Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Haul Out the Holly: Day 2 with just Lu

Hello Gwenny Penny readers! I am so thrilled to be here with you today to kick off your holiday season as part of Gwen's fantastic Haul Out the Holly line up. Allow me to introduce myself:

I am Lu, or Lorene (sounds like chlorine). I answer to either name and I blog over at just Lu.

I started just Lu about a year ago as a place for me to be just who I am -- a wife, mommy, and technical writer moonlighting as a crafter. I post mostly crafts, with recipes and other delights thrown in occasionally.

I am just Lu

Aside from a cheesy smile (as seen above) and, you know, necessary clothing, earrings are my favorite things to wear -- you can see my rock & roll earrings and tutorial on my blog and I'm here today to share my quilled Christmas tree earrings. They're so simple to make and only take about half an hour, but I make them sound fancy by calling them filigree tannenbaums instead. ;)

If you've never heard of quilling, also called paper filigree, it's a simple but lovely concept: curled coils and scrolls of paper are joined together to form beautiful creations of all shapes and sizes. I began quilling (with these monograms) about six weeks ago, so I'm definitely still a beginner. But quilling is so easy that anyone can do it! I've decided that beginning quilling is more about patience than about actual talent (although there are many very talented quillers out there). :)

My tutorial today barely even skims the surface of quilling, but the lovely and kind Ann over at All Things Paper is a quilling master who provides fantastic inspiration and tutorials. If you'd like to continue quilling and start creating really beautiful and intricate designs like hers, Ann covers the quilling basics in this post on her blog.

Now... on to the earrings! I love the holidays, but I am terrible at holiday decorating -- {cringe} last year I didn't even pull our Christmas tree out of the box, shame on me and my lazy self. I get overwhelmed with all the beautiful decor options out there, so I love simple little touches that help put me and those I'm around into the holiday spirit.

These earrings are a little tidbit of holiday cheer for your everyday life from now until whenever you decide to stop wearing them! They're perfect for early holiday gifts and can easily be used, minus the earring fixings, for holiday cards, gift decorations and tags, or even ornaments to put on your Christmas tree.

Filigree Tannenbaum Earrings

or quilled paper Christmas trees :)

by Lorene of just Lu

for personal, non-commercial use only

What you'll need:

  • 2+ - 12" strips of green quilling paper, 1/8 inch thick* (extras to create different/matching tree shapes)
  • 2 - 4" strips of brown quilling paper, 1/8 inch thick*
  • 4 jump rings (I use two 4mm and two 7mm)
  • 2 star beads or charms, 8 mm or smaller**
  • 2 head pins
  • 2 earring backs
  • 10-12 glass seed beads
  • Tweezers (cheap ones that are okay to get glue on them)
  • Tacky Glue, ModPodge, or other clear-drying glue
  • Quilling needle tool... or a regular ol' sewing needle :)
  • Toothpicks (optional but handy)
*You can either buy your own paper or cardstock to cut strips from or order quilling paper strips online, such as from this site (they also sell the paper for you to cut your own). If you buy your own paper or cardstock, I'd suggest the paper that is just thicker than standard printer paper but thinner than your regular cardstock because it curls well. Whatever you decide to buy, be sure that it is colored on both sides (you'll see both after quilling) and that it is NOT printed cardstock -- the cut edge of printed cardstock shows the color of the paper that the color or design was printed on (usually white), and when you quill, the cut edge shows prominently.

Please note that if you cut or order thicker paper strips, you'll also need bigger jump rings. :)

**I used these metal star charms and these czech glass stars.

What you'll do:

Quilling the Trees

1. Start by slowly but tightly rolling one of your green paper strips around your needle. Tighter is better.

2. When you've finished rolling the strip to form the coil, slide it carefully off the needle and allow it to relax a little bit and uncurl. We all like to relax during the holidays :)

3. Remembering that less is more, glue down the end of the quilled coil.

4. Repeat the rolling-relaxing-gluing with the other green paper strip.

  •  You want your two trees to be the same size and shape, so try to make your coils the same size. And you may want to cut and roll extra so that you can experiment with different tree shapes and have some practice material for getting the trees the same shape.Then just use your extra trees for Christmas cards or other cuteness. :)
5. Next, tightly roll one of the brown paper strips around your needle. Again, tighter is better.

6. Carefully slide the coil off the needle but do not allow it to relax. Sometimes we just don't get to relax during the holidays, right? ;)

7. Glue the end of the coil and remember - less is more, especially glue-wise.

8. Repeat the rolling-not relaxing-gluing with the other brown paper strip.

9. Now that the glue on the green coils is dry, pinch the top of one coil -- either softly or firmly is okay -- to create the point of the tree and then...

10. Pinch two points at the bottom (one at a time or both if you want... I just can't pinch both and take a picture at the same time :) to form a trianglish shape.

