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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Christmas scene in a mason jar

It seemed like a brilliant idea when I started this project : a little christmas scene in a mason jar. I must say the project itself worked out quite well and it is really cute. The not brilliant part turned out to be that is almost impossible to get a good photo of the scene inside the jar.

Am sharing it anyway because  I think it is a fun project to make and to use to decorate your house with and as long as you do not want fantastic photos of it, you will be happy with it.

Mine will be a gift to a lady who does live in a senior appartment  and who does not have much room for things like a christmas tree.  I think she will like it.

Look for a nice picture that is tall enough to fit inside the mason yar. The width does not really matter . I did not want a really big one because I wanted to create a sort small window at the front of the yar where you can see the picture.

I used Mod Podge to stick the picture to the inside of the jar. Painted the bottom of the jar with snow paint.

Used a sponge to create a paint effect on the outside with gesso  which sticks to the glass really well.
I needed two coats and I added a little bit of fine glitter to the last coat.

A lampost , a mini tree and a snow man add some extra depth and interest to the little scene.

BTW the picture is by Anthn Pieck who did such lovely winter scenes.

I added a little led light with battery on top of the lid. Drilled a hole in the lid so the light would shine inside and light up the shop window.

I hated the sight of the light on top so I added a lid from a tin to hide the light. You can lift it up to swtich on the light or change the battery.

 Day time shot of the mason jar without the light on.

See how hard it is to take a clear picture of something insdie a jar ?

Update :

Just for fun I made three other versions using the same technique  but small, smaller and really tiny bottles.
I used a smaller print of the picture, a smaller tree but the rest  was done in the exact same way as the big one.

You will notice that it is even harder to take pics of the smaller ones but they like very cute.

This is the biggest one of the three. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My stitched gingerbread house in AM


Even though gingerbread houses are not a tradition in the Netherlands, I have always admired them in books and magazines and I often longed to be able to make one.
A few years back I tried making one out of crackers following a recipe from a magazine. They said it was easy but I found it very hard and ended up with a pile of broken crackers.

A friend then sent me a recipe for one made out of polymer clay which was supposed to be even easier. I am no good with clay but decided to give it a try anyway. I could not produce anything that looked like a house,  let alone a decorated house. So I gave up on the idea.

But then I discovered plastic canvas and I did have a lot of fun making "gingerbread houses" out of that. . Of course I wanted one for my dolls house too. The normal plastic canvas is not  suitable for a mini version  but a friend gave me some 14 count plastic canvas  and that was just perfect. So I now have several gingerbread houses in different scales.

I am sharing the pattern for the mini one with you today. Here is the list of stuff you will need to make one :
14 count plastic canvas  ( 1 sheet is plenty)
Thin wool or embroidery floss in light brown, pink, yellow, and white.
Needles to match your wool or floss.
Narrow braid in white and pink
Stick on pearls
Tiny flowers. Mine are from a fimo cane but you can also use beads.
Flower foam  ( finely shredded foam used to suggest flowers)
Bead in the shape of a Christmas tree
Ultra fine glitter
Miniature candy canes
Tacky glue
A small zip lock  bag to keep your pieces of plastic canvas safe.
A wooden disc to stand your house on
Snow paint like Aleene's true snow or caulking.

The canvas I used.

Step 1.  Cutting the plastic canvas.  The front and the back of the house are the same size. There are two side panels that are also the same sizes.  And there are also two parts for the roof.
Shape for the front and back starting from the bottom : 8 stitches  wide and 6 even rows high. The next 4 rows are decreasing one hole at each end to get the slope for the roof.
Sides of the house : Each panel is 8  stitches  wide and 6 rows high
Roof panels : 8 holes wide  and 6 rows high.

Embroidering the house:
 Now we will do the embroidery. I like to use thin wool because it covers the canvas nicely. Some people like to work with a double thread  but  I prefer working with a single thread and working each row twice : once from right to left and once from left to right. I have used tent stitch.

Front panel :
The door is stitched in pink : 2 stitches wide and 3 stitches high.  Check with the chart  for placement . The rest of the panel is done in brown.

Back panel. Start with the window in yellow. Two stitches by 2 stitches. Check with the chart for placement. The rest of the panel is worked in brown
Side panels ( two the same) Start with the window  2 stitches wide and 2 stitches high in yellow . Check with the chart for placement . The rest of the panel is worked in brown.

Roof panels ( two the same) . Start with a row of white stitches around each panel. Then fill in the centre in brown.  I did also work a row of stitches around the sides of the panels to cover the canvas showing there. There is no need to do this for the other panels for their sides will be covered when the house is either sewn together or glued to the stand.

Building the house. 
Use white wool or floss to sew the house together.  Sew back and front to side panels , working each joining twice so the canvas is well covered.

The roof panels are joined together along one long side . This will be the top of the roof.  I glued the roof to the top of the house using tacky glue.  Then ,  I glued the house on the wooden disk that I wanted to use as a stand. I did this slightly off centre to allow a little room at the front of the house.

Decorating the house :
I used some white braid with little loops to cover the sides of the front and back of the house. This is glued in place with tacky glue. The loops will look like little icicles which looks really pretty.

Around the doors and windows I glued pink braid to suggest door and window frames.  The braid at the bottom of the windows got decorated with a little bit of flower foam to suggest window boxes with flowers, but that is optional.

At each corner of the house I glued down a miniature candy cane  and then I added tiny flowers and stick on beads to the roof to suggest sweets. I also added a flower over the front door.

I painted the wooden disk around the house with a thick coat of snow paint. ( if you can't find snow paint,  try  caulking, or spackle with a little glitter added to it.

I pressed the tree shaped bead into the wet snow . When the snow had dried the tree was firmly stuck into place. I decorated the tree with some ultra fine glitter.

Here it is all ready for Christmas