Friday, November 28, 2014

Refreshed, reenergized and back with earnest intent!

Dear Readers, yes, I have been gone a long time. When was my last post? March! It was in March that I began in earnest to work on a long-term project that ended with me achieving one of my bucket-list items - to go to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England. Over the spring and summer months I created a Regency (early 1800's) wardrobe to take with me and wear 24/7 while in Bat for a week. I was one of 14 people from California to go.  It was so much fun! If you are interested in seeing a snippet of my trip and what kept me away from you all, take a look:

The trip, itself, was wonderful and worth all the monies and time I put into it to prepare. But have you ever put so much energy into one project that when it is done, you feel emotionally and creatively limp? That has been my state of being since I returned from the trip. On top of that, I am an educator and had to return to my duties at my school. Working took what energy I had left, all I could do was bask in my accomplishments (Yay, one bucket list item done!) and recover.

Renewed and energized, I am back and the holidays are the best spur in my flanks to giddy-up! I am in earnest now, to blog and post as I furiously take the reigns of my creative hobby horse to create, enjoy the process and share. So, let's get out the paddock! (Not sure where the equestrienne references are coming from, but there we are).

Years ago, when I was very young...Lordy, that was in ancient times, it seems! Anyway, my mother brought home gold paper stars that were folded up and flat, but could be opened into 3-D stars to hang on a tree or where ever you wanted. She used them as Christmas cards that year and kept some to hang in our windows. I always thought that was a lovely way to send a greeting that would become a keep sake and not end up in the 'bin' once the holidays came to an end. About 10 years ago, I revived her creative idea and made paper ornaments using double sided decorative card stock. This year, I thought I would do it again and send to special friends that I would not see this holiday. The process is relatively easy and I want to share the process with you so that you can consider using it to 'Make it and Send it'.  Here we go:

Decorative card stock that is printed on both sides (Check your scrapbooking supplies - usually come in 12x12 squares.
#2H pencil - (when tracing, don't bear down too hard, hard enough to see it and cut on it).
Freezer paper or paper to make a pattern
Cording for loops
Sewing machine with white or off white thread (The color can be what you want).
Scissors (paper, and sharp) that can do small cut outs and help you follow you pencil lines.
Hole punch - optional

I got envelops out to figure out the size my ornament greeting should be.
Freezer paper cut to size, folded, then the shape drawn on one side (1/2), then cut it out.

A selection of double sided card stock.  Some designs have a direction, so plan
your pieces how it works for you.

You can do this with just two, but I like the dimensionality of 3.
Use you pattern, lay it on top of the card stock, trace with pencil enough to see it and cut on the lines.
If you want perfect cutouts, then you will need those machines that all the rage these days
in the scrapbooking world.  I like the imperfections that hand-made creates.

Option #1:  For adding a loop for hanging.  I took the center piece and zig-zagged
the doubled string down the center.  No, I didn't use pins - ya, gotta eyeball this.

Sandwiching this center piece b/w the other two, I used a straight stitch down the

The finished ornament.  I fold the outer pieces along the sewn center, to open the ornament carefully!

Option #2: For adding a loop for hanging.  I used a very small hole punch to put a hole
at the top through all 3 layers.
Sew the three (or two) layers down the center just below the hole.

Attach the string for the loop.

The finished ornament.  I fold the outer pieces along the sewn center, to open the ornament carefully!

Some notes to consider if you should decide to give this a go:
1.  It will work with non-cardstock, but will be flimsier, may not hold up from repeated flattening and folding each year the recipient uses it.  The card-stock also doesn't split from the seam/sewing thread as easily.  Experiment of course with watercolor weight paper, embossed papers, etc.
2.  If you don't want to use the 'scrapbook' card stock, by all means use plain colored card stock and rubber stamp, emboss, paint or with whatever you wish to make it.
3.  When I sewed the center seam, I used a 3.0 stitch length and white regular sewing thread.  Please, check you tension and play with scraps before hand.  I would give embroidery threads, etc., a try for stitching if you use a plainer card stock. (Whoa, just thought of an idea, to free motion embroider card stock and then, use the stock to make the ornaments!)
4.  When you put the ornament in the envelop to send it to your dear one, flatten it.  You can also sign it somewhere on one of the pieces so that your loved one can remember where they got it from in years to come.  Or, just send it with your yearly holiday letter on how your year has been.

Please, have fun with this and any feedback on the instructions or information is always welcome if it will help everyone, including me, improve on the process.  I share this with an open heart and hope you will enjoy.

Most posts to come!