Upcycled Christmas Part 3

And now, for the final ornament in the 2010 Anna Howard Upcycled Ornament Collection, the Fuzzy Flower Ornament!

This is the most time intensive of all of them, require a half-hour to an hour to complete per ornament. As a I result, I’ve made a grand total of one so far, and only aspire to make 3 total if I can squeeze them in.  So in ranking order of difficulty, ornament #2 is the easiest and the fastest requiring less than 10 minutes per ornament (after gathering supplies and getting the hang of it that is, it might take a try or two before it gets that fast), and then ornament #1 is next requiring about 15 minutes of work time, 10-12 minutes to wrap it in paper, then an hour or so of drying time, and another minute or two for the hanger part.

This one is gorgeous, but time consuming 😛 Never-the-less, here it is in all it’s step-by-step glory!

Step 1: (look, numbers! aren’t you proud of me 😉 ) Create a hanger for this ornament as for ornament #1 only this time, you do it first.  Puncture a hole all the way through the styrofoam ball, cut about 12″ of 20 lb jewelry hemp, and thread through a button. Insert both ends through hole in ornament and pull button snug against the bottom of the ornament.  Add a second button, tie a tight knot against the second button, and tie an overhand knot in the ends of the cord.

There are no pictures of this step because I forgot to do this until I finished the ornament.  Don’t do that. Do it first. It’s very hard to find the hole you punctured after you’ve pinned all the little pieces of fabric in place :-P. I do things out of order all the time, but don’t be me. Do as I say, not as I do 😉

Step 2: Cut small circle-esque pieces of fabric about 2-2 1/2 inches across.  Again, they don’t have to be perfect circles, anything close to a circle as long as there are no weird points will work.  To make this super easy, use Gingher scissors! No, that’s not a paid ad, they were 50% off at Joanne’s and I was able to stop drooling and buy a pair (two actually, I got the 8″ dress maker’s shears and the craft scissors, awesome! totally worth the moolah, but so much better at 50% off!!)

You’ll need about 50 circles per fuzzy flower ball (I lost count, sorry…)

This is also from the ruined shirt of husband’s that I used to make the Little Blue Ornament, ornament #2. If you are going to make both, I recommend making 4-6 of #2 first, and then making this one, as you can cut these little circles out of the scraps from cutting the big circles for ornament #2.

Step 3: Fold circle in half then half again.

Step 4: Pin to styrofoam ball with a straight pin through the corner.  Start at the top next to your hanger (not in picture, see above).

Step 5: Rinse and repeat!

Step 6: And just keep repeating.  Hint: as you pin around a row in a circle, pin the next pieces in the spaces between the corners of the previous row, like so:

Step 7: Just keep pinning, just keep pinning… You may want to pin a few closer together at the very end to hide the ends of the pins, but if you fluff up the pieces afterwards, they’ll probably hide them either way.  And if you pin from top to bottom, it won’t really matter anyway.

Supply list for Fuzzy Flower Ornament:

  • Fabric scraps (from shirt or other).
  • 50-60 straight pins per ornament
  • 1 – 2 inch styrofoam ball per ornament.
  • 2 buttons per ornament.
  • 12″ of 20 lb jewelry hemp per ornament.

Up next, a complete tour of my tree! I love my tree :-) Stay tuned.

And for those of you who like to download your instructions, click here for a .pdf of this project.

Upcycled Christmas Part 2


Welcome to part 2 of my Christmas series! What, you didn’t know it was a series? I didn’t either, until today. How many parts you ask? As of now, four or five in total, but you never know… 😉

So the shirt I took the buttons from to make the ornament I posted last was this awesome blue fabric, simply ripped down the front in an entirely un-fixable way.  But it was far too pretty for the rag pile, so I started messing with ways to turn it into more ornaments!

Ready for it? Here is ornament #2  in the Anna Howard 2010 Upcycled Christmas Ornament series.

First off, I cut a bunch of 8 inch-ish circle-esque pieces of fabric from the shirt with pinking shears. (Actually, first first, I cut all the main panels out of the shirt so I didn’t have to deal with the seams, but that’s neither here nor there, you can do what you like!) Oh, and while you’re at it, cut a 24″ inch-ish piece of hemp (see end of post for supply list).

Place 2″ styrofoam ball in center of cloth:

Notice how so not-perfectly circular my “circle” is? You know what? it makes absolutely no difference! Great right? No pattern needed, just cut approximately 8-10″ of fabric.

Then gather up said “circle” of fabric around the styrofoam ball like so:

Now, grab that piece of hemp you cut in step #1 (what you say, my steps aren’t numbered? Scroll up and deal with it already…), and wrap 2-3 times around and tie in a firm knot like so:

Then if you want, you can stop here and tie an overhand knot for the hanger.

