Christmas Gifts and Crafts

I got a bit side-tracked two days ago and found a few tutorials on making felt Christmas ornaments. I don’t decorate and fuss over Christmas, but we do have an old table-top tree we bought for our first Christmas that we use. I still have some of the original ornaments, with a few have cat bites on them, but we keep them for sentimental reasons.

I used two tutorials online and sized them down for a tiny tree. The round ones can be found here, and the tree and bell can be found here.


I sent off two parcels in November for online friends. I have known one for ten years and the other for almost thirteen years, and they have both been so inspirational and encouraging to me that I felt like doing something different for them this year.

This one is a Tree of Life pendant I made back in June or so. I kept dithering around about it and it wasn’t quite right so I never strung it. Then when I taught myself how to do the tubular herringbone stitch, I thought a tube of herringbone might give this a nice look so went ahead and did that. it took me some time to get a nice balance to this. I tend to like asymmetry in necklaces, but there is a line between it being a jumble of stuff and a tastefully balanced necklace.


Here is a longer shot of it. I also used some matte black glass beads and some of my own paper beads. The rope was made with Toho 11° seed beads with matte black as the base and some accents of blue and grey. What I like about the herringbone rope is that you can string it on wire and thus add stability.


There are copper accents in the necklace and earrings to match the copper-coloured wire used for the base of the pendant. I used a lot of sodalite in this in various shapes and chips.

I also made an extra couple of earrings and some matchbook notebooks for her with botanical prints. She is an artist and draws lovely botanicals in graphite and watercolour.


It became a nice, cheery little set that I was very pleased with after agonizing over the design for so long. It’s good to get things done! My friend really loved it, she referred to it as “my living tree” and that is just so. We both love trees and nature.



Then I tentatively decided to make my first man necklace. I’ve always wanted to and I checked with my friend first to get the colours right. He wears a lot of black and wanted that, but for the herringbone rope, I used matte black 11° as the base with periodic 8° matte black seed beads for texture and to break the monotony. It looks interesting but still very masculine.

I started this with 22 gauge black wire. They were out of the 20 gauge when I ordered and I thought it would be okay. Nope, not okay. After twelve tries at getting the thinner wire to hold a spiral and loop, I gave up and switched to 20 gauge in a silver colour, which worked perfectly the first time. Ooops, the old stray dog hair in the picture trick…


Years ago he used a nickname related to Buddha, so I included a back pewter Buddha head, with a mystical spiral, and some black pewter keys to give it a bit of a steampunk vibe. The clasp is also black pewter which is a finish I really like. The bail is a simple 3-bead ladder stitch and it is long enough to take off so he can change up the pendant or just wear the rope by itself.


And a long shot showing the clasp. It really turned out well, and he sent me a picture of himself wearing it. It is a perfect fit and length and he is a sharp dresser, always looking very hip, so will wear it smartly as usual.


Pretty, pretty. I love to make nice things. If only I could take a decent photograph and had a proper camera and light tent.

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2 Comments on “Christmas Gifts and Crafts”

  1. hi, thanks for your comment on my page
    I absolutely ADORE your tree of life pendant, I have a few of them because I am Pagan but none as beautiful as yours !

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Thank you SO much. It’s the tree thing again, I cannot resist them.

      I’ve made two so far in different colourways–next up is a red and black one with tartan beads. Trees like tartan I am told. 😉

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