Monday, December 13, 2010

Add a little "bling" to your holiday decorating with some vintage and upcycled materials


I just love to add a little bling and glitter to my holiday decorating and here's a few projects that I created to decorate my home for Christmas. I have a collection of old rhinestone brooches and earrings that I rarely get a chance to wear and just hate to keep packed up in a box ... so I quite often "add" them to my home decorating projects ... such as this candle that sits on a vintage plate in the kitchen. I added two velvet ribbons to the candle by using short straight pins to hold the ribbons in place at the back. Then I attached the brooch by sticking the brooch pin directly into the candle ... I added another long straight pin to balance the brooch and keep it in place. It's so simple yet elegant!


This next project is a vintage crystal Christmas ornament that I have been making for a couple of years. It was featured in Somerset Studio's GreenCraft magazine (Autumn 2010). I use vintage crystals, ribbons and lace, vintage buttons and rhinestone earrings to create these ... and because most of my supplies are often one-of-a-kind, I rarely make two of these ornaments the same ... so they are kinda of like bling snowflakes!
Here's how to make these ...


I start with two vintage crystals ... one large tear drop and one smaller ... you will need to remove all of the antique metal pieces if there are any. Then add long head pins as shown above. I add one head pin to the top of the smaller crystal for hanging then I make and attach a jump ring to the bottom so I can link it to the tear drop crystal. The wire on the tear drop crystal is left long and I use my pliers to twist the end of the pin into a circle so I can attach the jump ring at the top.


You can see how the crystals have been joined in the photo above ... now it it time to pick out other elements to attach to the ornament and as well as ribbon and lace. I am using one of my vintage rhinestone clipback earrings on this ornament ...


First I tie some ribbons and lace that I selected to go with the rhinestone earring onto the long head pin ... 

... and then I add the clip back earring to the lace. That's it ... again, another simple but pretty way to add a little bling to your holiday decorating!

One last project to add a little bling to your holiday decorating ... 

This is a great project to use up some of those old frames that are the wrong colour or just don't match your decor anymore. I painted mine all the same warm white and took out the glass. Then I used scrapbook papers with glitter, chipboard letters and a couple of wooden letters that I had lying around to make this for our fireplace mantle. I always seem to be picking up letters that are in our names so when I found the "e" and the "r" in my box of supplies, I decided to spell out "be merry" but you could say whatever you want. If you have larger frames you may want to add more letters to a frame ... my frames were all on the small side.



You can paint the letters or do what I did and decorated them with different scrapbook papers. I used modge podge to attach the papers to the letters and then used distressing inks to edge all of the letters. After that each letter was treated differently ... I added glitter to a few, silver beads to one and Inkssentials glossy accents to a couple of others. You can add as much glitter and bling as you want to this project ... make it as simple or detailed as you wish!

I hope that I have you thinking about how you can add a little bling and a little sparkle to your holiday decorating! Have a great week! 



Thursday, December 9, 2010

holiday cards and a free download


My Christmas cards have all been made, addressed and are on their way to our family and friends as we speak. The material costs to hand make cards are a little high when you start to add everything up and it takes a long time to make the cards .... I know that I could buy a couple of boxes of cards for less ... but I won't ... this is one of my favourite Christmas traditions that I look forward to doing every year.

For this year's card I used old file folders as the base of the card ... I loved the natural and organic feeling of the kraft stock. I combined a number of different Basic Grey holiday papers in this year's design and created the photo element with a black and white photo overlay that I created. Black photo corners, a piece of lace machine stitched to the card and a vintage button lovingly handstitched in the middle of a paper flower are the final touches. I used a vintage date stamp to the back to add the year and my name.



Just in case any of you have not made your Christmas cards yet or would like something to file for next year ... I've created a PNG file for you to download ... it's for a 4x6 card that you use in Photoshop to create your own little card or photo insert. The picture above shows a sample of how it will look ... the photo is an engagement picture of our friend's daughter and I simply added the words that I wanted in the red space.
Please note that the download is free but it is for your personal use only - you can not use it for commercial use of any kind and I ask you to please not modify the art and call it your own (that's just bad karma!). If you would like to share the art with your friends that is okay if you tell them to download it directly from me! You can download the art here. Hybrid scrappers will most likely want to add some elements to this piece ... I can easily see some glitter and bling added to this ... maybe even a piece of lace or ribbon ... you decide!


