Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Hysteria and How to Come out Alive - By Karen McGovern

Happy Holidays! Whatever.

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is this Thursday. BUT, I only realized that on this past Sunday. That sound you heard around 1:00 EST wasn't a cat being boiled alive--it was me screaming because my husband pointed out that T-day is THIS FREAKING THURSDAY. I swear, I had no idea. I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that the holiday was near-ish, but THIS THURSDAY? Naw.....Seriously? I DIDN'T EVEN MAKE A HAND-TURKEY THIS YEAR! Sigh....

This gives you an idea of just how out of touch I am with the calendar. And how I end up in a mad scramble to fulfill social, work and family obligations during the holidays.

Like many of us artist-types, this time of year is usually one of two things--a happy time of blissful creativity or a total black hole of whatever the complete opposite of inspiration is...Anti-inspiriation? That's me this year. I find that whenever I feel like I HAVE to make art, I can't. I feel totally tapped out and have no muse whispering great ideas in my ear. It's like my brain RESENTS feeling obligated to pump out work because of a season or holiday. Maybe my muse is secretly the Grinch, I have no idea. Holidays are tough--I haven't been in the studio for over 2 weeks now, even though I have custom stuff waiting to finish and a couple galleries asking for holiday work. BLAAAAHHHHHH. I need an elf (preferably an adorable guy elf that bears a REMARKABLE resemblance to Colin Farrell (that ACCENT!)) to come kick me in the ass or something....maybe if I drown in enough peppermint mochas from Starbucks (with an extra shot of espresso because, holidays) I'll get in the spirit. Wish me luck...

He's so DREAMY...

BUT, I have some go-to ideas that I will share with you now that still let your friends and family know that you are an artist in real life and want to give a lovely gift that reflects that, yet won't kill you to create while trying to keep a smile on your face that doesn't make you look like a frustrated serial killer. 

My best, bestest, BESTEST friend during the holidays are the plastic (or glass if you are feeling super fancy) clear round ornaments sold at Michaels and just about every other store selling holiday ornament stuff. These babies are PERFECT FOR SOOOOOO MANY THINGS!! So, here are three things you can do this year using clear ornaments that are easy, fun, and totally gift-worthy even for your picky, judgmental Aunt Sarah.

1. Jewelry inside the ornament. Pop the aluminum top off the appropriately sized ornament, add a loop of wire through the holes already in the top and hang a dainty pair of earrings or a pretty little bracelet (that YOU MADE) from the hoop, then slip it all back inside the ornament. Create a pretty tag to add to the top and hang on the tree. VIOLA! You just ROCKED CHRISTMAS.

2. Print some cherished family photos, loosely curl them till they fit inside the ornament. Pop the aluminum top off, place the rolled up photo inside, then open the photo using a chopstick. Old black and white photos are amazing displayed this way, perfect for the family member who just got married, had a baby, got a new dog, cat, monkey, lion...whatever. Add a tag, hang on the tree. YOU ARE THE COOLEST FAMILY MEMBER IN THE ROOM.

3. Get totally FANCY, ECO AND STUFF by creating tiny terrariums using these ornaments. It's actually VERY EASY. Stuff some moss (available at any garden center) in the ornament, then add tiny air plants or succulents. Click the link for a detailed how-to on creating terrarium ornaments. I love this idea sooo much. Craftsy, but not boring, and beautiful. Add the tag, hang on the tree and GET USED TO SAYING "YOU'RE WELCOME" OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Is this cool OR WHAT?????

If that doesn't float your boat and you want to make something a bit more time consuming but very cool and fun, make ornaments using your scrap wire and sheet. This is great for using up bits of mixed metals and wire. Stamp or etch the date, cold connect or solder, go crazy. Look at your  pile of wire and scrap sheet like puzzle pieces and create some super-cool ornaments ala Picasso, or Dali. Cut a simple shape from scrap sheet (star, round, heart) then cold connect bits of this and that using micro screws or rivets. I love the star and heart shown here. The heart is made from two layers acrylic sheet (available at Home Depot) with music sheet sandwiched inside, then riveted together. EASY AND SO LOVELY! I can imagine doing this with my favorite poem or holiday text. Make something personal!!!! Dream catcher-style ornaments are also especially beautiful and fun to make. Use mid gauge wire (14 to 16) to create the hoop, use finer wire (20 to 22) to create the spiderweb inside (wrap it and go nuts, there is no "wrong" way to do this), then dangle chain, beads, feathers and whatnot below. The nice thing about this idea is that the finished design can be kept out and displayed any time, not just the holidays--AND you used up scraps in a great way!

Do you have fun, go-to craft/gift ideas for the holdiays? DO SHARE!!! I hope  you all have a peaceful, joyous holiday season and spend an embarrassing amount of time hugging your friends, family, pets and total strangers. It's good for the soul.....



stacilouise said...

I love making ornaments!!!! Thanks for sharing this. Really liking the photo in the clear ball idea!!! VERY personal and thoughtful!

I hear you about feeling like you HAVE to do things. I have been feeling it this week too, with needing to fill the shop with items. so instead I procrastinated and made new things. Now I have even more work to do to list them all for my holiday thank you sale. :sigh: I need a manager and an elf too

Fleur De Lis fine jewelry said...

Great blog. Happy Thanksgiving you too!

CraftyHope said...

Oh, these are such cute ideas. I LOVE the clear ornament with the earrings inside idea. So simple, so classy!
And those two ornaments are so fab too!
Thanks for the inspiration!

aviral jain said...

Thanks for sharing such an important post on jewellery photography and ya jewellery photography is one of the hardest. The technique of using aluminium foil to avoid shadows is also awesome.

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