Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busy month Decembers are!

It is a time of decorations and lights, parties and food, performances and plays, family and fun. A time to remember its Christ's birthday we are celebrating before we get lost in the busyness of it all. I found that I waited too long to do some of the things I had wanted to do with my students and friends sadly. Next year I will work on starting earlier. My decorations are still coming together slowly, I need to finish those up too. Why is it that I am dragging with everything this year? I did manage to get my cards painted and printed, a family photo taken and included in the cards. I also managed to make some gingerbread cookie dough and spent yesterday baking cookies with the girls. I told them to add some raisins and red hots to make eyes and mouths but don't add too many. Not wanting to inhibit their creative flow I watched as they decorated the gingerbread men to death,I did end up limiting the decorations so we actually would taste the cookie which, by the way, looked and tasted delicious when all was said and done! Some of the small cookies didn't survive the finger assault that happened on the pan while being decorated. We ended up with many limbless cookies that we had to eat since they were too small to go into their cookie dishes.

I also have been working on some hand made gifts. I love gourds for some reason. No one, including my husband, can seem to figure out my fascination with gourds. I buy them, grow them, decorate them, burn them and save them! LOL These are pear gourds, and I love this simple covered dish I make by first cleaning the gourd and then drawing the upside down flower for the lid. Gourds are dried and when they are completely dry they dirty skin needs to be washed off. It leaves a wonderful mottled design on their hard surface that will accept stains and paints easily.
Not cleaned yet!
After they are cleaned with just some warm water and a scrubber sponge or steelwool I draw on my design. I then take my small jigsaw and cut out the flower designed lid. I have to make a small opening in the gourd to insert the blade, this can be dangerous if that knife slips so be careful! After cutting out the top I clean the inside out. It is filled with seeds and dried innards! I am allergic to the dust so I wear a mask and that seems to stop the lung irritation that happens when I saw or clean them.
I now burn the design into them, adding some shading and decorative elements. At this point, once I am happy with the whole design I will decide whether I like the stem or if I want to add a decorative hardware pull as the top to the gourd. On this one the stem was broken off so I drilled into the top and put on the hardware. I then us leather dyes to stain the inside of the gourd and let it dry. It dries rather quickly if its warm but it was cold so it took about an hour. I then use the same leather dyes to paint the outside of the gourd, the flower and leaves. You can either leave it natural or paint it, they both look great and its just personal preference. Once they are dry I spray them with a high gloss sealer, but leaving them natural is nice too! Its all about how I am feeling at that moment. 
Just the top flower and inside is stained at this point

All done

another view

These make wonderful gifts and the top lifts off in the shape of the flower revealing a hidden place to store things. I love covered jars and this one is perfect. Let me know what you have been doing this Christmas season, also share any home made items you have done as gifts. I like those the best. It is easy to buy things, its so much more personal to make something unique.


Judy said...

Amazing what you do with those gourds! They look beautiful, a wonderful gift!

vivien said...

lovely! so pretty

messy cookery looks fun too

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