In my post at Advent for Evangelicals yesterday, I mentioned a few ornaments we've been working on for our Blessings Tree, and today I'd like to show you how we made them! Keep in mind, these are very simple, child-friendly crafts!
I could picture this craft in my mind, but though I searched high and low for a small wooden frame ornament I could not find any! I wanted something that would hold a tiny picture, and that could be decorated in all kinds of ways. Well, I may have been looking in all the wrong places, but I could not find anything suitable! I started "building" my own with varied sizes of craft sticks - oh my - way too time consuming! Then, I happened to be at the craft store with my mum, and she noticed some small chalkboard ornaments. Immediately she saw that they could be painted and used as a backdrop to a small photo!
Below you see the small chalkboards (I have seen these at numerous craft stores - look in the wood aisle), along with some paint, glue and glitter. At right is a frame that's been painted.
And here are three frames - painted, dried and ready for glue and glitter:
I applied a small amount of glue all along the edge of the frame, then shook glitter generously all over (shaking off any excess).
And below you see our finished frame, hanging on our Blessings Tree! I cut out a small circle of construction paper and photocopied a holy card showing Our Blessed Mother holding the Baby Jesus. I used my trusty star punch to give it a nice shape and glued all the pieces together. The frame was then ready to hang on our tree!
It was so simple to make, and yet it really sparkles nicely on our tree! We will fill the rest of our photo frames with pictures of loved ones, making one every few days leading up to Christmas. We are purposefully taking our time so as to talk about, and pray for, each person - each one a blessing to us - before adding it to our tree.
Pipe Cleaner Spirals
Next I'd like to share with you a ridiculously easy tree decoration. I almost feel silly posting this, as its not really a craft, but I thought it was fun for the kids to do and it added some pizazz to our tree.
All we did was use our fingers (two or three for the boys) to twirl a pipe cleaner into a spiral, then nestled it between a few branches. You wouldn't think it worked but it did! They really catch on the branches and stay put. Easy as pie - even the very littles could do this. Now, another idea would be to join the ends of the pipe cleaners and make a garland for the tree. (And by the way, have you looked at pipe cleaners lately? They come in such a wide array of colors and styles! I love the candy canes ones especially - they will make fine St. Nicholas staffs tomorrow!)
A Very Special Gift Box
Now, the following ornament I made on my own when the boys were otherwise occupied. :)
Like all nativity sets, ours came with a tiny and sweet baby Jesus. His manger was filled with a small amount of clean, soft sheep's wool. I took both items out of the set before we arranged the stable and figures. Obviously the boys asked where the baby Jesus was! I simply reminded them He does not arrive until Christmas Eve - but instead of tucking the little babe somewhere unimportant, I made a special gift box to honor the wait:
I found a plain white paper mache gift box with a little cellophane window in front. I placed a few star stickers on a piece of blue tissue paper and taped it to the inside of the cover so it showed through the window. Next, I cut a length of golden ribbon, forming it into a loop and taped the ends to the the inside bottom of the box. Finally I tucked the baby and the wool inside and closed up the box with the loop sticking out of the top.
I hung this most heavenly of "Gifts" at the top of the Blessings Tree, just below the snowy white angel. Come Christmas Eve, the box will have turned "golden" (brushed with glue and gold glitter) and will be found to be empty! A golden star will hang over the stable and there will be a most important addition to the manger!
I have one more very simple ornament idea to tell you about, but I will post it over at my blog sometime tomorrow. It was shared with me by a very dear little friend recently and today the boys and I worked on a few samples. Easy, sparkly and fun!