but added some nice detail to the ornament too (I also painted the brad heads red to coordinate with my ribbon).
So here's the first of what (hopefully) will be several different ornaments I will be posting about in the next few weeks.

I'm joining the party over at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.
I'm also sharing this with Stephanie Lynn @ Under the Table and Dreaming for her Handmade Ornament Exchange Party.
Lots of wonderful projects at both parties, make sure and check them out.

 Have a great week.