11.29.2008

scrappy ornaments

This holiday season we are doing two things that are completely new for our family. Due to an extremely persuasive argument from Smootch ("pleeeeaaasssssssseeeeeeeeeee!!!!"), we have for the very first time a Christmas tree that needs decorating. Second, we are spending exactly zero dollars on decorations and gifts (that's right, no money spent for christmas - very much fun. You can read about it if you are interested over on The Man's blog.)

To decorate our tree, Smootch and I decided that we needed to use something colourful, something shiny, and something we already have in abundance. We had to look no farther than the mess I refer to as my sewing room.

Using odds and ends of fabric scraps and bits of stray and broken notions zambonied from the sewing room floor, along with a bit of thread and craft wire, Smootch and I put together these little ornaments:



This project is excellent for little ones just learning to use a needle, and a nice way to use the fabric bits too small even for patchwork.


To make your own, cut a variety of fabric scraps into 1/2" squares.


Load up a needle with thread. We used a thick top stitching thread. For Smootch I knotted together both ends of the thread to avoid frustrating her by accidently pulling the needle off the thread.

Begin by piercing the middle of the fabric squares with the needle and pulling down to the end knot to make a fabric stack on the thread.

Smootch worked on her stacks slowly over several days. I kept her supplies avaliable whenever she wanted and I found that she would go find her supplies and a comfy corner of the house and work whenever she was feeling a need for quiet and calm.


When your stack is big enough (and only you can decide) you can leave it to dangle free or tie it up into a wreath by tying the knotted end to the top of your stack.

Crafting wire comes in a variety of gauzes (sizes). I used a thicker gauge for the tree hook and a thinner gauge for the attaching the notions. It's also handy to have a few tools on hand for cutting and bending the wire. If you do not have any wire at home, try using thread, pipecleaners or twist ties to hang from the tree.



To make hooks to hang on the tree, simply bend some craft wire into the appropriate shape, with a little loop on the end to hook the thread with. (No, Smootch did not do the bending on the pic below, I did. Yes, my wire bending skills leave something to be desired. Yes, I should probably just stick to sewing.)

For shiny, dangly, jingly items, I used metal notions that were damaged, had lost a partner, or recycled reconned clothing.

To attach the shinies, lace them onto a length of craft wire. Bend the end of the wire into a hook shape to attach to the thread. (See pic below where The Man smoothed out my hook for me?)

When you believe you have enough shiny, you are done. Have fun crafting with the wee ones :)

23 comments:

  1. Wonderful ! I never liked Chrismas decoration, but those are lovely. I have the feeling it is going to be the first year our home is going to have some ! Thanks a lot.

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  2. Cute idea! We'll have to give it a try.

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  3. Those are super cute! I'm trying to think of things to make for our tree and this would be perfect for my oldest daughter (who is 8). Thank you for posting this tutorial!

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  4. another fun homemade ornament medium is salt dough and cookie cutters, you can use food coloring to make the dough different colors or paint it with craft paint... here is a link to the recipe and drying instructions - we are using it for ornaments and handprints of the little one for grandparents

    http://kids.creativity-portal.com/d/recipes/salt.dough.shtml

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  5. I think you are fabulous in general, but I have to say - I think it is adorable that The Man straightened out your hook.

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  6. Thanks all!

    Cricket, someone's got to...

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  7. Thanks for this. My Mum announced her last pre-Christmas visit today at 10om last night so I got slicing three different types of red fabric into 1" squares and made her a wreath to hang in her camper (they are spending the holidays in a van brrrr!) I hung it with a red and gold ribbon and sewed a green button on the base of the ribbon. A Very cool Very quick giftette and Mum loved it! Thank you!

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  8. Rachel, you are a sweetie to your mum. Christmas in a camper - I know a shocking amount of people who would believe that is a form of heaven :D

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  9. I love your blog, and think you are the craftiest lady ever. But I also love what you have at the bottom about giving with both hands. Though some people frown, I do believe that it is flattery when someone emulates you. How gracious a lady you are. I also think when it is said the way you said it, that more people are respectful. Have a wonderful holiday. If you ever need a pattern tester.........I AM SO GAME!

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  10. these would make an excellent solstice gift for your kids auntie... hint, hint

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  11. These are darling! I may have to try this out. How old is Smooch? My Monkey is 2, and I wonder if he'd be up for it?

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  12. Ritsumei,
    Smootch is 4. I would suggest using a large blunt needle and fabric that is easy to push through, such as fleece. I would also be prepared to sit with him as long as he has the attention span for and you will most likely finish for him also. Other than that, I think it could be a good beginning to needlework project.
    good luck!

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  13. It sounds like fun! I may have to try that. I'll have to pick up some bigger, blunter needles, but those aren't expensive & I've got enough "stash" to have plenty of fabric, LOL! Maybe we'll have him make some little ones & give them away for Christmas. Could be fun!

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  14. Your blog is very inspiring on many levels!
    Thanks!

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  15. We did these today! Monkey doesn't have the coordination to do it all: I held the needle & he pushed the fabric (we did 1" squares) over it and pulled it down the string. It went pretty well, though his attention span is as short as you'd expect a 2 year old's attention span to be! It was fun! I'll have to see if I can come up with some pictures after a while... though they're going to be gifts, so I may not.

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  16. Love your blog! and your very generous nature.. your babies are adorable and your projects are too cute...and useful!

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  17. I saw something similar to this in a magazine, but your's are much cuter!
    Now I wanna make some for Valentine's Day.
    Thanks!

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  18. Thanks for this!!! I didn't find it until last weekend, but now my 5 year-old daughter has something to do while her siblings (and I!) take an afternoon nap!!! THANKS! :)

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  19. Netta,
    I never evev thought beyond the winter holiday applications... v-day deco sounds lovely!

    Goodlikeamedicine,
    Any thing that facilitates nap taking is good in my opinion!

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  20. I'm wondering what size needles to use. My son is 4 yrs old and I'm not sure whether it's safe for him to use one. Thanks!

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  21. Agy,

    If you are concerned about safety try using a large plastic yarn needle (like the kind knitters use to tuck threads back in). If you use fleece the needle should go in okay. Generally, though, I would recommend to use a large regular needle because it will go through the fabric easier and it's a good start to learning sewing skills.

    I haven't had any safety issues with my 4 year old, but I always sit down with her when she begins a new project to make sure she knows how to use her tools and to nip any unsafe habits in the bud right away.

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