I’m not really a fan of Christmas – but there are a few things I love about the season. The first, is Chocolate coins, ever since I was ickle – I’ve loved them and get incredibly excited the first time I see them in the shops – I have no idea what my fixation is with them, as the majority of the time, it’s nasty cheapy shit that tastes like dog chocolate (which I also quite enjoyed as a child)
The 2nd love – the decorations! I love decorating the tree, if it were down to me – I’d have one up all damn year & decorate it seasonally, but no one else seems keen on that idea.
So I’ve been with my lesser half for about 8 years now, but he’s mean to me & has never let me have a tree up at his. I will admit, a few years he has pulled out a awful fibre-optic tree, that is about 2 foot, older than me & flashes like it’s a 90’s rave on fastforward, thats also about to combust, explode & take off. It’s ugliness makes me hurt, so I’d rather never see it ever again.
But last year – he seemed to like the tree I decorated at home, so agreed I could do a tree at his this year.
I didn’t want to leave everything to the last minute, so I slowly started faffing with everything in September, as I was primarily using old decorations and repainting/ glittering everything. I decided on a colour theme of muted purples & taupe, but that idea pretty much went out the window once I started, the purples weren’t so muted – and I couldn’t find a taupe glitter – but I found platinum, so went with that & then I totally forgot about having taupe until the other day…….
but enough of the babbling – this is the photographicness…
some ombre droplet’s, feathered tops & iridescent stripes. Two of the drops are crackle effect – which looks awesome, but totally unintended. The gloss I’m using is Art Decos Triple thick, it’s a massive arsehole, I only continue to use it as I’ve not found anything as thick – and I really cant be bothered adding at least 4 layers of a different varnish just to get the same thickness & shine.
It’s not meant to crack – but sometimes it does, sometimes it also seems to make sections of paint lift or even disappear – but on this occasion, the crackle was appreciated – but it’s ruined a handful of others. On one of the non-crackled drops – I had to paint that fucker 3 or 4 times, as the gloss kept vanishing a chuck of the gradient effect. Eurgh!
– You may also notice the resulting weirdness going on with a few of the other baubles – so this explains what that’s about.
Here’s a few plain purple glitter & platinum mixed with a chunkier purple & pale pink –
and platinum glittered reindeer (and some orange slices covered in resin, as you do…. ),
Originally the reindeer were a crappy shade of gold plastic, with horrendous chunky yellow-gold chunky holographic glitter that looked like it had been vomited over their antlers & hooves. So I made them pretty. They were from poundland (in packs of two) last year, I originally got a set that I made a nice shade of gold to go on the tree at home last year – then after xmas, I think the remaining xmas stock must have been all reduced to clear, as that’s when I got this lot – plus a box full more, I’m not sure why I ever thought I’d need so many?
Now for the slightly more interesting – I wanted to incorporate strange festive traditions from around the world, after all – we have flying reindeer & a fat bastard that magically squeezes down non-existent chimney pipes.
so introducing Krampus & the Legend of the Christmas Spider:
For those of that don’t know – Krampus is a goat-demon from German folklore, he’s like a mean santa that will probably beat you with a stick or some rusty chains if you’ve been bad, he actually has his own day at the start of December.
– Two of the designs (bottom centre & top right) where made by printing onto white tissue paper – and then using PVA to stick it on the bauble – which I thought would be easy=peasy, but the glue wasn’t my friend, so I pretty much had to re-paint over it, just to cover the sections that ripped & got fucked up & so the colours were actually noticeable; the chain design was made by sticking on a temporary tattoo & the other 3 krampus’s where painted free hand.
The spider webs – are from a Ukrainian folk tale, where a poor widow couldn’t afford to decorate her tree, but on Xmas eve, a spider came along and covered it in webs, the next day, when the first rays of sunlight hit the webs – they were magically transformed to threads of silver & gold….. it’s also said that the tale is the origins of why tinsel is used.
– I made those by using nail art striping tape – and a lot of patience.
Next – Yule cat, Caganer & Befana (and a “Bah! Humbug!”)
