Christmas in Bali

December 27, 2010 at 3:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I can’t believe I haven’t posted a thing for over a week now, but time flies… we were so busy filling last minute orders for our ornaments and decorations.  I have been keeping myself updated on weather in the States, though.  All that snow probably has many people house-bound.  Personally, I’m a bit envious of the missed opportunity for a White Christmas.  Here in Bali, in the southern hemisphere, it is now officially summer.  But the good news is that unlike our typical hot, humid rainy season, I am enjoying the unusual cooler and breezier weather we’re getting right now, while all the native Indonesians complain about being too cold.  (I’d say when the breeze is going, it feels like maybe 75F.  Go figure! ).  It still rains every day or night but at least I’m not constantly dripping with sweat.  The meteorologists here are blaming this rare blessing on the la nina system;  I prefer to think of it as my just desserts for having just endured a year-long humid rainy season from hell.  But the good news is that I survived to complain about it.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to all.  Below, I’m posting your Christmas card — two scenes from my tropical garden.  Enjoy!

These are poinsettias, about 3 meters (9ft.) tall

Zen corner of my pool & garden

So, the top photo shows the poinsettia bush…whoever knew those things got so big?  I have to prune it down to about 2 ft. tall every year.

The bottom photo is a peaceful corner of the garden where I’ve put a little Shaolin stone carving.   The upstairs view from my house looks down over the Ayung River gorge and the prestigious Four Seasons Resort here in Sayan Ubud.

Signing off til next time — Selamat tinggal (goodbye)

Selamat Hari Raya Natal dan Tahun Baru! (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!)


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It’s All About the Box

December 16, 2010 at 6:15 PM (crafts, recycled) (, , , )


Our Handwoven Gift Boxes Made from Old Newspapers

I want to show you my new gift box.  It’s eco-friendly (made from old newspapers) and it’s handwoven.  We have these sitting under the tree(s) in the shop and they are getting plenty of attention from everyone who comes in to browse around.  They sell so quickly, we just had to hire a couple of school kids to fold a supply of  strips for us so we can just keep making them.

Okay, we’ve all seen the handwoven baskets make from old newspapers — matter of fact, that’s what got me started on this tack.  I ran across Jeffrey Rudell’s basket tutorial last year and made a few of those (much smaller versions – like tabletop catch-alls).  But I have this shop and sell handmade ornaments.  So I thought maybe I could make custom size gift boxes for them.  So, after experimenting a bit, these are what I came up with.  Of course, I also had to check them out with different colors.  They’re cute as is, but look fabulous with some ribbon and a fabric flower or other embellishment.


Testing..testing...Holiday splash on the outside - but still newspaper on the inside

What do you think?  Better with..or without?   I also tried some with a wood stain finish…(pardon the poor quality photo)

A more masculine gift box, finished in wood stain

I’d love to get some feedback on these little boxes.

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The Forest or the Trees?

December 14, 2010 at 6:00 PM (Christmas, trees) (, )

Yesterday, a young couple came into the shop and wanted to “borrow” one of our Bali trees to decorate for a Christmas Eve party they are hosting.  Kind of a strange request, but then again, we are in Bali – where Everyday is an Adventure. Well, to make a long story short,  we worked out a deal so that they can rent the tree, lights and decorations for the evening — go figure!  They’re regular visitors to the island, have no storage access and want their party to be, well – Christmas-y.  So for those of you who haven’t seen our Bali Tree, here’s a photo:

2010Model 2mtr Bali Tree

Undecorated 2 meter Bali Tree

Anyway, so I thought it would be a good idea to post all the different trees we have in the shop now.  All are handmade by Nik or myself, and the Bali Trees are my design but are handcrafted by a local bamboo master craftsman.  Please enjoy browsing through them, and feel free to comment.

