Monday, July 23, 2012

"Christmas in July"-French Script Cones

*If you are here for The Cowgirl Up Link Party, this week only it will begin Tuesday morning at 8 am, so please come back then to link up.*

Hi, it's Anita here from Cedar Hill Ranch.  This post is part of our Christmas in July series.  We have 8 days of Christmas projects to break up this July heat, and the posts are showing on 8 fabulous blogs.  I'll show you the schedule later in this post. 

When the Cowgirl Up ladies were discussing doing a Christmas in July, I have to admit I panicked a little. I had no idea what I was going to do, because I don't think of myself as being crafty.  

My first reaction was to say no.  But then I might be considered the "Cowgirl Grinch"  or the "Texas Scrooge", so I decided to keep my mouth shut.  I'm the oldest of of the Cowgirl Up group,

so I work at not being "the frumpy, cranky, old one."

Everyone chimed in about what a great idea it was, so that was that.  I could go along with the group or be the "Debbie Downer."  Now I had to come up with something, or be the mean mom that tells the cool kids they are being too loud.  

Before I get to my project, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the ranch. Come on, and pull up a chair on the back porch.

Or we could hang out on the front porch.

This spring when the bluebonnets were in full bloom, this was my view when I had my morning cup of tea. I love it when the bluebonnets are blooming. It's a magical few weeks. 

Cedar Hill Ranch is a 30 acre ranch in the heart of Texas. It's what I call "Texas Living with a French accent."  Dinner on my back porch with my friends and family is really a picture of what life is here is all about. 

Come for a visit any time, just click here

Here's the schedule for the entire Christmas in July Series.  You can see all of the posts by visiting the blog you are looking at right now, but I would love it if checked out all of these wonderful blogs.   

Here are the links

Amanda @ The Ivy Cottage Blog
Korrie @ Red Hen House
Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Debbie @ Confessions of a Plate Addict
Samantha @ Crafty Texas Girls
Missy @ Lookie What I Did
Linsey @ The Farmhouse Porch
Pamela @ From My Porch to Yours

I had some ideas of what I could do for this project, but they required my sewing machine that was in the shop.  Since then I have received news that it will cost $200 to repair it, so I'm shopping for a new one. So what to do...  I pulled everything (and I do mean everything) craft-related out of every drawer in the house, and laid it all out.  After surveying my materials, I came up with the idea of making Christmas cones that could double as place cards.

The first thing I did was to use my script stamp to add French script to my card stock.  (Honestly I can't read this, so it could be in French, English or Spanish and I wouldn't know. I'm calling it French, but really I'm not sure what it is.)

Next, I formed the cardstock into a cone shape and used tape to keep it in place.

I thought I would try adding a little je ne sais quoi to the cones. I used a Martha Stewart snowflake paper punch to make some paper snowflakes, and added them around the outside of the cone.

I think solid green paper might have worked better, but I didn't have solid green, so I used what I had. I added a twine bow to the top of the cone.

I also used these card stock tags from Pick your Plum for the placecards, using just the first initial of each guest's name.  I also cut a little piece of snowflake trim to top off my cone.  Later, these cones can be hung on the tree using the twine bow at the top.

I filled the cones with tiny, little pinecones. Okay, pinecones don't come this small, they are actually from Hemlocks in North Carolina. I grab these from the ground each year when we go there.  I also used vintage sheet music from my FIL's collection to go under the saucers. These are church hymns, and the date of publication was 1926. 

Here's a view of the table with my new Christmas cones.

I used my Lenox Wheat dishes for this table. These dishes were my MIL's and she always talked in reverential tones when discussing how special these dishes were. I wondered when we would ever have an occasion special enough for her to use them.  Sadly the answer was "never."  

She kept these stored away for that special occasion that never came.  I'm sure she did use them at least once when she was yonger, but in the 30 years that I knew her, they stayed snugly stored in one of her china cabinets.  

After I made the cones, I realized I needed a way to keep them upright on the table.  I thought of placing them in a tall glass, but then remembered my chicken wire that I had left over from my chicken wire project, click here to see it.  I cut small pieces of the wire and made them into small cylinders, then squeezed them together to better hold the cones.

To go with all of the gold trim on the dishes, I used my MIL's solid brass napkin rings, and also her embroidered napkins.  (She had an pretty impressive stash of linen and cotton napkins.) 

I also used her embroidered tablecloth, 

And her bronze flatware, that she picked up on a trip to Thailand.

This turned out to be fun! Thanks for joining our Christmas in July party. Remember to come back Tuesday morning for Cowgirl Up.  Next week Cowgirl Up will resume it's normal schedule of going live Monday night at 9 pm.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Christmas in July" Book Christmas Trees

Hi, this is Korrie from Red Hen Home!  This post is DAY 2 of the Christmas in July series I am participating in with all these talented ladies:
Christmas in July??  Whose crazy idea was THAT??
(I’m blaming Amanda.)
Honestly, I am not a person who plans that far in advance.  My sights are always set on the next thing, so I can’t really concentrate on Christmas until Thanksgiving is over!
So my goal was to create a little Christmas without going to the store!  Never-you-mind that Hobby Lobby is already putting out their Christmas stuff—I don’t want to encourage them!
So I decided to tackle a few items that have been swimming around in my head since last Christmas…hope you don’t mind that I’m seven months late (rather than five months early)!
I have a beautiful old buffet that I love to change with the seasons—since I don’t have a mantle!  This is what it looked like on a recent hot July day, much to the confusion of my four-year-old daughter!

