Friday, December 12, 2008

Gifts and Things

FDPG's last Brownie meeting is tonight, and, as per usual, she informed me at the very last minute that her favourite Christmas Snowman pajamas were ripped and since she intended to wear them to this last meeting I might want to mend them. She said it very sweetly, mind you, so it didn't come out as quite the command it really was (almost, but not quite). I regarded the giant hole in her knee (how does she do that?), and then it occured to me that we should probably be giving some kind of gift to her Brown Owl and Tawny Owl, as a thanks for all the work they put into each meeting (it's an awesome Brownie troupe).

So instead of the math history reading I was going to do (Mathemeticians Are People Too, String, Straightedge and Arrow, The Secret Life of Math), I hauled out the glitter and printer paper and we made snowflakes. These are from a pattern I found in a Martha Stewart Kids magazine several years ago. They are easy to make, and they look really impressive when covered with glitter. No one ever guesses that they are made from plain old printer paper. The trick is to use superfine glitter and make your cuts really clean.
This picture doesn't really do them justice (oh sure Sheila I bet you say that about everything). Trust me, they glitter. They are about 4.5" across. Tiny and glowing. We like to hang them from the ceiling with thin thread, over the dining table, next to white lights. It's very atmospheric, with us being here on the Wet Coast and all.

Then, since we'd had so much fun filling the room with bits of paper AND since it was supposed to snow today (but so far all we've had is freezing rain) AND since I'd seen this wonderful snowman picture on a really great art blog called Art Projects For Kids (click here to see it), we hauled out the oil pastels and tried it ourselves. Working with pastels is quite different than, say, pencil crayons and watercolour, and the kids had an absorbing time figuring out their pink skies and peach snowflakes.

I really love drawing with pastels on construction paper. It's incredibly satisfying, and the pictures always look so bright and alive. When we put them up on the wall, FDPG suddenly shouted "I forgot my arms!" which completely convulsed the boys. And if you look at the snowman with the pink sky, you can see that she did indeed forget his arms. (and yes, it is a he, nothing FDPG makes is ever feminine, much to her grandmother's chagrin)

At that point, FDPG decided we needed cards for Brown Owl and Tawny Owl, so we made some. These were in an Usborne book I had out from the library.

This one. It has some excellent card ideas.

FDPG and Dominic made the Peppermint Creams while Max and I laboured away at the cut-away snowman cards. We used origami paper and Martha Stewart's superlative paper punches. They are, really and truly, superior to all other punches. They even cut origami paper fairly cleanly (no small feat when one is trying to get a snowflake cutout).

This is called the Snowman Card, I think (it's all a blur now, I'm afraid). You layer white and blue card stock and cut away the blue to how you want your snow scene (which is why you have the white paper underneath), then draw in details after you've glued it. We added some snowflakes, a star or two, and an origami paper tree.

Here's the other one. They are pretty quick, once you get the hang of cutting the origami paper and keeping the glue from removing your fingerprints (some of us have trouble with crafts, cough cough, but at least we can admit it).


Heather said...

Glittery snowflakes...oooh, pretty says the magpie in me.

Vivian said...

Love the artwork! And the photo of the four snowmen is really quite lovely--it would make a perfect postcard or holiday card!!

I keep forgetting how the pictures pop with pastels. Must dig ours out of the hiding place...the kids were banned after pastels got all over the dining room table.

Becky said...

I don't think ANY of you have trouble with crafts!

Thanks for the review of Miss Martha's punches. The kids are all smitten with her and moon over the Wal-Mart craft display. Now I know that any punches I buy will be worthwhile :).

(Even the boys love watching her show over lunchtime, and I hear things afterwards such as, "Martha Stewart says you should XYZ your garlic"... . Now they can NEVER go to public school.)

sheila said...

I'll send you one, Heather! You can hide it away in a drawer with your buttons!

Vivian, I hear you about the pastels on the table: we had some, err, issues cleaning the pastels off our work surface. They ended up on our snowflakes and it was a jolly good thing we slathered them in glitter.

Becky, as you know, my admiration of our friend Martha is boundless. She really knows how to make a good craft, even if it does appear horribly overpriced at first glance. I now use those Michaels coupons exclusively with her stuff.
Very funny about your boys and their culinary prowess. I tell my boys that chicks love a guy who is knows his cooking. They weren't very impressed with either my antiquated terminology ("chicks? yuck!") OR the idea that girls might come flocking to their omelets.