Encaustic Wax Christmas Cards

I do enjoy making my own Christmas cards now and again. This year I used a photo that my husband took while we were snow shoeing and cross country skiing to Tumalo Falls on New Years Day 2017. You can read the whole story here. I was looking for a peaceful, snowy photo. This scene fit the bill perfectly.

Of course I wanted to add a little something something to it, so I got out my encaustic wax and went to work....or play I should say.

I don't have room and proper ventilation for a full blown encaustic wax setup just yet, but I have this really cool set by Encaustic Art. It's a stylus, iron, and waxes. I've added things here and there, but there is so much you can do with these two tiny tools. If you get the starter kit, it's all included with a DVD which explains things brilliantly. To purchase U.S. compatible tools, go to Ischer Wax Art.

I emailed my photo to our local FedEx store. The really nice lady made a 4-up of my photo and printed them out in black and white. I like the look of torn edges, so I painstakingly (this probably took almost as long as painting the card) tore all the edges.

I mounted the photo onto special paper that I received in my starter kit. To do this, first I heated up the special paper and painted it with a thin coat of clear encaustic medium.

I placed the copy of the picture on top of the coated paper and used the iron to "melt" it into the wax, thus adhering the two papers together, and allowing any painted wax embellishments to properly bond to the picture.

I wanted to make the frozen waterfall and stream pop, so I mixed up a pale, milky blue color and added this to all the water. I put red ornaments on one tree and scattered a few white snowflakes.

The last touch was using metallic silver wax to edge the card and top the tree with a star.

If you gently set the tip of the stylus at the top of the corner and pull the stylus down in a slow, smooth motion, you'll get a nice bead of hot wax. The tip will automatically run along the ragged edges.

I tried to use a different photo the first around in a number of different ways.

I don't like the way it turned out. It's too busy. I was happy to find my alternate photo.

My message inside the cards this year, "May the magic of the season illicit deep awe, inspire hope, and fill you with Love." This is also my hope for all of you dear readers as well.

Happy Holidays and Happy 2019!

                                                                          2017 cards

Thanksgiving Tradition

A few decades ago my mother began the tradition of adorning each place setting at our Thanksgiving table with an extra special Christmas ornament. This year I am continuing that tradition by making each guest their own ornament to take home.

We have an abundance of lichen covered branches, pine cones, interesting grasses and twigs to forage on our ranch. Add to that beautiful ribbons, miniature deer and woodland creatures, raw cotton, and perhaps just a touch of sparkle with frosty glitter and crystals. 

I don't know what is more enjoyable, making these sweet gifts or giving them!

Here they are. By using mostly found objects and what's in my stash, they were very inexpensive.

With glue gun in hand, I think you'll find they're very simple to make if you feel the urge. 

Another family member couldn't help but having a go.

They are quite fragile, so I've found some little boxes to store them in.

I hope you and yours had a most enjoyable and thankful Thanksgiving.

Simple V-neck Top

My idea was to make a simple t-shirt for my mother to go with the skirt I made for her Paris trip earlier this year.

We chose Alabama Chanin's 100% organic cotton jersey fabric in dove. We were going to bind the neck, sleeves and hem in navy and put a small applique from the Magdalena stencil on the sleeve to match the skirt. I was to use my modified A-line pattern that I had used for this top.

This top fit my mom perfectly and looked so nice on her that I insisted she make it her own. But when she tried on the basic top, it didn't fit. It was too small. She hadn't gained any weight; in fact, the opposite. Usually a basic, unembellished garment will fit more loosely than an embellished garment. I must have used the wrong pattern when I cut it out. So on to plan B. I kept it for myself, and opted to keep it all one color, without any applique. I may bind the sleeves and hem at some point....maybe. I want to wear it a few times to see if the sleeves are the correct length first.

Here's a simple way to make add the v-neck binding, shown to me by Diane Hall when I was at the Alabama Chanin Factory years ago. There is also a tutorial on this blog post. But here is a refresher.

After making your binding (1 1/4" strip cut across the grain and ironed in half), take a length of binding that would be long enough to go around the whole neck, approximately 30", but it's best to measure first on your own garment. Fold the binding in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch a "V" at the crease.

Cut a notch in the "V".

Unfold the binding lengthwise, turn it right sides out,  fold on the crease, and place the notched "V" over the "V" of the V-neck.

Pin, baste, and secure with a stretch stitch as you would normally sew on a binding.

Remember to pull or stretch the binding ever so slightly as you are pinning it. This will keep your neckline from flopping forward.

I used the feather stitch as my stretch stitch to secure the binding.

The back has a simple seam down the middle.

After the Holidays I may try again to make the correct top for my mother. But first I'll need to make sure I have the correct pattern! As for which pattern this is cut from, my guess would be the Alabama Chanin fitted T-shirt pattern; but I can't be sure of that either. I will enjoy having this very basic top to wear with my embellished skirts, over dresses, and also with jeans.