Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

Okay, here it is... the blog post I promised.

I've been working frantically on Christmas stuff for my Etsy shop for the last several weeks because I realized at the beginning of November that I really needed to have Christmas things listed by Thanksgiving.  Of course that meant designing, creating, photographing, writing descriptions, and listing several items in just a matter of weeks.  Hence, no time for blogging or anything else. 

Anyway, so here's a little bit about my journey to getting Christmas ornaments in my shop.

My first idea was to make 4 different snowflake canes in translucent (snowflakes) and white (backgrounds) so that I could place them over a colored base layer and have the snowflakes be any pastel color I wanted.  That's where I hit my first snag.  I apparently can't make a pretty snowflake cane to save my life.  This is what I came up with:
The only one that looks even remotely like a snowflake to me is the bottom right one.  (The top right is actually leftover from the center of the bottom right.)

But I made the ornament I had in mind anyway:
Except for the snowflakes that look more like kaleidoscopes, it turned out pretty much how I imagined.  Of course, it didn't go all smoothly.  I had it propped on a skewer on my work table, waiting to be baked when my 18month-old decided it looked like a lollipop (she loves to chew clay anyway-she doesn't swallow it, just chews it up and spits it out) and took a couple of bites out of it.  Luckily, I had extra strings and was able to fix it up good as new.

All in all, I decided I'd had enough of that idea and scrapped it for now.  I might revisit it next year.

So, I thought I'd try some traditional polyclay filigree this time:
It turned out gorgeous if I do say so myself.  However, it took probably 10 hours or more to make and I'm not sure I love doing filigree on a round surface enough to make these to sell.  Oh, well, another ornament for me.

BTW, you wanna know what happens when your clay is done and you just turn the oven off and leave your project in there and forget about it and then later you go to make dinner and you turn on the broiler to preheat and all of a sudden the house is full of this terrible burning plastic smell and you realize you still had clay in the oven that is now getting broiled?  Take a look:
Yeah, I'm using plastic bulbs for a base and needless to say, they didn't stand up to the heat any better than the clay did.  It's a good thing Christmas tree ornaments only show on one side at a time 'cause I hung it on the tree anyway.

I was trying to come up with something pretty, unusual and relatively quick and enjoyable to make.  Here's the one that finally made it in my Etsy shop:
It took a little engineering to get all of the petals lined up so that they covered the entire bulb and still looked like a flower but I think I was successful.

Next I wanted to try some different colors.  I Googled poinsettias and found out that they come in almost any color but I chose a few of the more traditional ones.

 Blue (although I think the veins should have been skinnier):
And last but not least, pink:
So, that's what I've got in there now.  I've also done some mini ornaments that I will have to blog about later.

Oh, and one last one that I am still experimenting with and trying to decide whether I like it or not.  The photos aren't very good but it's teal and silver.  The skinny stripes were done using a mica shift technique  so they sparkle two different ways.  
Side view:
Top view:
Bottom view:

Hey, let me know what you think and if you have any other ideas for me to try.


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