Making Word Snowflakes with Coffee Filters

I love making snowflakes just for the joy of doing it.  I love folding up some paper, randomly cutting and then opening it up to see my results.  I don’t think one is ever too old for it, or if so that age must come later than 45, because I’m still enjoying it.

I’ve been enjoying seeing posts around the internet lately about patterns for snowflakes and different fold options for snowflakes.  I saw a post a few days ago about folding 5-fold snowflakes which reminded me about some word snowflakes I’d made in the past.  I actually first saw these several years back when a work-study student in my husband’s office made them with the names of all of the people in the department and hung them up as winter decorations.  I’ve been playing around with making snowflakes with coffee filters for the past few days, so decided to combine both ideas to make these.

First, here is a link to a pdf illustrating folding square paper into a 5 pointed star:

http://www.jessicajonesdesign.com/downloads/five_point_snowflake.pdf

I’ll  show my version using a round coffee filter below, but the link above may be helpful  if starting with square paper.

I used these coffee filters because I had a bunch of them in my cupboard left over from a previous project.  I found that it’s helpful to give them a quick once-over with an iron to flatten them out a bit.  I was able to flatten several at a time and it made them much easier to work with.

First, fold coffee filter in half:

Then fold it in half again:

Now open up that last fold.  Take the right-hand side and fold it up to the middle:

Open it up again.  The creases should look like this:

The next step is easy to do, but harder to show and explain.  Fold the crease that was just made to meet the center crease.  Open it up and it should look like this:

Now fold the right- hand edge up to meet the last crease made:

Next, fold the left-hand side over to meet the new right-hand edge:

Now fold  this in half:

Now, this can be cut in any way you choose.  Here’s a traditionally cut snowflake from one of my coffee filters:

For cutting words into the snowflake, here are my next steps.  First, I took my folded triangle and traced it several times onto a piece of paper:

I then started experimenting with drawing words and letters.  Here is my sketch for “joy”:

My drawing skills aren’t amazing, but that doesn’t really matter for this.  I just try  to be careful to keep my shapes simple enough to cut easily and also to keep everything connected.  At least a little bit of the edge on both sides of the triangle needs to remain intact, just as for any snowflake cutting.

When I was happy with my design, I cut out the triangle from the scrap paper.  I slipped this inside the top layer of my folded snowflake (and a note- I had to trim off a little tiny bit from both sides of my pattern to slip it inside) so that I could see it to trace my design:

I then traced it:

Then cut it out.  A hole punch can help to start cuts in inside areas:

All cut out:

And finished!

These can be flattened a bit with a book or pressed with an iron.  Here’s another one I made with the word “peace”:

I love that at first glance, these just look like any other snowflake, but when looking closer, the word shows up.

I’m off to make some more!

Crocheted Heart Pattern

Valentine’s Day is next month, and I’ve been scanning the internet for patterns for crocheted hearts.  I’ve found lots of them, but never quite what I was looking for.  Some were too big or too frilly or had instructions that made no sense to me or were otherwise not quite what I was looking for.  I found a new one a couple of days ago that looked promising, but the pattern had errors in it, and being sort of new to this crochet thing, I sometimes know enough to tell when something’s wrong, but not always enough to know how to fix it.  I worked at trying to fix the pattern, and ended up creating my own, combining a few ideas I’d seen and making something new.  It’s possible that this combination has been made before, but I haven’t seen it, so I’m offering it here. I’m writing it up two ways:  first, just the quick instructions, and second, with pictures that show the steps in case I’m not clear.  Hopefully that will be helpful to newer crocheters (okay, me!), who often wish there was a picture to explain the steps that aren’t intuitively understood.

Thread and needles:  I used #10 crochet cotton with a Boye#8 (1.5mm) steel hook and #5 crochet cotton with a Boye #5(1.90 mm) steel hook.  I’m sure lots of other combinations would be fine, too.

Gauge isn’t really important here.

Abbreviations:

ch= chain

sl st= slip stitch

dc= double crochet

tr= treble crochet

sp= space

To begin, ch5 and join with a sl st to make a ring (or make an adjustable ring).

