Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Altrusa 2016 Mice Theme

Since the theme for the Altrusa tree this coming year is mice I started making a prototype.  I plan on making several styles of mice and in different colors.  This mouse needs some changes.  I sewed the legs and arms without filling them so they look flat and rather strange.    The rest of the mouse just needs a little better shaping.  This prototype showed that 4 inches is the smallest size that will show details.  I really love the extra large ears on him but the next mouse will have ears with more shaping.  Still not a bad start.  The tree will have sections in which the mice are doing activities.  This mouse will be in the bakery section and the red thing is a very unconvincing cherry!

Working class mouse is wearing green overalls as he works in the Mouse World Bakery.

My hands give an idea of  how small the mouse is. 


Inside the bakery the mouse will be lowered over a cupcake to place a cherry on top!
 Mouse on a work break.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mason Jar Workshop Wednesday December 2

In two weeks I will be giving another workshop at the Orcutt Oasis Center   Someone donated a large number of mason jars and they asked me to come up with an idea.  They wanted a hanging lighted jar so I looked around the internet and then made my own decorated jars.  The first jar is made using coffee filters roses.  This was the first time I've ever used coffee filters.  The flowers were very easy to scrunch up and glue into rosettes.  Next I cut out decorative paper to cover the top and side of the jar lid.  Then covered the lid side with a simple ribbon.  Then using some leftover paper from the roses I created two rose buds and glued green ribbon around the stem end.  The red berry is a simple gathered circle, like a yo-yo.  Then I glued the berry into an acorn top and on the jar.  Finally I made some prairie point leaves out of green ribbon.  The small round ornament is from a store and cost 10 cents.

Jar decorated for Christmas using coffee filter papers.

Close-up of coffee filter rose and acorn topped berry.

Second jar design.  Made with fabric roses.  The gold at the top is a hanger. 

I decided to design a second jar for two reasons.  First some people prefer a red and green themed Christmas light and I also wanted to show how to create flowers using fabric.


Close-up of fabric rose with edges showing.  The edges cause the rough thread look.

Close-up of the same rose technique but the edges are folded making a neater flower.

The metal leaf shape was made by bending 20 gauge wire and using a chasing hammer on an anvil to flatten it.

In order to secure the hanger both ends of the wire were pushed through a hole in the lid, then the ends are twisted in circles to finish.

Battery powered tea lights and small candles by  Living Colors, Candles.

When finished all they needed were some battery powered tea lights!  These were purchased from a Dollar Store.  The ten tea lights for $6.00 and sixteen assorted lights for $10.  The packages also included replacement batteries.  I was sceptical at first, so I ran a test and the tealights ran for eight days straight.  The light was rather dim after eight days but turning the light off for 30 minutes helped to restore the brightness a bit.  These are great lights and I hope to get some more of them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Altrusa Tree Finished for 2015, lots of pictures!

We survived another tree!  We had a great deal of fun and I am personally amazed at all the wonderful gifts and decorations.  How our group works is that we decide on a theme when we go out to eat after we put up the current tree.  So during our meeting on Sunday we decided next year's theme will be mice!  We may try for a silhouette tree in 2017.

So after we decide on next years theme we all do our thing to bring the next tree to life.  Some of us make gifts and ornaments.  Some of us are amazing shoppers and find the most extraordinary things.  One lady even donates a storage locker!  So we are all thinking and scheming and making things all year round for this event.  Then on a Sunday morning a years worth of work is taken from the storage locker and compressed into the space for our tree.  Linda finds a way to turn our tree into organized chaos.  So now that you know of all the work and joy we put into this event I hope you will be inspired to donate your own tree.

Yesterday I took pictures of the Country Chicken Tree. Some pictures didn't come out and I hope I didn't miss anything. Once the event is opened I will try to get more pictures. So I am going to put up a lot of pictures in this post but to see all of them just click on this link

Under the tree chicks, cook books and a gnome hiding in a mug!  I hope they notice him before pouring the hot chocolate!  I love the ceramic chicken dish.

Another ceramic chicken! The tree skirt is a no-sew throw with a knotted fringe.

 Under the tree sits a rooster which is a lamp.  The tree has a cute chicken ornament a shopping bag and lots of ribbons!  The popcorn garland isn't real, hopefully no one will try to eat it.


I really love the simple chicken ornaments.  Lots of holly hangs over it.

Lots of presents!  So many they couldn't all fit under the tree!  Holding all the goodies is a green wheelbarrow.  Inside there are baking items including a gingerbread pan, a crust guard, tray, dish cloths and a container full of plastic lemons.  Next to the lemons is another ceramic chicken!  Hiding to the right is an old coke tin.

 The chicken is a braided straw basket, to the left is the coke tin.

 A vegetable and fruit picture surrounded by silk poinsettias

 Under the back side of the tree is a pie plate with cover which looks like a lemon meringue pie.  No chickens but very useful addition for the kitchen.

A close-up of chicken basket and Christmas cake pan. 

 Another angle of plate with chicks, cookbooks, mugs and adorable gnome.

 Close-up of gnome inside mug.  He had better escape before the hot chocolate is done!

 A lovely cookie tin surrounded with silk vegetables.

The rooster plate beautiful.  I don't know if it is actually old or a reproduction but it will make a great decorative addition to anyone's kitchen.

Old Mixmaster!

 Scherenschnitte rooster cutting surrounded by cute chicks.  I'm starting to worry about the gnome, hope he escapes the mug soon.

Large gnome sits above a beautiful framed embroidery.  In back of the gnome is the rooster lamp, the lamp shade is a wire frame with strips of red gingham fabric.  I think the shade is absolutely brilliant.

 Another angle of the lamp and tree.

Close-up of coke tin and a fun bacon sign.

Clive and family, there are more of chicks hiding behind their mom.  Clive is the chick with the comb.

 Over all image of 2015 Altrusa tree and gifts.

 Another view of tree.

Red Gingham Country Chicken tree view.  

View of simple pine tree.

 Another view of an old embroidery of a country cabin on satin and framed

Giant gnome!

Another giant gnome, this one is standing in the tree!


Revisit to the mugged gnome, how does he stay in the cup!

Angled view of the windmill.  Hanging inside is a aluminum water bucket.  The bucket has been turned upside down and made into a lamp!  What a wonderful idea!

Close-up of rooster lamp.


 Ornaments and ribbons on the Christmas tree.  Near the top left is a decorated seed packet.

Bottom part of windmill with beautifully embroidered tea towels.

Tea towel hand embroidered with chicken doing housework!  It is really cute!

Cross stitched cherry dish towel.

 Serenading rooster tea towel.

A little out of focus but pretty hand embroidered tea towel.

Wednesday is dedicated to reading to the chicks on his embroidered tea towel.

Picnic style basket ornaments are a great idea!  These were filled with eggs and silk vegetables.

Over all view of tree ornaments.

Another gnome, at least he is safe hanging from the tree!  He had better not eat the popcorn garland!

This is a unusual cookie cutter for ginger bread.  Looks like a cyberman!  Behind him is one the the seed packet ornaments.

Giant gnome placing hat on the tree top!

Close-up of chicken in a picnic basket!

Really cute crocheted chicken pot holder.

Beautiful felt chicken tree ornament.

Ornaments at the tree top.

 Merry Christmas ribbon.

Tree full of Christmas ornaments.

A happy little gnome, perhaps he is looking forward to eating all that popcorn!

Nice view of tree top.

So here is our Country Chicken Tree for Altrusa 2015.  I hope that everyone will get involved next year!  If you see that I missed some please let me know because I don't want anyone to be left out.  More images can be seen here

I hope that you all enjoy the holiday season!