Thursday, February 23, 2017

Snowflake Celebration!

Not much snow here this winter. That's good, I suppose, if you're grandpa-in-charge-of-driveway-shoveling. Not so much if you're grandma-in-charge-of-winter-exploring. I'd looked forward to company for tracking freshly pressed deer, squirrel, rabbit, and raccoon prints in our back yard woods. The kids and I would photograph them on sleepover Saturday mornings, examining their size and shape, speculating stride. Back inside, we'd page through nature volumes until we found the perfect match. We'd know who'd ventured out there late last night, while we snugly slept inside!

But no sumptuous banks of outdoor wintry white awaited our curiosity this year. If we desired a Celebration of Snowflakes, it was up to us to stage it for ourselves. We met that challenge with a Christmas break afternoon of indoor fun, allowing grandma to supply people built of snow and the dizzying cascade of flakes that Mother Nature denied us!

Brielle's pillow (shown above) melted only the hearts of her parents when she brought home this happy little snow lady! Starting with a 10" x 15" rectangle of white fabric sketched with a simple body shape, kids painted features (and GIANT hearts!) in acrylic. Finishing work is always done in grandma's workshop. That's where a sandwich of batting and backing allows for light outline quilting, and button eye and applique nose accents. Eyelet trim gave this gal an extra boost of feminine fluffiness. Then she was stuffed, dated, be-ribboned, and delivered!

Our Celebration included lunch, hot chocolate, sugar cookie baking, and a session of paper snowflake cutting as well. My little guests strung a garland of one-of-a-kind shapes to take home for festive draping, spreading a blizzard of fun for all of us!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Handy Little Love Bugs!

They say that grandchildren leave a trail of footprints across the heart. True. But I also like them painted, printed, framed, and hanging on my wall! Turkeys, snowmen, bats, and ghosts - busy fingers, tiny toes!

Reasons abound for making this happy art. The primary one, I think, is that one year will eventually be the last a Valentine's Day "love bug" is small enough to fit within a frame. It's smart to seize each moment while one can, freezing it to last. The craft is easy, too - basically a paint and plop project - that's it! Also appreciated is a selection of inexpensive frames at the three major craft chains, some for as little as three dollars. Trace and cut your own festive mat from scrapbook paper to yield one-of-a-kind gourmet results - and don't forget to date your print before framing!

My infestation of love bugs will be "handed out :)" to parents this year. They'll unwrap these flighty little critters sporting glittery foam heart wings and paper punched eyes. A few simple fine point pen strokes add enough "insect-ery" to induce itching with excitement over how much fun it will be to enjoy them again and again in the years ahead!

I borrowed the little hands of grandkids to make these gifts, but came across a variation of this craft that delighted me. Lisa, at Grandma's Briefs, used a clever slight of hand to flip this idea, making it suitable as a gift from grandma and grandpa to a grandchild! Here's where you'll find a touch of heartfelt loving that you may want to try yourself. Thanks, Lisa!

And one more thing!

Classroom Valentine's Day parties are standard in every elementary school. All three of my daughters are room mothers, planning treats, crafts, and games for these events. I've discovered a way for grandma to share in the fun (without re-experiencing the "been-there-done-that" crowded, noisy chaos of my own years of service!) I'll be sending a trio of "estimating jars" filled with candy and a few small toys to challenge classmates. They'll try to win them by guessing the correct amount of goodies tucked inside. There's a fourth jar in each set, too, but those recipients won't need to worry their cute little heads over the winning number, because, well....."grandchildren!" :)

If you decide to use this idea, (favored by teachers!):
  • fill plastic jars only (I used 32 oz. ones from Just Artifacts, an online party supply source)
  • check for classmate food allergies
  • use wrapped candy
  • visit Dollar Tree for cute small toys (bracelets, whistles, paddle ball sets)
  • make the amount of items age appropriate - for example, jars offered to first graders should total 30 - 50 items at most (even then, you're likely to get guesses in the "TEN MILLION!" range! :) - sure wish I could conjure up that amount of enthusiasm!)

And, finally......if you'd like to include some corny-cute kids' Valentine jokes with your card sending/gift giving, you'll find 28 of them here, also at Grandma's Briefs, the source of this little closing gem:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sherwood, who?
Sherwood love to be your valentine!