DIY Nativity Scene

dsc_0620This Nativity scene was so much fun to make!  My husband and kids all helped make this scene, we are all so proud of it!  While it was very easy, it takes a lot of time, and needs large amount of materials.  The time we spent crafting this project as a family was well worth it!  We had to get really creative, because I used little terracotta pots, and wanted to keep that theme going for each character.  dsc_0625I will try to break this directions up for each piece to the puzzle.  dsc_0630

Materials Needed:

Wood Stain & Rag

Jumbo craft sticks

Hot glue gun & glue sticks

Nine 2″ Terracotta pots

Felt: White, Blue, Gray, Brown, Blue, Blue

Optional: Burlap (I used felt for some cloaks, but also liked the look of Burlap cloaks)

Paint: White, Black, Yellow, Peach, Brown, Red, Green

Paint Brushes

Wooden ball knob (3/4″ for Baby Jesus’ head, and 1 1/4″ for all other characters)

Wooden stars

Gold Glitter

School glue

Wire/Wire cutters

Small 1″ Square pieces of wood (My husband made these for me so we also needed sand paper.)

Moss or dried grass (to fill the manger)

Hemp string

Red Ribbon

Cotton Balls

White feathers

Brown Pipe Cleaner

Wooden Dowels/Wooden BBQ Skewers

Permanent marker (To draw on faces)

Directions:

 

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For the Stable:  Stain 40 Jumbo craft sticks.  dsc_0458To do this, simply dip a small piece of the rag in the stain, and rub on the sticks.  Lay out to dry.  Stain the star also.  For the roof you will need 13 stained craft sticks.  Line up nine of the craft sticks.  dsc_0459Leva a small crack in the middle to insert wire that holds the star later.  Take a stained jumbo stick, and hot glue across the back completely.  Line up to hold the nine sticks in place.  Do this again to the bottom.  Hot glue the back of two more to make an “X” across the middle.  dsc_0460For the sides you will need seven craft sticks for each side.  Line up five stained craft sticks.  Hot glue the back of one, and lay diagonally across the wall.  Do this again to the back.  Repeat this process again for the other side.  For the floor, repeat the design for the roof, but since it will be flipped over just hot glue three sticks across the bottom.  I found this stable does not really need a floor, but if you are having fun crafting this, why not?dsc_0469Hot glue the sides to the back wall.

Hot glue the roof on after securing the star.

For the star:

dsc_0479Optional: Paint star yellow.  Use regular school glue to make designs, then sprinkle gold glitter.  Let dry.

Twist wire around a wooden skewer.  Cut with wire cutters to desired length.  Leave a little straight wire at the top and bottom so the wire is easy to glue.  dsc_0474Stick the bottom of the twisted wire through the middle of the top of the roof. dsc_0475 Hot glue in place.  Hot glue the back of the start, and press onto the top of the wire.dsc_0480dsc_0636

The stable is complete!

For Baby Jesus in the mager:dsc_0483

Paint a terracotta pot brown.  Fill with grass, or peat moss, hay, or grass.  dsc_0493Paint the 3/4″ wooden ball knob with skin colored paint.  Cut small piece of wooden skewer and hot glue the bottom.  Stick the skewer into the whole in the bottom of the wooden knob.  dsc_0490Wrap in white felt, or white fabric, and hot glue to hold fabric in place.

With permanent mark draw a face.  Tuck into the “manger”.

For Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men

Paint the pots any you like.  The kids had fun making these choices.dsc_0494Paint the larger wooden knobs skin colors.  Glue the head to the bottom of the pot.  dsc_0495Paint on hair.  img_9754Wrap felt, or burlap around the head and body.  dsc_0496Hot glue right at the neck area, and secure material to glue.  Trim the overlaying fabric to taste.  Tie a small piece of hemp string around necks. dsc_0515

For Mary and Joseph:

I tied the string in the back for Joseph, and a bow in the front for Mary.  I added eyelashes to give Mary a more feminine look.dsc_0635  For the three wise men:dsc_0642

Twist some brown pipe cleaner together to make staffs.

