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Friday, December 20, 2013

Kids Fresh Green Centerpiece

Christmas is a time of celebration, great joy, and wonder.  It's also a time to exchange gifts of LOVE to our family.  What gift expresses more LOVE than a gift made by a child!

My daughter, grandkids, daycare kids, friend, and I made these simple arrangements at their special Christmas Party today!

This is what we did:
  1. We wrote each child's name on the bottom of an 8 oz. plastic cup.  You can use clear cups or cups with a printed design.
  2. We instructed the kids to turn their cups upside down and place a rubber band on each.
  3. We then gave them a 22" piece of jute yarn and told them to slip it under the rubber band.  (The rubber band helps hold the jute in place).
  4. If the kids were able to tie, they were instructed to wrap the jute around the cup and make a simple bow.  Because our group was preschool age, the adults did this part for them.
  5. The kids turned their cups right side up and placed a pre-cut piece of wet foam in each.  The foam was cut approximately 2 1/2" high and 1 3/4" wide.  Each fit snuggly to the bottom.
  6. The kids then poured about 1/2 cup of water onto their foam.  If they saw water that was not absorbed into the foam, they were told they had too much water and the extra water was dumped out.
  7. The kids then stuck small pieces of fresh greens (also pre-cut) into the wet foam leaving a space open in the center.
  8. They finished by sticking a decorated pick in the center. Any holiday pick will work or a simple pinecone on a stick as shown in the photo above.
It was fun to see the kids accomplish this activity with little or no help.  With minimal prep work, the kids completed the craft in only 10-15 minutes.  They looked quite proud of their accomplishment as they posed for photos in front of the Christmas tree!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Clay Dough Hand Print

I've been wanting to make a hand print keepsake for "Little Guy" for the longest time.  When Big Guy was small, his daycare provider, made the cutest framed glitter hand print and gifted it to me at Christmas time.  That was FOUR years ago!  Today, I finally made one for Little Guy.  I LOVE it.  We made one for Best Buddy too.

This is what we did:

This is a fairly simple project, but it did take all day to make due to drying time.

1.  Make the clay-dough:  2 cups baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups of water.
Mix the ingredients in a big pot over medium heat and stir.  You need to stir for several minutes. Once your mixture thickens (looking like mashed potatoes), dump it onto wax paper, cover with a damp cloth and let it cool.

2.  Form your shape.
Sprinkle your wax paper with cornstarch and roll out your dough.  The more you work it with your hands first, the softer it becomes and fewer cracks in the dough.  If you notice the dough cracking, sprinkle more corn starch and continue to use your rolling pin to smooth it out.

3.  Make your Hand Print.
Press the child's hand in the center of the dough.  Make sure you have a good indentation by pressing on each part of the child's hand.

4.  Dry in the oven.
Place the dough on a cookie sheet and bake it at 250 for about 3 hours. Let it cool completely.

5.  Sand any rough spots.

6.  Paint the hand print any color.
We painted the hand first.  The kids were able to stay in the lines fairly well (3 yrs. old).  We chose to use black on the outside to cover up where they went out of the lines with the red.  Sprinkle with glitter (if you want).  Let it dry completely.  Write the child's name and year on the front with a metallic paint pen.

7.  Spray with a clear gloss finish.
Let it dry.  Display somewhere beautiful!

My inspiration came from Pinterest:  Christmas Tree Ornaments  She does a really great job explaining how to make the clay dough.  She has really cute ideas for decorations for the tree.  We might try those next :)