Showing posts with label ornaments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ornaments. Show all posts

Monday, November 27, 2017

How to Make Easy Christmas Tree Ornaments

Today I am reviewing an easy way to make beautiful Christmas tree ornaments using tri-beads. This is a great project to make with children. 

The best ornaments I've ever placed on my Christmas tree over the years were these ornaments made by my children made in school and given to me as gifts. The ornaments were special because they were made by my children. They were beautiful then because they were made by children's hands. They are beautiful still today because of the sparkling colors.

Yes, I wrote that they are beautiful still today. These ornaments are durable. I still have those ornaments from years ago. I loved these ornaments so much that I have replicated the project with the students at work. Over the years, I've sent many children home with these ornaments as gifts for their caregivers.

Now I'm sharing the step-by-step instructions how to make these incredibly simple ornaments with the children in your life. Or perhaps you want to make your own ornaments. I have to admit that sometimes I make these ornaments when I'm alone and have used them for decorations when wrapping gifts. There are many ways to enjoy these easy-to-make decorations. 

Finally, remember that the best gift you can give this season is the gift of your time and attention. Especially when you are spending time with a children. 

Materials:
plastic tri-beads 
pipe cleaners (either tinsel or chenille)
1/8" wide ribbons (optional)

Tools:
heavy-duty scissors
pliers 




Instructions:
Gather your beads and pipe cleaners. Ribbon is options (but preferred by the children).

Gather your tools. Heavy-duty scissors or wire cutters are needed to cut the pipe cleaners. And pliers to bend the wire tips are optional but highly recommended.

Be aware: Take care when cutting pipe cleaners. This project is extremely easy, with the exception of trimming the pipe cleaners. The wire is sometimes difficult to cut and the tips of the pipe cleaners are "pokey". Younger children may need to be supervised closely to ensure they don't poke or scratch themselves.


Candy Cane Ornament Instructions:


1. To make the candy cane bead ornament, knot the end of the pipe cleaner and pull the knot tight.

2. Carefully cut the end off; just below the knot. If a sharp end remains, bend it with the pliers or your fingers toward the knot, tucking it into the bulk of the knot (in order to be safe for little fingers)

3. Allow the child to slide beads onto the pipe cleaner; snugging the beads up against the knot. The tri-beads fit together beautifully and create a "round" shape. Some children like the traditional red and white candy cane stripes. Some children prefer psychedelic colors. Have fun with it.



4. Fill the pipe cleaner to the desired length; making sure to leave enough material to make a knot.( make the knot shape loosely then work to snug the knot up toward the last bead in order to hold the design together snugly).


5. Note the knot is snugged up to the last bead. Check the end for any sharp points and bend it up, out of the way, if needed (a point is visible in the photos. It is probably not unsafe to leave it, but I prefer to  bend it out of the way - just to be safe.

Finish the candy cane with a bow if desired. The ornament can be hung in the tree by the hook of the cane. Or traditional ornament hooks can be purchased and added. Occasionally, the children choose to use the ribbon for a loop at the top of the candy cane for hanging. 



Wreath Ornament Instructions:


1. Making a wreath is similar to making the candy cane except, Do Not knot either end. Thread the beads onto the pipe cleaner and gather them in the middle of the pipe cleaner.

2. Leave approximately 2" or more of empty pipe cleaner at each end. Bend the ornament into a round shape and begin to tie a know at the top (as though you are tying the first portion of a shoelace knot).

3. Pull the ends together, twisting lightly to form a single pipe cleaner from the two ends.

4. Bend the end down to form a loop; wrapping the very end around the portion of the pipe cleaner that is holding the bead. If there is a point piece remaining (as shown) use the pliers, or your fingers, to carefully wrap it more tightly around in order to hide the end.

5. Add ribbons as desired.




And with that, you have the finished products. Happy Holidays to you and yours. And remember to give the gift of your time and attention.

Note: This article was previously published elsewhere. The instructions and photographs are by the author.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Monday, November 6, 2017

Reviewing Meaningful Gifts by SimplyYoursByDesign

Personalized ornaments and bracelets by SimplyYoursByDesign
As the season of serious gift shopping fast approaches, I want to bring attention to these personalized and meaningful gifts. In this review I will show you gifts that are not mass produced, are handmade, and are personalized to your specifications. These are gifts that are meant to last through the years.

Earlier this year I ordered custom metal garden tags from SimplyYoursByDesign and was extremely pleased with both that shopping experience and  the quality of garden tags I received. I expect that the experience with their gift items would be the same.