11. Repeat with the other green coil to make a similar tree.

  • If you made extra green rolls, now is the time to experiment with the
    shapes and sizes and make two as close to the same size/shape as
    possible. Here are some of the different shapes I like:
trianglish, tall and thin, short and squat

Assembling and Decorating the Trees

1. Use a small dot of glue to attach the brown roll (the trunk) to the the shaped green rolls (the trees).

2. Using your tweezers, grab one bead, dip it in a small amount of glue, and place it in between the open curves of the coil, keeping it towards the front of the tree.

  •  Use a toothpick to hold the layers of the coil apart, if needed, while you insert the bead.
3. Continue gluing beads until you have a satisfactory amount of ornaments on both trees, but remember -- less glue is better. Too much glue will definitely show even after it dries clear. (You can still see some on my finished pair, so learn from my experience ;)

4. While your ornaments' glue dries, attach one small jump ring to each earring back.

5. If you are using star beads (like the czech glass) instead of charms (like the metal stars), create a bead charm by threading the bead on to a head pin, gripping the pin with your jewelry pliers, and twisting the head pin wire around the jewelry pliers to form a loop. Trim the extra wire and repeat for the second bead.

6. When all of the glue has completely dried, open one of the larger jump rings. Be sure to open the jump ring by twisting the ring to separate the ends, as shown, not by pulling the ring to make an oval shape.

7. Thread the tree, the star charm, and the jump ring attached to the earring back onto the open jump ring, in that order before closing the jump ring. Be sure that you have the earring back facing the correct direction to keep your beads at the front of the tree.

8. Open the other jump ring, thread on the tree, star charm, and jump ring/earring back, and close the jump ring.

9. Bask in the glow of your little pieces of Christmas spirit... or wrap them up and share. :)

Happy holidays! 

And thanks for having me, Gwen!

Aren't these earrings super cute?! I'd love to tie a quilled paper tree to every Christmas gift I give this year. They're beautiful! Lorene has a really fantastic blog. If you've never visited just Lu, you should definitely head over there right now and check it out. I first found Lorene when I saw her Beach Rock Souvenir Collage, and I have been a big fan ever since. Thanks so much for sharing your earrings with us today, Lorene!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly tutorials!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hey, Guess What?

My felt holly wreath tutorial is being featured on Polly Want a Crafter today! Go check it out here.

If you're visiting from Polly Want a Crafter, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy!

Haul Out the Holly: Day 1 with Gwenny Penny

Welcome to Day 1 of Haul Out the Holly!!! This promises to be an amazing twelve days filled with fantastic Christmas tutorials from twelve different bloggers. Believe me, you won't want to miss a single minute of this event!

Let's get started! I'm kicking off the series today with a felt holly wreath...

Believe it or not, this is a pretty simple project. It can even be a completely no-sew project, so anyone who can handle a glue gun can make one!

Materials and supplies needed:
  • 18" quilting hoop
  • 24" x 24" square piece of muslin (or the background fabric of your choice)
  • four 9" x 12" sheets of felt (I used Kunin Eco-fi felt in olive.)
  • embellishments, like buttons, pinecones, ornaments, etc.
  • bow (If making a fabric bow using this tutorial, see Part II below for materials.)
  • glue gun
  • scissors


Part I – Making Your Basic Wreath

Step 1:  Lay out your 24" square piece of muslin. Draw a 12" diameter circle at the center of the muslin. I traced a cake stand, which was a little bigger than 12". It doesn't have to be exact. This is the outline you will use to lay out your felt holly leaves later on.

Step 2:  A rotary cutter works really well for the next three steps. Take one sheet of felt and cut it lengthwise into 2½" wide strips. You will get three 2½" wide strips and one 1½" wide strip.

Step 3:  Take all three of your 2½" wide strips, and cut them across the width into 1½" strips. You will end up with 24 pieces that are 2½" x 1½".

Step 4:  Take your 1½" x 12" strip and cut it across the width every 2½". You will end up with 4 pieces that are 2½" x 1½", plus a little scrap at the end of the length that you can discard. You now have a total of 28 2½" x 1½" pieces from one sheet of felt.

Step 5:  Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 with the remaining three sheets of felt. You will need approximately 102 2½" by 1½" pieces of felt to complete your wreath.

Step 6:  Now it's time to shape your little felt pieces into holly leaves. This appears to be a daunting task, but it only took me a little over an hour, and this is the most time-consuming portion of the project. The rest moves along pretty quickly. Take one piece of felt and fold it in half lengthwise. Cut a curve from about 3/4" down from the top of the raw edges up to the top of the fold (Cut #1). Next, cut a curve from about 3/4" up from the bottom of the raw edges down to the bottom of the fold (Cut #2). Finally, cut a curve about a ¼" into the center of your felt along the raw edges from the start of your first cut to the start of your second cut (Cut #3). If you are having trouble following along, check out the diagram below. Unfold your piece, and it should look like a holly leaf.

