Posts Tagged ‘ornaments’

pine cone fairies

this year we are taking part in the annual crafty crow ornament swap! the theme for the year is fairy tales… you know, kings, queens, princesses, gnomes, dragons. but they had me at fairy. always do.

fairies hanging out in our tree

fairies hanging out in our tree

so N and i went hunting in our backyard for some natural materials to make fairy ornaments out of. we found tons of tiny pine cones.

thank you, trees

thank you, trees

we baked the pinecones at 250 degrees for about an hour, to make sure the critters were gone and because the sappy stuff in the cones gives them a nice shiny glow after baking. the house smelled divine! (that’s the closest we’ll come to the real christmas tree smell in our home, as we have cats.)

baking pine cones

then we decided to apply a bit of gold paint to the pinecones to make them sparkle, all fairy-like. these cones were going to be fairy bodies!

gilded

gilded

with some wood glue, we attached unfinished wooden beads to the tops, to serve as fairy heads. then i hot-glued (hot glue guns and toddlers do not mix) a golden thread and paper flower to the top of each, so the fairies had flower hats and a string from which to hang.after that, we used one of my most favorite art materials ever — garlic peels! (and a coupla red pearl onion peels, too) these make the perfect ethereal fairy wings when hot-glued to the back of the pinecone.

pine cone fairy ornaments

then we had a big fairy family to share with the ornament swap recipients!

pine cone fairy ornaments

pine cone fairy ornament

we put each safely into a small empty crayon box and wrapped them with coloring book pictures of fairies that N has colored.

coloring book gift wrap

we wished each fairy well in their new homes in new york, pennsylvania, louisiana, new hampshire, and california… and they’re off in the mail now to these new homes and new adventures! so excited to see which 5 ornaments we receive in return… we can take a peek at the flickr group for the swap to see what others made, too… how fun!

12.09

2009
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homemade play dough

the other day, N was in the mood for modeling, but our cans of store-bought play-doh were ka-put… so we whipped up a batch of our own play dough from ingredients we had in our kitchen. i consulted my trusty mudworks book to make sure i had the measurements correct for the recipe.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup iodized salt
  • 1.75 cups warm water
  • mix in a bowl, knead 10 minutes, play!

we got to work creating the dough. N helped every step of the way.

making play dough

after we kneaded the dough for 10 minutes, it was a ball of potential energy waiting to become kinetic. (science nerdddd!)

anything is possible

and it did! N had lots of fun with cookie cutters and clay tools all afternoon!

(as earthy and homemade as we try to be, the longest stint in her play was when the little bear clay dude was “talking on his iphone to duck.” sheesh.)

little bear talking on his iphone, which clearly needs an earphone so he can avoid brain tumors

little bear talking on his iphone, which clearly needs an earpiece so he can avoid brain tumors

we decided to bake a few of the cut shapes to make (what else?!) ornaments! (this really was not what we set out to do, but it just sort of happened. again. hey, it’s december…) i brushed each one with mayonnaise prior to baking at 300 for one hour. before putting them in the oven, don’t forget to poke a hole in the ones you intend to hang – straws work well for this.

making play dough ornaments

the next day N painted the ornaments (and her fingers) with some sparkly acrylic paint.

salt dough ornaments

once dry, we strung them with pretty ribbons and beads, and hung them on our tree. (well, a few were packaged in the mail to be delivered to the trees of friends and family… guess what you’re all getting this year…)

painted dough ornaments

 

12.07

2009
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swirly orbs

i saw this idea on the chasing cheerios blog so we had to try it out. michael’s was having a good sale on their clear glass ornaments, so we got a pack. at home, we had some folk art metallic paints in red, green, blue, purple, and gold that we decided would make for pretty ornaments.

painted glass ornaments

N helped to squirt the paint into each ball. we chose three colors for each one. i recommend squirting a lot of paint into the top edge of the ball, with different colors on each side. then you just naturally let it run down the inside while twisting and turning the ball (gently!) in little hands.

then we checked on the ornaments every hour or so for the rest of the afternoon, setting them in the tray so that different sides were at the bottom, which allowed the paint to move all over the place.

painted glass ornaments

we kept the aluminum tops off of the glass orbs for about five or six days to be sure the paint was totally dry inside. then we just put the caps on the top and hooks. such an easy and fun thing to do with your little one. the only thing to make sure of is that your kiddos handle the glass balls with care. these make for such pretty, sparkly ornaments!

painted glass ornaments

 

11.25

2009
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pimp my pine

N found these great unfinished wooden ornaments while tinkering along in michael’s holiday section, playing with treasures in the lowest bins. she brought one over to me and asked if we could bring it home. “of course, and let’s bring its friends home with us, too!” i replied. so we bought out the store. (well, they only had like 10 left, but they were 80 cents each, and with my awesome 50% off coupon they were only 40 cents each! score!)

