Friday, December 30, 2011

A new-vintage pin

I realize that is an oxymoron.  My mom recently lost a vintage Christmas pin that was her mother's.  Somewhere between Kinkos and Best Buy, the pink bottle-brush wreath pin went missing.  She called me, bummed that a pin she had worn for so many Christmas seasons, was gone.

I said, well, we could try to recreate it?  She replied, "Next year."

Well, since our stockings were hung, and our shopping was done, I decided to go on a little hunt of my own to recreate the vintage pin.  If any of you know my mom, she would have done the same for me, except rather than making a new one she would have found an exact replica, in Connecticut (or something), owned by a woman named Lesley, or at least by someone who had my same birthday.

I wish I had a picture of her wearing the original.  I tried to get enough information from her about the details of the pin, but I only had a vague picture of it in my mind.  I remembered the approximate size (she usually wears it on the lapel of her long black winter coat), and I remember the color (cuter-than-pepto-bismol-pink).  But I guessed there was a bow and even some little ornaments on it.

So off I went, to my good friend w.w.w.  Apparently bottle-brush (as in bottle-brush Christmas trees) is not an easy craft supply to come by these days.  I found it online at some test tube supply companies, but didn't want to wait to order it.  A few other bloggers said they had luck at Target (with a dryer vent cleaner).  Off I went, but no such luck.  To JoAnn Fabrics....nothing.  Back home to regroup.  Craigslist led me to a woman in White Bear Lake who had a few bottle brush wreaths that I figured could just undergo a quick spray paint and some other touch ups.  But with the holidays, it was going to be too tough to meet and probably wasn't worth her time for a $2.00 pin.

Finally, though Michael's and JoAnn's typically have a lot of similar inventory, I decided to stop up there.  They also did not have bottle-brush, but they did have something I thought could work....giant pipe-cleaners!  And the best part?  One giant pipe-cleaner is only $0.99!

So here is what I started with:
-giant white pipe cleaner
-light pink spray paint
-a glue gun
-string of pearl beads to use as ornaments
-white ribbon for the bow
-pin to fasten to the back of the wreath




 First I cut a piece of the pipe cleaner and dangled it from a hanger and sprayed it pink.  I had to spray on three coats, and actually with more coats it looked more and more bottle-brush and less pipe-cleaner.

Then I curled it into the shape of a wreath and decided to grab this:



This helped fasten the two ends of the wreath together.  Then it was just a bunch of hot gluing!  Glued the pin to the back, the bow to the front, as well as a bunch of the little pearls to look like little ornaments.


Here is the final product, though it was hard to capture.


This gives the best look at the final color....
 Here's the back....

A good look at color and detail....you can't really tell it's not bottle brush!


The only thing is that it kind of smells like paint.  I'm thinking that with time it will get better.  I also want to try Odor Neutral on it.

It is not perfect, and although it certainly doesn't compare to the original, it is a decent stand-in until the Kinkos lost and found comes up with the original (fingers crossed!).  My mom loved it and we might try to make another one now that I have her input on things like size of the bow and colors of the ornaments.  She did wear it and from afar you can't really tell the difference and my mom loves it because I made it (she's sentimental like that--but hey, I guess I am too!).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coasting into the New Year

Coasters make a great gift and I love coasters, especially photo coasters.  Putting photos on coasters is a great way to get more pictures into the rotation, especially in homes like ours that don't have a ton of wall or table space for pictures to hang out. 

My friend Katy and I decided to tackle this project for Christmas gifts.  We also decided while we were at it to use the same method on some smaller tiles to make ornaments.

Supplies:
-tiles (small for ornaments, 4 x 4 for coasters)
-pictures (cut to fit tiles)
-glue stick
-resin (and container to mix as well as something to stir)
-a straw (I'll explain later, but this is necessary)
-felt circle pads for bottoms of coasters

First we cut out our pics so that they would fit the coasters/ornament tiles.

For the ornaments, since the tiles came it a sheet of tiles (mosaic) I had to use an exacto knife to cut off the adhesive that held the tiles together.

Using a glue stick, glue the pics to the tiles.  It helped to curve the corners toward the tiles so they didn't peel off the tiles as they dried.

Get the resin mixed (follow the package directions), and pour a little on to each picture/tile. 
 Spread evenly.

 **Very important step!  Using a straw, blow across the tops of the tiles and all of the tiny bubbles just disappear.  If you don't remove the bubbles before the resin dries, the bubbles will harden with the resin.


I would also suggest moving them a few times before they start to dry so that the newspaper doesn't stick too much to the backs (at least near the edges).  Katy and I decided later that it would actually be cool to cover the entire back with newspaper.  Next time....


After the tiles dry, add the felt footers to the coasters and they are done!
 


As for the ornaments, I hot glued a white ribbon so it would be able to hang from the tree, and glued the two tiles with different pictures back to back. 



I even got asked where I bought the them! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!  Though Griffin is still undecided about Santa (cried both times he met him), he hasn't forgotten why we celebrate and he just wanted to say....

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland (for a day)

I thought today was going to be the day.  The snow started falling....and then it stopped....and it is still brown in Minnesota, four days before Christmas.  So in an effort to help myself feel more winter-y and Christmas-y, I dug up a few pics from a beautiful winter wonderland day in late November. The snow covering only lasted a day or two, but we took full advantage of this new learning opportunity for Griffin. 

