Oct 302017
 

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The end of the calendar year is always a busy one – end of gardening season, school is in full swing, several major holidays, and several birthdays, all packed within a two month time frame.

Planning ahead has always been one way I try to keep things from getting too chaotic.  I would rather be able to focus on enjoying what is going on around us … or being able to spend time at home with a book and cup of warm drink of choice.

Some years I do better at planning for the year’s end, while some years find me way behind learning to let things go.

This year, I am not only planning to have gift shopping completed by the beginning of December, but I am also getting a head start on crafting with the winter season and Christmas holiday in mind.

If it were left up to George, we would live in a craft store, have unlimited funds, and have an unlimited supply of glue and glitter, with no particular instructions on how to use any of the items on hand.  The reality is, though, we live in a house, I like knowing where the craft is headed, and only have as much money as our bank account says. As we also like to be warm, dressed, and fed, that money can not solely go to crafts.  Enter – Dollar Tree.

Thanks to this store, not only are we able to let our imaginations run wild (within reason), but we can do so without breaking the bank.  Even better, we can order supplies online and have them shipped to the house!

Last week I surprised George with a bag of craft supplies from the Dollar Tree, along with a few other items we had on hand.  We took everything outside, put together a few crafts, and talked about other ideas.

There was a slight breeze, which made a few of the actions more difficult to do than I had anticipated (hint: ‘snow’ does not weigh much, even when in a bowl).  Next time I will double check the weather before doing it outside.

We ended up making two ornaments and a flower/light arrangement.  Below you can follow along as we put these together, as well as read my thoughts on future attempts at these particular crafts.

Flower Arrangement

Having family members who are allergic to candles (the soot from the flame makes their sinuses clog up) has meant a lack of candle holders in our house.  However, these batter powered flickering flame ‘candles’ are perfect.  We can add atmosphere without allergies or fire hazards.

I began this craft with George, but the wind outside was causing the glue to dry too quickly.  Later, when I finished it, he was no longer at home.  However, this would have easily been something he could have done with supervision.

Supplies for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Pull flowers off stems.  You can do this by turning them over, grasping the bottom of them, and pulling hard where they meet the stem.  *You need to keep the plastic part on bottom as part of the flowers; do not pull it off that portion or it all falls apart.
  2. Set one flower aside to glue on top. (Step #7)
  3. Pull the leaves off the stems, to use as filler around the flowers.
  4. Turn glass over. Remove sticker from bottom. Leave glass turned upside down.
  5. Working on one flower at a time, add a spot of hot glue on the bottom of the glass (now the ‘top’).  Work your way around the rim, spacing them evenly.
  6. Take half the leaves and glue them between the flowers on the top, skipping every other space.
  7. Take your reserved flower and glue it in the middle of the top.
  8. Turn glass upside down, continuing to hold it in your hand.
  9. Glue the remaining leaves to the underside alternating them to not line up with leaves on top.  If you have extra leaves, places them as desired.
  10. Cut length of ribbon.
  11. Fold length of ribbon in half width-wise.
  12. Wrap ribbon around the stem of the glass.  As my ribbon had no wire and was very flexible, I was able to wrap it a few times.
  13. Either tie the ribbon in a knot, or tuck the ends up and glue them in place.
  14. Place in desired location, with battery powered candle underneath arrangement. (see picture above.)

Notes: if a flower, leaf, etc. comes loose, add additional glue to help hold in place.  This was an easy craft to do and is something I would definitely do again.  There was one candle and extra ribbon remaining, enough to have done a second such arrangement.

Painted Ornament 

Making ornaments seemed like a great idea for a kid who loves to be creative – no two need be alike.  After seeing this craft online I thought it was the perfect thing to try.  The variety of colors, no need to be perfect or color in the lines, and the ease of doing it fit all of my requirements.  Even better, we had several various paint colors already at home.

Supplies for this craft:

  • plastic ornament
  • pouch of stickers
  • various paints
  • …and napkins for when paint invariably ends up on hands or the table.

Instructions:

  1. Take top off ornament. Set aside for use after paint is dry.
  2. Set the ornament upright, or balance it.  Add a few drops of color into the ornament.
  3. Rotate the ornament, allowing paint to spread around.
  4. Add several drops of another color.
  5. Rotate again.  It is okay if the colors begin to mix, it adds interest.
  6. When finished adding paint, apply stickers to the outside.
  7. Place upside down over plastic/paper cup till dry.  The cup will catch any paint which drips out.

Notes: This is not a craft we will do again.  Or if we do, I will try to clean out the inside with alcohol first.  Or use stickers only and completely skip the paint.

Here is why:

As the paint was drying, it kept sliding down.  I would rotate the ornament, the paint would spread. I would set it down, the paint would slide down. I would rotate … well, you get it.  In the end, most of the colors mixed into a lovely purple, yet there are streaks inside where you can see straight through.  It looks like someone used their finger to make vertical stripes.

George had fun mixing the paint.  His disappointment when it did not stay, though, was obvious.

A second ornament we did was much easier and is something I will do again.  I did not take pictures of this process, as I was trying to take a video.  However, the steps are super simple:

Supplied for this craft:

Instructions:

  1. Remove top of ornament
  2. Using funnel, add about 1/4 cup of faux snow *If there is too much later, you can easily dump out what you do not need.
  3. Insert small figurine
  4. Put cap back on ornament

That is it.  This was so easy and fun, we will most likely do this again at some point.  This would be an easy ‘craft’ if you are needing to do a lot of ornaments.

Note: Mister Minifigure would not stay stilling up.  However, we had fun helping him ‘jump’ in the snow.  If you are wanting the figure to stay upright, I would try to hot glue them to the bottom first, let the glue cool, then add faux snow.

Thank you, Dollar Tree, for a fun Sunday afternoon crafting in the sunshine.

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