For the Angel: dsc_0633Follow above steps, but paint her body white, and use white felt or cloth for her cloak.  img_9747Add a circle of glue to the top of her head, and sprinkle with gold glitter to create a halo.img_9752  Tie red ribbon around her neck and create a bow, with long pieces left drifting.  img_9753Twist them and hot glue them in several spots to her cloak.  Choose three white feathers for each side, and hot glue to her back.  Trim feathers if needed.

For the Lamb:  dsc_0639Cut two pieces of skewer for the legs, and hot glue to the bottom of the pot.

Paint it white. There is a lot of painting, so use the kids to help!

Tear cotton balls into four pieces and roll up in to small balls.  dsc_0503Paint the head.dsc_0510  Glue the head to the top of the pot.  Glue the small cotton balls all over the pot, and stuff the back with regular size cotton balls to fill in the gap.

Cut out small ears and a tail from black felt and glue in place.

For the Donkey:  dsc_0640Cut small pieces of wooden skewer, and hot glue to the bottom of the pot.  img_9756Paint it gray.  Place the pot open side down on gray felt.  Outline the circles with a marker, measuring the size circle needed to cover the opening.  Cut the circles out.  img_9755My husband made me small pieces of wood that we sanded to smooth to make the head more naturally shaped.  img_9780Paint the pot grey.  img_9760Hot glue around the bottom of the pot and secure gray felt.  Trim if needed.  img_9764Paint the head gray, with a black nose on the end.  img_9762Secure to top of pot with hot glue.  Cut out ears and a tail from gray and black fabric.  Wrap some hemp string around the neck to make him appear ready for riding into Bethlehem.

The completed scene is so special!  This project took my family a couple of days, but we had so much fun together.  I hope you do too!  My inspiration came from designdazzle.com.  dsc_0620

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How to Grow Magic Candy Canes!

dsc_0406growcandycane-1This is one of my boy’s FAVORITE Christmas traditions!  They loved painting the craft the first year, and every year after when we pull out the magic Christmas growing pots, they get super excited!  The basic idea is this; We paint Christmas designs on a 4″ terracotta pot.  Then, the kids scoop some “magic snow” to fill their pots to replace dirt.  (I use artificial snow, the kind normally used for decorating around porcelain Christmas villages.)  The kid’s magic candy cane “seeds” are peppermints that they “plant” in the “magic snow.”  We set the pots in a window for light.  Then at night when they are sleeping, I break small pieces off candy canes and place in the pot so they look like they are growing.  They are so excited to wake up and check their pot for new growth.  I do this every couple of days.  In the end they usually have two periods of growing a full candy cane.  This also works as another great way to teach patience!

Materials needed are as follows;dsc_0403

4″ Terracotta pot – one per child

Christmas colored acrylic paints – Red, Green, White, Black, Brown, Yellow

Paint Brushes

Artificial snow for Christmas Village

1 bag Peppermints

1 box Candy canes

Directions are as follows;

Pick a color, and paint the whole pot.  Let dry.

Add a Christmas tree, stripes, Santa, any Christmas theme that sounds fun.  growcandycane9We did one pot when one of my boys were a baby.  We did fingerprint Santa and reindeer, so he was able to participate in personalizing his pot.

Put artificial snow in a bowl.  Let the kids fill their pots.  Give them each a peppermint to plant in the snow.

Over the next couple of days put small pieces that get larger in the snow after the kids go to bed.

I save my pieces so I can re-use them during the Christmas candy cane growing season.  Leave the wrapper around the bottom of the full candy cane to keep the fake snow from sticking to the submerged part of the candy cane.  On the last day of each cycle let the kids pick their candy canes and eat them!  They can plant another peppermint “seed” and enjoy the process again.  I try to make the last candy cane emerge fully grown on Christmas morning!!  Merry Christmas!!

Part One: How to make your own Christmas Wreath & door handle decoration

dsc_0397I had so much fun making a fall wreath, I started collecting supplies for my Christmas wreath!  I never understood how cool a homemade wreath is for your front door until I created my fall leaf wreath.  I really enjoyed picking things out for this wreath and putting it together.  I decided I wanted to make a matching door hanger for the door knob, and ended up making two door knob decorations.  I HAD to have matching ones for the front and back door.  Plus I needed to check out two different colored ribbons because I couldn’t decide which one I liked better when I was buying my materials.   I just LOVE the overall look!  I will post the wreath and door hanger separately in case someone just wants ideas for one or the other!  So for the wreath first!!!

