Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Make Your Own Charlie Brown-ish Christmas Tree

Oh how we love the Charlie Brown specials! My kids look forward to seeing them every holiday season and randomly quote them throughout the year. So when we saw a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" at the local stores, the boys wanted one of their very own.

Here's the store version as shown on www.thegreehead.com:

So cute and pathetic, isn't it? On sale, I've seen it for around $12 but to tell you the truth I'm just cheap. I can't see spending that much on an 18 inch scraggly tree branch.

Fast forward to Black Friday... I was standing in line waiting for my turn at a great deal on electronics, when I see the tree on an endcap (these folks know they have a captive audience and use their marketing skills!). Why, it's nothing more than wrapped wire with a few pieces of faux evergreen. I can do that.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Wire
  • Floral tape
  • A dollar store wreath, garland, or some source of the evergreen pieces
  • Something for the base- I used wood scraps, you could also use an old coffee can, or a flower pot
  •  Piece of blue flannel 
  • Red ornament 
  • Wire Cutters

1.) Cut ten pieces of evergreen.

2.) Cut a length of wire for the main stem, 23 inches (18 inches for the tree, plus some for under the base).

3.) Twist the end of the wire around one piece of evergreen.

4.) Start wrapping the floral tape where the wire is twisted and wrap around going down the wire about 3 inches.

5.) Make the branches in the same way, with shorter pieces of wire. Wrap the floral tape down most of the length of the wire for the branches, then twist them onto the main stem. Here you can be as creative as you want to be. I looked at a picture of the store's tree for reference and made my branches accordingly.

Wrap the main stem with floral tape as you go.

6.) Make or prepare your base. For my wood base I cut one piece in half and stapled them onto the main piece. I then made a small hole in the center with a screw. Other options are using a clean coffee can with a hole in the lid, or turning a flower pot upside-down.

7.) Feed the main stem through the hole and secure as needed. On my wood base I stapled the wire down and cut off any excess.

8.) All that's left is to add the scrap of blue flannel for Linus' Blanket, and a red ornament.

Have fun!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ain't This a Pretty Picture: Leftover Door Trim/Moulding Becomes an Art Piece

From recent construction, I had some leftover pieces of trim/moulding.  It's just too pretty to chuck, so I decided to make a frame out of it. Why not...I know it'll go with the room's decor. (It'd be much easier to use a prefabbed picture frame, though)

***Disclaimer: I am not great at cutting a mitered corner or woodworking in general. You've been warned.

1.) I didn't have a set size. I just took the smallest piece, cut the 45 degree angles on both ends and cut the other pieces to that size.

2.) I then attached the pieces with a couple of staples in each corner.

(I also put some glue in the miters)

3.) Staple a ribbon the the center back for hanging (or you could use the picture hanging hardware and do it the right way... but who wants that?)

I got to this point and I honestly didn't know what to put IN the frame. I had the idea that I wanted whatever it was to kind of free float... but what? Then I saw this at Make It and Love It and had an idea. I would put the silhouettes of my sons in the frame!

I remembered sitting in front of a overhead projector light in Kindergarten while my teacher sketched my silhouette. So I grabbed some computer paper, a flashlight, and my four year old.

Have you ever tried to make a four year old sit still for more than two seconds? Yeah.

I didn't have much luck with my middle son either. Then T. brings me into the 21st century... "Why don't you just take a picture, Mom?"

Best. Idea. Ever.

So I (4.)took pictures of their shadows, uploaded them to the computer, using photo editing software I made them purely black and white, and printed them out. Thank you technology.

5.) Cut out the silhouette. Since I am layering these, I am leaving a thin white line on two of them to give some separation.

6.) Glue onto cardboard (I recommend a thin one like from a cereal box) and cut the cardboard away.

7.) Hang your frame, and stick the silhouette in the middle (I used the stick-em putty stuff like they use in schools for posters).

