Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday

I do a lot of Christmas crafts with the kids during the holidays. It is a great way to spend time with the kids, plus the kids get their creative juices flowing. I enjoy it too, and always try to find something new for us to do each year. It really Works For Me, and we have a lot of fun in the process.

Some of our favorites are making snowflakes out of plain white paper, though I was thinking this year I might let the kids add some white glue and glitter when they're done cutting them, just to add some pizazz. Some years we do paper chains for Christmas decorating. And we always decorate a Gingerbread House too.

Here is a blurb from a post I wrote the other day about Christmas crafts with the kids:

"With the Christmas season, comes Christmas crafts. The kids and I are big on crafts. One of my favorite websites is MakeStuff.com. Over the years, I have made quite a few of the crafts on there. These are our two favorites, Bakers Clay and Cinnamon ornaments:

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
Recipe 1:

The recipe that I use is

* 1/2 cup ground cinnamon,
* 1/3 cup applesauce, and
* 1 Tbs. Tacky glue

Mix in bowl and stir until well blended. Work mixture in hands for three minutes to form a ball. If it is too dry, add applesauce, if too wet, add more cinnamon. Knead ball on cinnamon-sprinkled surface until it holds togehter well. I roll this out and use cookie cutters for the shapes. I also use a drinking straw to cut a hanging hole. These can be air dried for 24 to 48 hours. Turn several times. They can also be baked in a slow oven.

Baker's Clay Ingredients:

* 4 cups flour
* 1 cup salt
* 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup water

Mix together and knead until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Make shapes and bake at 300 degrees until set and golden (1/2 hr to 1 hr). For a more golden appearance, paint with a beaten egg when it is almost done baking and looks dry. You can paint with egg twice or three times for a darker golden color. Don't use egg on colored dough. For colored dough, paint with shallac or laquer after baking. If cracks appear, patch with some slightly moister dough and continue baking. Christmas Tree Ornaments: Kid Project!

Making decorations with Baker's Clay is limited only by your imagination. It's just like working with clay!

1. Make shapes.
Two of the easiest decorations for kids to make are the snowman and the teddy bear:
Snowman - roll three balls ranging in size from small to large. Attach head to belly by "scoring" lightly (make very small scratches in surface of clay) and brushing with water, then press the two pieces together gently. Attach belly to bottom in the same way.
Teddy Bear - roll two balls, one small and one medium. Attach as above. Roll four small cylandar shapes with flattened ends for the arms and legs. Attach to body as above. For the ears, pinch the top of head with thumbnail.
2. Wire hook - Use needlenose pliers to bend the end of a 2" piece of wire. Insert straight end of wire into the top of your shape, leaving the hook and about 1/4" showing at top.
3. Bake - Place shapes gently on cookie sheet. Bake at 300° until set and slightly golden.
4. Paint with a beaten egg when almost done baking for a golden look.
5. For colored decorations - use food coloring in the dough. (Don't use beaten egg on colored dough.) OR, simply paint with acrylic after baking and cooling, then use shellac to seal. You can also shellac a plain ornament, and then spray with gold or silver spray paint for a sparkling appearance.

If properly sealed with shellac, your ornaments should last for years. Be sure to store in a dry place.

I really enjoy making them, though I would have to say that the cinnamon ones are my favorites. They are so aromatic, and look darling on the tree. We usually do gingerbread and tree shapes, and hang them with a red ribbon.

I am looking forward to making these with the kids. I'm itching to make them, but to make it more special, we're going to wait till after Thanksgiving. I've found that if I over-do Christmas, I get burnt out, so it will wait. But that's ok, right? It gives us tons of fun stuff to do in December. We get to decorate gingerbread houses, make cookies and candy, make cinnamon oranements, decorate, go see Santa. It will be a fun month! I can't wait, it is my favorite time of the year!"

We also do the Gingerbread Ornament crafts too, but we have to be careful not to leave those out, or the dog will eat them. And who can forget my Candy Cane Hearts? The girls and I made those over the weekend. We had a lot of fun.


Lynn said...

I had to laugh when you mentioned your dog eating your gingerbread ornaments. A couple years ago we made salt dough ornaments, which our dog devoured in the middle of the night. Then she drank buckets of water. The next morning we had to rent a carpet steam cleaner . . . not a pretty picture.

You also mentioned making paper snowflakes. We did that last year, then taped them to the windows and spray painted fake snow on them. It made for a really pretty effect.

Thanks for coming by and visiting my blog. If you think cooking salmon in the dishwasher is brave, I've heard of some people who've cooked lasagne in theirs :o Now that's brave!

Lynne Campbell said...

I love crafts too. One year..my husband accidently through out all our christmas decorations I have lovingly packed up for storage....You know, the ones you get each year to be a momory for each child....yeah, those ones. Anyway, after throwing up for a day or so because I was so upset...we decided to make all our decorations the next year, homemade. It was so much fun and made another memory for us. Plus it taught the girls how to turn the lemons into lemonade.

Great post. Thanks

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Milehimama said...

We rent, so decorating for Christmas can be a challenge (no nails, etc.) We make snowflakes out of muffin papers and stick em to the window with water.

Dani said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I love the cinnamon ornaments. We did them when we were kids and still over 20 years later they still smell fantastic! (oh and I'm totally snagging that chicken pot pie recipe!)

Tara said...

Wow great idea.. I really like to TRY and do crafts with my son.. but problem is number I am not so creative and two he gets sooo bored lol I will have to try these ornaments.


My Trendy Tykes said...

Thanks for sharing! These are great recipes to do with the kiddos.