Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homemade Centerpieces: Felt Christmas Tree Centerpiece

Time for another tutorial on making a wonderful Christmas Decoration. I found this tutorial on All Crafts, where you can find many other wonderful tutorials for holiday crafting.

This one looked especially fun and the end result was beautiful, so I wanted to post it here. Enjoy and Happy Crafting!  Please send me pictures of your tree, if you make one, and while you are at it send a picture to the All Crafts site, too.

Homemade Centerpieces: Felt Christmas Tree Centerpiece
christmas tree centerpiece
Materials for Homemade Centerpieces -
Felt Christmas Tree Centerpiece
homemade centerpieces
What You Will Need:
* Styrofoam cone (12" x 4-7/8")
* Felt: green (2 shades if desired), red, white, yellow
* Green buttons (about 115)
* 2 yellow buttons
* Small buttons in assorted colors (about 40)
* Yellow seed beads
* Embroidery thread: red and yellow
* Sewing needle
* Thin bead needle
* Wire - 4" (Straightened paperclip)
* One cotton ball
* Hot glue gun
* Scissors
Instructions for Homemade Centerpieces -
Felt Christmas Tree Centerpiece
Step 1:
Begin by printing out the Felt Christmas Tree template. The basic idea of making each bough is quite simple. Trace the pattern onto your felt and cut it out. Hot glue a button onto the end of the piece. Then hot glue just one of the pointed ends and bring the other pointed end over on top of it, creating a cone-like shape. See photos A and B. This is how every piece will be made. The next step will give you the details as to how many and of what size.
homemade centerpieces homemade centerpieces
Step 2:
If the cone you are using is the same size as listed in the materials, than you can follow this step exactly. If you are using a different size cone however, you can get the general idea but change the quantities as needed.

Note: Size 4 on the template sheet is there if you decide to make a tree on a very large cone, but if you are using a 12" cone (like we did) or smaller, you won't need size 4.

The cone will take a total of 16 rows of boughs to cover it completely. For our tree, we alternated between a green and dark green felt for every row. This is optional. The number of pieces you will need to cut out and of what size is listed below, starting at the base of the cone and working up.
* Rows 1 and 2: Cut out 10 for each row (20 total) of size 3 bough
* Row 3: Cut out 9 of size 3
* Row 4: Cut out 8 of size 3
* Rows 5, 6 and 7: Cut out 8 for each row (24 total) of size 2
* Row 8: Cut out 7 of size 2
* Rows 9 and 10: Cut out 6 for each row (12 total) of size 2
* Rows 11 and 12: Cut out 6 for each row (12 total) of size 1
* Rows 13, 14 and 15: Cut out 5 for each row (15 total) of size 1

* Row 16: Cut out 4 of size 1

Step 3:
Now that you know the pieces you will need, you can begin constructing your Christmas tree! For every piece, glue a button on the end and glue the points together as described in Step 1.
Pick one side of the cone to be the front of the tree. You will always start each row from this side. While ideally, every bough would fit nicely between the two below it, that is very hard to do and sometimes the boughs will overlap. By choosing a front, all the overlapping and smooshed boughs will be in the back. If this doesn’t make much sense right now, it will as you begin working.
Begin to hot glue the first row (bottom row) onto the cone. To glue on each piece, put hot glue on the side where the two pointed ends were hot glued together. Then quickly place the piece on the cone and hold it there for a few seconds while the glue cools. Continue to do this until you reach about row 12. See photos C, D and E for how this should be looking.
christmas tree centerpiece homemade centerpieces christmas tree centerpiece
Step 4:
Once you are around row 12, stop and cut out the pattern that is a circle with four lines on the edges. Trace this onto green felt and cut it out. Make slits in the felt where the lines are. Now hot glue the center of this circle to the top of your cone. Then glue down two opposite flaps. See photo F. Now glue down the other two remaining flaps. See photo G. This piece creates a nice felt covered top to your tree.
homemade centerpieces christmas tree centerpiece
You can now finish gluing on the boughs. homemade centerpieces
Step 5:
Now that the tree is mostly done, it is time to make a few of the embellishments! Cut out the peppermint pattern and make 10 to 15 circles out of red felt. Now cut out just the portion of the pattern that will be the white stripes. Trace this onto white felt 10 to 15 times. Each white piece is then sewn onto a red piece in red embroidery thread, using the backstitch . See photo H for an up-close look. Once all of these are finished, hot glue them on the tree as you like.
homemade centerpieces

Next, for the star, trace and cut out two of the star pattern on yellow felt. Sew a yellow button onto the center of each piece, and then sew yellow seed beads around the edge of each piece (a thin bead needle is needed for seed beads). See photo I. Then place both sides together and begin to stitch the running stitch around the edge. Before you completely sew them together, place a cotton ball in between them to give the star a little puffiness. Then tie the thread off.

Step 6:
Just a few finishing touches and your tree will be done! Take your piece of wire and poke it straight down through the top of the cone. This may be difficult since there is hot glue on the top, so use a small nail or something sturdy to get the hole started if necessary. Then just work the star onto the wire so the wire is inside the star.
To complete the tree, just hot glue your tiny colored buttons all over the tree to look like Christmas lights!
Your felt Christmas tree centerpiece is now finished!
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Here's another idea for your Christmas shopping

If you are buying for someone who is moving, or for someone who is directionally challenged, or even for someone who may get confused easily when driving, I would like to recommend the Garmin Nuvi GPS system as a wonderful Christmas present.  The cost is average and there are several different models depending on the users' actual needs. 

I purchased one of these gizmos for my sister recently and I have to say that since she got it, she is much more confident about her ability to get herself around town (she just moved to a new town recently).  She tends to get depressed if she stays home too much, so I am happy that now she is mobile again.

One problem we had was that there is no manual that comes with the device.  For us older folks, that makes getting information on how it works harder but not impossible.  Another problem we had was learning how to recalculate the routes.

Once we figured out  how to keep her off the freeways as much as possible, she has become a complete gad-about.  It's really nice to see her involved in her new home surroundings.

The gadget plugs into the lighter socket and has a window mount, so now she is good-to-go!

For more information on Garmin Nuvi, please visit here.   You can read all about it and buy yours there today.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Saga of the Kindle wars!

In case you haven't noticed, the Amazon Kindle has lowered its price from $189 to $139.  This is because of the competition from Barnes and Nobles' Nook and other e-readers that are entering the market.  Well, the reason I am even talking about that here is because I got a Kindle for my birthday this year and I thought I would share my thoughts on this product here, in time for your Christmas shopping.

The kindle has many, many good points.  First it is very compact and lightweight.  Reading on the Kindle is very easy on both the eyes and the arms/hands.  You can carry your Kindle with you anywhere because it neatly fits in your purse or bag.  It's really easy to download books to the device.  And, in case you never watch television, you can easily read the Kindle in just about any bright light.

There are a few downsides to the Kindle, however.  First, the battery life is not what I would have expected.  Don't get me wrong, it has a fairly long life, but if you go a day or two between reads, you will need to recharge it first.  The Kindle doesn't get any blogs except for Amazon blogs, which sucks. 

But overall, I would have to give the Kindle a 9 out of 10 rating.

So, for your reader out there, you need to consider getting a Kindle for Christmas.  They will love you for it!

For more information about the Kindle you can visit  here  This site even has a video for you to see the various sizes of Kindle available and make a better choice.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Christmas is coming, make no mistake. Time to get serious!

Here are a few YouTube videos to help kick-start the Christmas mood.  I know, I know.  We still have a few holidays before Christmas gets here, but I hope to help you get prepared early so you can enjoy the season.

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