watercoloring wooden ornaments

at home, we combined two of my most favorite media – watercolors and wood. we sat outside and painted away on the wooden baubles.

then we allowed the paint to drip dry as the ornaments hung from a tree in our backyard. the drips make really pretty effects on the ornaments, too!

watercoloring wooden ornaments

after the ornaments were dry, i concocted a natural wood creme to rub onto the wood in order to seal in the paint (and make them smell yummy, too!) my wood creme is made from melting beeswax with jojoba oil and a few drops of tea tree and lavender oils for natural antibacterial properties and heavenly scent. i think sweet orange oil would be delicious in a wood creme, too! (these ingredients things i had around the home because of my love for making natural bath and beauty products, but you can get most of them at stores like wholefoods or online bulk suppliers.)

ingredients

ingredients

N loved this magic potion portion of the activity! after the creme hardened in its tin, we were ready to seal the deal. i just rubbed the wood creme into the ornaments with my fingers, polishing off the excess with a soft cotton cloth. (this wood creme works great for sealing handmade wooden toys, too! stay tuned for that…)

watercoloring wooden ornaments wood creme

now these little ornaments are ready and waiting to adorn our tree and the yule trees of those near and dear to us. (yep, another surprise spoiler blog.)

 

11.21

2009
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painting dough ornaments

tiz the season for homemade ornaments… many of this web site’s loyal followers (thank you!) might remember when my little one and i made cinnamon playdough back in july. check it out, if you haven’t, as that is the first step to the process we are continuing here in today’s blog, made from a recipe in mary ann kohl’s mudworks book.

painted ornaments

N and i pulled out the bag of baked cinnamon dough that we made in the summer, as it’s now time to add some color and personality to these lovely ornaments.

 

we used acrylic paint to paint designs and some names or words onto each ornament. after they were dry, i sealed them with a gloss varnish. i have to admit that the gloss varnish kind of flaked on some and dulled down the color on others. not the best choice, perhaps? when the varish was dry, we tied pretty ribbons (from our recycled ribbon stash at home) to the tops, as we had remembered to poke holes in them before they were baked.

painted ornaments

and voila! handmade holiday gifts…  (bah, the whole next month of this blog will so spoil any surprise for our friends and family about what they can expect this holiday season.)

painted dough ornaments

 

11.18

2009
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abracadabra

crayola’s model magic is magic, and today we were magicians turning plain white putty into adorable animals! i love that model magic is mess-free and so easily malliable for little magicians.

N had a great time squishing and smooshing the model magic for a long while before we made any “thing.” this sort of art-making time is what it’s all about — it’s the process, not the product. in those moments, she is having a sensory experience, and she is fully engrossed in imaginal play, telling stories and making up dialog and voices. i live to listen to these activities, and it seems like sculpting supplies really brings my daughter into that inventive space. (of course, paint does, too. i love art.)

model magic

her first creation today was a sphere that got smooshed, and then she gave it a face. she’s getting good at figure representation.

first face sculpture

first face sculpture

then i remembered that i saw this clay owl on the 4 crazy kings blog, and i knew i had to make some! N and i both adore owls (they’re one of my totem animals,) as do many of my friends, so these will make festive autumn gifts, or perhaps holiday ornaments. we followed the simple instructions from the blog, and made an entire owl family. N was able to help me make the balls, smoosh them, and also to indent the feathers and eyes with the end of a marker.

magical owl family

magical owl family

then we got model magic happy and made some cats, fish, and turtles, too! this goop comes in tons of colors, but i like to get it in white because it’s easy and fun to paint and/or color with markers.

colorized

we brought these animals to life with paint after they had hardened 24 hours after making them. such fun!

creatures with features

creatures with features

 

10.08

2009
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we knead cinnamon

we most often attribute the experience of making art to the sense of sight, but many of the most absorbing and pleasurable projects for young children engage two or more senses. making cinnamon dough is one such activity – it has the potential to engage all five senses, if you allow your kiddo a little taste, that is. today N and i made cinnamon dough together. she had such fun helping me to mix it, knead it, and then play with it.

mixing dough

mixing dough

kneading

kneading

 

the recipe:

you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 cup warm water
  • bowl
  • cookies sheets
  • bread board
  • plastic wrap

process:

  1. mix flour, salt, and cinnamon in bowl
  2. make a well in the center and pour water in well
  3. mix with your hands until dough forms a ball (add water or flour as needed so that dough isn’t crumbly or sticky)
  4. knead on floured board until smooth and satiny (about 5 min)
  5. wrap in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes before using
  6. play!

