Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Craftiness - Simple Gifts

This weekend I had the pleasure of crafting with some wonderful teens at our local library. I planned three quick and easy projects that used materials I had on hand to keep costs down. We made wreath ornaments, lavender sachets and beaded choker pendants. The girls were thrilled with their creations and had friends and family in mind for each gift.

Crafting wreath ornaments was a great way to work through my giant bag of scraps. You'll also need to gather: 18 gauge galvanized steel wire (hardware store), jingle bells, scissors, pliers and wire cutters. Start by cutting the scraps into 'uniform' one inch square pieces. Fold each piece in half and clip a small slit along the fold line.

Once you've prepared enough pieces String them onto a 14" length of wire. Continue stringing until you have enough felt to encircle a wreath. String a jingle bell and/or two felt holly leaves onto one of the wires.

Bend the wires at a ninety degree angle where they meet at the top of the wreath. Coil one wire end around the other, use wire cutters to trim the coiled wire end. Use pliers to form the other end into a large open spiral hanger. Give your wreath a hair cut, use scissors to trim away stray felt ends.

This simple beaded choker pendant was a very successful group beading project. Making a beaded pendant is just like making one half of an earring set. It also allows you to showcase one of a kind beads. Rubber Silkies necklace cords are my favorite new beading supply. They're manufactured by Pepperrell and are sold at our local JoAnn's fabric store. The smooth rubber clasp is built into the cord and is very comfortable to wear.

I purchased a bulk bag of glass beads and divided them in bowls for easy selection. You'll also need small bead caps, head pins, round nose pliers, and wire cutters.

Simply string three beads onto the head pin, add a bead cap into the mix if you want to highlight a bead or narrow the opening of a large bead. Use round nose pliers to turn the end of the head pin into a loop. Open the loop laterally and then slide it onto the center of the cord. Be careful you don't pinch the rubber in your pliers as it breaks apart when squeezed with metal. Use the pliers to carefully close the loop back to it's original shape.

These sweet little lavender sachets scented the room as we crafted. You could easily substitute great smelling Balsam or make use the fabric pouch as a small gift bag. You'll need two different colors of purple fabric, straight pins, lavender buds (San Fransisco herb Company), thread, hemp cord, card stock labels (I cut my with my Sizzix Big Kick), stamps, chalk ink pad, black pen.

Cut the fabric into 4" x 7" rectangles, placing right sides together stack one color over. Pin the two layers of fabric together. Because I had a nice small group I was able to help each girl machine stitch three sides of the fabric together. For many of the girls it was the first time they'd used a sewing machine. Trim the top off the bag with pinking sheers then clip the extra fabric off the corners with regular scissors.

Turn the fabric right side out and used a pencil point to push out the corners. Pour a half cup of lavender buds into the sachet.

Stamp and write messages onto the tags before tying them around the top of the sachet with a section of hemp cord.

Fa la la la la ...Crafty girls with their creations!
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