Tag: 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!

 

Sweet Tooth Factory, right here.

We’ve been busy little people around here, thus the lack of actual updates!

I’ve been stretching out my maternity leave (unpaid Family Medical Leave) by working 20+ hours a week and taking the unpaid leave the rest of the time. While it’s good to have the time with Nora and at least some sort of a paycheck, it does make things a little harried trying to balance what needs to be done at work and at home. Then there’s the stuff I want to do, too … most of the time that gets shunted aside in favor of sitting on my butt on the couch, relaxing with Will while we watch something on Netflix.

One thing I wanted to be sure and do was thank you gifts for Seth’s preschool teachers. I absolutely love them. My mom was a preschool teacher for a while, and I know from her that they love the little gifts from their kids. (Except really, they probably don’t need another candle or coffee mug. But they’ll love every one they get.) I wanted to add gift cards but that just wasn’t in the budget this year – see the aforementioned half-paycheck since this summer. So we baked and melted.

Christmas Tree Cookies
Christmas Tree Cookies

I had seen kits for making cookie Christmas trees out of star-shaped cookies, but I already have three sizes of star cookie cutters. We used this Sugar Cookie recipe from Cooking Light, and it was pretty good. I actually ran out of sugar and had to substitute agave nectar for part of the sugar, so who knows what that did to them. They were still yummy!

We made the frosting in the recipe, put it in a piping bag, and then Will lowered the cookies into the can while I drizzled frosting over each cookie. The frosting did help glue the layers to each other – three of each size cookie, alternating points – but we had a couple of anxious moments when we thought one tree was going to slide into the side of the paintcan container. (Which came from Hobby Lobby and are food-safe, btw.)

Hot Chocolate on a Stick
Hot Chocolate on a Stick

The other, chocolate-y things are Hot Chocolate on a Stick. I’ll warn you about this: reading the very precise directions on tempering chocolate got me stressed out beyond belief. It turns out it wasn’t that bad, and you just suck it up and add some oil or shortening (my mother’s recommendation) if your chocolate gets ugly. Ta da. We used Semi-sweet chocolate and then dipped them in melted white chocolate bits. We put some in candy molds (the shaped ones) and the rest in a mini-muffin tin. I actually liked the muffin tin ones best! And don’t get all “fancy” like I did and think you can pipe in white chocolate first so you can skip the second round of melting and dipping after the chocolate cools. You don’t see the wrecked second batch where the two chocolates separated from each other when I took them out of the molds. Whatever!

The chocolates are delicious, and as I shared on Facebook, make great mochas if you stir them into your coffee with a little milk. We’ll definitely be making these again! Actually, we might be making them tonight to give to some more people …

And yes, Seth helped me with the cookies. That was an adventure in itself, but he does love to cook with us. It’s worth the mess. 🙂

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