made by little hands

We had a lot of fun last weekend making these pretty little tissue paper candle holders that we spotted over at The Artful Parent. It was a good project for chubby little hands and a fairly short attention span. And a very limited gift budget! Unlike a lot of toddler-made gifts, these are actually useful and beautiful. And not just beautiful in that awww, Wren made this so it’s beautiful kind of way. But really, truly lovely as the light flows through them during the day and filled with candlelight at night too.

Bonus: you’ve probably got (almost) everything you need to make these. I bought candle holders at the dollar store, but baby food jars or jelly jars would be great too. Tissue paper? Check. Mod Podge? Check. Supposedly watered-down Elmer’s glue would work too, but I love Mod Podge. It dries clear and is water-proof. Glitter? Check. Foam brushes? Check. Go!

Are you enjoying a hand-made Christmas? I had grand plans for a hand-made Christmas, but we’ve just dipped our toes in that proverbial water this season with a few small projects and lots of edibles. But with a long winter stretching out ahead of us, we’ve got ambitions for lots of creative pursuits. I would like to make some art of my own too. Someone asked Wren recently if she watches me paint and she said, “no, Mama doesn’t paint.” Boo hoo! It reminded me that I haven’t painted in way too long and it saddened me that she didn’t see me in my own creative work. Just washing the dishes, which she is proud to declare. Sigh. So there’s a good resolution for the coming year: make time for my own creative work. And a helluva lot more fun than the standard “lose thirty pounds! Work out every day! Stop eating sugar!”

What about you, parents. How do you find time for your own creative work? Is it important to you that your children see you creating as well?

the tree

For most of the past seven years of marriage, Chris and I have decorated our Norfolk Island pine tree with origami balloon-covered Christmas lights. Chris has been making origami balloon-covered lights for (at least) several decades. So yeah, it’s somewhat of a tradition. This is not one of those new, hipster, DIY projects. This is old school, baby! And now we’ve passed the tradition on to our little birdies. Wren has enjoyed “starting up Merry Christmas!!!” by replacing the balloons that get too smashed in the box and those that are necessitated by a growing tree and a new strand of lights.

Fun fact: apparently having a Norfolk Island pine tree as your Christmas tree is considered “green,” as seen in several magazines lately, but for us, it’s mostly just practical and cheap. Where would we even put a Christmas tree with such a huge tree already living in the house? A couple years when we decided to cut down a $10 Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree outside of Empire, I swear Norfolk (as we call him) was depressed about it. What’s wrong with me, he wilted. Sniff, sniff. So here’s Norfolk, proud in all his Christmas splendour! Isn’t he handsome?