Impressions Ornaments

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I saw this leaf imprint necklace at Happy Hour Projects and I thought it was neat. While I wasn’t that interested in the jewelry aspect of it, I thought that the technique would make for some great Christmas ornaments. What you need to do this is simply some oven-bake polymer clay (like Sculpey) and some leaves or other items to make impressions in the clay. Everything else, the silicone work surface, the craft paint, the bits and bobs, those are all up to you. A note on polymer clay – it is not food-safe. Whatever you use to cut or otherwise work the clay should not be used for food items.

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So. Grab your clay. I used a plain white. Work some of it between your hands to soften it and then flatten it onto your work surface. I’d aim for a thickness between 1/8″ and 1/4″.

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Then take a leaf or whatever else you’d like to impress, and place it on the clay. This leaf is about 2″ wide, to give you an idea of scale.

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Press the leaf into the surface of the clay so that it leaves a full and detailed impression. You won’t get as much detail with the small leaves on polymer clay as you would on natural clay (like with the clay leaf bowls) simply because the substance is more resilient.

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Carefully remove the leaf and then cut it out with a cookie cutter or knife. You can cut it off-centre or however you would like. I’m not grading you on these.

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Use a skewer or some other pokey object to put a hole through for stringing.

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We even got Grenadier in on the action, though he wasn’t happy about it. If you want him to step on something, suddenly his paw is a delicate flower and he can do no harm. If you don’t want him to step on something, he will immediately put his full 40lbs of weight behind it.

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So these impressions were not as deep as I would like.

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But they worked out well enough that I figured they’d do.

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Place your finished items on a sheet of parchment and bake at 275°F for 15 minutes per 1/4″ of thickness of your clay. Let them cool completely before handling.

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Done.

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Now we paint. If you want. I used some craft paint  and a small paintbrush to swipe colour over the impression.

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This one I used a dry paper towel to wipe it off, which left the colour on the majority of the ornament.

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This one I just filled in the leaf part as close as I could.

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Then I used a wet flannel cloth to wipe it gently off.

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The Gren ones took a few applications of paint.

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Then I strung them with some hemp line and some wee bells.

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These would make a great addition to your gift wrap arsenal, a cute personalized stocking stuffer, or you could give a few to a person just starting to collect their own Christmas ornaments.

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(Paperless) Towels

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I don’t have a super long post for you today, because Krystopf and Atlas finally (after being fogged out and stuck in Halifax for a day) made it to Newfoundland this weekend and we only just got rid of them — I mean, bid them a fond farewell.

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But I would like to know how you folks feel about paper towels.  Have you managed to eradicate them completely from your lives?  Do you know the trick to drying your hands in public using only one piece of paper towel?

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We haven’t yet successfully eliminated paper towels from our household, but we’re working on it.  I bought a pack of 8 rolls of these recycled unbleached eco-friendly suckers  from Costco about four years ago, though, and we still have three rolls left.  So that’s something.  Currently we save our paper towel usage for draining bacon (though we could do that on a rack) and cleaning up dog vomit at 4:00 AM (though we could use cloths for that).

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If you do a bit of poking around on the internet you’ll see a lot of people who come up with nifty solutions to the paper towel problem.  Most of them involve using nice absorbent flannel sheets.  In some cases, they’ve cut and hemmed the sheets to be the same size as a standard sheet of paper towel.  And if you want to get really fancy, you can attach snaps or velcro to the corners and have them all attach to each other so it fits on the paper towel roll.

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But that seems complicated. What I have are just plain flannel sheets, which my mother lovingly serged for me and gave to me when the Pie and I moved in together.  That’s all you need.  Makes a great housewarming gift, and you can use them for anything, including a makeshift receiving blanket for babies (depending on the size, of course).

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I’m not really sure who came up with this particular pattern, but it doesn’t really matter when  you’re wiping up spills.  You can even pick up old flannel sheets at thrift stores and cut them up for this purpose.  The best part of that is they’ve been washed so many times they’re already super-absorbent. The older it is the better!

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