Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Make a Christmas Orange Pomander

Christmas Craft #2:
So here is the second craft for the Annual Christmas Craft Day. Very traditional and very easy to do. It is one the kids never tire of in fact they will keep reminding me ....." we have to make our Christmas oranges, Mom!"
The hardest part is the hanger but I'll show you the trick I've come up with to get it to work.
Materials Required
Make sure you use a navel orange and not a Mandarin, the skin is just to loose to hold in the cloves.
Most books say just to push in the cloves directly but I find the kids will struggle with that. It's much easier for them to poke the orange with a toothpick first and then insert the clove.
We are just doing a simple line design but you can cover the orange completely if you want, or write your name with cloves, or even a shape like a poinsettia flower.
They kids really enjoy this activity and it will make your house smell wonderful.
For the hanger take a length of wire about 10 inches or so.
Break a toothpick in half.
Wrap the wire around the toothpick and twist together to form a loop.
Punch a few holes in the top of your orange close together to form a large enough opening for the hanger.
Insert hanger into the hole and push down with a pencil or paintbrush handle.
Pull up a little on the hanger and it should stay in place.
The toothpick swells up a bit and holds the hanger in place.
Add a bow and you have a very nice Christmas decoration. If you only use a few cloves in your design your orange will probably not last forever.
If you completely cover your orange with cloves your pomander will last longer and may dry out completely.

Give it a try.
see you next time

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to Make Mini Christmas Trees

For the last two years I have organized a Christmas Craft Day at the school. The kids have a chance to rotate thru craft stations and make a bunch of crafts to take home. This year I have 6 classes participating (grades 1-3) around 120 kids. I have a team of volunteers who help run the stations but I need to come up with the crafts and test them out. This year we are doing 12 crafts. I plan on posting them all and maybe throwing in some of last year's as well.
Here is Craft #1 Mini Christmas Trees. They are approximately 5 inches tall and very easy to make.
Materials Required:
1 toilet paper roll
green felt ( I used 3 different shades)
tacky glue
felt pen
small (5mm) beads and/or pompoms, stars or sequins
green paint or marker (optional)
You need to print out 2 templates
The first step is optional. My husband pointed out that you really don't see the toilet paper roll so you don't need to paint it.
I painted mine so I'm leaving this step in.....I don't think the kids at school will be doing this step but you can choose for yourself.
Paint toilet paper roll or color in with green marker. Let dry.
Using the printed out templates, trace onto felt. If you are using different colors decide where you want them to go.
You need:
1 XL
1 L
2 M
2 S
and 2 XS
Cut out your circles. I find that when I use a marker to trace with I try to cut just inside that line. This way there is no black marks on the felt.
Cut out 1 top piece as well.
You now need to cut an x in the middle of each circle. Easiest way to do this is to fold circle in 1/2 and then in 1/2 again, make a cut and then repeat going the other way.
For the large circles make your x cut about 1 1/2 inches long. As you work up to the smaller circles the cuts get a bit smaller. Felt has a bit of stretch to it and you can also clip it a little larger if needed.
When you open it up it should look like this.
Repeat for all circles.
Take your top piece and place a little tacky glue on the bottom corner of one end.
Curl the other end around and glue together. It should look like a little hat.
Let dry.
Take your toilet paper roll and flatten it slightly on one end. Using you scissors cut the side from about 1 inch above the bottom to a point at the top. Do this on both sides and try to get them equal.
Place a little glue at the point and glue the two points together.
You can use a clothespin to hold it together while drying.
When dry try to round out the roll again so the sides are so squished. You want the bottom to be in its original shape so it will stand up.
Take your felt circles and start pushing them down onto the toilet roll.
You don't need to glue them in place in fact it's better if you don't. That way you can position your tree branches just so.
Place all the circles on. Smooth the circles down a bit so it forms a sloping tree shape.
It should look something like this.
Put some glue in the top cap and place on the point. You may have to hold into place for a while or use that clothespin.
Now you can decorate. I kept mine fairly simple as that is what the kids will be doing. I used some 5mm pony beads which kinda of look like lights, some pompoms, and a star at the top.
I experimented a bit with a garland but found it a little fussy for the kids. You could use some glitter glue or sequins.
There you have it. A mini Christmas tree that stands on its own using simple supplies.
You can even make mini presents to go underneath.
give it a try and I'll see you next time with another Christmas craft.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hand and Foot Angels

