Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Crafting

Today was a rather calm day considering it was the last Saturday before Christmas. I had plenty to do around the house, both the regular work and preparations for the coming week, but there was a calm and cheeriness as I went about my day. If it weren't for a last minute gift I needed to pick up and grocery shopping, I would have had the feeling that the world around me was calm and cheery as well. The parking lots and checkout lines, however, proved otherwise.

Earlier in the week, the kids and I did a few Christmas crafts on our last day of school. We typically don't do a great deal of crafts as part of school (though I try to keep our crafts supplies well stocked so that the kids can create when inspiration comes), it always seems that at Christmas time there's purpose in having the kids put together a few things that can be given out or used to create a festive mood.

Of course we made some paper snowflakes, this time using the cupcake liners I accidentally bought in the wrong size a while back...

This little craft, which we keep coming back to every few years, is one I used to do with my mom using pressed flowers instead of sequins. It's an idea that works with all sorts of things and can be tweaked for any time of year...
As desired, arrange sequins on a sheet of wax paper; then lay a single ply of Kleenex over the design. Using a paint brush, carefully paint on school glue diluted with a little water until the tissue over and around the design is wet; dab any area that forms air bubbles. Let dry.
Place wax paper/tissue sheet between two pieces of paper (to avoid wax from sticking to your iron and ironing board), and press till wrinkles in the tissue flatten out.
Using a paper cutter for straight lines (or scissors), cut out the portion of wax paper and tissue around the design. Then attach the finished piece to card stock or blank white cards.
Oops! I just realized that I don't have a picture of a finish card! How lame of me to show this much and then forget the final picture! We made little cards and gift tags to give to teachers and tutors. I'll try to snap a picture of a finished product before they they are all handed out...

This afternoon, as the bread baked in the oven and the boys played outside, Olivia and I attached bows and ribbons to the packages I had already wrapped a few nights before. As always, we use what we have on hand and adorned each package uniquely.
(Under Olivia's hand is the little sequin wreath Jacob make, attached to some card stock and glued onto a doily for a pretty little gift topper. The gift is for Jacob-- we figured he would enjoy seeing his own craft on his gift!)
We used some of the snowflakes on the gifts, too.
(Gifts for our neighbors)
The pickle gift. This may be a well known tradition, I don't know. At some point in December, I hide the pickle ornament somewhere in the tree. Whoever finds it gets to open the pickle present, which is a gift the whole family can enjoy. This year Andrew gets to open it, but only because Olivia is giving up her rightful privilege. You see, Andrew is terribly color blind and therefore terribly disadvantaged in this game. Olivia, on the other hand, is the most observant of my kids and has found the pickle every year but one.

We've simplified certain aspects of our December activities and pursuits this year, and in this simplicity I am finding contentment. I've had more time in The Word, more purposeful discussions with my kids, and my focus and energy has been on people rather than things. I've made time to visit with the elderly, and I've opened my home to many more people than usual. From an evening with the elders and deacons and their wives, to coffee with two teenage single mothers who came knocking on my door for financial support, I have discovered that serving and loving people is far more satisfying than attempting to meet other standards for the holidays. Our gift giving has been minimized, but for the first time I have purchased and prepared little gifts to hand out to our neighbors with the hopes of establishing relationships. 

The Lord is good, and His blessings are far richer than the riches the world pursues. And He leads us gently and shows us a better way when we seek Him. I am thankful.


~Katherine

Added Sun. Dec. 23:

Here are some examples of the kids' craft. A little note was written on the back of the tiny cards with a metallic Sharpie for the kid's Sunday School teachers. I think these were the ones made by Michael and Andrew...

This is a gift tag made by Jack (I think!)...

Anyway, just an example of a useful craft. 

Katherine

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