Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

driftwood christmas tree

this summer we ended up with a lot of beach treasures, so rather than let them sit in buckets in our shed all winter long, this pinspiration (courtesy of beachcomber) made me want to give these beauties a new (and festive!) life.

remember our trip to a nearby salvage yard? well, we scored this distressed cabinet door for under $5, which made for a perfect backdrop to our driftwood christmas tree. N and i gathered up various sizes of driftwood, and began our work.

driftwood itself is just so lovely.

N was a huge help in organizing the pieces of driftwood by length.

then she set to work lining them up on the board in a tree pattern. after she arranged them how she liked them, i hot glued the wood to the board.

once they were glued down, we sourced more beachy items (starfish for “tree topper” and shells and sea glass for “ornaments”) and N “decorated the christmas tree” with them.

thankfully, she didn’t clump them all in one spot (like she did on our actual christmas tree!)

it’s just so fun to look at!


and it makes for a handsome holiday mantel!

okay, so i keep blogging about projects from pinterest that i want to do (not necessarily child-centered – ack!) but at least N helped a great deal with this one, right…??? and she LOVES it… does that count? [insert sheepish grin here.]

let the holiday season begin!


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paint chip christmas tree gift tags

every year, i wrap our holiday gifts in natural kraft paper, which makes them sort of like a blank canvas for whatever ribbons and adornment we select. this year, i’m thinking butcher twine and these wonderful handmade tree tags.

i saw this idea on pinterest (of course because i live on there! wth?!) and had to try it out! i’m always the chick who’s pocketing paint chips at the hardware store, so that part was easy. i have a large stash of buttons and ribbon, and a glue gun, so we were set to go. N was excited to cut the paint chips into triangles together, and was a huge help in doing so.

after she cut these lovely green ombre triangles, i hot glued a loop of ribbon under a button to the top of each one. N instructed me NOT to put a brown trunk on each one, so we left the trees as they were.

they turned out to be so cute! now i just need to get the actual GIFTS made!

paint chips are so naturally amazing — in what sorts of artistic ways have you used paint chips?


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handmade tokens

my husband and i are in the process of creating teeny handmade tokens to serve as prizes in the game room at N’s waldorf school holiday faire in a couple of weeks.

creating handmade treats for little ones is right up my alley. because i have a bunch of random materials overflowing out of our art cabinet, i decided to donate not only our time, but also the materials to create some prizes.

mostly, we created pom pom/felted wool acorns, painted and wax-sealed wooden toys of all shapes, and some mini-pinecone fairies. we had a great time this weekend, as a family, making all sorts of fun little things together from the mish-mash of stuff that was bursting (avalanche style) out of our art stash.

i wasn’t sure if these little tokens would be “big enough” prizes until N confirmed that she’d LOVE to win a wooden heart and a wooden apple if she played a game. and she LOVED these weird looking gnomes i designed from the wooden shape that’s supposed to be a carrot. whew! kids are easy to please…

N even helped to paint a few gnomes

one of my favorite adaptations of the weekend was how we morphed our pinecone fairies from 2009 — this time instead of garlic peel wings (one of my fav art materials!) we used these wooden mustache shapes from our collection of odd wooden doodads for more durable wings. they turned out to be pretty cute with their acorn hats.

i love how each of us got in on the action and created these teeny treats for the kids at school. i spent much of the weekend creating holiday gifts for friends and family, too. i’m launching into total handmade holiday elf mode over here, and it’s not even thanksgiving!



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sparkly shell ornaments

autumn is upon us next week… tis the season of harvesting the fruits of our labor. when we’re lucky, summer “labor” looks like a long walk on the beach. if you’ve got a lot of beach booty laying around, this could be a simple fun one for you and your littles.

our summer vacation to carova, north carolina, left us with plenty of beautiful shells with natural holes in them. perfect for jewelry, garland, and ornaments!

we set a few larger shells and some ribbon scraps aside with the intention of creating keepsakes for 12 of our family members (5 households) who shared this trip together.

first, i wrote “carova 2011” on the inside of each shell with a sharpie.

then N got to work painting the shells with one of my favorite glimmery paint additives called “make it shimmer.”

this paint gives such a lovely mostly-silver, somewhat-pearly glisten to anything it touches. N applied it directly to our shells, but as a paint additive, it is meant to be mixed into plain paint to heighten it to shimmery loveliness.

once the shells were dry, we added colorful ribbon scraps from our stash.

while this project has roots in summer, it extends through the winter holidays. we are excited to give these to our family to display on their christmas trees or in their homes whenever they’d like.

it’s a fun memento from a sweet summer vacation. (surprise family – these will be coming your way before the holiday season! 🙂 )



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happy holidays to all!

hello dear readers – i’ll be taking the week off from blogging, though not from creating, in order to spend time celebrating with family.

wishing you and yours having a safe and joyful holiday season! see you in the new year…

here’s to an artfilled 2011 for us all!


