Every year, in addition to a diabetic coma inducing amount of goodies, I make a couple of gifts. I love to do it, and after each project I think, “I should make all my gifts!” and then the insanity passes. Here are some highlights from this year’s craft-a-thon.
Frosty the Book Man
These are made from paper mache ornaments, which can be purchased at most craft stores for around $1 each. I decoupaged book pages onto the ornament, which took ages because I could only do one half of the ornament at a time, and was terribly, terribly messy from all the smoothing down of the paper with my fingers. Still, love the smell of Mod Podge so all was not lost. The nose is a wee piece of orange paper rolled into a cone. The nose, eyes and mouth were hot glued on. The instructions can be found on the Michael’s store website here. Theirs have rosy cheeks and some artful primitive aging using paint. The photos look like mug shots, which was not only the best way to show all the elements of the ornament, but also caused me to be Highly Amused.
These were fun and easy to make. I ran across a pin on Pinterest a couple of months ago and anyone with a hot glue gun and a pile of candy can put these together. Here’s a blog that shows the sleighs in progress. I used fewer mini candy bars so that I wouldn’t have to delve into a second bag, so my pyramid of candy bars is 3-2-1, whereas the other instructions are 4-3-2-1. I also used fewer bows and less ribbon because I get bored wrapping things and find the easiest/laziest way to do it.
I’ve been making our cards for a few years now, and while they aren’t always the most professional job, they’re cute and personal. SPOILER ALERT: If you usually receive a Christmas card from me, and haven’t had one land in your mail box yet, there’s a very good reason for that. I haven’t gotten them mailed yet. They’ll go out tomorrow, and I realize that for most of you they won’t arrive before Christmas. Sorry about that but there was stuff and circumstances and best of all (!) I issued a Formal Decree that all cards sent within the month of December are still “in bounds” for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah.
Oh The Places You’ll Go – Train Case Revamp
I posted photos last year of a train case I revamped as a gift and here I am using the same concept again. Now, this one is a gift, but it’s for one of my sisters who is not online, so none of you go and squeal to her, okay? She likes to be surprised.
I bought the train case at a garage sale this past summer. It’s a blue Samsonite, and reminds me of one my sister had when I was a kid. The case was a bit banged up, as vintage things often are, and the inside had endured some water damage. The plastic-y lining was a bit boogered up, too. I removed the lining, and in doing so made an awesome discovery: the key! Getting one of these WITH the original key is a real stroke of luck.
In the past, I have replaced the lining with a fabric lining, but this time I decided to save myself the headache and went the decoupage route.
I used a long ago damaged copy of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” from my damaged book stash to do all the decoupage. I painted the lower half of the case with white acrylic craft paint, then I decoupaged the little guy in the balloon and did a liberal layer of Mod Podge all around the bottom. (White scuffs. Bad. The Mod Podge should protect it.)
Above the white section, and just above the latch mechanism, I decoupaged 3/8″ green ribbon, which fit in the grooves perfectly. The top is covered in ripped up and over lapped book pages.
The interior is decoupaged with torn book pages as well, but did have some technical difficulties. This particular piece of luggage originally came with a tray that sat just inside the case on two small metal shelves positioned on either side of the case. The tray for this one is long gone. ( Finding one of these with a key AND the tray is the Holy Grail of vintage train cases. I was pretty happy with the key, though.) I wanted those shelves removed and they were bracketed, or perhaps it was actually grommets, but either way, Tools of the Power Kind were needed to cut through the brackets. Fakefish and his Dremel to the rescue! However, in the process of cutting off the grommets/brackets/fasteners, there was some mystery crud that embedded itself into the not quite dry Mod Podge. It was an easy fix by recovering with another layer of torn book pages and Mod Podge. And, as an added bonus, it looks even better than it did before.
Now, this is not my complete body of work for this Christmas, and I have one more gift that I made, but I can’t post pictures yet. Once the gift has been given and received and totally geeked out over (oh believe me, it WILL be geeked out over – I want to keep this one for myself it’s so good) I will post pictures. Stay tuned!