Row 1:  Ch3( counts as 1st dc), 2dc into ring, ch2. (3dc, ch2) into ring 3 more times.  Join with a sl st to top of beginning ch3. (12 dc, 4 ch2 spaces)

Row 2:  Sl st in next 2 stitches and into ch2 sp. Ch3(counts as 1st dc), 2dc, ch2, 3dc in ch2 sp, ch2.  *Skip next 3 dc and 3dc, ch2, 3dc in next ch2 sp, ch2.* Repeat from * to* 2 more times.  Join with a sl st to beginning ch3.  (24 dc, 8 ch2 spaces)

Row 3:  Sl st in next 2 stitches and into ch2 sp.  *Ch1. Tr into next ch2 sp (center of the square).  Ch1.  (tr, ch1) 6 more times in same ch2 space.  Join with a sl st in next ch2 space.*  Half of  curved part of heart is now completed.  Repeat from *to* to make 2nd heart curve.  Fasten, weave in ends and block if you want to.

And now, with pictures ( I know a few of them are blurry, but hopefully they are clear enough to get the idea across):

At the end of row 1:

Beginning of Row 2- how it should look when stitches are slipped over to next chain 2 space:

End of row 2:

Beginning of Row 3, showing stitches slipped to next chain 2 space:

Next step in Row 3- One chain made, first treble crochet made in next chain 2 space:

Row 3, showing first 7 treble crochets:

Row 3, showing slip stitch into next chain 2 space:

Row 3, beginning the second half of the heart curve:

Finished, showing the final slip stitch in next chain 2 space:

All ends woven in, blocked and pretty!

These are a little smaller than 2 inches square in #10 cotton and just over 2 inches in #5 cotton. These are very quick and I plan on making a bunch more of them to use in some Valentine projects.  Hopefully, my explanations are clear enough that other people can use them, too!

Crochet Ornaments

Now that I’ve sort of figured out how to crochet, I’ve been enjoying working on little projects.  This time of year, for me that means ornaments.  They are fun and perfect for the short attention span I’ve had lately.  Here’s a picture of several of them, with more detailed descriptions below:

This group was made using patterns from the Leisure Arts Big Book of Thread Ornaments to Crochet:

These are from Edie Eckman’s book, Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs.  This book isn’t about making ornaments, but I love how they’ve turned out as ornaments when made with crochet thread.  I like all of these better than the ones from the ornament book:

This one is a  favorite of mine  and I’ve made a few of them:

It’s from the e-book, Crafty Tree Trimmings, which is available until the end of December here:

http://shop.craftypod.com/trimmings

Part of the proceeds go to Project Linus and the other ornament patterns are great, too.  This is the only crochet pattern, so check it out even if crochet isn’t your thing.

Snow Day Paper Crafting

I love all sorts of star shapes, and a few days ago, I saw a pattern for some large paper stars on another blog.  They are similar to some stars that I’ve seen in a local shop, and I’ve always intended to try to make some to hang in my front window.  Someday, I’m still going to, but today I decided to make a smaller version of them.  

First, I found the original pattern here:

http://thisrecycledlife.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/decorating-for-the-season/

After downloading the pdf, I decided that I’d like to start with making a smaller version.  There are lots of ways to reduce patterns, but in this case, I used a setting on my printer.  By choosing “properties” and then “paper” I was able to choose an option that says “9 in 1″ that will prints nine pages in miniature form on one page.    This basically makes a 1/9 size pattern.  There are also other options, such as “1 in 2″ and “1 in 4″ that reduce page sizes as well.  I’m sure that other printers offer similar options.  I printed this on cardstock, which made a great pattern for tracing onto my paper.  

