Sunday, 1 December 2013

Two Posts For The Price Of One Today: Anything But A Card. . . . . . Anything Goes!

Hello everyone, at long last I'm back to normal service after the move, unpacking and being too busy to pick up a stamp or paintbrush!

I have two posts for you today so a good way to make my return, I hope!

For my second post, we're off to Anything But A Card for their new challenge which has an open theme this month. The theme and make you choose is completely up to you.  However, if you'd like to start on your Christmas/Holidays crafting, we'd love to see your seasonal creations! You can make absolutely anything you like (except a card) and there's plenty of wonderful inspiration over on the blog from my teamies so why not pop over and have a look by clicking here.

I decided to make a Christmas garland which could be used to decorate one of the fireplaces in my new house - so much fun to be had for me this year! If I can find the time. . . . . . .

Here's how I made my garland - I should warn you that this post is picture heavy:
A rustic style garland with some small fairy lights ready to decorate a fireplace at Christmas.

Here's how I made the garland:

I used a plywood bauble shape and decorated both sides. The first job was to cut some scraps of embossed card and use them to create a patchwork effect on the wooden blank. The centre piece is left plain so that I can either stamp or decorate the piece in some other way. At this stage, the embossed card is given at least two coats of gesso.

The face of the bauble was painted with various shades of Traditions paint followed by some aging washes and DecoArt metallic lustre which was buffed as before.
A wooden snowflake was also painted with Traditions then swiped with metallic lustre and buffed.

The remaining face of the bauble was prepared with gesso and some moulding paste was applied through a stencil across the face. Various colours of DecoArt Traditions were then used to paint the surface. Next a design was stamped using Versamark ink followed by some gold embossing powder. Finally, some areas were highlighted with some dry brushed Metallic Lustre.

I found some bright orange tree pop outs in a magazine and thought they would be perfect templates for my garland. I drew round each shape the required number of times on scrap envelope card and cut them out. The hanging holes were made using a crop a dile.
The tree shapes are embossed in a Christmas style folder.
Each shape was covered with DecoArt gesso three times (back and front) to seal the surface. I watered the gesso down a little to avoid losing definition on the embossed surface.
Some of the trees were painted sap green from DecoArt's Traditions range. Always apply a number of coats with this colour as it's fairly translucent. Both sides of each shape were painted.
The remaining trees were painted with warm white from the Traditions range, on both sides.
Next step was to apply some DecoArt metallic lustre to the surfaces of the trees. I used some cut and dry foam on the flat black side to do this - this means that you get the lustre where you want it - well, mostly!

After a few minutes, the lustre was buffed with some kitchen paper to achieve a good shine.

Each tree section was crackled using DecoArt Perfect Crackle followed by a rub of Traditions raw umber which was left to semi dry then wiped back with a baby wipe to leave the paint only in the crackle.

The trees were then assembled and some hanging twine was added through the top hole.

Some crystal drops were tied with twine to hang from the garland, followed by some metal ball shaped buttons as seen below:

Some rusty wire was tied to the central hanging piece and given curly ends. This helped to stabilise the heavier hanging bauble shape.
Some thick rope and jute pieces were plaited together and held at the ends with knots and more curly rusty wire. The garland was hung in place to check for size.
Some white fairy lights were wound around the plait for extra effect. It's very difficult to photograph this piece successfully - it's one of those you need to see close up to get the full effect. (hence all the close ups!).

Plaited garland hanger detail.

My apologies to all those of you who prefer not to see Christmas this early - it only appears on my blog at this stage of the month - not in my house - I promise you!

Why not join in our challenge at Anything But A Card this month? You don't have to go with a seasonal make remember, the theme is 'Anything Goes' so make whatever you like, for whenever you like!

So pleased to be back and really hoping to visit you all very soon. Thank you for bearing with me this year - so many things going on!


  1. Such lovely makes Julia...I especially like the round "ball" with parts of the wall in brown and gold...gorgeous...
    Nice to see your work again....hugs, Alie :-)

  2. What an inspirational post, Julia - amazing detailing and techniques, and a result that is both vintage and fabulously modern and chic - a brilliant, brilliant piece of work!
    Alison xx

  3. Spectacular!
    Adore the texture and all that fabulous additions, who can resist crystals.
    P.S. Glad you are settled in your new home.

  4. Wow, Julia,

    not only do I envy you for this wonderful fireplace but your ornaments are incredibly beautiful too! Awesome crafting and such a perfect addition to your fireplace! Thank you for the stepxstep images too - I so enjoyed reading your post!

    Hugs and have a wonderful 1st advent!

    Claudia x

  5. Really wonderful garland Julia...fantastic texture and I love unusual Christmas colours!

  6. What a beautiful project Julia, & a great tute! Glad you're finally getting sorted, & crafting again.
    Lovely day today wasn't it? Good to see you, & I hope you got home safe.
    Hugs (another one!)
    Alison xxx

  7. Fabulous decorations Julia, love the rustic feel and textures on them. Hope you are settling well into your new home.
    hugs {brenda} x0x

  8. Fabulous garland Julia with some wonderful paint effect! Love it! Really like the look of your fire place too!

  9. Ohh...more of those fabulous ornaments and the entire garland is wonderful! I love the whole rustic feel of this!

  10. Gorgeous gorgeous projects ....hope all went smoothly and would love to hear from you for a proper catch up when things have settled x hugs x

  11. Fabulous the step-by-step photos and instructions: thank you! Your fireplace also looks amazing! You look as if you are going to have much fun decorating. Loooooove it! Cheers, Di

  12. This is such a pretty garland and I can see the sparkle!!! WOW!!!! that is some fabulous mantelpiece too xxx

  13. Wow, such a breathtaking decoration - love it.

  14. Gorgeous, Julia ~~~ I want to come over and ogle these in person!

  15. Oh I am bad... I thought I visited as soon as I saw all this textured shining artiness Julia. Well I'm here now and still loving the textured golden loveliness.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Juliax