Rock Candy Ornament

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So it’s September already, and I’ve decided that Christmas in July didn’t happen, and August was a blur….. time to start making holiday stuff and I’m already behind! i was thinking this year Id make a candy/cookie/sweets themed tree this year. Seems I have to start somewhere, so the idea is usually first, and the how-to later.

Lets get started with a super easy one.

Supplies needed:

wooden beads

12″ dowels

16 gauge wire

mixed plastic faceted beads

hot glue/glue gun

white/wood glue

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I started by separating the beads by color. One of those zen OCD tasks that completely relaxes me, until the dogs bump my table and I find myself crawling around on the carpet picking them all up.

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Cut the 12″ dowels in half and glue a wooden bead with  the wood glue on the bottom of each.

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Next cut a 3″ piece of wire and twist a small eye on the end, then I wrapped the wire around the top of the dowel to make a hanging loop.

Tip: You could also use ribbon or colored wire but I prefer mine to disappear in the tree.

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Using the hot glue gun, begin adding the beads about half-way up the stick and cover completely over the wire and the top of the dowel. Be careful when using the hot glue, you can get burnt in a second. Make sure to slide them around randomly so they’re not straight rows. I stacked extra beads toward the top to give it more of a taper look like the candy has.

Tip: after you have made several of these, use your blow dryer to vaporize the “spider” strings the glue gun leaves behind.

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So the first bag of beads yielded 7 finished ornaments, looks like its back to the store for more beads. I have to laugh, hubby thought they were real!

So enjoy your day crafting!

Debbie

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Holiday Sparkle Pinecone Ornament

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By far one of the most popular, favorite craft projects ever!! I first made one way, way back in the 1980’s. This idea came from one of my most treasured, inspirational, and loved person,  Aunt Joanie.  She shared this with me when we were visiting from out-of-town, and I came home with a bag full of supplies, and a really sore thumb from pushing in the pins.

Supplies needed for each pinecone:

20mm paillette (some stores call them sequins) usually stocked with the beads

1/2″ sequin pins

3″ egg-shaped styrofoam ball

Craft wire or ornament hooks

1/2″ ribbon

thimble or leather finger guard (if you wish)

scissors

wire cutters

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It has become harder to find the sequins, or paillette’s in the craft stores. It is much easier to locate them online. The actual count per ornament varies somewhere between 80-100. The paillettes have a tiny hole on the edge, the sequins have a larger hole. You can use either but be sure to put the hole out of sight.

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The start is the toughest part. Take the first 3 sequins (paillettes)  bend and overlap these into a cone shape, and secure to the pointy end of the styrofoam egg. Make sure the tip is closed, you don’t want to be able to see the styrofoam through a hole.  I used longer straight pins and a small bit of glue to secure them. Then, start pinning a row halfway below the start working around overlapping each sequin, pinning through both. Kinda like fish scales continuing around in the same direction.

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Work around, and around, dropping down as you go, covering the pins in the upper row, until you cover the egg. Your thumb may become numb. The more you do, the tougher your digit may become. I tried to use a thimble and a leather finger guard, but couldn’t feel the pins and got frustrated. My solution was more fingertip moistener (to grab them) and doing a pinecone a day until my thumb toughened up.

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As you come to the bottom of the egg shape, even out the drop but continue in the same direction until you cover the end of the egg. They will be flatter, but still need to stay overlapped and in the same degree of drop.

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Once you cover the bottom, put one final sequin over any pins still showing. Add a hanging hook or loop and tie with a ribbon. Hook or loop, your choice for hanging.

IMG_0718I actually hang mine without ribbon snugged up against the tree branches like a real pinecone would hang. The metallic and holographic finishes are so pretty, and they reflect the lights from the tree beautifully.

Here’s another one I made with “shell” or pearl finished paillettes.  I’ve also mixed the colors when I don’t have enough of one color and they looked pretty as well.

