Opulent Ornaments: A Delightful Rabbit Hole

November 14, 2017 at 11:40 pm 31 comments

BakersDozenOpulentOrnamentsI went off the deep end about a year ago after I accidentally came across instructions for Paula Nadelstern’s Opulent Ornaments and decided I needed to make one. Or a dozen. Get her directions here. (Embrace the bling; resistance is futile.)

I spent a long time collecting sequins, pins, beads, and other shiny objects and finally found courage to give it a try back in July when I was supposed to be catching up on crib quilts for new additions to the Simms extended family. (Knowing I should have been doing something else with a higher priority made this particular rabbit hole even more delicious.)

As you can see in the picture above, I’ve exceeded my quota, and that doesn’t count the two I have been working on. I don’t want to stop. I can’t stop. I have collected many pounds of bling and all sorts of wonderful containers to store it in.

Each Styrofoam ball is a new canvas and I can’t wait to “skin it” (cover it with Paula’s phenomenal fabric so that there are no pleats or wrinkles) and stick stuff all over it (self-explanatory).  I mostly work on the balls in the evening. I can actually carry on a conversation as I poke pins, so technically it’s “together time” with Steve. I actually volunteered to take a bump on a recent trip back from Florida so I could “ball” in the airport. (OK, so I got a hefty voucher too, but those extra 6 hours went by SO fast!) I even embellished on the plane. Apparently when you’re waiving pins around and spraying sequins in all directions the people on either side of you are willing to relinquish the armrests. It’s all good.

IMG_4030So here’s what you need to get started.

Fabric
You will need Paula Nadelstern’s fabric panels like the ones on page 4 of her instructions with six large circles accompanied by 12 or 8 smaller ones near the selvage edges. They are available at eQuilter.com Search for “mandala Paula Nadelstern” or these collections: Kismet, Chromazone, and her newest line, Super Kaleiders.

IMG_4029Styrofoam Balls
Paula’s instructions call for 6″ styrofoam balls. You can find them at JoAnn.com, Michaels.com, and Wal-Mart.com. Dollar stores have them too, and you’ll hit the mother load in Canada if you live near a Dollarama. They’re all $1.50. Selection isn’t always consistent, but they have pretty colored cup-shaped sequins too. I hesitate to tell you how many times we have driven 90 miles to the Dollarama for balls. OK, there is great Italian food nearby, so it’s not just for Styrofoam.

Note that Paula also encourages you to try other sizes. I find that smaller ones (4″ diameter) are a little more difficult to skin, but they go fast. The 5″ diameter balls look most opulent if you’re using them as Christmas tree ornaments plus they won’t bring down your Douglas Fir. (These ornaments can get heavy!) I’ve never tried any of the green florist Styrofoam balls, mostly out of fear. Anybody used them successfully? I tend to prefer the smooth skinned balls. Much harder to push a pin in, but you get a nice squeaky sound and it feels like the pins will stay put. The rough skinned balls shed a little, but pins go in easy. Larger balls are usually rough. I’ve made an 8″ and a 10″ ball. Use a thimble to save your fingers.

Sequins
IMG_4030 (1)You ca#n find sequins just about anywhere, but if you want to go overboard, visit CCarwright.com. Their website is easy to navigate and the eye candy is magnificent. Prices are very reasonable, especially if you look for closeouts.

My favorites are the hologram sequins and my absolute favorites are the 3mm Flat Hologram Mixed Colors. I use these to cover the raw edges of the fabric. (I tried to outline them in red in the picture to the left.)

Beads & Findings
Check out the beads and bracelets and other jewelry stuff at Michael’s. You can see a silver colored do-dad with a green pin in the center in the picture above. If you can string it for jewelry, you can stick a pin through it and poke it into a ball. Watch for the 50% and 70% off sales on the green label beads. I think they heavily discount them once every three months or so.  Hold off on the glass beads unless you can’t live without them. You can buy them on Amazon in bulk. (See the downloadable list in the next section.) Fla bottomed beads and jewelry “things” are better; they won’t rock with handling which might loosen the pin.

Pins
The more the merrier. I like steel and brass pins, glass or plastic head pins, short pins, long pins, corsage pins…you see where this is going, right? I’ve turned into a pinhead. The more variety in color, style, and most importantly, size, the better. As Paula says, “more is more.” (Use a thimble to insert the pins.)