Griffin loves the outdoors, it seems the snowy outdoors are no exception.
He also loves being jousted into the air.

So trusting....
How cute is this snow bear outfit?  Griffin got to borrow it from his cousin Levi.
 
Huh? 
I'll give you one guess what/who he is looking at....
Yep, the one who loves snow more than Santa loves cookies.  Cooper actually prefers the temperature to be quite a bit colder than it is.  He likes about 10 degrees....then when he plays Frisbee, he doesn't overheat.  Right now he can only do a round of about 10 throws before he has to go snow diving (which becomes problematic when there is no snow).
So don't be fooled.  This beautiful white landscape is not what Minnesota looks like right now, though it should.  I will say that hauling an infant around to do Christmas shopping has been quite a bit easier with the lack of snow, and I'm sure those traveling around here for the holidays are loving the low-risk of delays or bad-weather driving.  However, I am a true Minnesotan at heart and I am still holding out for a white Christmas.  LET IT SNOW! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

X-mas Card 2011

It started snowing.....about a week before Thanksgiving.  We took that opportunity to try to get a nice snowy picture for our Christmas Card.  However, since it gets dark at like 3:30pm, we were a little late on the light situation and got these....

 Fortunately the snow lasted until the next day and we were able to snap a few shots.
 Cooper was great entertainment....however a moving target means Griffin was almost always looking at Cooper and not the camera:)


 Griffin also received his first white-wash...courtesy of Cooper.  We had put a blanket down in the snow so Griffin could get a feel of the evergreens and snow.  Cooper got so excited he knocked him over and face first he went into the snow.  At least his first white-wash wasn't from a girl trying to flirt with him in elementary school.
 
This is what we ended up with...Griffin is not quite looking at the camera, but he looks pretty darn cute anyway...
Our apologies to Cooper for not making the family pick...once he saw Nate grab his jacket he thought it was Frisbee time and couldn't contain himself.  We did add a pic from the summer of Cooper so he wouldn't feel too left out.

*Side note: I hope the day we took our Christmas card pic is not the last time we will see snow in Minnesota this year....still holding out for a white Christmas...and as a Minnesotan I have never needed to utter those words less than a week before Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

I used to be more of a home-improvement-DIY-er.  But since power tools apparently aren't baby-safe, I've had to resort to some more indoor type projects.  Projects have to get done during nap time or nighttime because Mr. I-like-to-explore-all-the-things-I-shouldn't, gets into just about everything now.

This particular project has been in the work for a few weeks, but it was pretty time consuming, so with days to spare before Christmas, it is done!  I actually made Christmas stockings!

So here's were it all began.  I absolutely love this baby blanket that was made for Griffin.  I love all of the different fabrics, cut into cute little squares, and the way the colors all go so well together but it isn't too matchy-matchy.


The back side is plain blue, and has a cute little note for Griffin.


It was made especially for Griffin by his Great Aunt Nancy....thanks Nancy!  She could sell these for big $$$!!!


So having that style in mind, I got some plain off-white quilted fabric for the background and a bunch of Christmas looking fabrics to make the squares.




Total I spent about $100, but I made 4 stockings and have enough fabric to make a few more in case there are any more Woodbury bambinos in the future.  We wouldn't want them to feel left out:)

I started by ironing applique to the backs of the fabrics for the squares.  Then I cut out a million little squares.  I am usually a perfectionist, but this would have taken way too long to measure and cut precisely so I just eyeballed it.  Plus, I was going for a homemade look.


Then I cut out the quilted fabric into the shape of a stocking.  Again, I eyeballed it, but cut out two pieces at the same time so at least they would be the same shape.  When I cut them out, I made them huge, I figured I could always make them smaller later.


Then I arranged the squares in a random pattern on the stocking....it looked great...until I realized the stocking was backward.  Why do stockings usually hang with the toe to the right? 

Anyway, it looked too weird hanging to the left so I had to start over.

 Once all of the fabric pieces were nicely arranged, I just ran the iron over the top of all of them and they were stuck!  I am by no means even a mediocre seamstress so this extra step saved me a lot of mistakes later. 

I probably could have stopped here, but I wanted to tone up my sewing skills, so I just ran the sewing machine down and back down each diagonal row, and now it looks like each of the squares is sewn on.  Well, it is sewn on, but it's also ironed on:).

This is getting quite wordy and picture-y so I'll try to wrap it up.  I put the two good-sides of the stockings together, sewed around and turned it inside out.  I had to play around with the edges (made them smaller because the first stocking could have been for Paul Bunyan).

I also had to make the cuff at the top separately because I wanted to also put our names on them.  So much like the squares, I cut our names out of the different fabrics, ironed them on, and then sewed around them.
I also used a zig zag stich-don't ask me how I changed the machine, I'm not sure, I just pushed buttons and it happened:)

We kept Cooper's generic, because sadly we will probably have another dog in our lifetime and I didn't want to make another stocking:)



 When all was said and done....I made four stockings.  They are pretty cute if I do say so myself!

And then I hung them on our mantel so Santa can stuff them full of goodies...or coal, but I'm thinking goodies:).


Oh and someone thinks he's Santa:)
Look at Cooper....so suspicious