Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday crafts:

     Last year at this time, I was up to my elbows in cookie ingredients, literally with flour all over. Our Water Aerobics group, the Water Wonders, decided to have a cookie exchange. Now I had occasionally made a batch or two of Christmas cookies but for this exchange I really did it up good. I made about 6 different kinds of cookies, including bourbon balls, lemon tarts, and cutouts which were very carefully decorated with frosting. Then of course in our cookie exchange I received several other kinds as well. These allowed me to make gift boxes of cookies for many friends and relatives. I had a lot of fun last year.
     This year I couldn't get into the cookie mood. In fact, I really shouldn't get into that mood. Nibbling on such goodies does my diabetes no good whatsoever. So I decided to utilize some of the many old Christmas cards that both I and some of my family members have collected. On one of our past cruises, on Oceania, Nautica, we had a resident artist who really was a crafter. She taught us several different paper crafts -- making luggage tags, bookmarks, handmade books, and even beads and other jewelry from paper and glue. I decided to use my colorful Christmas cards to make bookmarks. As of this date, I have completed 30 of these bookmarks. I plan to give one along with instructions showing how they were made to every member of my Water Wonders group at our yearly Holiday luncheon. I think these items turned out really well. Below are the instructions I made up and printed out to be distributed along with the colorful bookmarks.

Happy Holidays to everyone in our Water Wonders
   Here is a little remembrance from me to you. It is handmade with bright Holiday colors to help your celebrations and your quiet moments be perfect! Instructions for constructing these bookmarks follow. Start with a stack of colorful used Christmas or Chanukkah greeting cards, as shown below.


Cut these cards the longest way into narrow strips about ½ inch wide. It helps here if you have a flatbed paper trimmer as shown, but it is possible to draw lines on the cards and use scissors to cut all the strips. Be sure all strips are exactly ½ inch in width. Below you see a stack of cut strips laying on the flatbed trimmer and another card ready to be cut.

Below, these ½ inch strips are being arranged on 8.5 X 11 inch white paper. Any quality of paper may be used for this stage and color does not matter. But magazine or thin paper may buckle more with the gluing. I used printer paper. Use about 12 to 14 strips depending on how long you would like the bookmark to be.

Below you see the finished first gluing. Be sure that all edges are tightly glued. I used Elmer’s rubber cement, but it is also possible to use just Elmer’s white glue or even a glue stick. There may be some buckling with the white glue, and you may have to press the sheet under a book when dry. Below are the sheets that have undergone the first gluing.

 Below, the glued strip sheet is ready to be cut again in ½ inch strips. Cut at right angles to the glued strips.

  Below, the ½ inch strips from the second cutting are being laid out on 8.5 X 11 inch cardstock of a coordinating color (in this case, red). That cardstock will only be seen on the back of the bookmark. By staggering the vertical strips, you can see that the bookmark takes on a pixelated or woven appearance. The scenes of the cards are no longer recognizable. You may make the bookmarks 3 strips wide, or 5 strips wide. I also made some book marks 4 strips wide and then they become pleasantly asymetrical. Again use glue to securely fasten these strips to the cardstock.

Below you see bookmarks ready to be cut out of the purple cardstock that I chose for these strips

Above you can see some of the cutout bookmarks. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the top of the bookmark. Finishing is done by stringing several strands of coordinating thin ribbons through the hole. They then may be secured by tying a cord around them leaving the ends of the cord extending. If desired, beads or buttons may be knotted at the end of some of the thinner ribbons or on the cord.

Above is a finished bookmark that is 5 strips wide.This is the model bookmark that I had made on the Oceania ship, Nautica. I also took one extra step with my current bookmarks. I was concerned that some of the strips were not securely glued so I coated the entire front of the bookmarks with a layer of matte Modpodge. This acts as a glue and makes the bookmark more durable. Where there was metallic strips, I wiped the Modpodge off because it subdues the metallic effect.

. Below are examples of the many colored bookmarks I have made as little momento gifts for my Water Wonder friends.


      Enjoy your bookmarks. Maybe next year braided greeting card bookmarks or woven bookmarks.

Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays,