Tag, You’re It: Free Printables

Wrapping gifts still?  We’ve got a tag printable for you!  You can choose from a sheet of feathers:

Or a nature themed variety:

Of course, you could always use our template from last year.

Handmade Holidays: Clay Critters

We’ve been at it again.  Making Christmas ornaments, that is.  Jeesh, get your mind out of the gutter.  Haha.  This time, I’ve strayed away from glass balls and moved toward polymer clay.  I had one package of white clay waiting to be used.  Christmas is the perfect time, I guess.  I don’t have a real tutorial for these because I was fiddling around while watching Bones one evening.  By the way, is anyone else in love with Booth?  Anyway, I crafted an owl and a penguin.

Then, while browsing Pinterest, I saw a cute polar bear ornament.  Sadly, it had already sold and there wasn’t another like it.  I decided to make something similar.  Once I was happy with the little guy, I bent a piece of wire to make a loop and stuck it in.  Following the instructions on the package, I baked the clay for about 45 minutes.

(I’ll explain the other items soon).

After the ornaments cooled, I started the fun part, painting.  I gave the polar bear a coat of pearl white paint for a little shimmer.  And here’s the crew now:

And on the tree:

Doesn’t the penguin look like Wheezy from Toy Story 2?

{image via}

All he needs is a red bow tie.  But, the polar bear is my favorite, despite being wonky and lumpy.

Vincent and Everett love these guys, too.  They pull them off the tree to carry around.  All day.

After crafting a few critters, I moved on to feathers.  Of course, I had more Pinspiration.  I started by rolling the clay thinly on a piece of wax paper.  This was so much easier than peeling it off the table.  Then I cut a feather shape out of the clay and made a few smaller notches for texture.  To make the center support, I rolled a piece of clay into a long, thin strip.  After placing it on the feather, I smooshed it own a little and smoothed it out.

For even more texture, I drew lines with a lead-less pencil, poked a small hole near the top for hanging. To give the faux feathers a more realistic shape, I rolled pieces of aluminum foil and draped the clay over and baked along with the animals.

To finish everything off, I painted two layers of the same metallic pearl paint for extra shimma-shimma.

Total spent: $.98.  And, these are my favorites.  That wraps up all our hand-made ornaments.  How about you?  Have you been working on ornaments?

Handmade Holidays: Owls, Pine Cones, and Trees

You guys, I wish I had some good kitchen progress to share today.  But I don’t.  Told you the drawers would make the progress train come to a screeching halt.  I guess screeching halt isn’t quite correct because I have gotten both sides primed (can you say tedious, time-consuming, paint in the butt?) and I’ll work on painting this afternoon.

Just doesn’t seem post worthy now, does it?  Instead, you get to see our Christmas-ified entertainment center.  Here it is, complete with complimentary Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for your viewing pleasure.  Tangent, why is it that only Daisy has a sultry voice while the rest of the gang have annoying, high-pitched voices?

We carried the ‘Winter Wonderland’ theme from the tree over to the entertainment center, too with plenty of trees, a few feathers, and woodland critters.  See those little owls?  They’re made from toilet paper tubes.  I saw this cute idea for hanging owls on Pinterest to create our family, as owls.

The best part, they’re super easy to make and free!  Just fold the tops over, paint, then use a Sharpie marker to draw in details.  Vincent chose green for his owl and Everett requested yellow.  Done!

Randomly placed around the entertainment center you’ll see pine cones.  A few are plain, but using a little Elmer’s glue and glitter, others are covered in Christmas cheer.

Pine cones would be super easy to add to a tree, too, glittered or not.  Just wrap some green wire around the base and then around the tree branch.  Initially, this was my plan, but our tree already looked full.

Above the TP owls, we have another owl, a few feathers, and a ‘snow globe’.

Using an apothecary jar I already had, I made a snow globe.  More Epsom salt as snow, a bottle brush tree from the doll house section at HoLo, and a bird from our terrarium.

In the center, I’ve continued the silhouette ornament family tradition, this time in a fun turquoise color.  The reindeer candle holder was a dollar at Goodwill, the silver tree cost $7 at HoLo (after 50% off), and the brass owl was three bucks from a local thrift store.

For height, I wrapped a wire form from the Dollar Store in a blueish-green yarn and placed it on a small stump from our wood pile.  That thing has come in handy on several occasions.  I was going to use a styrofoam cone, but at $4.49 each, I ditched that idea.  When did styrofoam become so expensive?!? Luckily, the Dollar Store had my back with garland wrapped wire forms.

Wrapping the form was super easy, but I had to deal with the lack of a bottom.  So, I cut a circle from a pizza box and quickly wired it to the bottom.

Over to the right we have more bottle brush trees, pine cones, a 99 cent ceramic origami crane chopstick rest from World Market, and a framed reindeer silhouette.

The reindeer was super easy to make.  I made a silhouette in Photoshop, printed it on plain paper, cut it out, traced it to a sheet of glitter foam, cut that out and taped it to a sheet of card stock.  Here’s a template to make your own.

Another apothecary jar filled with sequin ball ornaments, a pine cone, and more trees, including one from Pier 1 last Christmas round out the entertainment center display.

And, our Christmas tree is finally ready for the grand reveal.

Vincent insisted on hanging his V on the bottom, even though it didn’t fit our theme.  And, here’s a glimpse of a few ornaments we’re sharing on Monday.

