A Whale of a Time

For the past month, I have been sewing up a storm to complete a set of 12 Days of Christmas ornaments for my Mum’s birthday.  This is the 4th set of these ornaments I’ve made (see post from April 2019) and usually, they take me about 3 months to make (at a leisurely pace!) so making these in 4 weeks was quite a challenge.  I decided to make them in a limited colour palette to give the cohesive look of a set, choosing felt in two shades of red, green and grey together with white and gold.  The embroidery was done in coordinating threads. Here’s the finished set.

1-4: Partridge and Pear, Turtle Dove, French Hen and Calling Bird
5-8: Gold Ring, Goose-a-laying and her egg, Swan-a-swimming and Maid Milking
9-12: Drummer, Piper, Lady Dancing and Lord-a-leaping and a bonus heart!

My Mum’s Christmas tree is only diddy and would be overpowered by these ornaments so I got her a twig tree for displaying these.  I’m really hoping Mum will like them.

For the birthday card, I used the Stampin’ Up! Whale Done and Whale of a Time DSP to make a shaker card.  First of all, I used the Seabed embossing folder with some vellum to decorate the inside of my card as this looks really pretty against a dark cardbase.

Next, I made the shaker element, using the Whale of a Time sequins.  I covered the top of the frame with some metallic card embossed with the Subtle embossing folder.

The set didn’t have the sentiment that I wanted so I handwrote them onto thin strips of Pretty Peacock card using a white gel pen.  The last job was to add a square of card inside to write on, which I stamped with the tiny fish from the set.

Images © 2020 Stampin’ Up!

Christmas Watercolour

This week, I’ve been slightly obsessed with watching beginner watercolour videos on YouTube.  I’ve watched loads of videos – they’ve kept me entertained (distracted?) whilst I’ve been on the treadmill!  The artists all make watercolour painting look so easy.  I’ve never painted but have fancied trying out watercolour for a while, so thought following some guidance would be a good place to start.

First was a scene with a colour washed background with fir trees in the foreground from Maremi SmallArt.

I colour washed and dried the background before painting in the trees in varying shades of grey/black.  This gives depth to the scene by making it look like the lighter trees are further away and darker ones in the foreground.  Once the pictures were dry, I splattered on some white acrylic paint for snow.  I was very happy with how these turned out.

After completing these two, I went downstairs to show Mr L and found that he had been busy creating himself.  He’d fashioned a ball pit play centre for the kittens, inspired by the bridge from the Indiana Jones The Temple of Doom film!  Like you do.  Dill loves it but Scooby prefers to take the balls out and bat them around the floor.

Anyway, back to the art.  This next video was fascinating to watch.  It’s a loose watercolour Christmas tree by Andrew Geeson.

This is so against my natural inclination to neat and tidy lines with a perfect finish so I was well outside my comfort zone with this painting.  The colours were also not what I would have used but they work.  I was completely gobsmacked how well this came out and I keep looking at it, amazed that I created it.

My last painting was inspired by CreationsCeeCee. 

I colour washed the background first and then tried painting the tree in a leaf shape as per the video.  However, my paper is quite textured so when I tried to feather out the paint with a dry brush, it didn’t work so I painted some feathery branches in instead.  When this was dry, I added baubles using my Fintec metallic paints and then added stars with a white gel pen.

All that’s left to do now is to mount them onto cards.  I’ve really enjoyed my first foray into watercolour painting and found it very relaxing. 

Christmas Tree Skirt

Whilst your decorated artificial Christmas tree may look stunning, the stand usually doesn’t, by virtue of it having to be practical rather than aesthetic.  I used to just lay sheets of cotton wool ‘snow’ around mine but then heard of a tree skirt and set about making my own.  We have two trees so I made one with Christmas trees on and one with snowman.  Here’s the snowman skirt.

A friend was admiring the skirts and asked where I’d bought them and subsequently commissioned me to make one for his tree.  His daughter then admired that one and requested one of her own so I thought it’d make the perfect Christmas project for the blog.  So, if you fancy having a go at making your own, here’s how I did mine.

First, draw a circle that will cover the legs of your stand plus an extra inch or two for the seams.  Cut out a section so that the skirt will form a cone shape and then cut this out from your main fabric and backing fabric.  I divided my paper template into 3 pieces and sewed them together to save on fabric.  You may also need to divide the template into more pieces if the pattern on your fabric is directional.  Remember to add extra width for seam allowances!

Now is where you can go wild with your decorative elements!  My friend wanted Christmas trees so I drew out a tree shape, divided into three tiers, as I wanted to use different fabrics.  I traced around each shape and the trunks 5 times onto Bondaweb and roughly cut them out.

The beauty of Bondaweb is that you can then iron your shapes onto your chosen fabrics and cut the shapes out precisely.

I then peeled of the backing paper, revealing a layer of fusible adhesive web, and placed my trees onto the skirt base, ironing them in place to secure, ready for quilting.  The quilt sandwich was stuck together with Odif 505 temporary adhesive and formed using polyester wadding and another piece of fabric.  It doesn’t really matter what fabric it is as it won’t be seen.  I like to reuse old bed sheets (washed, of course!) for this purpose.

Using a satin stitch on my sewing machine, I quilted around the edge of each tier of the tree and around the trunk.  This makes the trees puff up and adds lovely texture.

Once the appliqué was complete, I sewed on 3 rouleau loops onto one side (for the buttons) and then sewed on the backing using the bagging out method, turned right side out and top stitched all around the edges.  Finally I hand stitched some rope trim around the edge, gold stars on the trees and some covered buttons to hold the tree skirt in place.