December 9, 2014

Dog-Inspired Xmas Windows and Forced Xmas Crafting

If you've followed the blog for a while, you know that every Christmas my sisters and I get together to paint my one sister's windows. It's always a dog theme, featuring her pup Indy. (Last year was Fleas Navidad. If you'd like to see a retrospective of some of my faves, check out the guest post I did at Peggy's The Writer's Dog blog 2 years ago.)

This year, we also did a bit of "forced crafting." That's what my family calls it when someone gets the idea to do a little crafting project, and the rest of us are forced to join in. (It's like a forced march, but more fun. And you end up with cute things to bring home.) I'll share pics and how-to instructions from our craft at the end of the post for those who like to get crafty!

Now, back to the windows. This year the theme was Muttly Kalikimaka, so of course we have Indy on a sandy beach wearing a lei, with the ocean behind her. 
On the side windows, we have a hula dancing squirrel and a squirrel shooting the curl. 

Here's the whole thing together.

On the other side of the house, my sis always puts her tree in the window, so we have some accompanying palm trees:


Too cute, right? (BTW, that is part of the process of painting the windows - you have to run outside to look at your work every 5 minutes, and squeal over how cute it is.)

Forced Crafting
This year's forced crafting was ornaments for the tree made of buttons. First we made some adorable (if we do say so ourselves) snowmen, based on a photo my sis had from a magazine. Then, because we had a lot of green buttons my sis had ordered online, we decided to make trees. We just made those up on our own.
Click to bigify if you want to see details
So, here's HOW TO! 

You'll need:
* A big stash of Christmasy-color buttons
* 20 gauge jewelry wire
* Some narrow ribbon

They're super easy to make! First, comb through that stash of buttons you've been saving for no-good purpose. Now's their chance to shine! Pull out some small brown ones (tree trunks), white, black, red, and green of varying sizes. If you have any fun buttons, like stars, hearts or bows, those make cute tree toppers. 

Cut a piece of wire about 9 or 10 inches and fold it back on itself to make a long skinny U. You'll thread the buttons on here and also use it to form the hook.

For the snowman: you'll need 4 white buttons for the body of varying sizes. Thread them onto the wire, smallest first, then the next in size, then the biggest, then a smaller one again. Then put a red button (it's under the ribbon scarf, so not really visible in the pics). Thread 3 more white buttons on for the head. Then a big flat black button for the brim of his hat, then another red for his hat band, then 2 more smaller black buttons. Twist the wires tightly together at the top, form a little loop end to feed some ribbon through, and then twist that end down. (You can make it nice and tight using a needle-nosed pliers.) Snip off any excess wire. Use ribbon to make a scarf and a loop for hanging. 

For the tree: thread 3 small brown buttons onto another piece of wire for the trunk. Then you'll need about 10-12 green buttons. You can vary them like I did (the tree with the red star) or graduate them from biggest to smallest like my sis did (the tree with the bow). For my tree, I just twisted the wire tightly at the top, and trimmed one end close while forming the other end into a hook for hanging. I used some gold wired trim my sis had to thread through the red star button and twist it onto the top of the tree. Then I just kept going with the gold trim, winding it around the tree to look like garland. I twisted it tightly at the bottom between the "tree" and the "trunk" and cut the excess off.

When my sis got to the top of her tree, she also twisted the wire tight at the top, then threaded one end through the white bow button, and used the other end to form a loop for a hanger. The two ends are twisted together, and hidden behind the bow.

That's it! You're done! Sorry I was so wordy!


Do you like to get crafty?

Thanks to Blogpaws for hosting Wordless Wednesday!

41 comments:

  1. Wow, fun ideas! I aint good at crafting but i love to watch what others make :)

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    1. These were pretty darn easy. Probably even a non-crafty sort could do it!

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  2. What great ideas! Love the button snowman!

    Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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  3. Love those wild Christmas windows! Saw your FB photos of the ornaments - my fave are those trees. So sweet!

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    1. I thought those trees came out so cute! Especially considering we just made up the idea!

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  4. Oh my gosh adorable. Love the windows and the ornaments.

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  5. Those are some real talented squirrels lol

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    1. The squirrels are my fave part - esp'y the surfer dude.

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  6. Thanks for posting about my windows and the cute ornaments (if we do say so ourselves).

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    1. Thanks for sending the good pics! SO cute! :)

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  7. Those button ornaments are GREAT! Love the unique tactile quality all its own (like Lego in this way, but very different)! Also, the squirrel "shooting a curl" is paralyzing me because it comes the one thing I love to chase the most with the one thing I love to run away from the most. What a predicament! And what talented artists. :) *wags* - Gilligan from wagsahoy.com

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    1. Hmmm. Yes, Rita must feel the same. Loves to chase the squirrels, but fears the waves... A predicament indeed! :)

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  8. I am not even slightly 'crafty', but I do enjoy looking at other people's talented efforts :)
    So, thanks for sharing!

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    1. If you had a crafty person handy to help, you could totally make these. They were dead easy.

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  9. thank you for sharing how to make those...they are so cute.
    stella rose

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  10. LOVE the windows!! You always do such a fabulous job! Thanks for showing us how to be crafty!

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  11. I love the window painting but it must take a big effort to wash it off later!

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    1. Yeah, luckily I don't have to help with that part. :) We just help with the fun part.

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  12. Uhmm no but we enjoy seeing everyone else's craftiness! Love Dolly

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    1. It's hard to be crafty when you don't have opposable thumbs, eh, Dolly?!

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  13. If only you lived close by... We could do Harley and friends "Doodling all the way!" Nice windows, puts me in the holiday spirit!

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    1. You could totally do it I bet. You should try! I have instructions for how to do the painting in the blog post I did for Peggy.

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  14. I love your family traditions of painting and assembling your own decorations instead of just picking up something from the store that anyone can buy, usually made in China. It must have been fun growing up in your family,

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    1. We have tons of handmade ornaments from over the years. I used to ALWAYS make some kind of handmade ornament every year, starting from when I was really little. I missed a lot of years in there, but it was fun to do it again this year. And, yes, I agree - so much nicer to have than something cranked out in China. And, yes, it was pretty fun growing up in our family. :)

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  15. Not that crafty here but love your ideas and love homemade ornaments. Have a great week X Susie and Kilo the Rescue Pug

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    Replies
    1. Aren't homemade ornaments always so fun? Even if they're a little wonky, they're still the best!

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  16. Those are absolutely adorable and look like something I could do with my grandkids! Now to just find the time and forcecraft those kids. LOL

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  17. Those window paintings are so cute!! I wish I was more artistic!!

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  18. It all turned out so cute! I love the windows, and I'm so glad you shared how you made the button ornaments! Too cute!

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  19. really cute I love the mutty one!

    retro rover

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  20. OMD! Muttly Kalikimaka?! What, are you competing with Pup Fan of I Still Want More Puppies for the post of Punmaster General?

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    1. Oh goodness no! I could never compete with the Queen of Puns!

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  21. awesome window! The flea's one is still my favorite! I saw the ornaments on FB and loved them you did a great job at forced crafting.

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  22. Those are really cute. Makes me wish I was decorating this year!

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  23. I'll bet you had a lot of fun with that project. Hey,,,speaking of puppy smooches, please visit me to see my Dec. 12 post,,,,hint,,hint,,,it involves puppy smooches.

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  24. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of going to my grandmother's, where she always had a craft project for us. I'm not really crafty...but I think I could manage the buttons, those are really cute!

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