Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Helpful (?) Holiday Craft Post

Earlier this fall, before Harper's birthday, I began looking for gift ideas for her. We have very generous family members who give to our children at their birthdays and Christmas and they often ask for ideas - many of them don't necessarily know what we have already or what the children would enjoy.

As I was browsing in a nearby toy store I saw a kit for making Christmas ornaments. I liked several things about this as a gift for Harper:

1) It was a non-messy craft. She loves to do craft projects and I especially appreciate activities that allow her to feel crafty but don't use glitter, glue, paint, or clay. (That's what school is for!)

2) We could give them away as Christmas gifts from her. I still have a handful of ornaments made for me by former students, and smile when I take them out and put them on the tree. Of course we aren't at most of these people's homes for Christmas, so they never have to hang them and who would know?

3) I didn't have to store the finished project! My number one pet peeve about crafts (and really, lots of toys) is figuring out where to put them when they've been completed. Don't get me wrong, there is evidence of children's work all over our house, but we have limited shelf/wall space. Especially for things like the Sticky Mosaics - so nice to do, but then where do they go? In my case most of them are subtly disappeared while the children are in school.

So Harper received two kits for her birthday. One for the Very Merry Ornaments (Very Merry Ornaments Kit, here.) and one for Beaded Snowflake Ornaments (Beaded ornament kit, here.).

I want to be sure to point out that BOTH kits have been a lot of fun and a good quiet distraction during these crazy days leading up to Christmas. Having said that, the beaded ornaments turned out spectacularly, and the other set (Very Merry) I don't really see making it past this holiday.

Here's a photo of one of the Very Merry Ornaments:

Harper enjoyed making these - the sticker element was fun and the idea was to make a pattern of three different types of paper strips. I think this could be re-engineered to work a little better. The papers attach at the top and bottom of the ornament, but there is nothing but air (and a very thin plastic stick) in the middle. The papers don't really stay in place and I have noticed the little sparkling stickers are starting to fall off of the first ornaments Harper made. These are still cute, but I don't think they will hold up beyond one season. I wonder if some sort of ball to wrap the papers around would help?

The beaded ornaments are gorgeous and look like they will hold up - they also look like something I'd be happy to put on my tree. They could even be displayed after Christmas as winter decor!

Some photos of the process and the final products, working with the beaded kit:

The look on her face is saying, "Just leave me alone so I can finish this very enjoyable project!"

I loved that the beads came all neatly organized. The kit suggested working over a towel so dropped beads don't roll
away. I don't know if I ever would have thought of that but it was a brilliant suggestion!

Finished Snowflake and Mirror

Snowflake on the Tree

Another Snowflake on the Tree

Snowflake and Wine Glasses

I'm already thinking I might keep an eye on the price of the beaded snowflake kit and maybe purchase some for Harper to make next year... Maybe the price will drop a bit more after Christmas?

I'm not sure I would try the paper ornaments again, unless they made some changes to the structure of the ornaments.

I was also thinking it might be fun to try these for next year - we'll see if I remember in the fall.


Jill said...

If you keep an eye on them, especially if they get below say the 10$ mark, let me know! Seems like something Keeley and I could do together for gifts next year, I'm sure she'll want to GIVE next year!

tracy said...

The ornaments are lovely! My sister made beaded ornaments like that from a kit once and gave them as gifts -- we still hang ours on our tree every year.

But my main comment is -- your children are seriously angelic. There is Michael, looking happily and serenely at Harper while she works, but not a) dumping the beads out, b) climbing on the table, or c) grabbing at Harper's work insisting that he "help". I love crafts, and Ruth loves doing them as well, but I find it really challenging to engage her in an activity like this without total chaos breaking out because the younger children insist on "helping" (aka destroying). I must know your secrets.

CARRIE said...

Hmmmm, I like the look of the Very Merry ornaments. I might have to try one but make it more sturdy. I wonder if a styrofoam ball underneath would help?