December 14, 2010

Sarah: Ornament Swap 2010 Check-In

This is my favorite part of the Ornament Exchange: when the parcels start to pour in, full of all of the cool stuff you've all made! Observe:

Today at noon:

And then this evening:

I've been holding off on opening the packages (okay, true confessions, I peeked in the shopping bags) because I am excited to lay out all of the different ornaments. To distract myself, I'll be posting some ornaments from years past over the next few days. Stay tuned for a Christmas explosion.

For those of you that are participating in the Ornament Swap: Your ornaments should be finished and on my doorstep (or better yet, in my warm house and out of the elements) by December 15. That's only a few days away! As for me, I'm putting the finishing touches on my ornaments and then I'll be adding them to the growing pile. It feels like Christmas!

December 15, 2010

Sarah: Accordion Books

In 2008*, I made accordion books for our Ornament Swap.

I was interested in trying my hand at (extremely rudimentary) bookmaking and thought an accordion book could have an extra layer of specialness. Let me explain:

When I was growing up, our family was once given a sort of hideous book ornament. The pages had drawings depicting the nativity story and for some reason, I was fascinated by it. The cool part of the book was that you could tie it back so that the pages were on the outside and the cover was on the inside and, when you did, the pages formed a star shape.

That's sort of what I was going for.

The covers of the books were made with red or green duck cloth with white screenprinted bonsai trees that I had left over from another project. Successful recycling and I thought that they worked perfectly for the books.

Ta-Da! Next up: Stay tuned for Jillian's ornaments from last year's swap.

*Yeesh, I am just a teeny bit behind here.

December 16, 2010

Sarah: 2009 Ornaments, Jillian's Red Horses

Jillian took some red felt, added a little white felt, topped it off with some white embroidery, and ended up with something adorable.

They look to me like they're inspired by those red folk art horses that the internet tells me are Swedish and are called Dalecarlian horses.

Regardless, Jillian's ornaments are adorable. And her neat little stitches!

Austin Scarlet would be proud.

Sarah: 2009 Ornaments, Jeff, Jo, Jes, and E

I found a blog entry I started in January with several photos already pulled together. Behold, the blog that should have been:

My little brother Jeff makes great snowflakes. He made one for each participant with chubby penguins and their name along the edge.

Jo made delicate globes of hand-tatted lace in several different colors. Jo, let me know when you want to come teach me and Lisa how to do this.

Jes made little stained glass Christmas trees. Whoa. I was so impressed by this ornament. She really put me to shame this year, and I'll have to step it up next year.

E folded tiny gold paper stars, then hung them inside a clear glass globe. I love the ribbon that she used on the top.

December 22, 2010

Lisa: 2009 ornament: Cthulhu

Since I'd been so obsessed with making amigurumi earlier in the year, I decided I had to crochet some for the 2009 ornament exchange.

I'd been wanting to try a pattern from my new Creepy Cute Crochet book, and some nerdy reading on the internet helped me decide that tiny Cthulhus would be just the thing.

I got started in early December, making all the pieces assembly-line style.

I find terrible/awesome movies from the past are the best to watch while crafting. Start with The Cutting Edge. Use the time when you're actually looking at the screen to contemplate the inexplicable hotness of D.B. Sweeney.

I thought when I got to assembling the heads, little tentacles and eyes and hanging ribbons and all, that I was almost done. I was wrong. Because you know what takes an excruciatingly long time? Crocheting TEN of the same amigurumi all at once. Heaps of thirty tiny tentacles, twenty tiny arms, and twenty confusingly-shaped wings can get overwhelming.

Anyway. Once the pain of construction was past, and I just had ten cute little baby Cthulhus staring up at me, I picked up some white fold-down bags and blue ink from Xpedx. The uppercase O stamp from my alphabet set was perfect for simulating sucker marks across the top, and I just wrote the theme title across that in coordinating blue Sharpie. Success!

December 28, 2010

Sarah: Handmade Christmas

When I realized that I was going to be too poor to buy fancy items for my loved ones for Christmas, I started digging around the internet for gift ideas that I thought I might reasonably pull off. Now that most of the gift-giving is behind us, I wanted to save some of the ideas here for future reference. Sadly, my quick online searching and saving means that I don't know where these photos come from, or if they were originally handmade or if they're gifts available for purchase. I believe that it's a little bit of all of the above. Perhaps these photos will get your own wheels turning for how to make a gift that is special but still possible to make on a small budget. Or maybe you'll someday get some poor man's version of one of these items made by me at some future date. If you do, please be nice to me and pretend like it looks even half as good as these items. Thank you for your kindness in advance.

Sarah: Bacon Pillow

Among my brother's extremely varied list of Christmas wants (everything from chain mail to socks from Wal-Mart) was ThinkGeek's My First Bacon Talking Plush. I found the idea of a bacon pillow amusing, but couldn't get behind paying $20 plus shipping for something with a face that says "I'm bacon" whenever you lean against it while watching a movie.

So I made my own version of the bacon pillow:

Which turned out to not look much like bacon at all. So I added a little embroidery to clarify things.

He really does. Done and done.