OR you can be complicated like me and do this next step: Take both ends down and cross under the bottom, like… okay like so: (how many times can I say like so in one post?)

Then to finish off, and I can’t do this and take pics of it, so use your imagination… take one end back to the top and wrap 2x clockwise. Then take the other and wrap 2x counter-clockwise and tie in a firm knot, like… well, you get the general idea!

Finish by bringing the ends together in an overhand knot and trim if necessary.

Supply list for Little Blue Ornament (Husband thinks they look like little money bags, what do you think they look like?)

  • 1 – old shirt (an x-large man’s shirt has plenty of fabric to make 6 of these plus several of ornament #3)
  • 4 yards – 20 lb jewelry hemp (perfect if you got a big ball of this for ornament #1, you can just keep using it!)
  • 6 – 2 inch styrofoam balls (or 12 if you don’t want to do ornament #3)

Like to print out instructions to have them next to you while you craft? Click here for a .pdf of this ornament.

Stay tuned for Part 3, Ornament #3 tomorrow! And then I’ll give you a tour of our tree 😉 And coming soon, my favorite cookies adapted for Cookies in Jar! Look! I’ve planned posts!

Upcycled Christmas Ornament

So we’re working on a homemade and up-cycled type of Christmas, partly because, yes it’s more affordable, but mostly because there’s something to re-using that brings out the creativity, and, in my humble opinion, nothing quite like a hand-made Christmas present.  And because I’ve been cleaning out our second bedroom to convert to Eli’s room, I’ve got quite  a few books that need new homes or new purposes.  One of these was a paper version of the speeches of Abraham Lincoln.  Now, I’ve got nothing against ol’ honest Abe, quite like him really, but this paper back was worthless and printed on paper that was acidic and yellowing like it was much older than it was.  Which, of course, makes it look cool, even if the book’s not going to last.  So I took an x-acto knife to it and cut it into about 1/2″-3/4″ strips.  Then I bought some styrofoam balls and started modge-podging like mad (See end of post for list of supplies).

If you do this, or something like it, link in the comments and if I get a bunch, I’ll make a round-up post so others can see your ideas too!

Let it be noted that we have lovely store-bought ornaments too, but we were lacking in balls for the tree as last year’s tree was outdoors and I took all the breakable ones and tied them in pretty groupings to hang different places and I wanted to keep those this year. So we needed balls and I didn’t want to buy them 😛

Here’s the characters who’ll be starring in today’s post:

Start out with strips going around like so:

I put modge podge both under the paper and over it, as it doesn’t stick to styrofoam very well.  But if you keep adding paper and overlapping, the paper eventually holds itself on. The first couple of pieces are a little tricky.

Keep adding, and overlapping.

When the whole ball is covered to your satisfaction (I used 20-25 strips per 3″ ball. You’d need fewer if your strips went all the way around, more if they go less than most of the way around like mine did), puncture the top of the ball with an awl or skewer.

The awl I had wasn’t long enough, obviously to go all the way through the ball, so I followed up by ramming a size 10 knitting needle all the way through. (Be careful not to break your needle if you use the bamboo ones, particularly if other Christmas presents are counting on it! 😉 )

Ornament dumplings! or something…

Now, thread the hemp through two holes of a button and even up the ends.  You’re then going to take the ends through the whole you just punctured (the hemp is stiff enough, you can just push it through).

And pull the button tight against the bottom of this. Note: if you’re using knitting needles, just make sure you don’t use a huge gauge that would cause the button to be pulled into the hole… any medium gauge that make a big enough hole for the hemp to go through will be great! (I used #10).

String both ends of the hemp through two holes of another button (these were up-cycled off a ruined dress shirt of husband’s!), and tie a knot.  Then tie an overhand knot in the ends of the hemp, and voila! hanger!

And there you have it folks, easy peasy. But don’t inhale too many modge podge fumes per evening, k? I don’t want to be responsible for lost brain cells…

Now! post me a link in the comments to either your take on this project, or some hand-made or up-cycling that you’re doing for Christmas this year! I love getting other people’s ideas.

Supplies needed for 6 ornaments:

  • 1 old paper back book cut into 1/2″-3/4″ strips (you’ll need 20-25 per 3″ ornament, see above)
  • 1 container of Modge Podge crafting glue
  • 1 knitting needle or skewer (if using knitting needle, you’ll want something to start your puncture with, a skewer or an awl)
  • 12 buttons
  • about 6 feet of 20 lb jewelry hemp
  • 6 3″ styrofoam balls

Like to print out instructions and have them with you while you craft? Click here for a .pdf for this ornament.