More holiday crafting

Although I obviously did my holiday crafting in advance of the holidays, I didn’t want to post this until after my gifts had been given. 

Our family is very much a dog-family… sometimes I wonder what we’d all talk about if it weren’t for the silly, funny, annoying, and cute things all of our dogs do.  Of course this also means that the dogs all get holiday gifts (even when the people decide not to exchange gifts…)

This year for all five of the dogs in our extended family (two belong with one uncle and aunt, and another with a different uncle and aunt, and then two more are mine…) I made super-soft, cute and cuddly flannel blankets.  We won a similar blanket two years back at a dog event, and it has become a favorite of our dogs (which is a bit of a pain, since there is one blanket and two dogs…) plus it’s heavy enough that my play-centric dog doesn’t bring it out to shake nearly as much as he does with the fleece ones.

Front and reverse of the blue blanket

For my dogs and the one only-child dog I made grey and black blankets, while for the other two I made blue ones with more of a holiday theme.  I figured that even if they don’t go with home decor, they would still make good car blankets to reduce the amount of dog hair on the car seats.

One side of the blanket is smooth, while the other is fluffy – caused by the fraying of the fabric in the washer. The blankets are also really soft and warm. I’m actually HOPING to make something similar for myself, (In a larger version of course!)  and apparently these blankets are great for babies because they love to grab onto the texture of the fluffy side.

Ideas needed: the result, holiday gift tags!

Back in October I posted about needing ideas for some holiday gift crafting.  I thought I would make up a quick post (now that the holiday gifts have been given…) about what we did!

Originally one individual (I won’t name names, since I don’t know if they would want to be mentioned in the blog or not…) came up with the idea of making cute little decorated candles. I thought that might not really take much time, so I also suggested we make gift tags or holiday cards as well…. Plus I  have loads of stamps and punches and other things that are otherwise pretty unused these days…

Well – no one decided to make the candles, (finding the right candles to start out with was probably the biggest hang up to that idea.. but also the person I had thought of giving them to – had decided not to exchange gifts this year…) but we had a great time sharing resources, stickers, papers, stamps, punches and other things to create lots of pretty gift tags. 

The group’s tags

This wasn’t nearly as ambitious as our cute little meal-in-a-jar gifts we made last year or the bath products we made the year before, but it was fun to get together and be crafty all the same! One of my friends also started brainstorming ideas for NEXT year too.

The group’s tags

As a re-cap, the ideal project(s) would be:

  • A final projects to give away as nice gifts – or the kind of thing that would be awesome to bring to a holiday party (decoration or consumable, with a preference for consumable)
  • More economical to do as a group than solo – with everyone sharing the cost
  • Not exceptionally messy (that criteria is for me, who will have to clean up our workspace!)
  • Fun!
  • Not require any additional tools or skills beyond what we might already have.  (That’s the tricky part, since we don’t really know what everyone already has…)

Ideas for next year to consider/brainstorm around

  • Decorated gift bags (maybe along with matching tags?)
  • Decorated note books
  • Microwaveable heat packs (like the magic bags) and hand-warmers

The gift tags I made

I made a few duplicates of different tags that I liked – but as a bit of a description of the ones that I made (Clockwise from top left):

  • A snowflake printed paper with multiple foam (layered) snowflakes in blue and glittery white
  • A small tag with red, gold, and green striped paper and a red with gold poinsetta on it
  • A larger tag/card with the same green, red, and gold striped paper, a line of holly-berry printed paper, and three flowers – two poinsettas and one gold flower. The reverse (inside) of the striped paper is the holly-berry print
  • Another snowflake paper card/tag with a white and blue glittery foam snowflakes.
  • Two round cards with a large foam snowflake on one side and glittery blue paper on the other side with a cut out snowflake
  • An oval card with a tree “cameo” on it, with blue glitter. I really like the cameos, but I don’t really like the way these ones turned out – I just couldn’t come up with a great way to use the cameos…

If you got something really cute for the holidays that would make a great group-crafting project or if you can think of anything else we could do next year, leave a comment below! (And then we’ll just have to try to remember to look back here next year when we’re planning again!)

Anubis – pendant

I already have a number of ankh pendants of various sizes, but all of them are in silver (since I far prefer silver-tone metals to gold). This means I needed to come up with a golden option instead.  I briefly considered painting something I already had – but I really LIKE all of my ankh pendants, and didn’t want to ruin any those that I had – even those that I rarely wear.

I decided to use one that I already have to make a golden duplicate.

First attempt

Re-molding the ankh for the third attempt

I started off with one of my existing pendants, and removed it from its cord. Then I used a two-part silicone putty to create a mold – these molds capture great detail and make it so much easier to make (or rather reproduce) detailed items without having to be able to actually carve.

I was originally going to use the two-part epoxy resin that I have used in the past – but the container was glued shut. (And it warns against heating the chemical.. so I did not want to use the blow dryer or hot water to try to open it up.

So, instead I used the first chemical along with some hardener that I had (for a previous project). It was a huge failure, and never set up.  I was able to clean it out and re-use the mold for a second attempt…

Second attempt

For the second attempt I tried using Acrylic Water Kit from Wal-Mart to cast the ankh. This was likewise a huge failure as the chemical was supposed to set up in 24-48 hours, but almost a week later it was still just sticky.  I do not know if this is a failing of the chemical, or if the addition of the resin dye was to blame.

Unfortunately, the chemical was so sticky that I considered the mold ruined, and had to re-mold the item for the third attempt.

Third attempt

I re-molded the ankh pendant, and although I had picked up some clear epoxy casting resin, I really did not want to ruin yet another mold, so decided to use some oven-bake modeling clay to start with.  I conditioned the clay, pushed it into the mold, and then very carefully removed it from the mold – since the clay is not the air-dry variety, this means that pulling it out can skew the design.

I actually did two clay ankhs, just in case one did not turn out.

Well – this DID work (finally!) and once the clay came out of the oven I painted it with gold acrylic paint and then filled the recesses with black acrylic paint and wiped off the excess to make the piece look older and bring out the details that the mold was able to capture.  From there I coated the front and back with clear glossy varnish, and the pendant was ready to hang.