Gail Lee Martin wrote this article for the eHow site telling how to make old light bulbs into Santa decorations. If you have some dead light bulbs, don’t toss them out.
How to Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb
Here is a craft my daughter, Shannon, and I started making back in 1993. We took them to the Wesley employee’s craft fair. They were so cute and were very popular.
It’s a fun way to recycle burned out light bulbs. Here’s how to make them.
We took burned out light bulbs and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments. Start saving up bulbs now and ask your friends and family to save theirs for you too. You can also buy new ones if you can’t wait for them to burn out.
I spray painted the bulb white like Santa’s beard. Even though the bulb is whitish already, the spray paint gives a more even surface and color. It also hides the dark spot that burned out bulbs sometimes have.
Then I used a brush to hand-paint the screw top with red paint for his hat.
I hot-glued a gold string to the top to hang it with. Heavy gold thread or gold wire is fine for this or you can use red yarn.
Using canned snow, I put a rim around the red cap and some on the top for a ball.
Shannon painted and sketched on the expressive faces and added a realistic mustache with a swipe of white paint. Leftover paint-by-number paint or a kid’s paint kit works for this. You can draw on the eyes and details with permanent markers also.
Tips & Warnings
This makes recycling fun.
Check the Santa clip art site listed below in resources for ideas for Santa’s face. You can make jolly Santas, roly-poly Santas, stylized Santas, classic Santas, etc.
Post by Virginia Allain – This was an idea that I wanted to show Mom. I was sure she would be making these by the dozens in no time. These can go on a tree, decorate a package, or hang on the door handle.
Brown Paper Star Ornaments
Using a printable star pattern, trace two same-sized stars on a brown paper bag. Cut these out using pinking shears or craft scissors. Don’t worry, the pencil lines will be inside the star.
Glue the two stars together except for one tip. Leave an opening to put in the filling.
Pull apart a cotton ball so it’s loose and stuff it into the opening of the star. Use a pencil to distribute the stuffing the way you want. I like most of mine in the center. You could also use a bit of quilt batting or some used dryer sheets bunched up.
Cut a piece of raffia to loop at the top for hanging. Put the cut ends inside the opening of the star and glue it shut, securing the hanging loop.
Add that homespun, country-look with faux stitches around the edge. Use a black marker for these. Space them evenly.
Tie another piece of raffia into a bow and glue it to the front of the star. Glue some buttons to finish the theme.
Always save buttons for future use. (photo by Virginia Allain)
Anytime you discard a piece of clothing because of wear or stains, cut off the buttons and save them. A stash of buttons comes in handy to have for clothing repairs or for a craft like this.
It’s summer and it’s likely that we’ll have some insect encounters over the past few months and into the fall. Your first instinct might be to reach for a flyswatter or some insect spray. I have an alternate suggestion for you.
Not all insects are out to sting or bite you. All have a role to play in our environment, so if the small critter isn’t attacking you, leave it alone.
Photo by Virginia Allain
The picture above is a dragonfly. These are fun to watch as they zoom and swoop over a prairie or around a lake. They are catching and eating mosquitoes and other small insects. Please, don’t kill them.
Photo by Virginia Allain
The caterpillar above might seem a bit bizarre, but take time to view the unique clusters sprouting from its body and the burgundy colored racing stripe down its side. Don’t pick this one up, as the spikes have an irritating effect on human skin.
Read up on the little creatures you see in your yard and you’ll have a new respect for them. The caterpillar above transforms into a small silk moth called the Io Moth. The moth is fairly nondescript until it spreads its wings. The underwings have a large black dot on them with a colorful background.
Photo by Virginia Allain
So, this is an ant hill. Probably you’ve seen these hundreds of times but never really looked at one closely. Again, this is another chance to observe nature right in your backyard. Look at the textures and shape of this ant hill. I found it fascinating.
Our mother, Gail Lee Martin, taught her children to observe and respect nature. That’s a good legacy to pass along to your children. For the future of our planet, we can’t just kill off everything that isn’t human or isn’t a pet or isn’t something that serves as food for humans. All creatures perform a role in balancing nature.
