Monday, November 14, 2011

christmas ornament ideas

If you're anything like me (i.e. you've got more people to mail gifts to than people to gift in person), you're already thinking like a mad person about Christmas stuff.

We received a handy little postal guide in the mail last week which really put everything into perspective for me. According to Canada Post, suggested mailing times for within Canada, to the USA and international begin as early as the week of November 22nd! For me, that means I really have to get my ass in gear if I want Christmas gifts to arrive on time. And I've been really bad about that in previous years. Like, really bad -- one year, our Christmas-themed gifts arrived just in time for Easter. No; I'm not joking.

To top it all off, I thought it would be fun to sign myself up for a crafted ornament swap. That means I also have to make at least 10 ornaments that I can send in a standard mailer to people in the US (and one overseas). The fun part about it is that, since it's a swap, I'll also be receiving little gifty ornaments in the mail right up to Christmas. How exciting! (I hope I got some good crafters!)

So I thought I'd share some of my favourite ornament ideas for this year (so far). These ideas are all completely do-it-yourself (or can be) which make them all the more special.

{1 chocolate candy} I really love this idea because it's pretty adaptable to any colour or type of ornament you want. You could use large balls or smaller ones and you could use just about anything for the frosting and sprinkles. You don't even have to do the frosting in a similar manner. There are chocolates with just a chocolate swirl on top (to indicate flavour). Yours might be as simple as painting the frosting brown to match the chocolate. I would also like to point out that these days, you can buy ornament balls in chocolate brown, so essentially, all you'd really have to do is the frosting part.

{2 wooden beads} Do I even have to explain how simple this idea is?! I found these as a product, but essentially, it's just one large wooden bead strung on a string with another smaller wooden bead on top. It's very simple but still has a really nice sophisticated look to it. Add as many beads as you want. Paint it however you like or don't. I think raw wood would look really pretty, too.

{3 & 4 paper stars and trees} Nothing's simpler than a paper craft plus you learn a little skill while you're at it. You could use scraps of wrapping paper or vintage wallpaper and don't forget about the pretty scrapbook and origami papers that are sold just about everywhere these days.

{5 glittered animals} I've seen this idea so many times. This is just one version of it. Personally, I would buy little screw eye hooks and screw them into the tops of each animal so I could easily add a ribbon to hang them. (These glitter animals are for placing, not hanging.) You could also skip the glitter and use spray paint instead. Naturally, you can use any animals you'd like, too. Michael's has a ton of exotic ones. I keep seeing water themes this year, so whales, dolphins, turtles, even alligators would be really interesting!

{6 & 7 stuffed animals and objects} These are another product and not a DIY but they translate to a craft so easily. I would either use iron-on transfers of images found through a google search or I'd draw something myself with iron-on crayons. I like the black and white nature theme of the ones above but anything would work. Plus you don't have to be a super sewer to make them, either. The forms themselves are simply cut around the picture, and not very detailed, either. I think it would be really cute if these were made using a child's Christmas drawings. Hello, extra grandparent points!

{8 felted balls} This might be a little time-consuming, but I still have dreams of making a felted ball garland one of these years. The instructions to make the balls themselves are here. The above is a picture from a Japanese magazine. The magazine wouldn't work properly for me (not like I could read it, anyway), but I got the gist of it. If you made the felted balls a little larger, the embroidery would really stand out. Again, you can go any which way with it. It all depends on imagination.

{9 & 10 caulking and paper ice cream cones} Obviously, I like the quirkiness of food ornaments (plus I like food. Duh). That being said, these two ice cream tutorials only need to be scaled up and down for them to work as Christmas ornaments. And who wouldn't want an ice cream cone nestled in their tree somewhere?

{11 & 12 felt and leather pinecones} These are both made using the same methods. It just depends on how fancy and in-depth you want to take it. The felt pinecone is definitely the easiest and most adaptable colour-wise, but the leather is more sophisticated and grown up. If I went with the leather version, I might think about finding a cheap leather purse at the thrift store to cut up for the project. The pinecone would be more supple, but it might be easier than trying to find leather pieces.

Finally, here are the ornaments I've made over the last few years: owlsgolden walnuts, and sailor's knot (and pompoms). I also made these fabric birds one year which I never documented for some odd reason. They're really easy, even for novice sewers (which I am) and pretty. 

Just think about how adaptable ornaments can be. They're a great gift for people you may not know very well (who doesn't use ornaments?), they're a great gift for people you do know well (they function as a keepsake where the receiver remembers you each year they put the ornament on their tree), and they also work really well as gift tags and wrapping decoration (and bonus gift). They're just one of those gifts you can't go wrong with (and yes, you can go wrong with candles -- I can't even tell you how many candles sit covered in dust somewhere in my house). I hope these ideas inspire you to make your own little ornaments this year!

1 comment:

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

the felted balls and glitter animals are such pretty ideas! i remember making those paper stars and also the paper ball ornaments when i was younger; it was so much fun!