Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fake snow for a southern Christmas...

We have had a busy month!  We had a bad storm on a Saturday evening that blew down about 20 trees before Thanksgiving.  A couple were over the driveway, so we had to cut ourselves out on the following Sunday (don't look at my fingernails...).  I've been cutting and dealing with trees ever since!  Then, there was holiday company...for longer than just Thanksgiving.

It has been hard, but somehow I have managed to carve out some time to make Christmas ornaments for us and family.  This makes up for no time in the quilt cave.

I saw something like this snow scene ornament on Pinterest, but it involved glitter, which I try not to use.  People say glitter is the Herpes of the craft world, and I agree.

I just happened to see these tiny styrofoam balls near the craft foam at JoAnn's (which aren't much better than glitter, but sea creatures don't eat them...yet).  I think it is used to give homemade "slime" some texture.  Yuck.

So, I decided to make ornaments for my younger sisters of their kids and a couple of my daughter.  I wanted a sort of specific pose so I had my husband pose.  I wanted to take a picture to text to my sisters for photo-taking guidance.  My brothers' kids are too old for such nonsense.  

My husband obliged, and became my model.

They are supposed to look like they are playing in the snow.

He is such a good sport...

So, only sister #1 so far has followed instructions and sent me pictures.

Asa's turned out pretty well, even if my picture did not...

And quite seriously, I could not help myself from doing the following...


I had an old picture of my daughter playing in a leaf pile and thought that I would try it for the first ornament to perfect (ha-ha) the technique.  None of the pictures from making the first couple of these ornaments turned out, too dark, so I made a few more ornaments to show the details, in case you want to make some, too.

The only big mistake I made was not allowing enough border around the posed pictures and they were too big for the 90mm (3-1/2 inch) ornament I wanted to use.  So, would you believe I took pictures of pictures to get the right size?!?  Crazy!

If you are going to make these, take a few shots at different distances from your subject.  Or just go through your pile of extra pictures to see if something you already have will work.

Step One:

I used a 90 mm (3-1/2 inch) "flat ball fillable ornament" (from either or and there are certainly other sources). 

These snap apart to play with, then when you are finished you just put a little glue to secure it where the two halves are put together.

You can also use a regular completely round fillable ornament, or other available shapes.  They just need to snap open for these to work.

This following example is 70mm because the other older older picture of my daughter that I found was too small (the Dogwood tree blossoms look like snow on her hands...go figure).

Step Two:

Fussy cut the image, leaving HAND EXTENSIONS and a lot of extra photo for the BASE.  Omitting these areas, cut carefully with small, sharp scissors.  

Cut a plastic disc that fits the ornament from template material or any scrap of clear or opaque plastic, like a milk or produce container. 

Don't use the outside of the ornament for tracing this template because of the thickness of the ornament will be too big.  You can start with this diameter, then trim down carefully to fit.

Place the plastic circle over your image and center appropriately, the hands should be almost to the edge of the circle, with extensions extending beyond ornament.   Draw around the circle on the image with a fine tip marker, both on the base and the arms.

Cut THE BASE ONLY,  just inside the ink mark.  


Center and glue the base.  I used my Roxanne's Glue baste for this (a good use for that needle applicator and the fact that it is thick, thick, THICK and dries fairly quickly).  Aleene's would probably work as well.

When the glue is secure enough to not come unglued, I bend the hand tab extensions back at a right angle (I use my large tweezers for this) just inside my ink mark, trim them to about a half inch.  I then glue them to the inside ball half, just deeper than where the two halves pop together.  

You can see this (sort of) in the bottom right of the following picture.

You should put these in place before applying glue in case you need to crease the extension a little closer to hand.  I usually have to do that, then use my tweezers to "round" the end to conform to the inside curve of the ornament.
Step Three:

Here comes the snowfall!  I place the second half temporarily in place and stand it up to check to see if I have the right amount of snow...more than an Alabama dusting, less than a Michigan blizzard.

Then I try to get all the snowballs out of the way again.  You don't want them to stick to the glue from the inside while closing and containing the snow storm when you add the other half of the ornament.  

It will still look cute, even if some do stick.  If you have trouble with static electricity where you live, you can wipe the inside of the ball with a dryer sheet.

Using little dots of glue, only on the area where the two ornament halves meet (about a half inch apart), get ready to stick together.  I also add glue on the two halves of the hanging extension.  Do this carefully so as not to disturb the snow balls.

If you don't overdo it on the glue dots, and keep them on the rim where the two halves intersect, snowballs sticking will be less of an issue.  

People generally over-glue everything!

I stick the two halves together and carefully secure with a rubber band for a while.  Then I attach a string or ribbon for hanging and glue a little bow or something on each side at the top (for that I use my glue gun).

Even with sister #2's prodding, sister #3 did not send me the desired poses, so I had to get creative.

I left an extension tab on Eliza's head and a little wider base due to the composition of the picture.

Ta da!

And again, I could not help myself...waste not, want not.

This may be my favorite one!  

You ALL have picture with some legs in them, don't you, LOL!  I'm just sayin'...

I also used the same kind of ornament ball to make simple picture ornaments.  I use a picture on each side (glued together before inserting).  Here is one side of one of Riley.

I had some leftover confetti red hearts, which I added...

Then both sides of sister #1 and husband...

And sister #3 and her husband...

I am way behind on email and questions...I will catch up in the next few days!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)


  1. Yeap, I agree. Your husband is a good sport. Also, agree on the glitter herpes theory. A childhood friend had a terrible eye infection from glitter crafts. Thanks for showing an alternate product.

  2. These are all wonderful! I love the range from dramatic joy to romantic.

  3. Loosing 20 trees at one time is a lot! glad you were not hurt by anything falling on the house - your husband is a good sport looks like you made yourself a lot of work with ornaments

  4. Cute idea. Your hubby is a gem! I loved the last one of him. Add the date on each ornament as that will be useful in future years.

  5. What a cute idea! I am totally with you. My house is a "glitter free zone" and everyone knows it! I love the little hearts and mini snowballs and they won't stick to my fabrics!! And, I am sorry for your tree loss. The winds this year have been terrible. Wishing you lots of quilting time in the coming year!

  6. Love the legs and what a cute craft

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  9. I just found your blog while looking for string quilts on Pinterest. Your Christmas ornament story reminded me of my "mission" a few years ago. A little lady from a nursing home was a guest speaker at my quilt guild and showed her beautiful collection of felt stockings, tree skirts, and I don't remember what all! They were so beautiful and magical that I went on an Ebay mission to buy enough kits to make something for each of my 4 grandchildren. They are all in great condition...still new and untouched and NOT finished, of course, as I am an avid quilter, specializing in applique. But alas, I hope to work on them "someday". Lovely story, love your blog. Thanks for the X string tutorial!! I will visit often.


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