I hope you’ll take a little time this summer to observe the insects around you. Yes, some are harmful to you or to your garden, but you want to adopt a live-and-let-live philosophy for the most part. Use the flyswatter and the bug spray sparingly.
The image below is a calling card from the 1880s. It came to me with a batch of antique valentines for my collection. At one time, someone saved this many years ago and pasted it into their scrapbook.
Back in those days, ladies made formal visits to their friends. A card like this would be left on a fancy tray to show they had been to call. It’s sort of a lady’s version of business cards. Probably women saved them since they were so pretty.
Calling card from the collection of Virginia Allain
Notice how lavish the design is with roses and lily of the valley flowers, and along the edge violets. There are lace and lavender ribbon with a gold edge. The words in the center say “Peace Forever.“
I like that thought. I wish we would have peace forever. Peace in our families. Peace in our communities. Peace in the world.
When I shared this photo with my friends, here are their thoughts:
Chula – I’ve collected old paper since I was little. I love the calling cards. Even the plain ones with just names printed on them are fun to see. This one is very beautiful.
Karen – We used “calling cards” in the expat community in India when I lived there, probably a carryover from British colonial days. Most of them included a map on the reverse side giving directions to your residence. Addresses were long and complex and streets/roads often weren’t marked–you just had to “know” it was such-and-such street, hence the map.
Kathy – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did have peace forever. I thought that was a curious thing for this calling card to say, by the way. It is lovely.
Marsha – I love the older cards like that. My mom has so many of them, including Valentines.
Pammie – Wow that is cool, I had never seen such a card before.
Rachel – What a great old custom that was, dating back to a simpler time when manners still mattered.
Marilyn – I love it. It’s so pretty. I have scrapbooks of cards my mother collected. I will have to look and see if she had calling cards in her collections.
Calling cards on a tray in a vintage house museum in Kentucky
I discovered a list of favorite things where Mom filled in her answers. If I were filling out the list for her, I’d have guessed the right answers for some:
Flower – iris
Type of food – chicken
Sport – fishing
Leisure activity – writing
Ginger – I tried calling Mom one evening in July, but there was no answer. When I checked Facebook, I saw my sister’s status: July 8, 2012 – Karen was at McDonald Stadium in El Dorado.
Ginger: Hmmm, that must be why Mom doesn’t answer her phone.
Karen: We lost, badly. It doesn’t help that Mom is always cheering for the visiting team.
Ginger: doesn’t she like the home team?
Karen: She likes to be contrary.
Ginger: I’m afraid we’ve inherited some of that too. Just wait until I’m 87.
At 87, Gail Lee Martin attended the Bronco baseball games frequently during a very hot summer.
Cj Garriott – As I recall, July 2012 was the host of those 100+ days that I arrived in time for a full week of? I remember thinking, how in Hades could it be HOTTER 700 miles north of where I was coming from.
Karen – That was one hot summer, too, but Mom loved going to the El Dorado Bronco games in the stadium there at the fairgrounds. She flirted with all the good-looking college players when they came through collecting for the 50-50 drawing.
Mom and I were going to a lot of ball games that summer. The notes below were from the previous evening at the ball park.
Collect seed packets with colorful flower pictures on them. Sometimes discount stores have leftover seeds at bargain basement prices when the planting season ends.
Choose one seed packet for the front of the birdhouse. Draw a circle with a pencil in the upper half of the packet front. This represents the hole for the bird to enter. Fill in the circle with a black marker.
Cut the front packet and the back packet with a matching peak for the roof.
Shorten two packets to serve as the side walls.
Start by gluing a front and a side seed packet together along the long side. Continue gluing additional seed packets (the other side and the back) until it forms a square. Allow those to dry between each stage.
Attach two packages with glue to serve as the roof.
Glue on some accessories (spagham moss, fabric leaves, and tiny birds) to complete the birdhouse theme. You can find these in the craft or floral section at discount stores like WalMart or click on this picture to order from Amazon.
prism said on 11/25/2008 “What a great way to reuse seed packets! Would make a unique gift for wild bird lovers like my Mom. Thanks!”
mactraks said on 9/28/2008 “I never fail to be awestruck at the “recycling” projects my big sister comes up with! This is truly spectacular and easy enough for even me to do.”