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  • Tami Hagemier - Festival of Trees Coordinator

Angels and Glitter Boogers

The trees are up at Lanthier Winery. The staff are complaining about glitter boogers and everyone is buying Rudolph Red. It’s that time of year when all the staff look as if they’ve been working the strip bars in nearby Cincinnati or Louisville. The trees are magnificent and tens of thousands come every year to small town Madison Indiana to visit the Annual Festival of Trees. Aside from the shimmer forest of Christmas Trees and “glitterfied” staff, guests get to see a portion of the winery owner’s private Christmas Angel collection.

Host of Angels

The Host of Angels runs in conjunction with The Festival of Trees but guests don’t see one large display. They angels are tucked in beside and in trees as if the staff were hiding Easter eggs with wings and opulent dresses. There’s 200 - plus in 2019 but soon to be more. That’s because our HR Manager loves angels and she wants to create some unique custom angels that cannot be purchased anywhere. Keep in mind that the angel collection is more than 25 years old so none of the angels on display can be purchased any longer. Still, Deb is all about Christmas and angels so I will be teaching staff to create angels that are even more spectacular than those you find in high end holiday stores; certainly they will be fancier than the average superstore display.

You can always make simple angels for your trees or home. Sometimes it’s great to have disposable ornaments on live trees so that the whole thing goes outside instead of having to undress the entire thing and store decorations.

But if you really want the beautiful, elegant angels that start at $50 bucks and go up then you need to get some supplies. There are lots of places including Hobby Lobby and sometimes even Walmart, but to get an idea of prices and some of the things you need check out some angelic faces and porcelain doll parts.

Before you start go to Walmart or Hobby lobby to check out their sparse angel display. The next part is a little weird but you need to take the angel off the shelf and pull up her skirt to examine her under workings. This is best done without a crowd or employees staring at you and imagining your possible perverse motivations. From this quick exam you will see how easy it is to assemble the basic angel frame.

Host of Angels at Lanthier Winery

Next - get your supplies: You will need angel head, arms, wings, hair, a plastic cone you can purchase or make to the desired height- you can also use a cardboard cone, you will need flexible wire that you can glue into the arms and neck to allow your angel to be posed and hold her shape. Don’t forget to select fabric, fur and other accessories that will customize your angel and make it truly unique. You’ll need a glue gun- I use cool temp because cursing during the holiday season is a really bad sin and for this project there are many small details that must be secured. Odds are you will get melted glue on your fingertips. However, I’ve found the hot glue holds better. Fabric glue is okay but I’m really messy and it doesn’t work well on all fabrics and trims.

Next - take your heavy duty flexible wire- (heavy gauge florist wire is okay) but the best can be found at any hardware store and easy to cut with and bend. Glue two wires into the neck gap of your angels head, add one wire inserted to each arm socket. Gather the wires together and insert them in the top part of the cone. Reach under the cone and pull the wires down through the small hole at the top of the cone until the head is just above the top of the cone and the arms are dangling off to the side. You should have enough wire to create shoulders and the upper arm area on the both sides of the angel. Use your own body as a guide. Your arms do not hang below your knees. If they are too long simply bend the wire back on itself. Don’t bother pulling things apart. Did I mention to be sure to check your angel’s hands and place them thumbs up on the correct side. You’d think it wouldn’t be obvious, but a left hand on the right side makes your angel look as if someone tossed it down a flight of stairs in a fit of Christmas rage. Abused angels are not attractive.

Host of Angels at Lanthier Winery

The fun part begins here. If you dressed Barbie dolls or enjoy fashion design this is truly an opportunity to go wild. Give some thought to how you want your angel to dress. Is she elegant, all in white, a country theme angel? Are you adding hair- how long will it be? Small or large wings? What will she hold in her arms or will she stand at attention, empty handed. Will the dress have different colors or fabric for sleeves and the skirt of bodice? (That the part that covers the breast area) There are so many decisions to make and its best to have an idea before you cut and glue.

But no matter what you decide you always begin with sleeves. You only need fabric scraps to make sleeves. You will cut enough to circle two the size of two regular pencils taped together. Before you wrap the fabric around the angel’s arms be sure to add “stuffing” to give some thickness to the upper arm and shoulder area. This can be scrap fabric, cotton balls or batting if you wish. I don’t recommend purchasing batting because the amounts needed for angel shoulders is so minute you would have substantial waste. Once you have glued a little stuffing on to the wire then it’s time to prep the sleeve fabric. Begin by folding under the cut edges and gluing them down. If you are obsessive go ahead and iron these tiny glued seems. Once you have the raw edges hidden wrap the sleeve fabric and fold under the back side of the angel’s arms. You can come back and fur cuffs or additional color on the top or bottom of the sleeve. Simple repeat the process of gluing raw edges and then wrap around the fabric you want to cover. There is no need to cut teeny tiny pieces. Just glue straight over. The next step is to create the bodice for the upper angel. This is a little tricky because you need to fit the upper bodice by the shoulders under the arm sleeves and then glue with a small amount to hold the fabric in place. Be sure to design your bodice before you attach it. Is there a “V” neck, does it have fur along the breast line, is it a single fabric covered in lace or netting? Once you have your design glue the raw edges, tuck under the arms and then glue the back of the bodice underneath where you will attach the wings after you finish all your other design work.

Finally you need to complete the skirt. Considering netting underneath if you like the princess look, or gather it in a flowing gown. If unsure, I like to glue thin florist wire in the hem when I fold it under. This is a great design touch because you can move the skirt however you want and it will stay in place. Consider pleats, ruffles and glitter layers; add fur trim if you like or a belt at the bodice. Once you have the basics completed you can finish your angel by gluing small pieces of greenery or miniature ornaments in her hands. Remember you can position the arms anyway you like. However before you add those touches consider adding a cape or jacket or tiny trim pieces to “fancy her up”. Glitter glue allows you to design all types of swirls or trim anywhere on the angels dress.

If you want to add hair - do so before you add the wings last. When you are done be sure to blow out your glitter boogers, and date and sign the inside of the cone of your new creation.

Check out more Angel Inspired Crafts

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