Christmas tree decorations this time, and they're not that different from the sparkly birds.
plastic bottle top
sheet of newspaper
strong all-purpose glue
Sequins and other shiny bits
needle and thread
Nail scissors (to make holes - adult supervision needed)
1. Roughly cut a whole cone from the egg carton
2. Draw a rough pencil line all the way around the cone, just above the bumpy card join at the bottom, and cut along the line. Neaten up the edges so the sides are even and the cone sits flat.
3. Paint the cone green (if it's green already you could leave it). When the paint's dry, use the nail scissors to pierce a hole through the top (if there isn't one there already) - keep the scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side.
4. Thread a needle with a good length of thread - we used gold thread, but use whatever you have - and push the needle up through the cone and through the hole, then back down through the hole, leaving a loop for hanging your tree. Use sticky tape to stick down the two strands of thread inside the tube. Trim the ends of the thread.
5. Brush glue inside the cone and push in a scrunched up piece of newspaper. Don't fill it completely - leave a small space at the top.
6 Put a layer of strong all-purpose glue (like UHU or Bostik) on the newspaper and put some on the rim of your bottle top too. Stick the bottle top onto the newspaper and leave to dry upright.
7. When the glue's dry, brush some craft glue in a spiral, around your tree for the tinsel, then sprinkle over some glitter. Shake off the excess. A good way to save glitter is to do the sprinkling over a paper plate, then bend the plate in the middle to catch the glitter in the fold, and funnel most of it back into a container.
8. Have fun gluing on sequins or any shiny bits you have. You could also scrunch up small balls of coloured tissue paper to make baubles.
9. For the star on top, we used two identical stars from a pack of Christmas confetti, brushed glue on the back of one and stuck it onto the thread, just above the top of the tree. Then we stuck the other star to it, sandwiching the thread between them. Fiddly to get the stars to line up, but looks good when they do.
Our advent calendar has grown this year... conveniently the little pegs have numbers on them and I bought them thinking they'd save time sewing on numbers (which I know from experience takes me ages), but to be honest sewing up the felt baubles took a while anyway. I've only just finished! Quite pleased to have made a dent in the pile of felt scraps I've been hoarding for years.
I drew around the top of a cup on some felt and sewed two circles together using blanket stitch, leaving an decent sized opening, so it's a sort of bauble pocket. The Christmas tree frame is made from pieces gathered up after pruning the hedge in the back garden, though you could use any straight-ish thin branches. I used some gold wire bought from Tiger to bind them together, with three smaller bits in the middle to strengthen the frame and to give me something to wrap the lights around. Then just attached pieces of wire between each section for hanging the baubles. The star on top is an old Christmas tree decoration.
I like it because it's bright and Christmassy and doesn't look half bad on the wall - the kids like it because there's room for more treats...
Not quite sure this works with just my head and shoulders peeking out at the bottom - but like the moving carousel in the background. It was taken at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Lovely, sparkly festive atmosphere, and a great way to part with a pile of cash in an exceedingly short space of time... Tried hard to win a large Christmas doughnut cushion, but no luck!
We've been trying out some new Christmas decoration ideas, and I thought I'd share a couple of our favourites over the next few weeks. We'll make glittery birds, Christmas trees and fairies to hang on the tree - and they all use the cone part from the middle of an egg box. As you've probably noticed these crop up quite a lot... they play a leading role in the Nativity we made last time, which is a really fun project because you can keep adding to the scene - does seem to help keep kids interested. Certainly worked with mine!
Glittery birds first, and this is very similar to a previous project - just a few tweaks here and there. It's also a slightly adapted version of the Love birds in Make Your Own Zoo.
kids' craft scissors
fine black felt-tip or gel pen
needle and thread
Nail scissors (to make holes - adult supervision needed)
1. Roughly cut a whole cone from the egg carton.
2. Decide how big you want your bird to be and draw a pencil line all the way around the sides of the cone.
3. Cut up two adjacent corners to the line, bend this flap back and cut it off. It's now easier to cut along the rest of the line. Neaten up the edges so the sides are even and the cone sits flat.
4. Paint the cone any colour you like. When it's dry, use the nail scissors to pierce a hole through the top (if there isn't one there already) - keep the scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side. Make another hole about a third of the way up one side (for the tail feathers).
5. Thread a needle with a good length of thread - we used gold, but use whatever you have - and push the needle up through the cone and through the hole, then back down through the hole, leaving a loop for hanging your bird. Use sticky tape to stick down the two strands of thread inside the cone (just make sure not to stick it to the side with the tail feather hole). Trim the thread ends.
6. On the side opposite the tail feather hole, use the fine black pen to draw eyes near the top of the cone. Keep them small and quite close together.
7. Brush some glue inside the cone behind the two holes and choose your feathers - big and showy for the the tail feathers, use several if you want - and short and fluffy for the head plume.
8 Brush a little glue on the sides and stick down two similar sized feathers for the wings. If your feathers are too big, trim them or cut the top off larger ones to get two pieces that look the same, before gluing them on.
9. For the beak, use a fine paintbrush to dab a small blob of yellow paint just below the eyes.
8 For some sparkle, brush glue on the front of your bird and sprinkle over some glitter. Shake off the excess. A good way to save glitter is to do the sprinkling over a paper plate, then bend the plate in the middle to catch the glitter in the fold, and funnel it back into a container.
My little nephew, road-testing one of my new Animal Fun! board books which have just come out. I'm chuffed to bit with them - a totally unexpected but very lovely spin-off from the craft books.
There are four in the set - the usual suspects - numbers, sounds, touch and feel and what's hiding under the flaps? They're packed full of animals from Make Your Own Zoo, but there's also a bunch of new ones from my next craft book that'll be published in the spring.
I spent many happy hours tootling around, making little settings for the animals - with trees, birds, rocks, lizards, snakes, butterflies, squirrels....totally in my element! Especially for the 'Where do I live' book, which has big flaps to reveal what's hiding behind things.
And had to make a right old party of penguins and piglets for the number book.
Sadly mine are passed this age and stage now, but think the books brought back fond memories for my daughter who took a shine to the 'touch and feel' one.
My nephew seems to be pretty keen on the noisy one - my sister, not so much!
My lovely publishers CICO Books have just launched a shiny new website called MAKEetc to share craft projects, ideas, patterns, how-to videos and to sell their wide range of craft books.
And to celebrate the launch, they're offering 30% off any books on the site until the 20th November - all you have to do is enter the code MAKE30 at the checkout.
Really worth popping over for a look, whatever's your thing - sewing, crochet, knitting, origami or maybe you'd like to put more craft into your Christmas...They have some beautiful, inspiring books. Gorgeous pictures too.