Step 7:  Repeat step 6 for all 102 (more or less) pieces of felt.

Step 8:  Take three holly leaves and overlap them slightly, one on top of the next. Make sure you can't see any space between the leaves. Lay the three leaves on the circle you drew on your muslin, making sure that the top and bottom points of the center holly leaf touch the circle.

Step 9:  Holding the three leaves in place, lift the right side of the leaves off the fabric about an inch or two. Run a bead of glue along the fabric about 3/4" under the lifted edge of the leaves. Press the leaves into the glue.

Step 10:  Take three more holly leaves and overlap them slightly, one on top of the next. Make sure you overlap them in the same order you overlapped your last three leaves, and make sure you can't see any space between the leaves. Lay the three leaves along the circle you drew on your muslin, making sure that the bottom points of the holly leaves overlap about half of the last three leaves you glued down and that the top point of the center leaf touches the circle drawn on your muslin.

Step 11:  Holding these three new leaves in place, lift the right side of the leaves off the fabric about an inch or two. Run a bead of glue along the fabric about 3/4" under the lifted edge of the leaves. Press the leaves into the glue.

Step 12:  Repeat steps 10 and 11 until you fill up your entire wreath. It took 102 leaves for me to fill up my wreath, but you may need more or fewer depending on how much you overlap your leaves. When gluing on your last layer, lift the very first set of three leaves that you glued down, and glue down the ends of the last set of three leaves underneath.

Step 13:  Open up your quilting hoop, and lay your muslin over the inner ring, centering your wreath. Slip the outer ring over the inner ring, and tighten it a bit. Stretch and smooth your muslin, making sure to remove any bubbles or folds in the fabric and also making sure your wreath remains centered in your hoop. Finish tightening your outer ring, and cut off the excess fabric from the back. Your basic wreath is now complete!

Part II – Embellishing Your Wreath

Now it’s time to dress up your wreath. There are tons of options, and a walk through your local craft supply store is sure to give you lots of different ideas. You could glue on baby pinecones, mini candy canes, miniature Christmas balls. I decided to go with “berry” buttons and a bow. I just used the glue gun to add the buttons right on top of my leaves, being careful not to use too much glue. I sewed my own bow, and I’m going to show you how below, but you could buy a bow or make your own with ribbon so you don’t have to do any sewing. And here’s another tip… I used a safety pin to attach my bow. This way I can always change it out some year if I decide I want to change the color or the fabric or use something entirely different on my wreath.

Sewing Your Own Bow

You will need a 6″ x 55″ piece of fabric, a 3″ x 5″ piece of the same fabric, coordinating thread, a rubber band, and a glue gun.

Step A:  Press your 6″ x 55″ piece of fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew around the raw edges of your fabric using a ¼″ seam allowance, making sure to leave a 2 to 3″ gap in the center for turning. Before turning, sew across the ends of you fabric strip at about a 45 degree angle.

Step B:  Trim up all of your excess fabric and clip your corners. Turn your fabric right side out, pushing the corners out with a blunt instrument. Press your fabric, making sure to press in the raw edges of the opening.

Step C:  Close up the opening in your fabric by sewing over the opening as close to the edge as possible.

Step D:  Now it’s time to “tie” your bow. Lay your fabric strip out in front of you. Find the center by folding it in half. Mark this spot with a pin. Determine how long you want your bow loops to be. Mine are about 4″ long. Fold one side of the fabric strip to the center to form one bow loop. Fold the remaining fabric down from this side of the strip to form one tail for your bow. Repeat with the other side of your fabric strip, making sure to make your bow loops the same length.

Step E:  Remove the pin marking the center of your bow. Pinch the center of your bow with your fingers and flip it over. Tie your rubber band in a knot around the center of your bow to hold it together.

Step F:  Take your 3″ x 5″ strip of fabric and press in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew only along the long raw edge of your fabric using a ¼″ seam allowance. Turn right side out. Press flat with the seam running down the center of the piece.

Step G:  Take your bow, and wrap your newly pressed piece of fabric around the center, over the rubber band, tucking under the raw edges of the ends. Use your glue gun to glue the center piece of fabric around your bow. You now have a finished bow! Like I mentioned before, I used a safety pin to attach my bow to my wreath from the back, but you could glue it on or sew it on.

Here’s the finished product…

I love the way this turned out. Cutting out all of those felt holly leaves was well worth the result.

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed the first day of Haul Out the Holly. The next eleven days will feature holiday tutorials by eleven guest bloggers, and I can’t wait for you to see what they have come up with… simply amazing! Click here to see a list of participants, and make sure you come back tomorrow... my guest has a super cute tutorial to share with you!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly tutorials!

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