Click on the blue letters to see a list of supplies and where to find them: Opulent Ornament Supplies

Containers
IMG_4032I love plastic storage boxes. Just looking at my stash of bling makes me happy. The black tray in the foreground is a jewelry tray (Michael’s). I ripped out the black ring holder thing and covered a piece of Styrofoam packing material with muslin. Makes a nice flat pincushion. The rigid tray goes on my lap and keeps my balls from rolling away. A magnetic pin caddy holds steel pins. (The brass ones fall off, duh!) I use tweezers for grabbing pins out of containers. I’m switching to plastic tweezers; see the list above. Darice makes the round little screw-top containers in a short and tall version. I use them for sequins. The purple and blue tabbed plastic container is for vitamins. Got mine at Walmart and used a solvent to get rid of the days of the week, AM, and PM labels.

IMG_4028

Now is the perfect time to jump down the rabbit hole with me. Just dive in. It’s so much fun!

Thanks, Paula, for this amazingly fun project and your wonderful fabric!

 

 

 

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31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cindy Cooksey  |  November 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Wow! These are fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Like

    Reply
    • 2. Ami Simms  |  November 15, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Thanks, Cindy! They are so much fun to make.

      Like

      Reply
  • 3. Ann Hedington  |  November 15, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Oh.My.Goodness! I need to try this! I’m suggesting this as a Friendsgiving day craftivity.

    Like

    Reply
    • 4. Ami Simms  |  November 15, 2017 at 12:47 am

      Sounds like a great idea!

      Like

      Reply
  • 5. Sue  |  November 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Ami, you are a wicked,wicked woman. Going to explore to see which supplies I already have…..

    Like

    Reply
  • 7. Dianna Leedy  |  November 15, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Oh, No.! I need another shelf to hold all of these containers?

    Like

    Reply
    • 8. Ami Simms  |  November 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

      If you find a nice one, let me know.

      Like

      Reply
  • 9. mmgfiberdesigns  |  November 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

    these are beautiful

    Like

    Reply
    • 10. Ami Simms  |  November 15, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Thank you! They’re so much fun, and Paula’s fabric is incredible.

      Like

      Reply
  • 11. Diane Pickthall  |  November 15, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Can we have you arrested by the quilt police for contributing to the delinquency of a quilter? 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  • 13. Martha Lorshbaugh  |  November 15, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I’ve made something like 27 of these- after taking a class with Paula a while back. I didn’t use many ball head pins, so mine all have a sort of silver sheen from the pins. I love how hefty the balls get as more and more pins are added. (I think my record is a box and a half- 750 per box!)

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  • 15. Kate  |  November 15, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I did a similar craft some years ago, with preteens. We were making a plague of locusts, using styrofoam balls. If you did the pin in some white glue, before you put it into the ball, the pin will stay in, a good idea with kids or pets.

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    Reply
  • 17. Cheryl Parker  |  November 15, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Those are lovely. My mother made decorated balls, back in the early 1970’s, and I still have one. They used plastic push pins for the sequins. They came in kits.

    Like

    Reply
  • 18. Mary Ann  |  November 15, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Argh! How I wish I hadn’t read this post!😂😘

    Like

    Reply
    • 19. Ami Simms  |  November 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Always happy to help! 😃

      Like

      Reply
  • 20. Jean  |  November 16, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Oh, I am smitten! But am going to try and have the restraint to wait until after Christmas to dive into this or my Christmas quilting will never get done! thanks for sharing, I had never seen these lovelies before.

    Like

    Reply
  • 22. Sharon Grieser  |  November 16, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Wow! Those are very cool. I remember making ornaments from the Lee Wards store with my mom in the late 60’s and 70’s.

    Like

    Reply
    • 23. Ami Simms  |  November 16, 2017 at 6:40 am

      It’s a whole new world now. Now we’ve got Paula’s fantastic fabric.

      Like

      Reply
  • 24. Ginny Jones  |  November 16, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I’ve made a few beaded ornaments in the past. A bit of glue on the top of the pin helps keep them in place.

    Like

    Reply
    • 25. Ami Simms  |  November 16, 2017 at 10:59 am

      No glue needed on these.

      Like

      Reply
  • 26. Niki  |  November 17, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I got hooked on making them back in July. It’s a ton of fun. Thanks for sharing this craft and Paula’s new fabric.

    Like

    Reply
  • 28. Tania Hansen  |  November 17, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Ami! You’re killing me!!!! Like where am I going to find a place for yet another cool art project huh! I already have every crook and cranny in my home filled with projects: couture sewing, quilting, millinery, bird carving, Ukrainian egg dyeing… now you show me this??? I might have a heart attack of the sheer art type! Pant, pant, pant.
    Ok I’m in.

    Thanks I think 😉

    Like

    Reply
  • 30. Joan J  |  November 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Haven’t gotten to Paula’s instructions yet, but if you aren’t using a nail set for the pins with regular heads for the sequins, quick, go raid your husband’s toolbox! Your fingers will thank me right away

    Like

    Reply
    • 31. Ami Simms  |  November 18, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      I just use a thimble. That works pretty well.

      Like

      Reply

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