Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Whimsical Wire Trees

OK, so do you think my post about the Twine Christmas Trees looked too complicated or messy to try?  Here's one I discovered at MyHomeMyStyle...I think anybody can do this!!  And I just love the look.

Next year for me, though.  I just have too many projects in the works between now & Christmas to fit in any more!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Twine Christmas Trees

I'm back in the blogging world!  The Holiday sale event I participated in this week was very successful, and now I've cleaned up my craft room - I mean my kitchen - so now I can actually cook again.  Or rather my husband can.  He was very happy to see the sewing machine go back in the closet, and the bags of yarn and other miscellaneous crafting supplies go back to the basement.  Don't tell him, but so was I.  It's nice to see what my kitchen table looks like again!

So the first project I started on, and what I'll describe here, are Christmas trees sculpted from twine.  This is a very messy project, but not hard.,  After all, that's my main criteria, remember?  EASY ENOUGH FOR ME!  And it's relatively quick - about an hour once you're ready to start will create a set of 3 (small, medium, large) trees, then it's just drying time and adding any decorations you might want.  I did some simple beading, used some fake snow, tried different colors, and left some plain.  Be sure to check out my cost saving suggestions at the bottom.

My initial inspiration came from LemonTreeCreations where there is a great tutorial with better pics than mine.  Check it out.

Step 1:  Gather your supplies
    • Styrofoam trees - one for each size you make.
    • Tin foil - I use the pre-cut sheets that you can buy at Costco.
    • Fabric Stiffener - Stiffy brand works great.
    • Straight pins.  The kind with the colored balls on the ends really work well.
    • Twine.  Bought mine at Home Depot & got 525 yards for $4.50.
Step 2:  Prep your materials
    • The twine I bought came in a light color, and initially I wanted something darker.  I experimented with various methods of coloring the twine.  See my earlier post "Painting Twine".
    • Cut twine into manageable lengths.  I generally worked with 2 yards at a time.
    • Spread out some tin foil to work on (remember, it's sloppy work!).
    • Leaving the plastic wrap on the form, cover your tree form with tin foil.  The original tutorial used freezer paper, but that did NOT work for me.  It stuck badly to the finished tree.  The tin foil releases well.
    • Place some straight pins evenly about 1/8 - 1/4"  above the bottom of each tree.  You'll use these to wind your first few rows to form a sturdy base.  
    • Create a "drying station" - a piece of tin foil in an out-of-the-way spot.
    • Pour a small amount of fabric stiffener into a small bowl.

Step 3:  Start sculpting!  
    • Working with one length of twine at a time, soak it in the fabric stiffener.  As you pull the twine from the liquid, run your fingers down the length to "squeegee" the excess back into the bowl.  Don't prep too many lengths at once - they'll start to dry out before you use them and then they're harder to work with.
    • I usually started my winding from the base, anchoring my starting point with my finger or a straight pin until I had wound more twine on top of it.
    • The pins on the bottom will help keep your lower circles in place because they have a tendency to want to slide up the form.  You need to make sure your "base" will be level when removed from the form, so watch your placement carefully at the beginning.
    • As you finish lengths & start new ones, use a straight pin to anchor the ends.  Don't worry if any ends stick out - they can be trimmed off when dry.
    • While winding your form, be sure you criss-cross as much as possible.  The finished project needs the structure created by these criss-crosses to stand straight.
    • Done?  No big holes?  Set it aside to DRY THOROUGHLY!

Step 4:  Finishing
    • Remove every straight pin.  This is why I suggest the dressmaker pins - they're easy to see.  If you miss even one it will make it REALLY hard to remove the finished tree.  
    • Carefully loosen the tin foil from the form.  I found this easiest by starting at the bottom, loosening the tin foil & exposing the styrofoam.  GENTLY grip the tree around the middle with one hand, & holding onto the styrofoam with the other hand, give some gentle but firm twists,  Your tree should "break loose" & slide right off.  Some require a little more manhandling than others, but it WILL come off!  Then remove the tin foil from the inside the tree.  (DON'T throw the tin foil away if it comes out in one piece.  I'll show you how to re-use it later.)
    • Now decorate!!!  I had some white pearls that I used on one set, on another set I painted the pearls gold (before hot gluing to the trees).  On yet another set, I sprinkled Epsom Salts - great fake snow!  The options are endless!
      Like these but don't feel like getting messy?  These sets and others are available now on at my Etsy store for only $29.00/set!!  Order now!
Medium Tan - Natural

Dark Brown Set of 3 With Berries

      Red Set Dusted with "Snow"

Cost Saving Suggestions for this project:
  1. Buy cheap twine.  I bought a big roll at Home Depot & changed the color myself.  It's W-A-A-A-Y cheaper & easier to find than colored hemp at the craft stores.
  2. If making multiple sets, re-use the styrofoam forms.  I made over 50 total with the same three forms, and they can still be used for something else.
  3. Use a small bowl & small amounts at a time for the stiffener.  Anything left in the bowl will be thrown away.
  4. Re-use the tin foil.  Open it up & use it flat - or use it just on the top end of one of your forms.  Use the same process & create hanging ornaments.
Hanging 4" Tree Ornaments

Happy Twining!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lots To Come!!!

