Decorations To Remember

This week’s blog post is a little late due to that pesky Covid.  I was going to do a post on a fun decoration I’d made as gifts for a couple of friends but have been unable to deliver them due to being suddenly upgraded (or is that downgraded?!) to Tier 4, which is essentially another lockdown.  Since the recipients don’t have their gifts, I can’t post about them!  So instead, I’m focussing on Christmas tree decorations.  First though, I finally got my wreath made for the front door.

Do you have a colour theme for your tree? Ours is predominantly red and gold but not exclusively!  Wherever we are, if we spot a nice Christmas decoration, we get it to add to the collection.  I love unpacking the decs each year and having the memories of where they were bought.  I’ve got ones made from Fimo by my sister about 30 years ago, a Smurf Santa from when I was a kid and collected those Smurf figures, ones given to me by old neighbours and lots of homemade ones too. Our tree is lightly decorated this year due to the kittens.  There’s nothing breakable on there and nothing below the bottom 18”!  It still looks lovely though.

These ones are purchased decs.  Clockwise from top left: angel from Monaco, moon and star from a French supermarket, pebble cat on a heart from a local lady (Em’s Pebbles) and a metal tree from the Netherlands, accompanied by my gold ring felt ornament.

These are a selection of some handmade decs.  Clockwise from top left: sequinned pudding (on a polystyrene ball), cross-stitched Tigger mini cushion, piper piping felt ornament and a clay heart sent by our wedding venue the first Christmas after our marriage.

My latest felt decoration, again from mmmcrafts, is a Santa.  Mrs Claus is almost done but is alarmingly headless at the moment. I must try to get her finished before Christmas Day! 

mmmcrafts has just released a pattern for some elves so hopefully they’ll make an appearance next year too.

Wherever you are in the world and whomever you’re allowed to celebrate with, here’s hoping it’s a happy and healthy Christmas.

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.