Last Sunday my daughter and I had a lot of fun hosting a Christmas decorations craft party for a few of her friends. The crafts we made were ones that I know some of you would simply love, so I had to write a quick post to show you. Its not too late to make some for the Christmas tree or as presents from the children to their cousins. And several of them can be made for anytime of year.Walnuts featured very heavily, inspired by the wonderful Maggy from Red Ted Art, which Chris from Thinly Spread promoted earlier in the month. We made the wonderful Walnut Owls, and Walnut Baby Jesus in a Crib, all to hang from the tree. Here they are:
And then we made Walnut Mice, which are not only incredibly easy and cute, but when you put a marble underneath, they can be used to race along the floor. My 9 year old daughter and her friends weren’t too ‘grown up’ to have some silly fun with these….
We used bits of felt, old ribbon from my years old stash of ribbon (my motto “never throw away a ribbon” really paid off with this craft), and boggly eyes that I bought from Wilkos. But you can draw on eyes and whiskers as my 7 year son did here:
To find out how to make the owls, go to Maggie’s site here where she has a video. I would add two extra pieces of advice/tips.
The first is that PVA glue isn’t strong enough to hold the owls together, at least, not the type you can buy in most shops. Maggy recommends Anita’s Tacky Glue. I didn’t have that so I used a glue gun. This is, of course, very hot and dangerous for kids to use, so I did the prep before the party, prizing open the walnuts to fix the ribbon inside and glueing them back together again.
Then, there’s the whole business of cracking open a walnut cleanly in half. Ah yes. Eek. But don’t panic. Its really quite easy once you know how. I did a bit of research. Here’s how (I can’t for the life of me I can’t find the website that told me this, sorry).
How to prize a walnut cleanly in half:
Take a small hammer and place the walnut, pointy side up, on a chopping board. You then gently tap the walnut with the hammer until you hear it crack. If the walnut is old, it’ll open along the natural crease/line. If its young, it won’t so don’t bother and keep trying till you get an old one. I found this fascinating that the older the walnut, the better. Once it’s opened a least half way, get a knife and prize it open, but don’t force it or it’ll crack in the wrong place.
So, the top tip is a) to buy more walnuts that you need, and b) give yourself plenty of time to prepare….!
Attaching the thread on the walnut cribs was a little tricky too and I’d recommend doing it for the children. Put a blob of glue on the middle of the underside of the walnut half, and place two long pieces of thread across the glue in a criss cross shape. Then, then holding it up, still upside down, grabbed all 4 pieces of thread in one hand and then knotted it as far up the top of the thread as possible. This will enable it to hang on the tree.
We made a couple of other lovely Christmas things, one being the classic stuffed felt Christmas tree, but the one that i’d never done before and is really easy are mini doily angels.
A lady from my church showed me how to do this at our Christmas Create. I added the idea of the halos, which you could attach pale thread to so they hang from a tree, or you can just make several and place them on a mantelpiece/table. To make them, you get a small doily (about 15 cm across – they sell them in Hobbycraft apparantly), cut a slit in it to the centre, and then roll and pinch it round. Pinch the top and add a shiny pipe-cleaner to the top for a halo.
To keep the girls tea, I bought that delicious Morrison’s Rudolph Bread that I mentioned in my previous post. Its more akin to a Panetone with chic chips and orange flavour dough, all in the shape of a reindeer face. Ooh, it was lovely!
If I find time after the Christmas Chaos is over, I’ll video how to crack a walnut cleanly and upload it.
In the meantime, go and have a nutty time making cute crafts and get cracking! (sorry, how could I resist that?)