Here's a quick "how to" tutorial for using the holiday card art ... I use Photoshop CS2 on a PC so you may have to modify some of the commands based on your software ...
1. Open a new file - 6"wide and 4"high, 300 dpi , RGB mode
2. File/Place/ and open my png file (let's call this layer "card design")
3. Then add another layer go to File/Place/ and open your photo ... you will want to move this new layer below the layer called "card design" before you go on.
4. Working on the layer with your photo, you will need to resize your photo and position it so that you are happy with the layout.
5. To add words to your card you will need to add another layer on top of the two we already have ... do this by adding a type layer and add  your text in the red box area.
6. To save your art for printing wherever you do your photo printing ... save your Photoshop file as a JPEG copy and you are ready to print!



Now speaking of printing ... I have to share with you a cute little print project that just arrived in the mail yesterday. I created these buck and doe tickets for Breann and Kyle (featured in the holiday card) and had them printed at moo.com .  This is the first time that I've used MOO myself ... it was really quite easy to upload the files online and they have excellent directions and templates if you want to create your own art. I screamed with delight when I opened the package. These cards turned out so nice ... beautiful colours ... nice thick stock and the finish is amazing. The best thing is that I could have uploaded 100 different images for one side of the cards for the same price! Breann and Kyle selected 4 engagement photos that they liked and I created the card backs as a ticket ... now all we just have to number the 400 cards and they will be ready to sell!


Aren't these just too cute! Oh and before I forget ... we need to give credit to the talented photographers who took Breann and Kyle's engagement photos ... Cindy and Kal at Silver Parrot Studio ! I can't wait to see the wedding photos next summer!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

holiday ornament and a free download


I took part in a Christmas Ornament Exchange with a number of artists that I met on line this year from Kelly Rae Roberts ecourse and I wanted to share with you how to make the ornament that I created.
The ornament is a basically a domino that I altered with a piece of my art and some vintage crystals and beads. You'll also need diamond glaze, a couple of bails, a strong glue to attach the bails to the domino, a few jump rings and a piece of ribbon to hang.  

You can download the my art for the bird design here .... please note that this download is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. You cannot use it in any commerical way, alter or sell it as your own. Please do not share this download with anyone ... you may refer friends to my blog for them to download themselves. 

The first thing you need to do is to print my art. It was created as a 4x6 jpeg so you can print it at Costco or where you do your photo printing. I don't recommend printing these on an ink jet printer ... we are going to add diamond glaze to the image and it may bleed. One 4x6 print contains enough art to make 6 ornaments. You will need to cut out each piece to fit the domino ... there is a bleed so you will trim smaller than what you see on the printout.
Next you will want to adhere the art to the back of the domino ... I used glossy accents but modge podge or any type of glue will work. Once it is dry trim off or sand the edges of the paper to make sure that the edges are clean and straight.
The next step is to give the ornament a glossy coat ... I did that by adding glossy accents to the photo being careful not to add too much that it spills over the edges of the domino. Let it dry for a few hours depending on how much diamond glaze you used. It is really important that the glaze is completely dry before going onto the next step because we are going to turn the domino over and work on the back ... if in doubt ... wait!!!

Using a strong glue you need to attach bails as shown to the domino. If you don't want to add the crystal and bead to the bottom of the domino just add one bail to the top for hanging.
After the glue has dried and the bails are secure it's time to add some bling. Use whatever you have on hand or can find at your favourite craft/scrapbooking store. I used a vintage crystal and a crystal bead on mine ... I simply attached them with jump rings (I added a wire to the bead for hanging first).

Then you just need to add a ribbon to the top and hang it on the tree!
Here's a picture of the ornaments that I've received so far from my "Flying Friends" ... Suzanna Leigh, Rebecca Everett, Kathrin Rasser, Kris Johnson and Dayle Achatz Micoff.