Friday, December 23, 2011

Star Wars Finger Puppets

I just couldn't wait to show you!
These are for my nearly 5 year old Nephew for Christmas. They were so much fun to make!
I have made printable patterns available through PDF. E-mail me at if you would like a copy of the free patterns for personal use.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carrie's Christmas Creation!

My oh so very talented sister-in-law is joining us today as a guest blogger! I hope you enjoy her great tutorial for making Advent Calendar Christmas Trees:

I love Christmas, and am lucky enough to have a husband who is fully on board with my Christmas crafting addiction. This year, I really wanted to make an advent calendar. I love the sense of anticipation that comes along with an advent calendar but have been totally bored with the cheap paper or chocolate options available in stores. During an extensive Google and Pinterest search, I came upon some adorable options. (Here's a great roundup of ideas) My hesitation with most of the options I found was that they were aimed at families or took a far greater investment of time and money than I was up for. I knew I wanted to make some paper crafts, so I decided to re-purpose one as an advent calendar.

During my search, I stumbled across these adorable scrapbooking paper Christmas trees. I decided to make two of them and add pins to the bigger one from which to hang ornaments. This would be my grown-up friendly advent calendar.

First, I found some great holiday scrapbooking paper, double-sided is ideal. I bought this great pad of Martha Stewart Crafts paper. I also picked up some additional open stock pieces of green paper. I used this great tutorial, with a few minor modifications.
 Since I don't have a punch of any shape, I used a scrapbooking cutter to cut ovals about 1.5" long. I was also cutting out circles at the same time to make garlands, so I used an always handy cupcake tin to separate the colors and shapes. (I don't know if I would have made it through the cutting with out my husband's help!)

For my large tree, I used only shades of green but for my small tree I went for more variety. Once I had approximately a ton of ovals cut out, I wrapped the bottom and the top of my paper mache tree forms in dark green cardstock. Then, using a Sharpie marker, I curled the ovals about 1/2 way up. On the flat part, I put a dot of glue and then pressed the curls onto the tree form in a random order and in overlapping rows. I just used scrapbooking glue because I don't have a glue gun and it worked fine. When I got to the top of the trees, I cut a few more ovals in a smaller size to fill in the gaps.

At this point, my small tree was complete! Into my large tree, I stuck 24 white round head pins (pulled from my sewing kit). This was remarkably easy to do. I placed them so there would be enough space for the ornaments to hang. The final step was to make tiny ornaments for the advent calendar. Again, I cut little ovals using scrapbooking paper and wrote the numbers in black and silver Sharpie.

 I used tiny silver and brass jingle bells and snowflake buttons for the ornaments.
 Using a tapestry needle and thin ribbon, I strung each ornament with a date tag and placed them in a little bowl by the tree.

Each day, my husband and I enjoy finding today's ornament and slowly decorating our little paper Christmas tree.

Thanks to Becky for letting me write this guest post! I write a cooking blog, and couldn't figure out how paper trees would fit with the theme! I hope you are all having a great time getting in the mindset for the season. Do you have any favorite Christmas crafts that you return to year after year? Ones that it just wouldn't be the holidays without?

Happy Holidays!
If there are any more talented crafters, aesthetic bakers, hand stitchers, crocheters, knitters, masters of the sewing machine, or creative people of any capacity or variety who would like to have a guest post, please feel free to send me a tutorial or post along with pictures of your work! I would be happy to consider you as a possible future guest post!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Goose is Getting Fat!

It's feeling like Christmas around here and we have been very busy little Elfs lately!
In addition to our looming list of homemade gifts to make I of course had to make a few Holiday creations for Lucas.

