Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Countdown: Day 11!

We worked on three Christmas crafts today! They all seemed like fairly easy crafts until it came time to actually make them; then, we discovered the road to Christmas crafts is fraught with crafty mishaps. But, I am never (or rarely never) one to let minor setbacks deter me and the crafts were all finished in the end. And, the thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from the for next year and (hopefully) not repeat them!

So, on to our first craft...

Candy Ornaments

I can remember melting mint candies as a child with my Mom to hang on our tree. So, when I saw something similar on Pinterest I knew I had to give it a try with my own little ones. Today while out running errands I finally rememberd to pick up some mints and since it was a cold day and I wanted to keep the kids inside I decided it was the perfect time to make some ornaments!

The process really does seem easy. All you need are hard mint candies, wax paper, a baking sheet, and ribbon.

You just arrange your mints on the wax paper lined baking sheet so that they are all touching. We did a red wreath and a green Christmas tree. You could make anything you like - from single mints (like we did when I was a kid) to you initials.

Then, you pop them in a 250F oven until they have started to melt and stick together. When I turned my own on to preheat I was soon greeted by a campfire smell. When I opened the oven door I found a small fire, started by a piece of paper resting against the element. That part is not crucial to this craft and I do not recommend you follow it...
Anyway, I left my mints a little too long and they had started to run a little too close together. But, that was an easy fix! I just used a popsicle stick to widen the hole in the centre of my wreath and the problem was solved.

For my Christmas tree I wanted to be able to hang it; so, I took an empty pen tube and pushed it into the top of the tree. I twisted it gently but found that it was started to twist not only the pen but the mints, too. I tried to pull it out and it started to pull the candy off...At this point I was thinking I was stuck. But, as the candy began to dry I was able to twist the pen more, which cut out a neat little hole, and remove it from the candy. Phew! Crisis averted!
So, there I was with my lovely ornaments, which turned out wonderfully and took about ten minutes. They smelled deliciously minty and weren't even that sticky to the touch. I left them to dry completely, which didn't take very long. Then, I peeled them off the wax paper. Hmm, it stuck to the candy a bit, but whatever, that's the back of the ornament so no one will see it!

As I picked up my happy little tree to string the ribbon can you guess what I did? I dropped the thing right on my stove. Suffice to say these are very breakable and I was picking bits of candy off the floor and counters for a good ten minutes. But, I still had my little wreath, which is hanging on my Christmas tree now.
So, not a total wash but a little more frustrating than I had anticipated for such an easy craft.

The next craft was...

Handprint Snowmen Ornament

I'm sure everyone has seen these online at some point. And when you did I'm sure you, like me, thought they were the cutest thing since that video of a kitten having a bad dream. And, I'm sure you've gathered by now that I have a fondness for handprint crafts. So this seemed perfect!

And, maybe it is perfect to do when you're not working with two squirmy kids who seem to get a case of the wiggles as soon as paint is applied to their pudgy little hands.

It took at least five tries to get my toddler's handprint on this ornament. It would start out fine and at the last minute he would start wiggling his fingers all around like he was trying to throw gang signs. After multiple trips to wash his hand and the ornament I finally got his little handprint on there. I was smarter with the baby and did it while she slept.

One the prints were dry I decorated the little snowmen with various fine-tipped Sharpie's. Then I decided I should coat it with something to stop the paint from chipping. So, Mr Bee tells me he has a can of stuff in his office I can use. I find it and bring it to him because I wasn't about to inhale some weird fumes and he heads outside to spray my lovely ornaments to preserve those cute little hands forever.

And then the swearing and yelling starts. And we find that the clear coat is not actually clear but black. Mr Bee just spray painted part of the ornament black. Throw me a freaking bone, here!

I was sorta able to salvage it by using a baby wipe to carefully remove the black spray and then painting over the fingers with another coat of white paint. But I just about quit crafting after that one. Well, not really, but I was pretty annoyed.

Mr Bee made it up to me with a box of chocolates, so my world is all better again. The ornaments still look really cute and hopefully I can find something else to spray them with so I can save these ornaments and never have to make them again!

The third "craft" we made was a pizza shaped like a snowman. It was a huge hit with my toddler and husband. Toddler Bee also helped me make mini pizzas by using a star-shaped cookie cutter! Yes, he looks a little wonky but I just like to say he has character.

And there you have a rather long post about the trials of my crafting today!

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