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Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Projects

Yesterday was a good day!
I got almost all of my Christmas decorations put up, despite my children's well-meant help.
In order to get those decorations up, I had to finish two of the projects that were clogging my project table, which only added to the goodness of the day.

The first project was a Christmas banner that I bought supplies for last January in the post-holiday clearance bins. I got the idea out of a catalog - Pottery Barn I think.
The supplies were pretty simple:
  1. Wooden letters
  2. Scrapbook paper (2 letters per 12x12 sheet)
  3. Mod Podge and brush
The first step is to glue the letters to the paper, making sure that the pattern on the paper is pointing in the right directions. Start with the back of the letters. The second step is to trim around the letters, leaving about 1/8" overhang (more if the letters are thicker). At this point I started wishing that I had chosen letters with fewer curves and details. I used a scissors, but I think a razor blade might have worked better.
Next, make cuts in the fringe to make tabs so that as you glue the tabs to the sides of the letters you can bend around the curves. This part of the process was painfully slow as I had to dab glue and then hold for a few seconds and then repeat all the way around. I have plans for other letter banners but because of this I think I will use paint instead of paper.
After you have the backs of all the letters done, turn them over and do the same process all over again on the front.
I had planned to attach the letters together and hang them with a ribbon, but I never found a ribbon that matched correctly or wasn't too busy, so instead I settled on fishing line. Turn all the letters over AND REVERSE THE ORDER (I almost forgot that part). Then I ran a bead of hot glue along the top of each letter and pressed the fishing line into it. On the first and last letters I made a small loop of line so that I could hang the whole thing.
After a few small repairs, touch-ups and adjustments, the banner was ready to hang.

The other project I finished up yesterday was not nearly as labor intensive (thank goodness).
I also stole this idea, this time from a magazine - possibly Better Homes and Gardens.
This project was for outside my front door, so the first step was to send my willing helpers outside to collect sticks. It was a foggy day and they loved the adventure.
Then, when one willing helper was taking her nap, I let the other willing helper help me paint the sticks bright red. Thankfully his hands weren't big enough to actually push the spray button, so he just helped me hold the can.

My wonderful husband gave me these two huge flower planters for my birthday, and I realized that since they were red they would be perfect for this project. In the very bottom I put some old smashed up bricks to weight the pots down. Then I used a bunch of old packaging material, boxes and styrofoam to fill up the space.

While the kids had been collecting sticks, I had pruned some of our evergreens. So, for the next step I shoved the evergreen branches and red sticks into the cardboard in the pot, from about the center of the pot to the back. Obviously the taller pieces go in the back. It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.

Then I laid some fake evergreen garland in the front part of the pot and used it to cover the boxes and other filler. On top of that went some white Christmas lights. Finally I carried them outside.

A few more garlands, more lights, and some ribbon and my front porch and door were done. Now I can feel like I am really welcoming my Christmas guests.


Jamie said...

Cute projects!

Jessica said...

How cute! As Tandis would say, "You are certainly a 'git her done' person."

~ Tandis ~ said...

Ok, those letters... if they were in my craft bin they would be there again with maybe 2 or 3 done. =/ They look intense to make but VERY BEAUTIFUL finished and hanging. Nice work.

*blush* my mother quoted me. ;)


Jamie said...

Impressive and beautiful!

Bassett said...

Dana...if you had made those letters and sold the Merry Christmas banner at a craft sale, how much would you have to sell it for to be worth making it to sell?
It's beautiful! I can't believe you had the patience to do all those letters! =)

Jessica said...

Becky told me GP has dogwood in his woods that is naturally red and really stands out at this time of year. It would save one step in your process.