Category: crafty

Handprint Christmas Tree

I don’t know about you, but my kids are kind of going bananas today. They have the Christmas Eve crazies, the out of school/routine freakies, and the “everyone is coming to visit!” sillies.

We’re dreaming up other things for them to do today — I will resort to plopping them in the jogging stroller if necessary, or simply locking them outside with a snack and water bottle. Just kidding. I won’t lock the door.

BUT. If you have a blank canvas or other suitable medium, do this thing that’s all over Pinterest: the family Christmas tree!
Seth and his handprints

(Btw, I’ve started grabbing packs of these canvases when I’m in Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and they’re on sale or just cheap. Great rainy day activities!)

I’ve seen a lot of the handprint Christmas tree projects on Pinterest, but I decided I wanted it to be a whole family project instead of just the kids. I also decided that we would have a “downswept” tree instead of an “upswept” tree.

Our concept was simple: largest hands on the bottom, smallest hands up top. So Will’s handprints (two pairs) make the bottom tier, my handprints (two pairs) make the next tier, Seth’s the next, Nora’s the next. Now, Nora’s hands are so tiny that we had to do 6 – 8 pairs to get full coverage. I think it was six for the tier above Seth’s, then one more pair for the top point of the tree. Then Jude’s teeny baby hands (okay, fine … one year old hands! ack!) are the star on top.

Nora making handprints

 

After all the green dries, you can go back and add thumb/finger prints in various colors to be ornaments. I’m going to have all of our visiting family add their finger and thumb prints once everyone is here.

A friend asked me if I had any “lessons learned” (can you tell we do lots of project management?!”), so here you go:

  • If you look at Jude’s pictures we stripped him down almost naked! You may actually want to do it with just a diaper on and have a bath ready for the baby to get into … we needed an immediate wash or Jude was going to lick all the paint off his hands! (He made a good effort, as you can see.)
  • Instead of dipping a hand in the paint, we used those foam brushes to do a coating (not too thick, not too thin) on the hand. Go a little bit up the side of the fingers, too.
  • Babies like to curl their hands up around the paint, so Mom ran her finger over his knuckles to get Jude to open his hand, then we quickly laid his hand on the canvas.
  • Quickly press down on the fingers with a slight side-to-side roll to make a full impression.
  • We used acrylic paint. It washes off of hands really well, not so much off clothing. Be sure to immediately wipe and rinse any paint smears on clothes.
  • Take a fine-point permanent marker and write the name of the person next to one of their handprints. That way you’ll really remember whose hand is whose, 20 years from now.

Jude making the star

For the finishing touches to the canvas, we found a 3/4 inch festive ribbon and ran it around the canvas, securing with hot glue. I found out that the glue would bead up and peel off if I did too much at a time, so it was short stretches and quick presses of the ribbon to get it secured. I also began and ended my ribbon at the top since that’s the area least likely to be seen where I have it hanging.

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Merry Christmas!

 

Advent Activity Ideas {Printables}

I love Christmas. I love the season, the food, the decorations, the wonderfully awful ABCFamily holiday movies … it’s my favorite time of year.

I’ve been meaning to make an Advent calendar of fun Christmas activities for my kids for a few years now. This is probably the first year they’d really appreciate it, so I sat down and tried to figure out how to make some reasonably cute Advent tags / cards / whatever that I could print and punch out with my handy-dandy puncher thing.

I totally failed at getting them placed on the page so they’d work with my puncher thing, but at least I think they’re cute.

I’m adding them here in case anyone else would like to use them or have ideas for Advent activities. I pulled some from various lists to make my own — adding in Sinterklaas, leaving out snow activities, things like that. (I am determined to start Sinterklaas this year with the kids.) There are 35 in case I change my mind or need to swap out some ideas.

I wanted to buy these clip art designs for Jude’s first birthday party stuff anyway, so this gave me a good reason to take the Black Friday sale at MyClipArtStore.com. I love digital clip art … makes me feel like I can actually be graphically creative!

Anyway … the graphic elements are from Linda Murray and MyClipArtStore.com, but the rest was me. Click on the image to get to the bigger file … it should be an 8.5 inch by 11 inch JPG you can save to your computer, print and try to work with your own punchy-thing.

Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com
Design by Treacle.net
Clip art by Linda Murray, MyClipartStore.com

Special Day: Nora’s 3rd Birthday

Cupcake
Nora’s 3rd birthday

July Challenge, Day 5: Something that made my day special.

Saturday was Nora’s third birthday. She requested a pink, sparkle, rainbow, Kai Lan birthday party … with chocolate cupcakes and pink frosting. I think the cupcakes were her main request, actually. Anything else was just fun.  We turned that request into a dress-up party for Nora, Seth, and five of Nora’s friends. That was the perfect party size!

For reference, I have a Pinterest board and a Flickr set (below) of how the party decor turned out. I want to be completely honest: I had so many “pinspirations” that never made it to production. She wanted cupcakes instead of the pink swirl cake I was going to make – guess who wins since it’s her birthday? I was going to do butterfly sugar cookies, I was going to do tutus as party favors  … I even bought the materials for all of that! Never happened. As a matter of fact, I attempted the tutus at midnight on her birthday (same day as her 10:30 a.m. party!), made a mess of it, and gave up. I felt good about it, though, because I’d decided ahead of time that there were things she really wanted (cupcakes!) and things I wanted (marshmallow lollipops!) and that was good enough.

Nora's 3rd birthday - Seth has a cupcake
Nora’s 3rd birthday – Seth has a cupcake

I loved all the little Hobby Lobby decor items I found on clearance (sparkly napkin rings as chandelier decorations!) or not (plastic tablecloths as window treatments!). I especially loved covering the French doors to our dining room with a plastic tablecloth so I could lead all the little girls (and Seth!) in for a birthday surprise. I also dug the dollar store treat boxes with dollar store or Hobby Lobby dress-up jewelry inside for all the girls (and Seth!).

Mostly, though, I loved making it a special day for Nora. She had a great time, and that’s all that counts. I probably could have just made cupcakes and it would have been fine! Oh, and to keep it real (humble) – I totally forgot about feeding the adults. I was so fixated on a dress-up party for little girls (and Seth!) that was egg and dairy-free for our friends’  allergies that I did not even think about food for adults. Tortilla chips, salsa, and a smoked pork loin to the rescue!

Last little tip: we had a church group gathering at our house the previous weekend … we did the big clean for that and then maintained during the week. Made life a LOT easier for a Saturday morning party!

Nora's 3rd birthday - Jude was ready for a nap!
Nora’s 3rd birthday – This guy just wanted a nap.
Marshmallow lollipopsNora's 3rd BirthdayBeaded Napkin Rings - Chandelier decorations!Nora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd Birthday
Nora's 3rd BirthdayVinyl tablecloths as window dressing!Nora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd BirthdayBowl full of tiaras
Pink Dairy-free Frosted Marshmallow "Lollipops"Nora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd BirthdayNora's 3rd Birthday

Nora’s 3rd Birthday, a set on Flickr.

Decorations, kid-style

I usually decorate the Christmas tree with our hodgepodge of sentimental ornaments and decorative ribbon, trying to make every angle look lovely and put-together. I didn’t last year because i was decidedly lacking in holiday spirit. We got a four foot tree for the kids to decorate and let them have at it. We were leaving for France on Christmas day and i just couldn’t get into Christmas. This year the fancier attempts went out the window too.

We actually let the kids decorate the big tree and their little tree by themselves with the shatterproof and unbreakable ornaments. As the ornaments proved too fascinating for Nora, we moved them around the tree out of her reach. Eventually the novelty wore off, but there’s still a wide swath in the front of the tree that is empty. (The no-color zone front and center, below the bluish globe.)

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They’ve also been creating things on their own to decorate the tree … snowflakes (with assistance from Grandmama), random pieces of art work, random pieces of ribbon, etc. It’s actually pretty cute.

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Then you have these: one of my attempts to have sentimental ornaments on my kids’ future trees, too. I had seen these snowmen handprint ornaments all over Pinterest and wondered if they were really that easy. Unless I forgot some crucial steps, they really are!

I’m amazed at how tiny both of their hands still seem.

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