Here is a great project to do with your little ones. There are no shortage of hand and foot projects out there but this is my favorite. I have done this with a gazillion kids and they always turn out wonderful. This year I did them with Kindergarten and Grade 1. That's 80 kids in all. (can't believe that we washed that many feet!).
I have seen this done with 3 handprints but I think the foot makes a better angel body.
You can also do these on fabric if you want, just use acrylic paint instead of tempera.
Materials Required:
blue tempera paint
yellow tempera paint
white/red/brown tempera paint
white paper (I used fingerpaint paper as it is nice and heavy)
dollar store sponges
foam plates ( I know this isn't very green but they work the best)
glitter glue
black paper or paint
sequin stars (optional)
bins for washing
If you are doing a classful of kids it helps to have a system. I had a helper, so one would do the foot and the other the hand.
Set up your workspace. We worked on the ground, I set up my dropcloths which are just vinyl tablecloths (they work like a charm). Place out a chair for the child to sit on. Remove one shoe and sock. Pour some blue tempera into a foam plate, double it for extra strength. Press foot into paint.
Press foot onto paper to make a print. You want it centered but have the toes towards the bottom to give you some extra space to put on your head.
Lift off and place immediately into wash up bin.
This is where those Kindergartner's get the spa treatment!
Towel off and put sock and shoe back on.
Now on to the handprint. We selected only one hand for ease in cleanup but you can certainly do both if you wish.
Place yellow tempera into double foam plate. Press hand into paint with fingers slightly spread apart.
Press into place. Repeat on other side of the footprint for two wings. I found you could easily get two good prints without having to put the hand back into the paint.
Place hand immediately into wash up bin and dry.
Your angel should look like this now.
Let dry for a bit.
With a paintbrush and some blue paint paint in the arms. Some kids have a tendency to make really long arms so ask them to keep it within the yellow of the wings.
For the hands I cut up a sponge into a small circle. Mix up some skin tone paint with white, red and brown to whatever shade you desire.
Using the sponge make 2 hands at the end of your arms.
I took part of that same sponge and cut a larger circle for the head. Using our skin tone paint stamp on the head at the heel of the footprint.
You could use a paintbrush and paint a circle but this worked great for the 5 - 6 yr olds.
With leftovers from that sponge I cut some square shapes and we used some brown paint for hair. The idea was to have the kids stamp on some shapes around the head but the kids had their own ideas. They did swoops, some did curls, and some had the Rapunzel thing going.
It should look something like this.
We then took glitter glue in gold and silver and made our halos.
Let dry. If you want you can get your kids to paint on the eyes and the mouth. I find with really young kids that this leads to angels who look like they have been in a fight.
We hole punched some black paper and glued it on for eyes. We then took a fine red marker and made the mouth.
Finally we glued on some sequin stars around the angel before mounting the completed angel on blue paper.
That's it.
Give it a try. For a more permanent keepsake you could use acrylic paint and make a banner or table runner. You will have to paint on the eyes and mouth in this case.
see you soon and I can't help it......Way To Go STAMPS!!!!!
For those of you not in Canada the Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup yesterday which is the Canadian equivalent to the Superbowl. We are so proud.
Virtual Sketch Date for November was completed yesterday for those of you interested. I haven't been able to find time to do my own painting with things at school so I didn't get a chance to participate. If you get a chance check it out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How to Make Angel Pencil toppers

There's nothing like a few good pencil toppers to make the homework go faster.....or to help you with that Christmas list. I enjoy making pencil toppers with little people on them. ( sorry for the picture quality but we have been cloudy so no good natural light...I'm hoping for a mini picture studio for Christmas ) Here are some Christmas elf ones that I'm working on. The basic design comes from the Gnome Craft Book. One of my favs, in fact I find all the little Floris craft books great. Here is the how to on the angel, one I came up with on my own.
Materials Required: felt tacky glue or if you want to sew them needle and thread wood beads 14mm or 1/2" beads for hands 3-5mm pipe cleaners pencils wool roving or stuffing store bought wings or artificial flowers to make wings from. template Take your wood bead and either draw on or paint on your face. I like to paint mine but my kids do better using micron markers and drawing on their face. Slide on to pipe cleaner until it is in the middle. Bend the top half of the pipe cleaner down around back of the head and twist about three times underneath to the other half of the pipe cleaner. Try to get it as tight as you can. Now we will make the halo. Take some gold or silver pipe cleaners, you could also use wire, form a loop and push end down thru hole in head. Take some wool roving or stuffing ( poly stuffing will work as well), put some tacky glue around the head and glue wool on for hair. You can always style it a bit after the glue has dried but don't fuss with it now you'll just end up with wool stuck to your fingers.
Your head should look like this. I like having the halo above the head as it kinda looks like a kid in a Christmas concert or something. You could just make a loop and glue directly on the head on top of the hair. Using the template cut out the dress and collar from some felt. Make sure to cut the dress on the fold. The collar can be cut with pinking shears if you're really careful or you can make the jagged edge with some sharp scissors. You could also just leave it round if you don't want to fuss. For the silver angel I cut my collar from some ribbon. Make a little hole in the center of both the dress and collar for the head. Thread the collar on first, then the dress. Take your two smaller hand beads and thread on to the pipe cleaner ends. Push up into place.
Now this step is a bit harder to explain. Holding the bead, bend the pipe cleaner end back on itself and twist a few times to form an arm. You want the hand to be in place at the end of the sleeve of the dress. Wrap what is left of the pipe cleaner around the halo wire a few times. If you don't have a halo wire just wrap the two arm ends around each other. Take your pencil and wrap those pipe cleaner ends around the top. We will be gluing everything into place so don't worry about it being too tight.
Apply some tacky glue in the middle of the angel and glue the two dress sides together sandwiching in the pencil. If you want you can sew it into place instead.
Use some clothespins to hold it together while drying. You might find you need more glue depending on your felt. I find some types of felt just suck up the glue and don't stick on the first try. Glue on your wings. There are lots of angel wings in the stores right now for Christmas crafting. You can also use 2 petals from an artificial flower for wings or make your own from felt.

And there you have it an Angel to watch over you while making all those lists and checking them twice.

You could easily turn this pencil topper into a pin by leaving out the pencil and sticking a pin back on.

see you next time