Yule cat is from Icelandic folklore, he’s a giant scary cat monster that eats people.
The story goes – if you worked hard that year, you would be rewarded with new clothes, but those lazy bastards that didn’t? well, they weren’t rewarded & became kitty-food.
I made the two scenic baubles using the tissue paper technique… this time my printer was not my friend and decided it didn’t want to print all the design, regardless how many times I tried. The best I got it was so it was a ultra fine outline of everything – which all just disappeared with the glue. But I was determined to use it as a guideline, as I didn’t fancy having to paint in all the tiny little trees. But as it pretty much all vanished, I ended up having to do it free hand & cack handedly penned in the trees with a biro – Which then all got fucked by the gloss. Eugh!
Caganer is a tradition from Catalan; they’re some funny motherfuckers! The caganer is a shitting gnome, that is to be placed somewhere around a nativity scene. Apparently it’s meant to be a symbol of fertilising the ground, ready for the next year.
– and that was made with the help of printed tissue paper
My Befana isn’t so clear, I just did a glitter silhouette; But she’s from Italian folklore, she’s pretty much the witchy-old hag version of Santa, but she does her thing sometime at the beginning of January.
Part of the tale is that she will use her broom to sweep the floor before she leaves, some think that in her doing so, she sweeps away the problems of the past year, so you can start anew.
I quite like the idea of a present-giving cleaner witch.
In a moment of silliness, I thought everything was looking a bit halloweeny – and thought that was a bad thing?! – so tried adding a bit of colour (as I’d still forgotten all about the taupe colour theme….) So wanting to brighten it up a little – I made up a load of pink, blue & navy glittered baubles…
I’m not sure how or why I thought navy glitter would brighten up anything?!?
But I’ll probably use the Navy, but I think I’ll ditch the others.
The moment of silliness past, I realised that a little halloweenieness can only be a good thing and that it’s pretty unavoidable considering my other choices. I also remembered about having the purple/taupe colour theme! so started painting my remaining baubles – and there’s also a few glittered stars & spiders.
I also decided I wanted much more Yule Cat, so got 4 adult cat masks from Tiger, for £1 each – I was going to do something fancy with them – maybe cover them in crystals or paint a intricate design, but as I do all this crap before I go to bed, that seemed like far too much work, so just glittered them up in platinum. But I think they’ll look awesome once on the tree.
One thing that I did reallly really want for the tree was a set of nutcracker soldiers. I like the story behind them, “The legend says that a nutcracker represents power and strength and serves like a trusty watch dog guarding your family from evil spirits and danger”.
– but I just didn’t see any that were the right size, that I particularly liked or that were within the amount I was willing to pay; But then I saw a set of 6 super cute skeletons in the 99p shop – and an idea popped into my head.
They can be my nutcrackers! so I glittered & painted them – and MY story goes: They were useless & lazy little fuckers! They didn’t do their job & now Yule cat & Krampus have taken over Christmas; so they were not rewarded with new clothes & yule cat ate them, so these are their remains.
To top the tree, I was going to use my Rudolf, but then I saw this little chap in poundland – and had a much better idea….
I thought – with just a few minor tweaks, he could be Krampus.
Yeah, not as minor as I thought. Using my rotary tool – I cut bits off, sanded off all the armour, discovered the figure was fucking hollow, so then used some poly morph plastic to fill in all the sections I’d sanded holes into – and then used some more to bulk sections out & add length to his legs & arms and gave him a tail, ears and a set of new horns….
after all that, I did stop & think – it would have just been so much quicker to make my own from scratch.
I’ve not finished him yet, I have to give him a better paint job & I was thinking of adding some flocking, but so far…..
and in case anyone is still reading & is curious about the hell else I’ll being doing?……
I have the Yule Cat masks – so I want one for Krampus; so earlier today I made a start on one of the horns. Some wire, tape, plastic bags…..
I still have to build/bulk it up significantly, shape it – and obviously paint it – but it’s the start –
That’s a penny in the middle for size reference. They will be huge!