Handcrafted bamboo & alang-alang Mini-Trees

Bali Mini-trees are handcrafted from bamboo & alang-alang

Made from foil-lined paper used in packaging

Pine Cone Tree on scrap piece of solid wood base

Quilt Tree of a different color

Luxe Fabric "Quilt" Tree

Modern & Sleek Silver Fabric Tree

"Quilted" Felt and Crochet-covered Trees













Anyway, so these are some of the trees we’ve done over the past year and a half.

Pine cone Tree: I made this by breaking some pine cones (cleaned, of course) and gluing them onto the gold painted styrofoam cone core, then I sprayed some gold on the pinecones to give a bit of a burnished look to it.  Using a piece of scrap wood for the base, stained it and painted the edges gold then glued the tree onto it.  I put a piece of felt on the bottom to protect whatever piece of furniture it might be set on.

Foil Floret Tree: This one was kind of a dual inspiration — Nik was making these cute little florets by rolling and squishing the foil-lined paper we got hold of somewhere.  I had been making the pinecone tree above, and when I saw the flowers, thought I’d try it out.  So this is what we came up with.  What do you think?   The red faux pearl accents really stand out.  Then I put it on one of our decorated scrap wood bases, glued some felt to the bottom and — voila!

Luxe “Quilt” Trees: These, of course, most people will recognize as a variation on the ever-popular “quilted” ball or egg ornaments, as seen on The Ornament Girl’s blog Her ornaments are beautiful and inspiring.  There’s also a great tutorial for the basic ball over at Crafter Without a Cat’s site .  These and other sites were my inspiration.

Modern & Sleek Silver Fabric Tree: This just basically started as an experiment.  I had this metallic thread silver fabric and a cone in hand, so I started wrapping and gluing the two together.   It needed a bit of pop, so I added the red velvet ribbon stripes and a red faux pearl on top.  Again, the base is a piece of scrap wood, painted silver and trimmed with some silver-infused lace edging and the red velvet ribbon.  Red felt is glued to the bottom.

“Quilted” Felt and Crochet-cover Trees: The crochet tree is from a pattern I had on hand (now lost), made to fit a red felt-covered styrofoam cone.  Attached to scrap wood base which I stained mahogany.  The quilted felt trees are just my variation of the fabric quilted trees.  I wanted to change them up to add a bit of interest — plus, the felt gets pretty thick with all that folding, so less is more in this case.  The one on the right actually looks okay up close and personal, but for some reason seems at an odd angle in this photo.

Okay, so those are the trees in our little forest.  I’m working on one now that’s actually a type of sea plant? animal? something.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get it posted here some day.

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‘Round Again

December 6, 2010 at 1:05 PM (Christmas, paper) (, )

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery.  Well, I’d like to flatter two bloggers today:  first is Lindsay, over at Living With Lindsay whose paper book wreath tutorial is awesome .  I came across it a few months back and made one.  I must say that the instructions are easy to follow, and guarantee success.   Thanks, Lindsay!   The second blogger I’d like to flatter is Pizzazzie for reminding me about my wreath because I did want to post it here.  I’ve just finished another one using an old phone book.  I had to tear the pages in half horizontally for that one, but it looks pretty good too.

Paper Book Wreath

So that’s the first one.  I added a bit of gold spray paint to the tips and some other decoration in red just to spice it up a little.

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Gift Package Decos

December 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM (Christmas, crafts, recycled) (, , , , , )


Cute Gift Package Decos from Cardboard & Foil


Nik and I made these cute recycled package decorations that can double as ornaments.  We embellished them with a bit of ribbon and metallic cord.

Just cut your shape out of a piece of cardboard (cereal box is good);  for the butterfly we cut only the two wings.  Then we took some old (cleaned) foil and fitted and glued it to the cutout shapes.  For the butterfly’s body, take a strip of newspaper and twist and shape it until you have the body shape; wrap and glue on the foil, then make two slits along the side for the wings and glue them in.  Embellish to your heart’s delight!

These are pretty sturdy, so can be reused.

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