Like last year, we’ve hung our stockings from the plate rack.

We’ve got monograms again, too; ornaments from HoLo for $.50 each.

I planned to paint designs, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Maybe I’ll swap out the plain ribbon for something with more color.

We’re officially ready for Christmas.  How about you?  Are you ready?  What areas do you decorate?  Just a tree?  The mantle?  Or are you mantle-less like we are?

P.S.  We’re ready for 2012.  Are you?  Prepare with our new custom silhouette 11 inch by 14 inch wall calendar.

When 2013 rolls around, cut the silhouette design off to frame for years to come.

Handmade Gifts: S and P

Better (and safer) than S and M.  No, we’re not changing our tag line anytime soon.  Actually, this post don’t have much to do with salt and pepper.  More than anything, we wanted to share a hand-made gift idea.  It all started with, you guessed it, Pinterest.  I saw adorable painted mugs from Country Living.

Even before seeing the article, I had a similar idea, but only knew about the Porcelaine paint pens, but wasn’t thrilled with the results.  Country Living mentioned the PermEnamel brand, found at JoAnn, so I stopped in to see what our local store had.  I found the paints, but the color selection was very limited.  After JoAnn, I went to Michael’s to see what they had.  And there, right next to the regular acrylic craft paints, I had a revolution.  Americana not only makes acrylic paint, but Gloss (and Crystal) Enamels, too.  Perhaps I hadn’t noticed before because these paints are packaged in the same tubes as acrylics.  And, the color selection was much better than the PermEnamel paint.  So, I grabbed a turquoise color and went home to get started.  Started on what, though?  Good question!

You see, before we started the kitchen reno, we kept two small bowls on the back of the stove.  One for salt and another for pepper.

Yes, I am lazy enough to get annoyed at shuffling the spices around to find salt and pepper nearly every day.  The system worked, but I didn’t like that the containers were open.  That, and we now have a backless stove.  Oh, and it didn’t hurt that I found these cute lidded bird jars at World Market for $4.99 each.

Sure they were in the bath section, but why keep these cuties confined?  I bought two for salt and pepper.  That solved the problem of exposure, but now I had another problem.  Which was the salt, and which was the pepper?  And that’s where the ceramic paint comes in.

Actually, in my excitement for the newly discovered painting world, I accidentally grabbed a tube of the Crystal Enamel paint, which is for glass.  Back to Michael’s to get a tube of the Gloss Enamels.  The Porcelaine paints must be baked to set properly.  Bonus, the Gloss Enamels paints can either be baked, or can air cure for 21 days.

After cleaning one bird with alcohol, I started painting.  I worried the paint wouldn’t apply smoothly, but it was wonderful to work with and coverage was great.

This guy has been air curing for about two weeks, with use, without problems.  That’s a win in my book.  Now we know  before taking off the lid, that the blue bird has pepper.

All that to say try the Gloss Enamels paint.  You could paint mugs similar to the Country Living article, but personalize more with a family pet, child, monogram, whatever tickles your pickle, really.  Or, you could paint decorative plates.  Note the emphasis on decorative as the instructions are clear the paints are not for use on food surfaces.

Have you painted a design on glazed porcelain or ceramics?  Thinking of painted gift ideas now?  What would you make?

Handmade Holidays: Snowflakes and Berries

We’ve made a few more Christmas ornaments, so we decided to share with you.  The first idea was inspired by this from Pinterest.  Basically, you print a template, place wax paper over, then trace with puff paints and put the design on a canvas.  We followed most of the steps, with the exception of the canvas.  I started by drawing snowflake designs in Photoshop.  Then, I printed the design and placed wax paper over.

Using a 99 cent tube of paint, I traced over each snowflake.

After letting the paint dry for 24 hours, I carefully peeled the designs off, leaving this:

Which hung nicely and held it’s shape well.

However, not all of the designs held their shape.  Womp, womp.

Turns out, the thicker designs worked better.  To hang on the tree, just add a ribbon or wire hanger and you’re done.  But, if your designs are too thin and floppy, don’t worry, we have a solution.  Carefully roll the design and place in a clear glass ball.  Use a pencil to flatten the design, then hang on the tree to enjoy.   I hate when I think I have a brilliant idea and it turns out to be a flop.  In this case, I think it worked out well.

And here’s a glimpse from the under side.

If you want to make your own puff paint snowflakes, here’s a printable template.  Oh, and you see those red berries?  Those were super simple.  Start with a floral pick from the craft store.  I got mine from HoLo for 75 cents.  You’ll also need scissors or wire cutters and extra wire.

Then, cut the berries off the main stem, as close to the base as possible.

Group two to five berries and wrap the ends together.  Cut a two-inch piece of wire and wrap that around the berries.

Attach to your tree by wrapping the added wire around a branch.

Then you’re done!  Oh, I tweaked a few of the Epsom salt filled balls, too.  While puttering around HoLo, I wandered into the doll house section.  That’s a bad thing for someone addicted to miniature things like I am.  But, I walked away with only one package of 12 birds for $1.50 (thanks to 50% off doll house supplies).  Everett also grabbed a package of birds and threw a fit when we I took them away at the check out counter.  No, we didn’t buy them.  When we got home, I plopped a few birds in the snow globes.

I think they’re cute, and still easily changed out next year.  I’ve got a few more decorations to share next week, too.

Anyone else inspired by ornament ideas from Pinterest?  What are your favorites?  Please share links, too.