Engraved Double-Sided Cuff Bracelet


This lovely double-sided cuff bracelet is stamped with one word on the top side and is personalized on the inside.  This example shows the top side word as "blessed". That word can be exchanged for a word of your choice. The inside is a list of names separated by hearts. Perhaps the names of someone's children? Or a proud grandparent's grandchildren?

The top side could be engraved with the word "remember" with an important quote on the inside. Or perhaps "never forget" on the top side with a date or memorial on the inside. 

These bracelets can be as personal and unique as you can imagine - within the character limits of course. And they are available in several different metals.


engraved cuff bracelets by SimplyYoursByDesign

Engraved Metal Ornaments - Personalized for Your Family or Theirs


Many families have ornaments that they use year after year. And eventually pass down through the generations. A wonderful tradition that is even better when the ornaments don't just say "Baby's First Christmas" but also includes baby's name! 

My readers are probably more imaginative than I am and can probably come up with some fantastic ideas for ornaments. These are the ideas I've had for meaningful ornaments:
  • gift for grandparent with the grandchildren's names
  • baby's first Christmas
  • special dates or events that have occurred 
  • family name ornament
  • parent ornament listing the children's names
  • memorial ornament - to always remember
  • ornament for pet
  • couple's first Christmas together (imagine the same ornament of a different metal each subsequent year!)

some of the MANY ornament possibilities offered by SimplyYoursByDesign

SimplyYoursByDesign on Etsy


customized garden tags
As I mentioned, I had ordered personalized garden tags earlier this year (see that review here) and as a result, I continue to recommend SimplyYoursByDesign

When you order your personalized item, remember that this is a small family business and the items are engraved by hand. If you are a last-minute shopper and desire instant gratification, these are probably not the gifts for you. The folks at SimplyYoursByDesign list the current production time on their policies page, so be aware of that when you are considering ordering.

If you are looking for a special and personal gift for someone (or maybe for yourself) these may be just the things you were looking for. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How to Make a Personalized Ornament or Decorative Tile to Honor or Remember a Much Loved Pet

Wouldn't you like an ornament of your pet hanging on your Christmas tree?


Eldon the Cat Yawning, © B. Radisavljevic
Eldon the Cat Yawning, © B. Radisavljevic
Pets are an important part of the family, but unlike your children, they can't make special ornaments to hang on the tree.  They can, however, have their pictures displayed on customized ornaments you can create at Zazzle. You know your cat or dog (or rabbit or bird or turtle or whatever pet you have) is full of personality. You probably have a memorable picture of your pet on your computer right now, just waiting to be made into an ornament or decorative tile. 

The process is simple Just follow my links to Zazzle and use my easy directions to customize. I used a former neighbor's cat, Eldon, as my model, since I don't have any pets at this time. Eldon has already crossed the Rainbow Bridge. An ornament is a great way  to memorialize him,  as you might want to do for a pet who is no longer with you. During the holidays, we miss those who are gone the most. That certainly includes our pets.


Sarah the Cat Sitting, © B. Radisavljevic
Sarah the Cat Sitting, © B. Radisavljevic
And don't forget your friends. Maybe you have a pet sitter who would like an ornament or decorative tile with your pet's picture for Christmas. Maybe your children who have moved away from home and left the family pet behind would appreciate a decorative tile or trivet to remember them all year. Or maybe you have a great shot of a friend's pet that friend would appreciate as an ornament or decorative tile. Just use your imagination and you will soon know what to give those people who won't really tell you what they want, but they really do love their pets. These ornaments don't even have to hang on a tree. They can  hang anywhere you can attach them so you enjoy them all year. 

How to Customize an Ornament for Your Pet Keepsake

You met Eldon above. Now let's see him on a premium square ornament. There are many shapes you can choose, but because Eldon has a long tail, I had to make a square ornament to squeeze it all in. Square is one of the easiest ornament shapes to work with. 

Just click the ornament images to get to  them on Zazzle.

When you click on Eldon's ornament, it will take you to its product page. I'm now going to change Eldon's ornament into one to memorialize Sarah, my neighbor's cat who visited me daily and hung out on my porch, always there to greet me when I came home, always hoping for the cat treat she knew she'd get from me. She died this year and we miss her. Read about my relationship with and see more pictures of Sarah here. 

This is how you can change the ornament for Eldon to one in honor of your pet, as I did to make mine in honor of Sarah.   