Materials are as follows;

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I thought I would want to use the snowflakes – but they did not work in my wreath, so I opted to leave them out in the overall product.

Grapevine wreath

6 Artificial Pine needle sprays

4 Artificial Red picks – I chose glitter & bells

Artificial Red Pointsettias – Five small, Two medium

1 Mini battery operated Christmas lights

1 Artificial Owl pick – White

Wire

Wire cutters

Directions are as follows:

Tuck artificial pine needle sprays around the wreath.  dsc_0279Arrange red picks around the wreath.  dsc_0280Wrap Christmas lights around the wreath and secure the battery pack to the inside of the bottom of the wreath. dsc_0281 Add in artificial pointsettia blooms. dsc_0282 Install the owl pick.  Hang on the door!dsc_0389For directions on how to make the matching Christmas door knob hanger see Part two: How to make your own Christmas Wreath & door handle decoration.  dsc_0390Merry Christmas!

Part two: How to make your own Christmas Wreath & door handle decoration

Part two of my wreath and door knob Christmas decorations!  I used the same basic floral materials for the wreath and the door so the would match nicely.  I made two door knob hangers, one for the front door and one for the back door.  I could not decide which color I liked best for the ring, so I made one red, and one brown.  They both came out wonderful, so I still don’t know which I like better!  These were really fun to make, and I love that they match my wreath.dsc_0360

Materials needed are as follows;dsc_0341

1 mason jar ring

3 Bells

Burlap ribbon

Rope-ribbon

1 Artificial pine spray

1 Artificial red bell & glitter pick

1 small Pointsettia

Hot glue & glue gun

Scissors

Directions are as follows;

Wrap the burlap ribbon around the mason jar ring, until completely covered.  dsc_0366Glue the ribbon to secure.  dsc_0339Thread the bells with the rope-ribbon.  Measure them to make them stagger in length.dsc_0342  Wrap around the bottom of the mason jar ring, and hot glue to secure.

Cut a length of rope-ribbon.  dsc_0345Wrap around the bottom of the ring to hold the bell ropes in place.

Hot glue the back, and quickly tie a knot with the rope.  dsc_0351Trim the excess rope.  dsc_0352Apply a small amount of hot glue to the bottom of the pine spray.  Tuck the pine spray behind the wrapped rope-ribbon.  dsc_0353Trim the greens to desired length.  Cut staggering lengths off the red bell pick, and tuck under rope-ribbon. dsc_0359 Hot glue the stem of the pointsettia, and tuck into the rope-ribbon.  dsc_0360Hang on the door knob to add some Christmas welcome to your home!dsc_0390For directions on how to make a matching wreath, see part one of making your own Christmas wreath and door knob decorations.dsc_0389

 

Mini Christmas Wreath

dsc_0309My husband has great memories of this wonderful craft!  His mom made these wreathes when he was a child, so we tried to make them from his memory.  The original idea was made with cute porcelain figures.  We shopped around for a while and could not find the porcelain figures, so we settled on thin Christmas ornaments.  I really enjoyed working this idea out with my husband and kids!  We hung them in the windows, but according to my husband they hung them around the house as well.  I also hung candy canes from fishing line in the windows.dsc_0410

Materials are as follows;dsc_0283

Mini Grape vine wreathes

Thin or flat Christmas ornaments (These need to fit in the center of the mini wreathes)

Red ribbon

Misc. Mini Christmas decorations (snow flakes, candy canes, reindeer, Christmas collections)

Hot glue gun/glue

Fishing line

Upholstery tacks

Darning needle (optional – to save time)

First unscrew the hangers/screws/ribbons from the Christmas ornaments.  dsc_0284Wrap the ribbon around the wreath.

Glue the ornaments/figures securely in the middle of the mini wreath.  dsc_0292Arrange the figures around the wreath, then hot glue them securely around the wreath.

Use a darning needle to thread the fishing line through the wreath.  Knot the fishing line.  Hammer one upholstery tack into the drywall above the window.  Hang the wreath!dsc_0338  This is a very fun way to get in the holiday spirit and make memories with family!!

