On Facebook, I am hosting a Handmade Christmas Ornament Exchange. It has been so much fun making the ornaments to mail out to the swap participants. Mine are all crocheted. I went onto the Ravelry website and did a search for free patterns and found a plethora of ideas. I have always loved the look of old fashioned handmade ornaments. Each year, I try to make a new decoration or other item to add to our collection. Last year was the first time we had an actual Christmas tree. It is a small tabletop style, but in our home, that works for us.
I have been busy crocheting a lot this year. Nearly everyone will be getting something crocheted or otherwise handmade. One new aspect is that both of the kids will be able to make gifts this year. I wasn’t sure if our son was going to be able to do it but found some neat ideas for crafts that both kids can make.
I wanted him to make something a little more personal for his Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapists though, so designed an ornament for him to make each of them. He is learning sign language, so that will be incorporated into his project for them. I don’t have pictures at this time because the camera I was using doesn’t work anymore. I will try to post a picture tutorial later though if my husband is able to take pictures for me to upload.
Here is one idea that is a very simple one to make. I am using the air-dry modeling compound made by Crayola for this project.
“I Love You” Clay Ornament
Make a tracing of your child’s hand on a sheet of paper. Carefully cut it out. This will become a pattern for your ornament. Roll out the modeling compound to 1/8″ thick. Carefully use a knife to cut out the hand print pattern from the clay. Fold the middle and ring fingers downward so that the clay hand print looks like the sign meaning “I love you.” You may need to lightly dampen the folded fingers t make them stick to the palm of the hand.
Next, using a small plate or bowl, cut out a circle that is slightly larger than the clay hand, from the 1/8″ thick clay. This will become the base you attach the hand print to. Lightly dampen the back of the hand and place it in the center of the ornament base. Press just firmly enough to make it stick well, but not enough to flatten the hand too much. You want the dimension of the sign language gesture to remain clear to see. Using a straw, make a hole for hanging the ornament at the top center.
Let the clay dry thoroughly. You can speed up the process by placing it on a wire rack in a warm oven, if necessary. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully if you attempt to dry them in the oven.
Once completely dried and hardened, you can have your children paint their hand print ornaments. Use a permanent marker to write their name and the year on the ornament once the paint is dry. To give a shiny finish, you can spray the ornaments with a glossy clear coat of spray paint. After the ornament if finished, thread a ribbon through the hole and tie the ends into a knot. Enjoy!!!
Another fun idea that Little Miss is making is a crocheted garland. She is just learning to crochet and wanted to make a simple decoration for the tree. So, she is crocheting a long garland using the basic chain stitch. I will be teaching her how to add beads to her garland as she crochets. It is really simple.
Beaded Chain Stitch Garland
This is a perfect first project for a little child to make. There is no gauge or specific hook size. All you need is the crochet hook, a smaller steel hook that is small enough to thread through a bead’s hole, yarn, and the beads.
The distance between beads is up to the person making the garland. On our little tree, the beads will be about one bead every 1.5″ of stitches.
Begin making the chain. When you reach the point where you want to add a bead, carefully remove the crochet hook. Using the steel hook, thread a bead onto the hook. Next, grab up the loop of yarn with the steel hook and slip the bead off of the hook, bring the yarn through the bead’s hole. Set aside the steel hook and place the yarn loop back onto the crochet hook you are using to make the chain stitching. Continue chain stitching until you are ready to add another bead. Repeat this pattern until the garland is the size you want. That’s it! A very simple garland that a child can make successfully.
There are so many handmade decorations and gifts that kids can make for others. By teaching them from an early age to hand-make their decorations and gifts, you are not only teaching them a craft/skill, but are teaching them to give of their time and talents. It is something that will benefit them for many years to come.