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snow globe

i knew it was only a matter of time before we made one of these. we’re big fans of snowglobes over here. this is a new one my sister gave us this year as a gift. lovely, huh?

i’ve sort of been intimidated by the whole snow globe thing — what with eggshells and different oils inside in all of those instructions i see online. then i decided it didn’t need to be all that complex. we had all four things in our home that we needed, lucky for us, as N has quite a bad cold right now and we can’t really run to the store. we gathered up a clear jar, glitter, polymer clay (sculpey), and a plastic trinket for inside. oh, and water! just water.

we opened the jar and put a ball of the sculpey clay on the inside of the lid. N chose a plastic cinderella from her sandtray toys outside to put inside of the snow globe. okay, so it’s not christmasy… but she can display it year round in her bedroom. we stuck the cinderella securely into the clay.

then we sprinkled lots of glitter and some tiny shiny confetti into the jar.

N filled the jar with water. (yes, our sink got glittered.)

(nevermind the tea cup and egg pan from breakfast)

then i put hot glue around the top edge of the jar and screwed the lid on. this seals the jar from leaking.

we let it dry for a bit…

and voila! cinderella (all fancied up with a blue sash for the ball) was enjoying a blizzard of fancy sparkles!


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sugar cookies, paper cookies

last week, we did a little holiday baking around here. we made our usual recipe-off-the-marshmallow-fluff-jar fudge. then i had to dig up a new sugar cookie recipe because of the whole pesky gluten-intolerance thing. i ended up finding an awesome recipe that you honestly would not know is gluten-free! we got down to business, mixing the 6,502 types of flours together.

we had an awesome time cutting the cookies…

and decorating the cookies.

and admiring the cookies and eventually eating the cookies! (and gifting some)

the next day when N was playing alone in her room, she asked for scissors and paper. i knew she was coloring, and she was being sort of sneaky about it, but we granted her the items (regardless of my fear that she will someday soon attempt to cut her own hair.) after almost an hour of total quiet in there, she emerged with “cookies!”

she had been cutting and decorating lots of “cookies” on her own, and was quite proud of them. i just love child-originated art projects!

(angry gingerman shown for scale? or just because we were about to munch on him... which is probably why he was angry)


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santa card

i just had to share the sweetest card that came home from preschool with N. again, a great idea from her preschool teacher to do an upside-down handprint santa.

and what’s inside is truly heartwarming.

a picture of us all around the christmas tree

ho ho ho!


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fancy globe ornaments

how i just love those cheap, clear glass ornaments you can get at michael’s (or practically anywhere!) there are so many fun things you can do with them. last year we swirled metallic paint inside of them. this year, we decided to do it up fancy-style by stuffing them with all sorts of fun things!

N and i got our ornaments ready by labeling each one with one of her classmate’s names on the tray where it sits, so we could tell them apart since they were soon to be personalized.

then we got out a bunch of stuff from our art cabinet, such as feathers, seed beads, sequins, glitter, foam letters, tinsel, and fuzzy pom-poms. (tiny toys, figurines, shredded paper, leaves, dried flowers, etc could be great in here, too — let your imagination run wild!)

