Friday, November 26, 2010

Ice Candle Holiday Centerpiece

"Ice Candles" make beautiful centerpieces for your holiday dinner table, and are very simple to make. Today I'm going to show you how to create your own unique and pretty ice display for a candle.
You will need:
A large empty paper-based coffee can, with a small empty paper based coffee can (or large plastic cup) Carefully cut off the aluminum rim from the tops of the coffee cans with a box-cutter.
Or-A 42 oz plastic container with a smaller plastic container (or large plastic cup)

 I filled the center cups with heavy doodads, nails, and coins to keep them weighed down. In the space between the two containers, you put leaves, flowers (real or synthetic), foil decorations, whatever you want. There are many possibilities! I plucked some yellow/green/gold leaf branches from the trees neighboring my house, and cut them, standing larger pieces on end around the sides of the coffee can one-making sure to face the brighter sides of the leaves outward. Once you have your decorations in the space, carefully fill it with water. I was a bit short on decorative confetti stuff this year, so I cut up some scraps of metallic red and green fabric for the other one, and added glitter in blue, white, gold, and green. The cap came off as I was sprinkling the green glitter, and the entire bottle dumped in...
All set! Carefully place in the freezer, making sure your weighted center stays in the center. Once frozen solid, you can dump out the heavy stuff and dip the bottom of the container in hot water to remove the plastic mold. For the center, carefully pour in hot water and wiggle until it slides out. On the coffee can deal, I just used a box cutter to slice the side and peel the cardboard away. Place your ice-ring in a dish just deep enough to hold the water as it melts (it's slow), and put in a candle that's shorter than the ice, for the best effect.
My camera didn't catch the full 'glistening', but you get the idea! These are so pretty. As the top melts down, it starts looking really interesting:
This photo looks sort of muddy, but it was actually quite lovely. I've been making these every year, and they're different every time. It's been added to our family traditions. Can't wait to see how the glittery one turns out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handmade Perfection

Now here's a shop where you'll find some really pretty handmade treasures for your Christmas shopping. Lamata Designs has a great selection of different items to choose from. Paper beads are pretty popular, and you've probably seen quite a few. But the craftsmanship on these is quite impressive. If you've ever tried making paper beads, you know that it looks a lot easier than it really is to get such clean-cut and professional looking results. Lamata's paper beads are so perfect that you can't tell right away that they're paper until you read the description or someone tells you.
 She's got finished pieces or loose beads you can put under the Christmas tree for your crafty friend or loved one. The craftsmanship on each individual bead is really impeccable, and you can tell they were made with meticulous love and care.

Amazing, the way they look like glass! I love to see up-cycled/repurposed materials come out looking so finished. Be sure to check out this shop and see all the different goodies, as well as Artfire's Unique Gift Guide for more creative gift ideas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gift Ideas

Sometimes it can be a challenge, figuring out what to give loved ones for Christmas-or any other special event. I like to think of myself as kind of good at it, lol. I tend to remember what people like, or mention that they need. But some folks just stump you. Sometimes their tastes change sporadically (esp. teenagers), or maybe they seem to already have everything. Whatever the case, Artfire makes it really easy to find great, unique gift ideas. The categorized search tools help narrow it down a lot! Unlike shopping at an over-crowded big box department store, on Artfire you can find one-of-a-kind items that are guaranteed to surprise and delight.
I'm doing all handmade shopping this year for Christmas, and I'd love to share specifics-but this is top secret stuff!! All I can say is, I've got two down, three more to go, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.
I don't have children, and my sibs are all 13+, but I saw some adorable handmade toys on Artfire, and made a kids collection:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

parts for Ben

The long pink one that says Follow Your Bliss should be at the top, and is not backlinked