The paper I used for this project was some that I’d purchased  with a larger project in mind.  Unfortunately, my cat helped make it unusable for my original purpose by running across it with muddy feet, so now I am just working around the muddy spots and using it for smaller projects :).  For gluing this, I used YES! paste, which I really like for a lot of paper carfting.  It stays where it’s put, is workable for a longer time than some other glues, but also holds well as soon as you stick it together.  A tub of this will last for a very, very long time- I’ve had mine for a few years, I think.  I applied it with a smallish paint brush.  Here’s a picture of  it if you haven’t seen it before- it’s a very useful glue to keep around:

yespaste1

 

And finally, here is my finished product:

Rather than tying it together as the pattern mentioned, I just glued all of it together.  I also cut out a spiral from the paper I used to glue on the center because I like spirals and I thought it needed a little something else in the middle.  For hanging, I poked a hole in one of the star’s rays with a needle and threaded ribbon through.  I love my new ornament!.

Another Star Ornament

I love star shapes and recently was browsing the internet for instructions for making star books.  The last time I did that, it led to an ornament on my blog (found here:  http://hinzpired.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/how-to-make-paper-star-ornaments/.  This time, the results were the same, although the design is new.  I think these are actually easier than the the first star ornaments and also offer the potential for lots of embellishments.

I’m sure that this isn’t really something new- I’m sure I’ve seen this sort of ornament somewhere before.  However, I didn’t find any instructions for them during my internet search, so I’m offering my version (I did find some very similar ornaments that someone is offering for sale using the custom images of your choice, which reinforced my idea that the instructions must be out there somewhere).

For my version, I used a few different choices for paper:  some multi-use 24 lb copy paper, both plain and stamped with paint; a paper grocery bag stamped with paint; and magazine pages glued together with a glue stick (the bottom two ornaments are made with magazine/catalog pages glued together).

Now for the instructions:  Cut your chosen paper into strips.  I chose to make my strips 2-1/2 inches wide.

Then cut the strips into squares- you will need either 5 or 6 squares.  Most of the ornaments above were made with 5 segments, but the bottom ornament made with the Lee Valley catalog cover uses 6- it’s up to you.

Next, fold all squares in half:

Open it up and fold it in half the other way:

Next, open it up again, flip it over and fold it diagonally.  If you are using a paper with images on only one side, those images will be on the outside during the first folds and on the inside during this fold:

Now, open up the paper, and on the right side, fold the little triangles that have been made inside the squares.  This is hard to explain, but easy to do:

Repeat these steps until there are  5 (or 6) pieces folded:

Now, the pieces are glued or taped together.  For most of the ones I’ve made, I used glue stick, but I tried double sided tape and found out that it worked out, too- and it’s a bit less messy.  Either way, apply glue or tape to one section and then stack the next piece on top:

Continue until all pieces are stuck together:

Next, cut two pieces of ribbon, jute, string, etc.  I tend to cut ribbon a bit longer than I think will be needed and then trim it at the end if it turns out to be a bit long.  Fold ornament into a stack and glue or tape ribbon on to one side:

Next, cut two more pieces of paper to be the covers of the book.  You can make it exactly the same size as the folded star or make it a bit bigger.  I chose to make mine the same size, so cut out one piece from my original strip of paper that was 1-1/4 by 2-1/2 inches and then cut it in half one more time.

Use glue or double sided tape to attach  this paper, covering up the corner of the ribbon that has just been attached:

Repeat on second side:

The ornament will now look like this:

Now bring the two ribbons together so that the ornament forms a complete star.  Slip a bead onto the ribbons and tie a knot in the end of the ribbons:

The finished star is now ready to hang.  For storage or to display the ornament in book form, the bead can be pushed to the other end of the ribbon and the star can be folded to become a book.  Push the bead back down to the end to keep it in this position:

I think that these ornaments would be beautiful made with some of the art papers I’ve seen, using nicer beads.  All sorts of recycled papers could be used, too.  I’ve also been experimenting with using stiffened fabric instead of paper, but those results aren’t ready for the blog yet (and you don’t really want to know why, although I’ll tell you that it involved my cats…).

