Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the eighth day of Christmas...

Thought I'd share with you some of the craftiness that we've been getting into in order to survive all these long days before Christmas. My kids are about to jump out of their skin in anticipation of the big day. Poor O. is still going to school this week -- tomorrow is finally his last day, and most of it is taken up by holiday party.

Mostly, we've been making ornaments to hang on our sad-ass tree. They keep falling off, but it gives N. something to do keeping track of them all. Some of them we're using as tags on teacher gifts, and we'll decorate the packages of family gifts with some of our handiwork as well.

Project #1 was taken from a suggestion for 'ordaments' we read about over at Not to Brag. Thanks, mep! I too, am always on the lookout for a project that the kids can actually complete without me having to commandeer the glue gun or police the paints.

Here are some of our completed masterpieces, made from scanned copies of pictures from some of our favorite books. For some reason, N. didn't want her Dora ornaments to look Christmas-y, so she cut all the packages off the pictures.
A couple more on N.'s teacher gifts which did not get to be delivered, due to a snow day on her last scheduled day of school. Guess they'll be nice for New Year's as well.
We've also been working with Shrinky Dinks. These are some of my faves, due to fond memories of making them myself back in the day. I distinctly remember them as an activity at my 8th birthday party -- coloring in Smurfs and then watching them curl up and shrink in the oven. These days, it's hard to find pre-printed Shrinky-Dinks, so you just buy the paper and trace your own from either a coloring book or a coloring page you print out from the computer.
Here they are post-tracing, pre-coloring:
And a different set, already finished. This is not a hands-off parent crafting project. The only thing kids kindergarten and younger can do themselves is the coloring. O. tried to cut his bison tracing out himself, and cut the two animals apart, which he hadn't meant to do. He was devastated, even though it meant he got two ornaments out of the deal. They are at times frustrating in the oven portion too, because they roll up and stick to themselves, and are hard to get apart. We managed to save most of ours, but the lion pair above didn't make it.
And finally, courtesy of Family Fun magazine, stars made out of "handmade paper". It's actually construction paper that you tear up and reshape, but the end result is cute in a rustic-y, made by a preschooler sort of way.

You start with a star shaped cookie cutter on a plate covered with a kitchen towel and a paper towel. Don't use a towel you won't mind getting stained, as ours did
with the red paper.
Next, you tear three sheets of construction paper into pieces about the size of dominos, and place them into your blender. Add a cup and a half of hot water, then let sit for five minutes.
Then, blend for about 20 seconds, until the contents are pulpy.
Spoon the mixture into your star until it is almost full. Press into the points, then press down with another towel to remove most of the moisture.
Pick up the cookie cutter, and push the star out onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees until it is dry. (the magazine said 2 hours -- ours took almost overnight to get all the way dry, but I think our cookie cutter was too big.) Glue a ribbon to the back to hang. Pretty cute!!
That's all the Martha I have in me for tonight, and I'm all out of craftiness for the rest of the week. Any successful projects going on at your house??

Oh, and I almost forgot -- the biggest ongoing project around here is N. and her scissoring. She leaves little piles of cut up colored paper all over the downstairs. She always insists there is a purpose -- pictures to put in an envelope to deliver to her friend at school, something to hang in her room, or simply items she covets in the Toys R Us catalog that she doesn't want us to forget. Whichever, she always promises to clean up, but then gets distracted by something like a fruit cup. I'm really glad she's working on her fine motor skills, but sheesh. Enough with the confetti.


Heather said...

I am SUPER impressed with your craftiness with the kiddos! You have inspired me to do at least one more crafty activity with my own kids before the big day. Not sure what, though...

Gabe went through a scissoring stage, too. I love that last pic of N. Too cute!

Stacia said...

We're all about the scissoring, too. And the distractions. And the piles of forgotten confetti. It's great.

And I love the paper-in-the-blender idea but don't know that I'm brave enough to do it. And you went with red! You are fearless, woman. =>