Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Center Piece

Here is the centerpiece that I made for Christmas and New Years. I debated long about posting it here because it is not my "normal" handmade decoration; but it was so pretty and will be reused every year. You will need clear tape, one silver balloon weight, one sliver spray (like the kind they sell in party, floral, craft and stores) and one white snowflake. First hold the silver spray up to the balloon weight and measure how high you want the spray to stand; then cut the extra off with a pare of wire cutters. Tape the spray to the balloon weight. Use the remaining wire to tie on the snowflake and adjust it so it is standing upright. Use scissors to curl the remaining sliver spray and it is done.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bottlecap Pies

These cute little pies are great to have on hand for last minute gifts. They are wonderful to glue to picture frames, on top of ingredient jars, place on nature tables, and wonderful in doll houses. The ideas are endless.I will show you how to make a "cherry pie" but the basic instructions can be used for any type of pie, cake, pot pie, shepherds pie and so forth that you can think of.
To start you will need bottle-caps, clay tools (my favorite tool is a silver nut pick), polymer clay, and an imagination.
Roll small pieces of red polymer clay in your fingers till you've made several round balls. Fill the bottle cap with them till the bottom of the cap is covered and there is a slight dome above the cap. Then press down slightly on the balls so that they all stick together. This will help keep them together once the finished pie is fired. Then take a piece of "pie crust" colored clay and roll it like you are making a snake.Cut the clay snake into several pieces and flatten them slightly. The next part is a bit tricky. Carefully weave the pieces together. You can start to see how this will look like a pie.
Cut off the overhanging clay and take a small length of the clay snake, wrap it around the outer edge of the bottle cap. Make small indentations around the around the rim. I used my nut pick but you can use anything, a side of a metal file, a safety pin, the edge of a butter knife, a toothpick (you get the idea). When it is complete fire it in your oven at 275 for 20 minutes. When you remove the pie from the oven it will be brittle while it is still hot. If it still feels a little spongy after it cools you can put it back into the oven for a little longer. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with and Have fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saint Nicholas day

Happy Saint Nicholas day one and all. Saint Nicholas day has been a family tradition going as far back as I can remember and longer. In several European countries this is the time to leave your shoes (or stockings ) out in anticipation that they will be filled that night in the spirit of Saint Nicholas (or Black Pete depending on who you talk to). When we asked our Mum who was leaving the gifts she would just smile and say, "Some one who loves you very much". She never lied. when we were older we discovered that it was indeed 'someone who loved us very much'. The stockings in our family began with my Great Grandmother. The pattern is from a 1920's McCall catalog and labeled as "Vintage Stocking". I don't know how old the original pattern is. The stockings are made with several colors of good thick felt, vintage beads and sequins, sewn and beaded by hand. My Grandmother kept the tradition going and when she died I became the stocking maker in our family. This is the first Saint Nicholas day that Bear and I are celebrating as a married couple. Yesterday I presented him with his stocking made in the same tradition as the rest of our family's stockings. I had been working on it in secret for the past few months; some of the patches I have saved for years for my future husband from an unfinished stocking that my grandmother had started. This was a labor of love and all he could do was sit there and smile; his eyes however, were full and said so much more than words ever could.

Happy Saint Nicholas day every one, from my family to yours. What are some of your family traditions this holiday season?