Easy Salt Dough Ornaments

My daughter and I have recently been having fun making simple cookie-cutter ornaments out of salt dough.  These are a few that my daughter has recently finished:

The recipe is really simple:

Stir together:

1 cup salt

1 cup warm water

Let this sit for a minute or two to allow the salt to dissolve a bit.

Add:

2 cups flour

Stir together, then use your hands to knead it together until it smooth and soft.  Add a bit more flour if it is too sticky.

This dough can be used lots of different ways, but most recently we have been rolling it out like cookie dough and using cookie cutters to make shapes that we bake until they are hard and then decorate with paint.

Make sure that if making ornaments, a hole is made so that a ribbon can be pulled through for hanging.  A straw works well for this.

The recipe I have says to bake at 200 degrees for 1-4 hours.  In our experience, it’s never baked enough after 1 hour and sometimes even needs a little longer than 4.  We usually turn the ornaments over every hour or so and then keep checking them to see when they are completely dry.  They can always be put back into the oven again later if some moist spots are still there when they cool.

When the ornaments are completely cool and dry, we painted them with a coat or two of white acrylic paint as a base coat.  When that is dry, paint as desired.

We used a version of this as an activity for 2 and 3 year olds at our church.  My daughter and I cut out star shapes and then found a bottle lid that was about 1 inch wide.  We pressed this into the center of the star to make a depression.

We then painted them with a base coat of white paint.  We then let the kids paint them with either gold or opal glitter glue ( or often, a mix of both:) ).  Ahead of time, we took pictures of the kids that we sized down to 1″ circles to fit the size of the inset.  We printed a couple of sheets of these at the photo shop of a local drugstore and then cut them out to be glued to the center of the circles.  We also made a few nativity image circles so that we would have choices for visitors that we hadn’t been able to photograph or for kids to use if they wanted to make several.  Here’s a blurred view of the 4 by 6 photo sheet:

The final result looks like this, although the shimmer of the opal glitter doesn’t show up well in this photo:

Snowflake or Chrismon Ornaments

 

I first came up with these snowflake ornaments a few years ago for a homeschool Christmas craft day. A year or so later, I needed to come up with some ideas for ornaments to make for a Chrismon tree at our church, and realized that they work well for that, too. Chrismons are “Christ monograms” and in some way represent Christ. They are always to be handmade and the only colors used are white and gold. The “x” looks like the first Greek letter in “Christ” and the “I” symbol looks like the beginning Greek letter in “Jesus.” Thus, a common winter-y symbol also becomes a symbol of Christ. There are lots of sites all over the internet with more ideas for Chrismons as well as information about the history of this tradition.

This ornament is great for groups because even the very smallest children can make them. For the littlest ones, I put a line of glue across one section of the ornament at a time and the child fills it up with macaroni, beans, buttons or whatever we are using. Older kids and adults sometimes get very elaborate (and manage their own glue, of course!) and make balanced patterns using a variety of shapes. Everything ends up looking nice! My daughter has also made some that look very pretty by simply painting the white ornaments with glitter glue.

The first step is to drill a hole in the top of a popsicle stick. It really is best to do this first and not when you’ve finished painting, as popsicle sticks are not made from great quality wood and some of them will split when you drill the holes. You can imagine how I learned this and the number of base ornaments I had to re-make as my beautifully glued and painted ornaments split :).

Next, glue two sticks together to make and “x” shape. I use tacky glue for this and have found that the store brand works just as well as the name-brand kind.

Let this dry and then glue on the third stick, the one with the drilled hole.

When the glue has dried, I paint them all white. For big groups, I usually spread them all out in my carport and spray paint them. When dry, turn them over and paint the other side. Sometimes, they will need a couple of coats of paint. At home with my own kids or with a group who will have more than one day available to finish these, I’ve let the kids hand-paint these as part of the crafting experience. I have one child who has always really, really liked to paint, so, especially when she was younger, I looked for many opportunities like this for her.

