Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Crafted Gifts

I don't think I have given this many hand made gifts since I was a college art student and giving away my class projects. I was able to attend the TN Art Educators Association conference this fall and had a LOT of fun in my mosaic class. I couldn't share it until now because I was giving it to my mom for Christmas.Some of the tiles are real, but most are made from Sculpey/Fimo oven baked clay. The clay is sticky so you could dust it with metallic powder and it picked up the color. You could press stamps and beads into it and then bake it and glue it in place. So much easier than hard ceramic tiles! Some of the elements in this piece are found objects, old jewelry parts, and buttons. The central tree figure started out as a chess piece. I made a mold with a lump of the clay, baked it, then pressed more clay in to make a figure that I could manipulate before baking.

I have 4 kids on my Christmas list who are all close in age and live next door to each other. So I tend to get them all the same thing. This year I made them each a simple drawstring bag. No pattern here (but you could probably find one here). I simplified mine by not lining them. I just cut 4 folded rectangles, so that the fold made the bottom of the bag. I sewed the side seams stopping about 3 inches from the top. That way when I folded the top edge to the inside and sewed it down, I had an opening through which I could thread a ribbon drawstring. I was able to use fabric and ribbon I already had on hand. So each bag took about 20 minutes and cost me $0.

Each kid also got a personalized notebook inside their bag. This is one that my cousin Cait showed me how to do and it is SO easy. Fortunately, I had 4 of those black and white composition books that I bought in late fall when all the back-to-school supplies finally were on clearance. I used scrap booking paper that I already had on hand. For the letters, I was given a Silhouette machine for my birthday and this was a great reason to test it out. It cuts shapes and designs like a Cricut machine, but can work off software and fonts that are already on your computer, so no cartridges to buy! I just glued a piece of paper over the notebook front and back, trimmed to size, and decorated with each kid's initial.

There is one much older sister in the bunch of kids, so she got something different. I had seen lots of pearl and leather jewelry at the beach this summer. I had some pearls from an earlier project, so I bought some leather and quickly realized that pearls have small holes and leather is REALLY thick. This was my compromise before I found the tool that is used to make pearls have bigger holes. I ran a thin wire through each pearl, around the leather strap on top, through the next pearl, and around the leather on the bottom. I finished it off with a button that goes through a loop on one end of the leather. I may need to make a second one for myself!

No comments: