Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thanks for another great Christmas swap

To my old art pals and my new ones, too... 
many thanks for a wonderful Christmas swap! Each and every ornament reflects your talents, your time,  and your love - and I will cherish them always.

A new exhange - Day 9

The final ornament of our 2010 exchange is from Tina Shoaga of Silver Spring, MD. Tina's wrapping paper is handmade and hand stamped, and tied up with a pretty yarn bow.
Tina also made a pretty Christmas themed ATC (artist's trading card) and included it with her gift. Two gifts in one!
Tina's ornament is a two-sided and multi-layered fabric ornament. Both the front and the back look like this. Tina hand stitched the edges using a blanket stitch and laminated the face image to make it pop. I love the red and green color scheme and the texture of this beautiful ornament, Tina. Thanks so much!

How to make a Christmas angel

This is my original design. Feel free to use it to make your own dolls, or use these instructions as a springboard to come up with something uniquely your own.

1. Make the doll's body:

Transfer the doll's face (and include her shoulders and waist) onto a small piece of pre-washed and dried muslin. Cut a matching size piece of muslin to use for the back of the doll. Using a needle and thread, hand sew around the edge of the transferred image, but leave the bottom edge open. Make tiny quilting stitches spaced as closely as you can when you sew.  Then stuff the doll with polyfill and hand sew the bottom edge. With sharp scissors, trim around the sewn edge leaving about 1/8" margin, and apply "FrayCheck" to seal the cut edges so they will not fray.

2. Make the dress:

Cut two pieces of fabric for the dress. Sew them RST, then turn RSO and press. Fill the dress with polyfill. Insert the doll into the dress and stitch her into the dress using needle and thread. Any size or shape works for her dress - experiment and see what you can come up with!

3. Embellish the dress and add angel wings:

Cut a free-form cape and/or wings out of organza, tulle, or other transparent fabrics. Hand tack them onto her dress and add vintage buttons or other emellishments as desired. Here's a trick that's handy: Use a heat gun to slightly melt her cape and her wings info "ruffles" and free-form shapes if you'd like. All cotton fabrics will not melt - so you will need to use polyester or poly blends that will melt when heat is applied. Do this outside or in a room with plenty of ventilation!

4. Make her crown:

Free hand sketch and cut a tiny crown out of vintage papers - one that is long enough to fit around your doll's head. Laminate both sides of the crown and trim close to the edge (eg cut away the excess laminate). Use clear packing tape to finish the crown just large enough to fit snugly over the dolls head. Use a tiny bit of E-6000 to glue the crown to her head.

You can modify your doll design for other holidays or occassions, such as for Halloween -- give her a witches hat;  For a ballerina --sew on a little tutu and some skinny ballerina legs; For a bride - give her a veil...

Have fun!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A new exhange - Day 8

Once again, Lou McCullouch of Medina, OH sent something clever in her pretty package:
I love the vintage embossed Santa paper doll that Lou enclosed with her package.
This is another darling frozen Charlotte ornament from Lou. This one she attached to a vintage ornament clip that Lou patina'd a pretty blue color.
Lou put a vintage metal tasting spoon behind the tiny charlotte doll and patina'd it blue, also. And that patina'd spoke style washer makes the perfect halo.
Doesn't it look lovely clipped up on it's perch in my tiny tree?  Thank you, Lou!

A new exchange - Day 7

Today was the day to open my gifts.
 I sent each of the girls in this swap a Christmas Angel of their very own.
As promised, I will post some brief instructions on how I designed and made these dolls - hopefully, in the next day or two.
Merry Christmas!

A new exhange - Day 6

Day 6 brought an usual and beautiful ornament from my new friend Kathy Wasilewski, of Midlothian, VA.

This winter white ice princess! She is lovely. It looks like Kathy molded her face in polymer clay, then painted and antiqued it.
Her hair is made of clusters of tiny silk flowers and Kathy added tiny glass beads to the center of each flower.
And isn't this clever? Kathy used a tablespoon for the body of her ice princess.  My pictures don't do her justice - she is just lovely, Kathy! Thank you...


A new exhange - Day 5

My old pal Jennifer Rowland, of Austin, TX sent one of the most very cleverly wrapped gifts I've ever seen for Day 5 of our exhange:
I'd been puzzling over  this  unusually sturdy round box, patiently waiting for the day I could finally unwrap it...and as I carefully peeled back the twill tape - look what I discovered:'s a Laughing Cow cheese box!  Very neat idea!
 And nestled inside is this very pretty ornament that Jennifer made from a vintage Christmas tree light reflector. These little punched metal flowers are highly collectible and hard to come by. Jennifer turned it into such a cute ornament!
The accordian pleated rosette of Christmas music fits perfectly inside the reflector.  And JOY is the perfect sentiment for Christmas, isn't it? Thank you Jennifer for this sweet ornament.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

A new exchange - Day 4

Just look what another new friend, Leslie Wood of Lacey's Spring, AL made for Day 4 of our exchange:

Here's a better look at this very pretty gift tag that Leslie made for her package.
It's a darling hand painted fabric poppet doll! She is so colorful and fun! It looks like Leslie transferred the face onto muslin and then carefully painted and sewed the little doll together. The added sequins and charms to complete her desinger look...
And doesn't she look festive hanging on my little art tree? Thanks, Leslie!

A new exhange - Day 3

The very creative CeCe Grimes, from Marseilles, IL, made something really festive to tuck inside this cute wrapping:
It's a party girl! Isn't she cute?
CeCe found a teeny tiny stretched artist canvas at Joann's to use as the body. She used crackle paint on the canvas to give it an aged look.
Then she dressed her in a dress cut from scrapbooking paper that she embellished by hand with paint pens and inks... Than added a fun little skirt made of fancy fringe style decorator trim. The cute vintage glass button is darling.
Her head is a very tiny vintage china doll head from Germany. Her arms are tiny brass laundry pins and her feet - just look at them - are vintage girdle clips! How cute is that?!  She looks so sassy hanging on my tree! Great job, CeCe!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Born is the King of Israel...

Every Tuesday morning, our volunteer choir named The Heavenly Harmonizers sings at one of the local retirement homes in our area.
We usually sing for about a hour and it is alot of fun. I think we may enjoy singing almost as much if not more than the residents enjoy listening to us!
It is such a blessing to sing about our Lord and Savior, and we love bringing cheer to our friends in the community. We have a short devotional, prayer time, and even tell a cute joke or two with each concert.
During the month of December we are singing Christmas carols and a contada titled "Born is the King".. 
Today we sang at Carriage Inn in Lake Jackson.
Pictured here are a few of the residents who came to hear us sing today. We always encourage them to sing along with us.
Mary Alice Ingalls is our organizer, our choir director, our vocal coach and our accompanist. As you might guess, she has her work cut out for her with this diverse group, but she is a wonderful teacher and mentor, and with that comes alot of patience! 
After singing, we meet together - of course - for LUNCH!  Today we had a Christmas luncheon at a choir member's house, but my camera battery died and I didn't get any pictures. This picture was taken last week at a local mexican food restaurant.

Merry Christmas, Ya'll!

A new exchange - Day 2

Day 2's ornament is from a new friend, Sue Berry, who lives in the UK.... Bradley Fold, Bolton, Lancashire, England to be exact!
Sue's gift came wrapped in some very kewl hand-written ledger pages with a beautiful corregated gift tag that she made. She also made a darling card to enclose with her gift!  That was so sweet, Sue Bee!
Now, how cool is this?  A perfectly framed day 2 turtle dove ornie! 
Sue poured resin over the turtle dove image which really brings out the colors in the picture. Then she collaged the frame with inks, paints, and papers.
Then, she hand stamped each and every one of those letters that you see embossed in the copper metal border. Yes, she did that by hand - using a hammer and metal stamps used to imprint leather. Can you see that it says "On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me"...
Then she added a wire dangle with a rusted metal disc with the words "two turtle doves" to complete the phrase on the border. Isn't the jingle bell a great finishing touch? 
Thank you so much, Sue!  Your turtle dove has flown all the way to south Texas just in time for Christmas, and has found a perfect perch here on my little art tree.  I love it!  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A new exchange - Day 1

Linda Koch, from Wellington, Ohio made this luscious fiber cup-cake ornament:
 complete with glass straight pin "sprinkles" and a tiny jingle bell "cherry" on top...
Isn't this the cutest thing? And it's actual size, too!  I have NO idea how Linda made this ornament but she obviously has a creative mind for yarns, felts, and fibers of all kinds! 

I have been in a couple of other art swaps with Linda in previous years and it's great to get another fun creation from her! Thanks, Linda!

Another round, anyone?

I was really happy to be invited to join in a second Christmas ornament swap this year with a few old friends... and some new ones, too!  Here is a photo of the gifts before we start unwrapping.
Keep checking back to see these ornaments as they are revealed. We'll get to unwrap another new ornament everyday until Dec 21st!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thank you Adorn artists! Merry Christmas!

I just want to say thanks again to all the Adorn artists for their amazing gifts this year, and a special thank you goes to Deryn for hosting. What a wonderful swap we had! 
Once again, my little tree is happily wearing all your wonderful works of art! I am touched by all the love and time that went into making them and I will treasure them always!
I look forward to next year's exchange, and wish all of you a Blessed Christmas!

On the 12th day of Christmas...

The extremely gifted artist Pilar Pollock, of Laguna Hills, CA made for me... 
A cleverly wrapped gift, which is tucked inside a small brown lunch bag that has been sewn closed and embellished...
with a lovely gift tag of collaged papers, fibers, felt heart, silk leaf, and metal star - all tucked inside a little pocket of clear vinyl and sewn to the gift  bag. Very kewl, Pilar!
And look at the beautiful creation that has been patiently waiting to be revealed for so long now - this is a fiber artist's dream!!  Pilar - this is amazing!
You really must go to Pilar's blog to read about how she made these fabric milagro ornaments.  I love the copper etched milagro that she made for the focal point of her creation.
Just look at all the hand beading and free-motion stitching on the little felt heart?  Oiled and resin papers are layered on the felt heart. Beautiful!

Pilar  coffee dyed muslin strips and machine embroidered them for that lovely tassel. She added a vintage mercury glass button as the final touch.

Pilar, thank you so much for this wonderful gift, and for bringing our annual Adorn swap to a fabulous close.  Merry Christmas!