I haven't had time to post anything for a couple of weeks.  Busy crafting my fingers to the bones.  Not kidding!  I have burns all over my hands from the glue gun!  I've been prepping for a holiday sale that takes place tomorrow night.  But watch out!  I'll have lots of posts coming with some great handmade gift ideas!

Until then...happy crafting!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paint Your Twine

Lots of holiday projects involve twine.  My next project was going to be the Twine Christmas Trees I saw at Lemon Tree Creations (thanks, Erin).  Those trees were in a dark brown twine, which I loved.  Very organic looking.  I set out yesterday to pick up my supplies, and could NOT find anything except a sorta "blondish" color.  I may try a project in the original color, but for the purposes of my trees, I wanted darker.  I figured paint would work somehow, and it did.  I learned a few tips & tricks as I experimented.

Experiment #1:  I poured an small amount of craft paint (approx 1 tbl) onto a piece of tin foil.  I took a length of twine (6-7 ft) in my left hand, and used my right index finger & thumb as my paint brush.  Stick your index finger into the paint, rub it against your thumb (now you have two painted fingers).  Starting at one end of the twine, put it between your messy fingers and twist back & forth.  As you're twisting, start sliding your fingers down the twine. TIP:  Go with the grain of the twine, or the direction of the wrap.  I could get about 10-12" down before stopping to "re-load".  When you reach the end, set your painted twine aside to dry.

Experiment #2:  I was using my twine with a stiffener, so I added the paint directly to the stiffener and mixed it well.  I submerged the twine in the mixture and squished it around (that's a technical term, btw).  As I pulled it out I used my fingers to squeegee the excess.  This put a more even colortone on the twine.  It wasn't what I was looking for in my tree project, but it worked well.  It also eliminated a step because I could put it directly on my molding form, rather than wait for the color to dry before adding the stiffener.

That's it, folks!  Now you can do a twine project in any color you want!!  I found some gold & bronze craft paint in my stash, so will be experimenting with those too in the next few days.  Right now I have piles of twine drying in my kitchen, and two trees wrapped and drying.  When they're done, I'll post about my experiences with that.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twine Christmas Trees

I love Christmas trees, especially of I don't have to decorate them.  Here's one you can make for your mantle.  Or make a set of them - that's what I'm gonna do!

Erin at LemonTreeCreations provides a complete tutorial.  Pay attention to her tips & tricks!  Thanks, Erin!

Another "So Easy" Holiday Ornament

Oh my, oh my.  This look REALLY appeals to me.  So does the apparent easiness of the project.  It looks like the hardest part is going shopping for the styrofoam.  And if you have a dollar store in your neighborhood, start there.  Lord knows I have LOTS of tissue paper in my wrapping supplies!

See the full tutorial at Spunky Junky.  Thank you, Halsey!  (pronounced "Halllll-zeee").

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


So I headed to the dollar store today - I keep hearing they've got tons of crafting supplies.  I didn't do so well.  No styrofoam wreath or tree forms.  What I DID find were styrofoam balls - about the size of a large tree ornament.  I stood looking at them while my brain went in to overdrive.  Could the ruffle technique be used on a ball?  I decided, why not?  So I picked up a couple and came home to try it out.  Before I invest in felt, I decided to go through my fabric stash.  I came up with several possibilities, and am going to give it a whirl.

My plans for tonight, you ask?  Cutting circles!!  If it works, I'll post some pics later.  If you don't see any pics, well then, it didn't work.  Sometimes my brain is more creative than my hands!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wreath of Ruffles

Love this look, and I can really see it in white, with some bright red glass Christmas ornaments for accents.  Or silver...oooh!  This is going to be my next project.  I know that styrofoam wreath forms can be pricey, but I saw a tip on Pinterest about using some sort of foam tubing from a hardware store instead. I'm not sure how that would work with this project since it has to hold pins.  I'll check it out..

Find the full tutorial at http://www.designsponge.com/2009/12/diy-project-kristens-ruffly-felt-wreath.html.

Another T-Shirt Project. This Time A Fringe Scarf...

I just love what I'm seeing people (all creative geniuses I guess) do with a plain old t-shirt!

I made this one yesterday.  I actually made two.  One because I like the look, and the second one because it was so easy, and sooo fast!  The first one took 15 min (I really took my time) and the second one took less than 10 min.  I'm going to have to find some more t-shirts so I can make myself one.  The first two turned out so great, I'm going to use them as Christmas gifts!

Check this out...

Fringe Scarf

Find great step-by-step instructions at


Up-Cycle Those T-Shirts!

I'm amazed at what people can do!  Here's a pencil skirt made from two t-shirts!!  I want the skirt...does the body come with it?

T-Shirt Pencil Skirt