Now comes the fun part- decorating! I have used all sorts of things- beans and noodles, sometimes painted gold or white, glittery sequins, buttons. It’s worked well for me to have kids work on a paper plate. Then, when finished, I move the ornament to a fresh paper plate or some other place to dry if the first plate got very glue-y. Also, I usually pull the ribbon or string that’s used for the hanger through the hole before decorating, just in case the hole gets covered up during the decorating.

Felt Stitched Ornaments

I enjoyed stitching the stars featured in this earlier post:

http://hinzpired.wordpress.com/2007/11/10/card-stitching/ 

After playing with stitching them on paper, I decided that I wanted to try to adapt the idea to fiber.  For the images shown here, I used the same pattern as in my earlier post.  I poked holes through the pattern and then taped it to a piece of felt. I then used a fine-tipped sharpie marker to make dots on the felt through the holes.

I couldn’t get a good picture showing the dots on red felt, but here is a picture of the dots on a white background:

As I began stitching, I realized the felt needed to be more rigid, so I pinned a piece of non-fusible heavy weight interfacing to the felt.  This is very easy to stitch through and gave me the added  stability I was looking for (Timtex is one brand name for this sort of interfacing).

I then followed the stitching pattern in exactly the same way as I did for the card-stitched images.  I did knot the thread rather than taping it.

After I finished the stitching, I cut the felt into a circle, making a matching circle for the back.  I trimmed the interfacing a bit so that it wouldn’t show.  I then used my sewing machine and a zig-zag stitch to sew the two circles together.  I stitched a length of thread through to make a hanger to finish the ornament:

Card Stitching

A few months ago, someone shared the link to stitchingcards.com with me. This company offers free patterns as well as patterns to purchase for stitching images on to cards. I liked the idea and started looking around on the internet for other string art patterns that I could use in the same way. I came across this scouting craft site: http://www.e-scoutcraft.com/string/star.html . I really liked the star and have used this pattern sized exactly as it appears on this site for the paper stitched stars shown above. I’ve also played with creating my own pattern in different sizes, with more dots, etc., using graph paper. (And a side note- I usually print out graph paper from this website: http://www.donnayoung.org/math/papers.htm)

Here are step-by-step instructions showing exactly how I used the e-scoutcraft star pattern to create an image stitched onto card stock.

Print out star image from e-scouting link listed above, or create your own. Tape lightly to a piece of card stock Re-positional tape would probably be a good idea, although I didn’t have any :).

Use a sewing needle or pin to poke holes through both pattern and cardstock. I placed my paper on a slightly firm couch pillow for this step.

Remove the paper pattern and then go back over the holes with the sewing needle you’ll be using, pushing it completely through to makes sure holes will be large enough.

Thread needle (I used crochet cotton as shown in the first picture-embroidery floss would probably also work)) and pull through the first hole as indicated in diagram. Tape thread end to back. Follow the thread pattern starting at hole one and moving to opposite side hole 6, then moving to hole two and stitching to opposite side hole 5 continuing until all holes in section are used. Here are some pictures illustrating this:

 

When complete the section it will look like this and you will then move on to the next set of holes and repeat the process until it is filled in.

Finish stitching the third set of holes in the same way. Your card will now look like this:

Now you will repeat the same stitches to fill in the open areas as shown here:

Continue stitching until all areas are filled in and tape thread to back to finish.

These stitched stars can then be used in many ways- add frames and make them into cards, ornaments or whatever else you can think of. I’ve come up with a version sewn onto felt that I’ll post about soon.

Paper Star Ornaments Part 2

For part one,click here

After both sides are coated with glue, insert shorter piece inside longer piece. It should look like this:

Continue gluing remaining pieces:

Now, all of the pieces will be glued together. Apply glue to top of folded piece, as shown here:

Place next piece on top of glue. It should look like this:

Continue until all pieces have been glued together. Star should now look like this:

Now, apply glue as before and pull other side around to make a star shape. The star should now be completely formed as pictured here:

Make a hole in the top for hanging.  I used a hole punch:

Add some ribbon or thread for hanging and the star is finished!

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different colors of paper, stamping on paper, adding words, etc. Try different numbers of segments, adding glitter or whatever else you can think of!

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