you can use this as you would any play dough, and store it in an airtight container for future use. this dough resembles sand a lot, so we found it fun to make impressions of shells, and N pretended her tiny toy figurines were playing on the beach for quite a while.

playtime

playtime

shell impression

shell impression

it is also fun to roll and cut this dough with cookie cutters. then bake it at 350 for one hour or until hard. you can sandpaper it, paint it, and varnish it when cool. these would make yummy smelling autumnal decorations, party favors, or holiday ornaments! (way to get a jump on that in the summer, eh?) here’s what we baked, soon to be painted for the season (way!) ahead.

ornaments or decorations

ornaments or decorations

i am a big fan of mary ann kohl‘s art books for kids. this idea came from her book, mudworks, but my inspiration for making it came from my amazing art therapist friend and colleague. she works with terminally ill children in their homes through the hospice of metro denver. she is so creative in how she comes up with projects for these children that indulge their senses. i knew i had to try this project with my daughter my friend described bringing this clay over to the home of her client, a sweet little boy, and how he lit up just kneading the dough, feeling it squish in his hands, and smelling it repeatedly. it is these sorts of sensory experiences – tactile and olfactory – that make the most vivid imprint on our memories.

it is also fun to roll and cut this dough with cookie cutters. then bake it at 350 for one hour or until hard. you can sandpaper it, paint it, and varnish it when cool. these would make yummy smelling autumnal decorations, party favors, or holiday ornaments! (way to get a jump on that in the summer, eh?) here’s what we baked, soon to be painted for the season ahead.
i am a big fan of mary ann kohl’s art books for kids. this idea came from her book, mudworks, but my inspiration for making it came from my amazing art therapist friend and colleague. she works with terminally ill children in their homes through the hospice of metro denver. she is so creative in how she comes up with projects for these children that indulge their senses. i knew i had to try this project with my daughter my friend described bringing this clay over to the home of her client, a sweet little boy, and how he lit up just kneading the dough, feeling it squish in his hands, and smelling it repeatedly. it is these sorts of sensory experiences – tactile and olfactory – that make the most vivid imprint on our memories.

 

07.15

2009
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waxing aesthetic

we’ve just made a visit to a wonderful local butterfly pavilion. N has had butterflies on the brain ever since and wanted to make one. i saw this melted crayon shaving project online a while back, and i figured we could make a butterfly to hang in a window.

first, i found extra crayons we had laying around and shaved them with a potato peeler while N napped. (if you do this with your child, it requires supervision, as the peelers can be sharp!) i grouped the colors into four different bowls so that it would be pleasing for my daughter to blend them, though it would be fine for them all to be mixed together initially, too.

crayon shavings

crayon shavings

i taped wax paper down onto N’s little table, and displayed the colorful bowls for her. when she saw this project set up, she got very excited and said, “mommy, i love to make pictures! do you love to do this too?” then she got busy, sprinkling the crayon shavings onto the wax paper. she moved them around with her hands, and seemed to enjoy the tactile nature of this project for quite a while.

 

crayon shavings tactile

when she was finished, we made sure the crayons shavings were arranged very close together, with little or no space in between them. i taped another sheet of wax paper over top, and laid down a dishtowel on top of that. i set the iron to “cotton” and once it was hot, i ironed over the dishtowel with the purpose of melting the crayon shavings together. i learned, in my first time doing this today, that it is probably best not to move the iron back and forth because it can create a snag in the wax paper. rather, you can just press the iron down over the area. i also learned that if you plan to hang this in a window, use thin layers of crayon shavings to make it translucent rather than opaque. ours has spots of both.

after, it looked like this:

melted crayons held up to the light

melted crayons held up to the light

after the sandwiched wax cooled off, we decided to cut it into the shape of a butterfly to hang in the window. you can cut this into endless shapes, or leave the sheet as is, if you’d like. after we cut it, i ironed the edges of the cut butterfly again (under the towel) to seal it, as i noticed some rogue crayon shavings escaping the sandwich. i poked two holes into the butterfly (with a straight pin) and strung some embroidery thread through them to hang N’s creation in the window. almost like stained glass, here is N’s new playroom decoration:

butterfly suncatcher

butterfly suncatcher

admiring her work

admiring her work

this project can be done to make stained glass-like art. it would be a cute way to make small, handmade ornaments as gifts. it can also be done on white paper. (i think glossy fingerpainting paper would work well) to do a melted crayon picture. instead of scattering the crayons randomly, your kid can create a picture or pattern with them, too. many options, all colorful and beautiful!

07.06

2009
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