Posts Tagged ‘pine cones’

pine cones + pom poms = holiday trees

we’ve been getting in the holiday spirit over here, making all sorts of fun christmas/solstice decor! as a little impromptu project, N kicked it old skool and created some christmas trees out of pine cones and pom poms the other day.

check out our “two ingredient tuesday” guest post on kiwi crate all about it!

what sorts of holiday decorations have your little ones been making this season?


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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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fairy looms

does your little one gather thousands of leaves and twigs every time s/he’s outside? mine does! from nature walks to playgrounds to the preschool sandbox, N is constantly in search of treasures. when i saw the framework for this idea on moment to moment, i thought it would make a sweet storage space for seasonal findings.

i like how on moment to moment, the kids made beaded strands and various things to add to their fairy loom (which we’ll likely do later,) but mostly i wanted to make one where we could store natural objects… a fairy loom for all seasons! first, we needed a sturdy stick in the shape of the letter Y. last week we went on a nature walk with gwee, and hunted for said stick with no luck. we did find plenty of leaves and things, so N saved the things she gathered in anticipation of making a fairy loom.

over the weekend on a hike with her daddy, N found the perfect Y shaped stick for her loom. it was a bit bigger than i’d imagined it being (i was envisioning a 1-2 foot stick) but it turned out to be perfect.


N and i chose some variegated ribbon to thread the loom. you could use any ribbon, yarn, twine, or string you like. i wound the ribbon around the forked part of the stick. in hindsight, i should have created a loop around each side of the branch on each pass to make the weaving tighter. eh, next time.

weaving ribbon in a figure 8 pattern


we wove the found objects into it… leaves, feathers, pine needles with tiny pinecones on them, lavender, flowers, etc. N said “over, under, over, under…” as she wove.

when it was finished, N was so enthralled with it. she asked with wonder, “do you think a fairy would land on this?” (i think she’s hoping for tinkerbell to visit her, like in the new tink movie that just came out.)


we brought it into the house and put it in the corner of our den, kind of near the seasonal altar (though not in this photo.) it seems like a good place to store some of the little beautiful treats that N brings inside for us, and perhaps we’ll string some beads and shells to add to it, as well. i’m excited for the leaves to turn reds and oranges and yellows so we can add them to the loom — the color change happens later (and less vibrantly than i’m used to) in the bay area.

the loom can be cleaned out and redesigned with each season. i also think smaller (and bigger!) ones would be pretty hung from trees, hung on porches, or placed around the yard…  oooo…


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lasting impression necklace

a while back i posted a blog about making impressions of natural objects in sculpey after a nature walk. it was one of my favorites…

since we discovered that sculpey is fairly toxic when baking, i decided to try this out again, but this time using crayola model magic. N and i wanted to make a farewell gift for two of her sweet friends who are leaving the state, so what better thing to give than a piece of the bay area? so, impressions from the redwood tree in our yard. we pressed a leaf and a tiny pinecone into two pieces of model magic, and fashioned it into a droplet form, poking a hole through the top with a wooden skewer.

then we let it dry for 24 hours, and strung it on a leather cord along with a few earthy wooden beads we had in our stash. and there you have it – our ode to california farewell gift.



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nature impressions

we are feeling springy over here this week… the trees are already pink and white with blossoms and it’s been in the mid to upper 60s this week. yesterday N and i went for a long afternoon walk around our neighborhood, looking for treasures and for signs of spring.

we meandered through streets, ducked through bushes, gazed up at trees… we collected all sorts of nature’s gifts, like leaves, sticks, berries, acorns, seeds, flowers… the sweet friends the earth has put in our new california neighborhood. we are still acclimating to our new digs, and feeling our way through the scenery out here. the specimens we gathered were like evidence of our move; like clues to our new surroundings. we studied them.

getting personal with a palm tree

when the sun was setting and we made our way home, i remembered a cool project i’d just seen in a very cool book N got for her birthday last month called nature’s art box. (i also recognized it from the artful parent blog as well.) the project was about making a clay fossil to preserve the textures and shapes of natural objects in sculpey.

bag of goodies

when we got home, we looked over each treasure while putting it into a bowl on our table. we talked about what it was and where we found it.

then, i busted out our trusty box of sculpey, and we went to work making and squishing little balls of the polymer clay.

then we pressed some of the objects into the clay to make textured discs. like little thumbprints from mother nature.

granted, scupley is not my most favorite clay to use with kids, as it can be toxic while baking. so, i made sure to do that part after N was asleep on the other end of the house with kitchen windows open and her door closed. (next time, i may try my trusty model magic and see if that works…)

after the discs were baked, i put them onto a pretty plate that we often keep on our nature table or altar.

i wrote with a brown sharpie on the backs of them what the object was, the city, and the date. N is enjoying examining them and guessing what made the print. they’re a good size for her to carry around and be proud of, too. it’d be nice to poke a hole in the top of some (or all) of the discs with a straw before baking to make pendants or ornaments out of them, too. i enjoy the white of them, but they may also be nice if painted (a light watercolor wash, perhaps) or glazed.

i loved doing this activity – mostly the walking, talking, and paying attention to so many intimate details. seeing the world through N’s big, new eyes always keeps things fresh for me. i’d love to repeat this activity in different places, like on a beach vacation, almost like a 3-d photo album from a trip, without the photos.




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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!



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!


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