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So, from the “Real” Northern California, a sparkly pinecone that will dazzle when hanging on your Christmas Tree!

Enjoy,

Debbie

Christmas Spiders!

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I found this idea on the net last year. I thought it was such a cute story, and I had dozens of ideas for sparkly spiders. I decided to make it this years Christmas craft.  (I do something every year for co-workers and friends).

There are two basic parts to this project. The spiders, and the presentation cards.

First, let’s make some sparkly, pretty spiders. Size is your choice, I wanted them to fit my cards, but you can do bigger or smaller to suit your taste. The sizes listed are what worked best to fit on the standard card stock I printed the story on. I found some beautiful beads at the craft store, but you can find amazing ones online or in your unused jewelry box.

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You will need for each spider:
Large bead for bottom (22-24mm)
Flattened bead for middle (20mm)
Smaller bead for head (16mm)
Tube beads, seed beads, mixed beads for the legs (I used mixed glass beads)
Eye pin
Beading wire (20 gage gold) color to complement beads
Round tip pliers
Wire cutters

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I like the mixed bead boxes for this project. The assortment of beads and colors can do hundreds of combinations for the legs. It is also a good way to use up leftover beads.  *tip: I work with a  wash cloth nder my beads, it keeps them from rolling around, and fingertip moistener makes them easier to grab.

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Start with 4 pieces of beading wire 6 inches long. These will be the legs. Bend a small circle at the end, put beads on until you have 2 1/2″ filled, bend a loop in wire, this will be the center loop. Bead the reverse of what you did, to do the other leg and end with another circle.

Do four of these, repeating the same pattern for each leg.

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Take the headpin (with the eye on the end) and put on the largest bead, (mine kept sliding off the eye, so I added a smaller glass bead to make it stay).  Next, thread on two of the  leg wires, the middle flattened bead, the two remaining legs, then the  head bead. ( I also put a small glass bead here too).  Using the pliers, bend the remaining wire into another loop and wind around to snug up all the beads and legs. You want to stiffen up the body, so the legs don’t flop around too much. Clip off any remaining wire. I couldn’t decide if they should hang from the head (climbing up) or the bottom (climbing down) so I put eyes on both ends. You decide! (Mine just sat on branches and sparkled!)

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Bend the legs into a pleasing shape. I pulled the front legs above the head, next set facing forward. The back legs supporting the bottom, and slightly pulled back.

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To make the cards, you’ll need card stock, a computer and printer. I think the story is important for explaining why you need a spider in your Christmas tree. By printing the story inside, and attaching the spider outside, it made a nice presentation.

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Here’s my version of the Legend of the Christmas Spider:  (I edited the version on my cards to fit the font and card size)

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Long, long ago in Germany. a mother was busily cleaning for Christmas,

so the spiders fled to the attic to escape the broom.

After the house became quiet, once the tree was decorated,

the spiders slowly crept downstairs for a peek.

Oh, what a beautiful Christmas Tree!

In their excitement, the spiders scurried up the trunk and out along

each branch. They were filled with happiness as they climbed all

over the glittering tree. As they climbed, the tree became

completely covered in their dusty gray webs.

When St. Nicolas arrived with gifts for the children,

he saw that the tree was covered with spider webs.

He smiled because he saw how happy the spiders were,

but he knew how heartbroken they would be to see the tree covered in webs.

So he turned the spiders and their webs into silver and gold.

The tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more

beautiful than before.

That’s where the tradition of tinsel first came from

and why every tree should have a

Christmas spider tucked among its branches.

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I printed this on the inside of plain white card stock. I left a space in the upper part of the story to punch a couple of holes, that I threaded 1/8″ ribbon through and tied a bow around the spider to attach to the card. You can modify the story, font and spacing to fit your particular project idea. You could also print it on plain paper. Everyone loved the story, and even my Bestie, who is terrified of spiders, loved hers too. A couple of friends told me they hung them from their rear view mirrors, because they were so pretty!

Enjoy!

Debbie