Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers to the New Year!

My sister-in-law asked if I could make some handpainted wine glasses for her family Christmas swap this year. I said, "Sure!" even though I'd never done it before... Ha! It turned out to be so easy and fun. I used a different glass painting technique than I've used in the past (for ornaments, etc.)... I bought some enamel paints that you can let air dry for a number of days, or you can make them permanent just by firing the finished work in your oven! (No, your glasses will not crack or explode if you follow the directions.) :)

Here are the final pieces:

The glasses for the swap.
The paint is not food-safe, so leave it away from anywhere your food will touch.

I decided to make her a set as a gift too :)


Evolution of the Happy House Ornament

Sketches of houses.
Draw it out after tracing the house pattern.

Paint it in.
Seal it up.

Glue together...


Ready to give :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can't Wait to Create!

Got this super-huge art set for Christmas, from my brother! Its in a wooden suitcase, and it all folds out to reveal tons of art supplies. Its so full of color! I can't wait to see what I can make with all this! He's so great, he got my son a smaller version too :) Guess we'll be working on more projects together soon! Thanks bro :) 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade Surprise in My Email!

After starting a discussion on my facebook fan page , I received some photos in my email from my cousin! She was telling me stories about all the handmade ornaments on her tree. She uses them every year, and some are thirty years old! I thought I would share her special ornaments with you...

Packed with handmade ornaments!

Each handmade ornament holds a special memory...
What about you? Do you have a special handmade tradition for the holidays? If you'd like to share with me and have your story or photo featured on my blog, send me an email!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Forever Handprint Ornaments

While searching through the Christmas Tree Shop, for something completely unimportant but something I'm sure I NEEDED to have (haha), I came across some ornament kits in a clearance bin. They were only $1.99 - sweet deal!! Handprint ornament kits....

I'd never worked with plaster before, but these seemed like the perfect special gift to give to my son's grandparents! The kits came with plastic molds and little bags of plaster that you mix with water. I added too much water by accident, so I had to let the molds set for much longer than the instructions recommended before my son could stick his hand in... (It was a soppy plastery mess! Ewww!)

Eventually the molds did start to harden, and my son had a blast while I pressed each of his fingers into the plaster. He seemed very excited when he lifted his hand out, and the impression of his hand was still there :)

After the molds were dry (I left them out overnight), I carefully popped them out of the plastic. The plaster was super smooth and bright white! I gave my son some red and green acrylic paint, and let him paint in the hands. He was very meticulous, and made sure to get inside each finger!

When he was done, I went around the edges with contrasting color paint just to give them an extra boost. I made sure to leave his markings intact! When the paint was dry (which was only a few minutes), I had him write his name on the back of each one with a permanent black marker. I added his age and the date. If I had more time in my holiday rush, I would have loved to seal them with an acrylic sealer... But they turned out just fine anyway.

The molds allowed for a hole in the top, and I strung them with ribbon. The grandparents loved them!! When my mother opened hers, she took my son into my old bedroom and showed him a plaque on the wall... It was an ink handprint I had made in kindergarten, same age as my son is now. It was very special.  Perfect memories - worth much more than that $2.00! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kids Cookie Decorating Extravaganza

I can't take the credit for this one, but it sure was a good idea and lots of fun! We were invited to a holiday cookie decorating party at a friend's house. She had premade the dough and baked up lots of gingerbread cut outs while we were there.

 The guests were to bring decorating supplies. I went through the cabinet and pulled out an assortment of random goodies. I didn't have anything that was in traditional Christmas colors... As a result, the cookies came out really colorful and fun! Other guests brought red/green/white, so it was quite a mix!

The kids ate the cookies as they finished decorating them...
There were a few kids (ages 4-6), and it probably got as messy as you can imagine it would! We let the kids go crazy, and they made some funky-delicious treats!

Don't be afraid to make a mess! You can clean it up later :)
The ones that didn't get eaten were packed up as gifts from the kids for their parents and grandparents. This was an awesome tradition to start, and would be fun as a family event too! I hope we do it again next year :)

Non-traditional holiday colors are just as fun!

Don't think the adults didn't get in on the cookie decorating action! ;)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Handmade Christmas ReCap!

Hi everyone! Happy Christmas! :)
I hope you all had wonderful holidays!

This year, I tried my hardest NOT to have my annual Christmas-mental-stress-breakdown. I did get a bit rushed during the last week, but I made peace with the fact that I couldn't possibly get everything finished. (ex: sending out my Xmas cards!! They are still on my counter, after a failed attempt at getting them printed at a certain huge chain store.. rrgh I'm still fuming!) I did, however, make a few gifts that I will share with you in my posts this week!

Cutest wrapping paper ever!

I'll have these stories and more: kids super-duper Christmas cookie party, painted plaster handprint ornaments, paper 3D houses, painted wine glasses, etc!

My boy surrounded by happy handmade goodness!

As the year comes to a close, I'm also thinking about the future of my happy day studio and where I will take things from here. I would love to reopen but there will be some changes to make my processes speedier and more effecient. I am really excited about what I have in mind, and I'll share it with you soon!

For now, I'm cozied up at home during a snowstorm. I'm enjoying my Christmas tree and all the lights before they come down on New Years. Stay warm and crafty!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Handmade Holiday Discussion... Join me!

Hi friends! I hope you are all covered with glitter and gingerbread for the holidays right now :) While my shop has been closed, I've had a chance to take a look at what other crafters and artists are doing. I've also had time to make a bunch of gifts, as well as shop for some.. hee hee! My holiday shopping has all been online, since I've had no time with my crazy schedule to get to any craft fairs this year.... What about you?

Come to my happy day studio facebook page, and discuss this (and more!) with me! I've started a group discussion there to hear your thoughts on giving and getting handmade for the holidays.... Can't wait to hear your thoughts! :)

Click on this link for my discussion page on facebook:

Are you a fan of my happy day studio facebook page? No??!?
But, its not too late! Here's a link!!