  • On the ornament, you will see the  "Customize it!" button. Click it. The photo will change to a design view with some red boundary lines. 
  • Look to your right under "Customize it!" Scroll past the blue icons. 
  • Look for Eldon with "Change Image" on his right. 
  • To put your pet's picture in, just click to change.
  • Upload a picture from your computer. The picture you upload should be at least 2" square, 300 pixels resolution, and in png format. 
  • Use the buttons over where you changed the photo, to increase or decrease the size of the photo in the frame to fit or fill it. you can also use buttons to move the image up and down, left and right. Just play with it. You want to keep the image within the inner red box to keep it from being cropped. Test by clicking the button underneath to change to art view. That shows you how your finished product will look. 
  • Above where I changed the image, you can change the text to match your pet's name and date, to remove any text, or to change the text to whatever you want to say. While the square is still around your text, you can drag it wherever in the product you want it to be. 
  • As you scroll down the right side, you can change the background color or the ornament's shape and style.   I normally pick my style first and then fiddle with the images and text, either of which you can change from this screen.

If your image doesn't look quite right, you can use the "arrange" or "edit" drop down menus, or you can mouse over the icons to see what they do and use them to make your picture large enough to fill all the space or smaller to  fit better. You can play with them until your ornament looks the way you want it to. The previews where you choose your shapes shows you how  your photo will look in those other shapes. When your ornament is just right, use the big blue/orange button near the top right to "Add to Cart." (It's blue until the mouse turns it orange.)

Here's how Sarah's ornament turned out. Notice that I dragged the text to a location where it would show better.



Now Let's Look at Some Other Ornament Styles



First, meet Nicki. She was the shiest of one neighbor's cats and she didn't like to pose. I was lucky to get her at all. I have put her on a premium round ornament, and her photo had to be 2.13" x 1.25," resolution 300, png format. Larger pictures will also work, but they shouldn't be any smaller. The important thing to remember about round ornaments is that the subject should be easy to center. Before you choose a shape, be sure your photo can conform to it. 



Let's Look at the Ceramic Ornaments You Can Make from Your Pet's Pictures


Let's meet Pumpkin, the most docile of my previous neighbor's cats. She's a sweetheart, but I had to get candid shots. I have her on a ceramic round ornament. You can use the customize button to switch pictures and text. Your picture should be about 1150 pixels in diameter, 300 resolution, and png format. 
See how easy it was to get her centered? 

Ceramic ornaments have two sides you can fill and you have a lot of design flexibility. Be sure to customize both sides by clicking under the ornament to choose the front or back to work with. I put the date on the  back side, leaving the front for just the photo. You can also make both sides identical. 







Zazzle is playing around with their image links and in some cases below you will see the design, not the actual ornament. If you click the title link of the ornament, it will take you to how the design will look on the ornament, and you will also have the option of choosing the design in a different shape.

Here are some other appealing kitty ornaments you might get ideas from. This one has a frame. Just click through and put your cat into the frame.


The heart-shape ornament is also very popular. Here are some of my favorites.
This ornament is two sided. It features two photos of the same cat. I show you the back side here. One could also choose to put a picture of two  different pets on the two different sides -- maybe even a cat and a dog. 

And, lest you think I'm anti-dog, here is an ornament featuring a canine pet.


Some photos will do well on the oval shape. I like this one.

Puppy Kitten Snow Cabin Christmas Ornament

I think the star is the most complicated shape to fit a photo into, but here's one that worked well. 

If You'd Like a Pet Keepsake Larger than an Ornament to Display All Year, Make a Decorative Tile or Trivet


For a tile such as the one below, use a 4.25" x 4.25" picture, 300 resolution, png format. If you want some wiggle room, you might make your picture a bit larger to make sure it will fill the space. You can, of course, also add words. When you click through to the product page, you can customize with your own picture and words, but you will also have the option of adding a frame to make this a trivet or a box, for which this would be a decorative top. One tile gives you three different options. Here are what some others have done.

Are You Inspired to Make an Ornament or Tile to Honor Your Pet Yet?

I hope I've given you some inspiration and some practical help on how to do it. Please use the comment section for feedback, questions I've not answered, more ideas for using pet ornaments, or just to let me know you were here.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zazzle Ornaments- Create a Special Memory

Share a Special Memory with a Customized Ornament

Last year my sister took a trip to Africa to enjoy a safari. Here is an ornament I made from one of her photographs from the trip. Ornaments that depict special trips bring back those memories each year when you put the ornaments on the tree.




Zazzle Ornaments come in a Variety of Shapes

You can make your own ornaments on Zazzle or choose from one of the hundreds that are listed on their site.  Here are a few of the different shapes for Zazzle ornaments.  All of these shown are from my photograph collection.


Ornaments make Special Gifts

Zazzle ornaments can be customized with a text of your choice.  I put the persons name and the date on the back of these ornaments.  I have made my granddaughters ornaments picking their favorite animals or characters from that year and then customizing them with the year and their name.




Favorite Ornaments by Review This Authors





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