N found the first letter of the name of each of her classmates and we put the foam letter in the ornaments first.

then she carefully considered the colors and things that each of her friends would like, and we went through the materials type by type until each person’s ornament was full of fancy holiday cheer!

a tip for adding glitter, seed beads, or other tiny items – use a small funnel.

i tied ribbons to each one so they can be hung on a tree (or in a bedroom windown year-round, perhaps.) we will package them up safely and give them out at preschool when winter break nears. (hope this didn’t spoil it for any of you parents in her class. sorry 😉 )


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paper snowflakes

winter is upon us in a few short weeks, the winter solstice being my favorite holiday! (ahem, it is my birthday, afterall…) today N and i practiced our folding and cutting while decorating for the winter by making paper snowflakes!

we gathered up some scrap paper and both grown-up and kid scissors. if you want an idea for something to do with those watercolor paintings that come home from preschool or lovely marbled paper, this is a great transformation for that art work to have a new life.

first, i had to brush up on my origami paper folding for snowflakes. sure, you can fold it in half and in half again, but there is a more intricate way that involves a 60 degree angle. this youtube video really seemed simple and friendly enough for me (or your older children) to follow. here are some of the papers in various stages of folding…

after properly folded, we were able to cut like crazy (as he says in the video.) here is where we found that a 3 year old using her little kid scissors just might get frustrated when cutting layers upon layers of folded paper. gotta hand it to N – she tried. if you have older children, they’ll be able to do this just fine.

then she opted to cut a bunch of other things out….

…while i cut the folded snowflake paper.

blue and white preschool painting turned to snow!

N also modeled the finished snowflakes, lined them up, counted them, threw them in the air like it was snowing… lots o fun!

when we were finished, it looked like a snowstorm in our den!

we hung these paper snowflakes up on the back door. i’ll likely make more to hang from our chandelier or to string into garland — i’m such a garland addict! help!

a little golden one landed on our christmas tree

who says it doesn’t snow in the bay area?


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grinchy crafts

if you read this blog, you know i’m not a fan of pre-fabricated crafts, but N couldn’t resist these grinch christmas craft kits when she spotted them at michael’s a couple weeks ago. our morning project was a kit of ceramic grinch-themed ornaments to paint.

she was so excited by the little pots of paint and the fact that she was painting “delicate glass!!!” as she said. i opted for real paintbrushes in lieu of the bad-hair-day brush that came with the set.

this was at least an hour of painting fun.

after they were dry…

we hung them on the tree, with pride.

in the afternoon, we embarked on our second grinch project of the day… grinch garland! this is essentially a glueing project, as all of the felt pieces in this kit are pre-cut.

the pieces

N picked out which ones she wanted to put where, and glued them together.

they were quite cute when finished, actually.

i strung the felt circles onto the provided silver thread, and hung them in N’s bedroom where she wanted to display them.

this wasn’t an expressive arts sort of day, with these pre-made crafty kits (blech!) but sometimes it’s satisfying to have a predictable product, i suppose…? given the choice between crafty kits and a seasick crocodile, i’d take the seasick crocodile!!! (nope, i’d take the art every time!)


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wish list for santa

nevermind that it’s not yet thanksgiving… somehow our spirits are already in the christmas-mode around here, much like a prematurely decorated department store. we haven’t busted out the stockings or the tree yet, but N has been singing “rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” constantly since december 2008, pretty much on a daily basis no matter the season. she is always anticipating the holiday. the other day i found her at her art table, drawing and coloring, as she is often doing.


this time she was making a picture of santa claus. i just had to share it with you, as i was quite impressed! (yep, i’m a proud momma.) i just love that this entire project was completely child-invented and child-directed.

N said that she wanted to send the picture to santa claus in the north pole, along with her christmas list for the toys she wants his elves to make for her. (even though we downplay the actual existence of one man named santa around here, in favor of “he’s the spirit of christmas” explanations, the mass consciousness around his myth as permeated our household via friends, books, cartoons, etc.) so be it. she’s enjoying the legend for now, and also holds a broad perspective that includes earth-based spirituality and honors other spiritual paths. she knows that christmas isn’t about materialism, yet she is a three year old who wants new toys.

anyway, she got to work dreaming up the things she wants for christmas. she asked me to help her spell the items, as she got to work writing her christmas letter.

it reads: “dear santa. i wish for: teddy bear, bike, fox, ipod, train, train track. love, N”

N wanted me to help her mail this to the north pole. now i think this is the cutest letter ever, so just couldn’t bring myself to fold it and put it into any old envelope, so we spent the afternoon creating a large envelope that would hold it out of a large roll of drawing paper and clear packaging tape (to seal the sides of the pocket.) N addressed and stamped (with a 1 cent stamp) the envelope.

N decorated the envelope with all sorts of stickers for santa. (we don’t have any holiday or winter stickers yet, so she just used random ones we did have on hand.)

we put it out beside the mailbox. (to promptly be retrieved by me when she is absorbed in play again.)



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