I know I mentioned my love of February holidays. It’s February, who doesn’t need a reason to celebrate? While Setsubun is my favorite, this week is jammed packed full of notable days – Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday and Chinese New Year. All in one week! That’s a lot to keep track of.
I planned a Chinese New Year project. You would too if you saw the wonderful array of materials Gwen Lafleur stocks in her shop. Tassels, handcut paper, die cuts, coins and other surprises that will eventually find themselves into other posts.
Chinese New Year decorations are predominantly red and gold – lucky colors. There is often an accent of black. So in sorting through materials I had ordered from Gwen and what I had on hand that might coordinate I was struck by the gold shiny metal of a Valentine’s Day chocolate box from a previous year. Red and gold, score! I had intended to use it as a paint palette, but we give up one thing to have another.
The project progressed so quickly that there are no step outs this time.
Of the Chinese paper cut figures Gwen has in her shop there are two sets of the Chinese Zodiac. As this year is the year of the dog, that figure was selected from the pack. Instead of pasting it directly to the box, the papercut was used as a stencil for applying Rocky Road Baked Texture from Seth Apter. A sponge was used to apply embossing stamp pad to the paper cut, the embossing powder applied and a heat gun aimed from below made the embossing powder do its thing. Watching it melt was delightful and the texture it provided with is fabulous. Reminds one of cloisonne beads. Gold and black. So far so good.
With Traditional Chinese Metal Wafer Dies and Chunky Rust Baked Texture in hand it was fun to create circles that are reminiscent of Chinese laquerware. First the dies were covered in red acrylic paint and imprinted on a piece of cream colored paper. The embossing powder was added immediately while still wet and the excess removed. Hitting it with the heat gun was so much fun that one of my attempts caught on fire. Well, it adds a feeling of history. It was kept. Once two respectable pieces were created the characters for “Double Happiness” were cut out with some tiny, sharp scissors. Having the gold show through was worth the effort.
Before pasting them down, they were auditioned in several areas along with other elements until the position looked right.
Plum blossom washi tape went down first, making a line on which to add the words “Year of the Dog”. Some Chinese text from one of Gwen’s Exotic Orient Collage and Embellishment Pack went down next. Then the circles were pasted down and black, red and gold beads glued down one by one. Large black beads were glued around the perimeter of the heart.
Embossing is new to me, but I’m loving it. Cranberry embossing powder from Adironadack was used to emboss just the floral parts of the Chinese paper dog onto cream paper, cut and added to the scene. Beads were glued around the words Year of the Dog and to accent the flowers.
Black and Red Calligraphy Washi Tape was added to the outside of the tin to help pull the look together.
Finally, a hammer and nail were used to make holes in the tin (this might have been better done first). From the bottom a Good Luck Tassels was added by sewing a bead on the inside of the tin, taking it through to the outside, securing the tassel and adding a few more beads.
The hanger was added by using the same technique with a piece of Twisted Sister Sari Ribbon from Darn Good Yarn .
Loving these materials? Of course , ou do! Well, your good luck starts early. You don’t even have to wait for Friday. Gwen is having a sale and you are invited.
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? How do you mark the occasion?