We had a rod iron rack that held rod iron baskets of vegetables and towels next to our fridge. Unfortunately, the need to toddler proof forced us to take this down as Lucas loved to try to pull it on top of himself. We suffer from the same plight as many others. We neglected to realize that Stainless Steel is NOT MAGNETIC! Now that the magnetic black side was finally available for play, we wanted to give Lucas some much needed magnet fun. I had some magnet sheets from an old project in my craft drawer and I always have felt lying around so I decided to make Lucas some magnets. I started out with ABC. then used the scraps to make triangles, eyeballs, a line, a tounge, and a circle. I had also made him a felt tree with felt ornaments and a star and had attempted to hang it on the livingroom wall. Lucas immediately ripped it right off the wall along with some of the wall paint! We felt the fridge was a little safer. So I used the remaining magnet scraps for the back of my tree. There literally wasn't a scrap of magnet left in the end. I love that you don't need to put anything on the backs of the ornaments or star since felt sticks to felt. The new magnets are a big hit and they wander over to the non-stainless dishwasher from time to time as well.

We also have been working tirelessly on our Christmas presents. Some will have to remain secret of course, but I can reveal that I finished my pattern designs and began cutting on my StarWars finger puppets for my nephew.

This idea was born from talking to my nephew and then watching him play. He had recently seen Star Wars III for the first time and apparently it changed his life much like thousands of other little boys and girls across the world. He later found Lucas' finger puppets and instantly began an extravagant narrative with them. So I thought what better thing than to combine the two! Of course I thought this was a completely original and brilliant idea until I did a Pinterest search. Low and Behold others had come up with the same idea. Luckily I could only find a decent Darth Vader that seemed to be a worthwhile pattern to work from. This left me to be able to make my own designs for the others. I hope they come out as awesome as they are in my head!!

My little niece turned two back in September. She adores taking care of her baby dolls and Lucas whenever she can get a chance. So I thought for her I would make my first quilt. I actually can't believe I've never made a quilt completely on my own, but with the power of Pinterest and Youtube I made it through!

I only have the hand stitching left to do around the binding. I had a wonderful time making this little piece.
If you have never made a quilt and are looking to get started I highly recommend using a combination of  this tutorial for the construction , a quilt tying tutorial - you will need a curved needle- I used a 2", and I needed this youtube quilt binding tutorial inorder to really understand what they were talking about. I will try to add the quilt tying tutorial I used. I forgot to save it to Pinterest and unfortunately they have shut down their search feature at the moment.
We have also been stirring up a little Christmas fun in the kitchen as well! I planned to make a cheese log using this recipe. However this was for a vegan, gluten free party, so the cream cheese was Tofutti. I found that it doesn't harden as well as regular cream cheese so it wouldn't keep it's little square package form on its own like the recipe intended. So I just put it in a small bread dish I had from our wedding and topped it off similar to the tutorial. I used green onions for the green bow. I found they curl best with an actual pair of scissors and if you run it along the inside of the leaf rather than the outside.

 We also made our version of the santa hat brownie bites pictured here. Again since we were going for Vegan/ Gluten Free we ran into a few road blocks. It turns out you can not use Egg substitutes with boxed Gluten free brownie mix. It will end up a crusty, overflowing, undercooked, and somehow overcooked mess. At the last minute we decided to just go Vegan and drop the attempt for Gluten free. I used my favorite Wacky Chocolate Cake recipe (no eggs, no milk, yet super moist and rich) in a mini cupcake tin, frosted with Pillsbury vanilla frosting (no eggs, no milk, no gelatin) and topped with strawberries. Excuse our messy creations as we were unable to purchase tubed frosting since it typically has gelatin products and I still haven't overcome my fear of making my own piping in a pastry wrap tube. So we frosted with a knife and then used fondu forks to decorate. Bill ended up frosting most of them so I could get dressed for the party. What a great guy! He thought it was pretty awesome so he didn't mind the silliness or tediousness too much.

Well, I hope you are having a VERY merry Christmas season!
I have consulted with 2 potential creative cohorts who have said they may be willing to do a guest blog showcasing their amazing holiday creations while I try to keep my current works under wraps.
So keep posted for some gorgeous hand made crafts by Carrie and Heather.

Merry Christmas,

                                                           The McGowans
P.S. That Party I was talking about, well it was a crazy Christmas sweater party. And as you can imagine, we won.
Related Posts with Thumbnails