How to make a fall leaf wreath with Burlap

fall-leaf-wreath

I decided I wanted to make a fall leaf wreath this year.  This is my first time making a wreath, and I loved it!  I went shopping for some fall leaves, and found the whole store overtaken by Christmas decorations.  When I went to put my cart away, I passed a stand full of bags and boxes, with a sign that said “Grab Bag, 3$”.  I was digging through the bags, and noticed some leaves hanging out of one of them.  The manager walked by me and said if I bought two bags, I could have two for free.  I ended up with four boxes of random items, and four bags of floral supplies.  When I got home I found that my leaves were “Natural accents” which turned out to be tons of spray painted oak leaf branches.  I had an abundance of fall leaves and silk flowers to create something beautiful with!  This was very exciting for someone who loves doing crafts and decorating!  I had a lot of fun digging through my spoils deciding on what to use to make my fall leaf decorations.  I would highly recommend chancing a couple “Grab Bag” picks if ever you come across them at Michaels.  They were really fun to go through at home.  I now have a large collection of fun festive decorations for next year!  A couple of tips for crafting, start shopping for fall decorations right after Halloween.  I found burlap ribbon on sale for 1.50.  I clipped coupons, and bought my grape vine wreath with a coupon for 50% off an original priced item coupon.  I did pay full price for the wire, but that could have been avoided had I stopped at a different craft store and bought it with another 50% off coupon.  I like to keep my prices down by using coupons and shopping almost daily.  This makes it possible to do as many crafts as possible each season.  I generally try to keep craft shopping on a budget, on a schedule.  For instance, most days I stop at Michaels on my way home from the gym.  It keeps me checking prices and able to use the same coupon on my phone almost daily, and I catch some great deals!

Supplies needed are as follows:dsc_0277

Grape vine wreath

Thin wire/Wire cutters

Fall Leaves

Burlap ribbon

Silk flowers

Directions:

First attach leaves around the wreath.  I had two colors I liked, so I changed them back and forth between the two.  dsc_0267Fold the burlap ribbon in half, and gently wrap around the wreath weaving it in and out. dsc_0264Secure ribbon with wire.  dsc_0265In addition, if some areas need it, secure loose ends with some wire.  dsc_0275Add more leaves, tucking them over the ribbon in a few spots.  dsc_0263To create a bow, loop the burlap ribbon in a circle.  Cinch the middle of the bow, and twist wire around it, leave on long piece.

Attach the bow to the wreath, using the same wire that was used to cinch the bow.  Cut the long piece in half to create the look of a tied bow.  Cut one last small piece of burlap, and tuck it over the wire that is showing.

Tuck silk flowers around the bow.  Add a couple more silk flowers around the wreath in the burlap wrap.fall-leaf-wreath

 

Because I had so many beautiful fall leaves, that are real and will not last, I decided to arrange them in two baskets I received with my grab bag spoils, along with most of my beautiful fall colored silk flowers.  I arranged them and set on either side of my door.  If you live in a windy area, add a large rock or brick to the bottom of the basket to keep them from blowing over.fall-leaf-baskets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Turkeys!

dsc_0222These pumpkin turkeys are so much fun to make and a great centerpiece for the Thanksgiving feast table!  Also, many of the supplies I used are very easy to find sales on the week before thanksgiving, as Christmas decorations are taking over and the stores are practically giving away the supplies needed!

Supplies needed are as follows;dsc_0145

Gourd Pumpkins

Silk leaves – fall colored

Foam sheets or cardstock – brown or orange for the body

Small piece of yellow card stock – for the beak

Red balloon

Googly eyes

Glue Gun & glue stick

Directions:

First cut out the body on the foam sheet or card stock.  I could not find any brown foam sheets. I used both foam and cardstock paper, so the kids could pick the color they liked best.  Cut the red balloon up into small pieces for the gobbler.  Fold a small piece of yellow cardstock out and cut small triangles off of it for the beaks.  dsc_0218Have the kids pick the colored body they like for their turkey.  Have the child use the glue stick to attach the gobbler first, with the beak second, overlapping it.  dsc_0209Have the child glue on the googly eyes.  dsc_0147An adult needs to use the glue gun for the rest.  Use the glue gun to attach the body to the front of the pumpkin.  Hot glue three leaves to the back of the pumpkin.  dsc_0223Now you have a very fun festive Turkey table top decoration!  I got my original inspirations from growingupbilingual.comdsc_0203dsc_0184