I have pretty much decided there is nothing in the world that cannot be improved by the addition of glitter, the glitter has to be really good glitter, it has to be the Cadillac of glitter, German glass glitter. That's the old shiny stuff you see in dreamy photos of vintage Christmas ornaments. It even ages and takes on a mellow patina with time.
an old restaurant creamer
I have books of glittery old papier mache ornaments and the pages are dogeared and bent with my perusal of them. I have had a glitter box for years, full of disappointing American plastic and Chinese glitters, sigh. Just not the same depth and texture. Doesn't that sound funny? I mean, to most people glitter is glitter. I found out the difference when I started searching and found someone who sold GERMAN glass glitter. Meyer Imports. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I ordered several different types and grits all in white for the project I'm working on but it was all I could do to not go hog wild and get some in every color.
I still can't believe how nice those guys are either–they called me to make sure I got the right kind of glitter for what I was doing and offered to send me samples so I could choose the right shade and grit. Wow. I am a fan for life–and the stuff is so gorgeous I just ordered more of it. My studio looks like I killed Tinkerbell, shiny stuff everywhere. Fairy dust, and boy does it make a difference in the finished product.
Here's the thing, I got tapped this year to do a tree for the Providence St Peter Hospital Foundation Christmas Forest. That's a really big deal in Western Washington and these trees get decorated and auctioned off for thousands and thousands of dollars for charity. I mean they are spectacular and look like something off a movie set. So what theme did I choose? Green Green Christmas. This means I have to use as much recycled and repurposed stuff as I can. It has to be classy, look expensive, stick to the theme and make people want to buy it. What the hell was I thinking?
The daunting sample-Professional slick tree is over the top
I'm all about going green but I'm feeling daunted after seeing the spectacular sample treees last weekend. I figure I am going to need in excess of 300 ornaments before its all over and each one is going to be handmade pretty much. Unlike other tree people who can just buy 3 dozen of a green whatsis and wire them on. I have to create them. I'm whining and panic stricken now. I'll get over it but I need my moment.
Glitter to the rescue! Old salt shaker? Glitter it with blizzard flakes and put on a gorgeous ribbon and some buttons. 99 cent bird potpourri holder from Good Will? Glitter makes everything better–I didn't realize how incredibly gorgeous the stark white glass crystal glitter was until all the white glue on the first bird ornament dried.
I'm making "snow shakers" with old small jars and tiny figures. Those are fun, and I love soldering so I have a whole soldering stage set up.
I have to give a shout out to all the black wire in the world. I love that stuff, I'm using it in two sizes because I like the vintage feel it gives. Just don't forget to run steel wool down it unless you like being covered in the black gunk that comes off the wire.
Just to share with those that see this and want to do it for themselves. Here are the steps for each ornament made from a repurposed salt shaker, glass statue, etc.
Bear selected, noticed the giant glitter pile behind him?
Wired for hanging, this part is tough if you don't know how to do it.
Bead selection for the bear hanger-my big bead stash
I think about where snow would fall if it fell from above and use Weldbond glue and a cotton swab to apply a coat. It will be white when you glitter it and dry clear. Choose something that dries very clear to glitter on top of when using white glitter.
Almost dry, there is still a spot of white on on one leg that will be clear and sparkly when it dries completely. Add a gorgeous ribbon and a button, in this cae a heart, and voila, repurposed green ornament. Feels good to not just go buy something from Walmart or Target, but to reuse something that's already in the world.
And for this post, last but not least, I am not a tidy multi-tasker. I know where everything is, but it is pretty much strewn and I have six things in progress at any one time. If you like doing this sort of thing you do need to find a dedicated area that you can set up and leave up. I have jars and boxes that everything goes back in for storage when I start on something else and need the space.
This is one side of the studio, the glittering and assembly station. Looks a mess doesn't it?
And on the other side the soldering station, notice its much tidier over here where the hot work happens. I try to get a bunch of things ready to roll all at once. Notice the little fan? I also solder with the door open and I always wear closed shoes. Solder burns are no joke.
So, this is the process and I have two big long metal clotheslines that are filling up fast with shiny completed ornaments. I'll shoot a few of those and post them next time around in my quest for 300 ornaments as repurposed as I can get them!