Monday, December 9, 2013

A Better Skater's Waltz Holiday Wreath

The more I looked at it, the Skater's Wreath I showed you in the previous post, the less I liked it. Back to the store for more greens plus a $10 wreath (originally $25). Now I'm truly happy with the results.
I call these "Good, Better, and Best."


Here's the one I showed you in the tutorial posted a few days. Scroll down to the previous post for the how-tos and a different version of this idea.


Here's the second version with more greens and another spray of poinsettia. Now it has better balance! I just tucked the pieces in behind the ones already "tied" to the skate and anchored the new ones to the old with a green twist tie. Much better!


And finally, I added the wreath behind the skate,  "tying" the skate to the wreath with another twist tie. I used another long twist tie to fashion a hanging loop on the back. I think this is the best--with lots more presence on our front door!

What do you think? Actually, I'm happy with either Better or Best!

Hope you're not too cold--it is frigid here in Washington state--unusually so. BRRR. Reminds me of living in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Maine. I'll take rain over this, to be sure!

Wishing you happy holiday preparations!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Skater's Waltz Holiday "Wreath"

Inspired by Pinterest

I've been collecting photos on Pinterest featuring wreaths and other door decorations for Christmas. Of all the ones I pinned, I most loved those featuring a vintage skate as the container for a winter "floral" arrangement. I pinned several and my Skater's Waltz combined ideas from several. I found a pair of skates in an antique mall in the summer, snatched them up, and tucked them away for Christmas crafting. I'm thinking about placing a green wreath behind it as a backdrop—but maybe I'll do that next year. Time is running out! I was surprised at how little time it took to complete not one, but two—one to give as gift. Directions below are for one skate. Have fun—there's still time to make one and enjoy it for the months of December and January!

Materials for One Skate

  • 1 vintage ice skate
  • 2-1/2 yards 3/8"-wide patterned Christmas ribbon for the "shoestrings"
  • Assorted floral or novelty sprays—you will need several so buy more than you think you will need; I used a spray of poinsettia, a large spray of greens and a smaller one, plus pieces from a second spray of poinsettia
  • Narrow ribbon for the hidden hanger

 Other Supplies and Tools

  • Tissue paper
  • Florist ties or green "twist ties"
  • Craft glue
  • Seam sealant such as Fray Check (not shown in photo below)
  • Scissors with sharp points; also an awl if you have one
  • Wire snips
  • Tapestry needle or other needle with a large eye
  • A piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard to hold the skates upright while you work is helpful, but I didn't have a piece and managed without. 


1. Cut the narrow ribbon for the ties into four even lengths. To create points that will be easier to insert through the eyelets, apply craft glue to the ends and roll to a point. Allow to dry.  

2. Remove the original shoestrings and stuff the toe of each skate with tissue paper.  

3. When the ribbon points are dry, lace the skates until you reach the eyelets. Add more tissue paper to fill in the heel area partially.

4. Arrange floral stems as you like them and test them in the skate. They will probably be too long and you will need to cut away the excess with wire cutters (or an old pair of scissors). You can also bend pieces of the spray to create a pleasing and balanced look. This step is very experimental. Play with stem placement until you are happy with it and how it looks in the skate.

5. Use a green twist tie to hold the pieces in place. Don't just wrap the tie around and around; weave it in and around the stems to secure it in the desired position. Tie off.

6. Tuck the floral arrangement into the skate, along with additional tissue paper to hold it in place. You will secure the spray to the skate in step 9.

7. Support the skate in your lap or in a piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard and complete the lacing, adding more tissue paper if needed. Tie in a bow. Treat the cut ends with seam sealant, saturating about 1/2" of each end. Allow to dry thoroughly.
 When the ribbon ends are dry, cut the ends at an angle, through the "sealed" area.

8. To attach a ribbon hanger, use the points of a sharp scissors (or an awl if you have one) to make a hole in the back of the skate at about the center.

9. Cut an 18" length of the narrow red ribbon and use the tapestry needle to thread it though the hole. Wrap one end around the floral stems to secure it and tie a square knot, snugging it to the skate. Depending on the position of the twist tie, you might be able to pull the ribbon through it too--experiment!

10.  Decide how long you want the hanger and hold both ends of the ribbon together. Tie an overhand knot. Cut the ribbon ends at an angle and treat with seam sealant (Fray Check). You can use a bit of craft glue on the knot and around the hole here if you like. I did because my spray wanted to stray from its desired location in the skate.

11. You may decide at this time to add more floral items in the area below the floral spray to fill in and cover the upper edge for a more finished look. I glued leaves and ferns together and used a bull nose clip to secure them while they dried. Then I glued the pieces to leaves in the floral spray—just in case I want to change the sprays at a later date. The final touch was a pine cone that I removed from extra spray. I always buy extra sprays (at the dollar store if possible) so I have more material for fill-in.

Ta da! It's finished and ready to hang. If necessary, you can bend portions of the floral sprays for the look you want.

Lesson Learned

Now that the skate is hanging on the door, it "lists" to the right, and to me it looks a little off balance with the heavier spay to the right. It would be in better balance if I had located the large spray to the left in the finished skate. So, crafter beware. Work to keep your floral sprays positioned in the skate, with good balance to offset the toe down position of the skate when it's hanging. The one I made for a gift (shown below) does a better job of that.

Great for A Gift

Now you can make another one with the remaining skate to give a friend. For a less traditional look, try brightly colored whimsical "floral" stems, like the glitzy ones I found on sale. I gave my dear friend, Sheryl, the option to choose either skate as her Christmas gift—early—so she could use it. I made the glitzy one for her and that's exactly what she chose. When I told her that it was the one I made for her, she said, "You nailed it!" I loved it too and would have been fine with the glitzy one if she had chosen the one I made for me. 
Notice that I made a glitzy bow to fill in at the lower edge of the arrangement and glued it in place on the floral stems at the upper edge of the skate. I used wire-edged ribbon so I could shape the bow and tail pieces on the finished skate.

Hope you enjoyed this project tutorial.

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!

And Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house and the North Pole. Mrs. Santa is planning some great holiday entertaining so she can show off her new apron. You can too if you use my newest pattern to make your own holiday apron.  You can purchase "A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus" in my craftsy pattern store. Click above or on the photo to get there.

The apron is trimmed with knit fleece at the neckline and ruffle. I took advantage of the stripe and cut the bib and ruffle with stripes running horizontally. However, you can cut it as one piece instead of two, using the pattern pieces provided in the pattern. You can use a stripe, a solid, or other holiday print of your choice. You can also eliminate the ruffle if frilly isn't your style. Directions are included for both versions with clear step-by-step illustrations and photos Pretty pearl buttons and buckle (or gold or silver if you prefer) add the final finishing touches. The one-size pattern will fit most. Why not make two while you're sewing--one for you and one to give away.

Use it for Holiday Decorating

 I posed the finished apron on my antique dress form and decided it made a  great holiday decoration for my sewing room. I don't use my project photo  samples, so I'll tuck the apron away with my holiday decorations when I  "untrim" my tree. I hope to finish decorating today. It's taking me longer due  to my back injuries, but it's a labor of love. I just have to pace myself!

This year I am looking at every ornament before hanging it and if I don't truly "love it," I am setting it aside to share with my grandbabies (now 3 and 5 and not really babies). They will be here in a few days to help decorate the small tree I bought when Kendall was a year old. It will be fun to watch them put the ornaments in their just right place!

In case I don't get back to blogging until after the holidays, I hope yours are cheery and bright, filled with laughter and love! The New Year is just around the corner and I have lots of ideas waiting to stitch and share!

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!