I love it! Of course I would have loved to have made these out of the wall art vinyl, but I don't have the cutting machine or vinyl. (Hint, hint, Santa)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Fun For Multicolor Corn

I've really loved the last couple of crafts using the pretty corn kernels, and am still thinking of a use for the millions of kernels I have left. Here are some pictures of other crafts for thought starters.

How about a wreath? I found this blog from Peach and Pearl, with lots of wreaths using natural elements. Something like the nut wreath in corn would look nice.

Or why not make a table top decor item by glueing them to a styrofoam cone (with other embellishments of course)?

Lining the bottom of a glass candle container with kernels instead of pebbles would be pretty, too.

Got any ideas? Please share, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Faux Wooden Bead Necklace-Beginner's Craft (older children)

If you made the napkin rings from the tutorial yesterday, I know you were looking at the beautiful kernels (and letting them slip through your fingers...it's so hard not to play!) wondering how else to display them effectively. How about an earthy yet elegant necklace? My boys did this for their grandmothers a few years ago and Grandmas loved them.

You Will Need:
  • Multicolor Corn Kernels
  • A Stout Needle
  • Thread
  • Thimble
  • Towel
  • Ribbon (optional)

1.) First you will need to soak some kernels over night, like you would dried beans.

2.) Thread the needle, I like to double over the thread for added strength. Then carefully push/pull the needle through the kernels as you would beads. This is where you will need the thimble to help push the needle and the towel to help pull it.

3.) When the strand is "beaded" long enough to be put on over your head, tie off and connect the ends. Of course you can use the jewelry making clasps if you have them...but I don't have them.

4.) Stitch a ribbon at the joint and tie a bow for added flair.

Just look how lovely and natural it is!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Napkin Rings (Kid Friendly Craft)

Continuing with the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts Kids Can Make book (could they have picked a longer title?), today we do the multicolor corn napkin rings. I think these are very cute and a great addition to the harvest theme.

You Will Need:
  • Multicolored Corn (used for harvest decor)
  • Cardboard Tubes- TP tubes or Paper Towel tubes (you will get about 4 rings from a TP tube and 11 from a Paper Towel tube)
  • Tacky Glue
  • Glitter if Desired
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Small Paint Brushes
  • Newspaper and other mess containment items (I found a pizza box works wonderfully!)

1.) Remove the corn from the cob.I find this easy to get started by holding the kernels with one hand around the cob and turning the cob with the other hand... like a twisting or wringing motion.

2.) With the measuring tape mark the tubes at one inch intervals.

3.) Cut the tubes at the one inch marks to make rings.

4.) Paint the tacky glue onto the cardboard rings, and apply the kernels. We did this in sections, but whatever way works best is the way you should do it..

(Be advised that with young children-4 and under- the kernel placement will not be this neat. ;) )

5.) When the outer surface of the ring is covered as much as you can, you either just let it dry or place it in a baggy of glitter and roll/tilt gently to fill in the gaps.

(You may also cut strips of felt and glue them to the inside of the rings if so desired)

After the glue dries you have a lovely Thanksgiving Napkin Ring!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kids Thanksgiving Craft: Pine Cone Place Cards

Hopefully you have gathered your cones and are ready for an easy kid friendly craft.

I have a copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts Kids Can Make from '87, and the boys wanted to use the place card craft found in the Thanksgiving Table section. Mine came from a family friend but they also have it at Amazon.

On to the craft...

1.) We took our cones outside, spray painted them, and used spray craft adhesive to add glitter.

2.) While they dried, we went inside and worked on our name cards. I had some pretty cardstock, so we kept it simple and used the fancy-schmancy sisscors  on the edges. The boys wrote the names of family members that are expected for our Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.

(I'm especially proud of my youngest- he'll be 5 in December- and how well he wrote names)

3.) When you're setting the table, just slip the name card into the pine cones for an Earthy, harvest decoration.

In case you were wondering, THIS is what happens when you combine all this with three boys. LOL

Of course when they are not being used for place cards, the pine cones look great just in a basket.

***Options: You can use letter stickers for the names, and if course you can decorate the card stock anyway you like... beads, glitter, yarn, bric-a-brac, etc