Last summer I turned some old books into birdhouses, and some commenters mentioned that they had seen book Christmas trees.  I decided to give it a shot, and they were super simple to figure out and make on my own.

  1. Fold the top corner of page to the spine.
  2. Fold page to spine again.
  3. Fold up “tail” at bottom of page even with bottom of book.
  4. Repeat ad nauseum (that means…”until you’re nauseous”)
About 200 pages makes for a nice, fat tree.  And I promise I won’t tell if sometimes you fold two pages at once!
Hmm…they could use a little embellishment, don’t you think?  They are supposed to be Christmas trees after all!
This one gets a garland of jingle bells strung on twine, and a book page star for the top…
…the next one gets a garland of cotton string and gold-glittered stars, topped with a book page medallion…
…and the last has a garland of cotton cording and Scrabble letters, topped by a seam-binding flower (yes, it’s my favorite)!
And of course, all of them were embellished with a little glitter along the edges.  Everything looks better with glitter!
Last but not least, I had to add a little more typography!  I had a 14” x 14” canvas on hand just waiting for some attention from me…
Using two shades of gold acrylic paint, I gave the canvas a nice base coat.  I used my Silhouette to design and cut out vinyl “Merry Christmas” greetings in various languages, then I painted over the whole thing, removed the vinyl, and voila!
So there you have it!  Put together with a few accessories I already hand on hand, it was a good excuse to take down the 4th of July décor  Winking smile
Happy Summer, everyone!

I hope you will take the time to visit all the blogs participating in our Christmas in July party!
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Christmas in July" Instagram Ribbon Spool Ornament

Day 1 of Christmas In July
Hosted By Cowgirl Up!

Hey Y'all!  Welcome to the first annual Christmas In July hosted by Cowgirl Up!  Thanks so much for joining us!  You can stop by our blogs every day for eight days and check on some jaw droppin', eyebrow raisin' Christmas inspiration.  Here is the schedule:

Feel free to check out all of the blogs!  Here are the links

Howdy, I am Amanda @ The Ivy Cottage Blog!

A little bit about me before we get to the really fun stuff . . .
I am a wife,
a mom of two,
an avid crafter
and lover of all things vintage.
I have a weakness for books, chocolate donuts, and glitter.
Besides my full-time of job of chasing two kiddos, I also run a wedding decor design business called High Fire Designs.

Now, on with the show!
Instagram Ribbon Spool Ornament

Empty ribbon spool
Computer and printer
Instagram photos
I am a recent convert to the world of Instagram.  Love snapping pictures of my kiddos and sharing them on Facebook.  I thought it would be great to incorporate them in an ornament for this Christmas season.

I used a free photo editing program called Picasa to work on my photo layout.  Here is how I did it:

Step #1:  Upload your photos to Picasa and put your selected six photos into one folder.  Once in a folder select the "Collage" button.

Step #2:  Select the grid setting for the photos.  Go down to the Page Format section and select Add Custom Ratio . . . make a custom ratio that is 1.5 X 9.5 inches.  This should line up all of your photos from top to bottom.  If you want to line them up so that they are side by side, just switch to 9.5 X 1.5 inches.  Save/Create the collage.

Step #3:  Once you are back to the regular Picasa screen, change the photo to Black and White.  Save the image.

Step #4:  If you want, you can also add the customization of CinemaScope, which adds a cool effect for the side by side layout.  This is not a required step.

Step #5:  Print out your image on white card stock and trim your image.

Step #6:  Take your old ribbon spool and remove the two sides.  I just ripped mine off and then used a little bit of sandpaper to smooth the edges.

Step #7:  Line the inside of your spool with your favorite ribbon or paint.  In this case, I used red burlap ribbon that I cut to size.  I used hot glue to secure it into place.

Step #8:  Using hot glue, place a thin horizontal line of glue across the spool and then press down one end of the photo strip being sure that it is lined up.

Step #9:  Once the glue is dried, wrap the photo strip around the spool and secure the other end with glue.  Mine was slightly short, but I have a plan to cover it up!
Step #10:  Embellish your ornament!  I used metallic raffia to accent the space in between each of the photos.

I also used the raffia to cover up the gap between the start and finish of the photos.

To cover up the edges of the spool, I used a little bit of glue and some vintage glitter by Martha Stewart to add a little pizazz.

Finally, I wrapped it up with a small red rhinestone on the center of each raffia bow and then added a twine "hook" to hang the ornament.

Voila!  You are done!

And because I had so much fun and couldn't make just one . . . here is another example that used the same materials with a few additions!

And because I just couldn't get enough, here is another way to use the ribbon spools . . . Candle Holders and Candle Wraps!  WOW!

I hope you enjoyed this simple little tutorial and I hope that you will try this out during these hot months of summer!

Stop by The Ivy Cottage Blog anytime and say hello . . . or in my case, Howdy!  I have TONS of projects to inspire!

BTW, on our usual Tuesday Cowgirl Up! Link Party, you will have the opportunity to link up all of your old/new Christmas projects, so get them ready!

Good luck to all of the ladies participating and be sure to stop by and give them a little love as the week goes on!
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