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NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Craftiness #1!

Happy Holidays Everyone! I wanted to give everyone an idea that would be fun for kids, plus give them a chance to reuse items for gifts that were from your own household that would otherwise be thrown out or just left unused.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree: My sons and I did this craft recently at a school family night and it turned out really nice, so I thought I would share it here. The great thing about this craft is you are using a natural item that you can talk to your child about.

One large, open pine cone
Glitter - Any color
Cotton balls
White school glue (like Elmer's)
Dental floss and a needle
Small beads or small pom-poms

Construction Paper
A small bow or star to top off your little tree


1. Glue a few cotton balls to the bottom of the pine cone. These will look like snow at the base of the tree and help the tree stand upright.

2. Put a little dab of glue at the tips of the pine cone and then sprinkle on glitter of any color (You can spread it a bit with your finger, but keep a washcloth or damp paper towel nearby for cleanup reasons).

3. String some small beads or pom-poms onto dental floss (usually about 1 - 1 1/2 ft or more, depending on the size of your pine cone). To string the beads easier, tie one bead securely to the string. Then give the floss to your child for stringing. An older child can use a needle to help with the stringing beads or pom-poms. When the garland is done, tie off the last bead with a knot. Wrap the beads around the pine cone like a Christmas garland and glue it to the tree. In the picture on the right we used mardi-grad or party beads. My children usually get these at different times of the year and they usually break pretty quickly, so why not recycle them!

4. Top off your tree with a small bow or other decorations (We used a scrap piece of construction paper to make a star), you could make an angel or even ornaments with it for your pine cone tree.

5. Let the glue dry completely and use it for a centerpiece on your dinner table or other place of honor in your home!

Crystal Snowflake: This project also doubles as a science project! Make your very own snowflake!

Wide mouthed canning/mason jar
3 light colored pipe cleaners (white or light blue would be best)
Boiling water (Adults should boil & pour the water)
Borax (20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster)
Optional: blue food coloring

1. Make a snowflake frame from 3 white pipe cleaners and a string. Twist the 3 pipe cleaners together in the center to make a asterick or star shaped figure.
The figure should be able to fit inside the wide-mouthed jar.

2. Tie the string around the pipe cleaners to look like a snowflake or spiderweb. Trim all excess string.

3. Tie a few inches of string to one of the pipe cleaners to make a loop for hanging. Take the pencil and put it through the loop, so that the snowflake will hang from the pencil and dangle inside the jar.
Take the snowflake back out of the jar.

4. Pour boiling water into the jar (An adult should do this part for safety reasons).
Add about 3 tablespoonfuls of the Borax to each cup of hot water in the jar.
You should have a supersaturated solution (you will see some undissolved Borax at the bottom of the jar).
Optional: Add a few drops of the blue food coloring to the solution for a bluish colored snowflake.

5. Using the pencil, hang the snowflake in the jar and wait at least 24 hours.
After this time has passed, your snowflake will be covered with crystals.
As the solution cools, the borax comes out of the solution (less of the borax will dissolve in the cooler water) and crystals form upon the pipe cleaners and string.

NOTE: If you do not have borax in your house but want to still do the project, you can do the same type of project using supersaturated sugar-water (but the crystals will take alot longer to form). The sugar water version will make an edible rock candy. The Borax version IS NOT edible, so please be careful if you try both versions with your children so they don't confuse the two.

Christmas Cards: As Daisy previously mentioned, old christmas cards can be reused to make new ones. However, you can also make a great picture frame out of them for your child's school pictures or even a holiday photo you took and send it as a Christmas Card! Let your child decorate it with old buttons, glue and other finds around the house that you would otherwise throw away. You can use paint on the buttons to give them a new look!

We here at GreenSpot-On have been pretty busy at our homes preparing for Christmas and the family parties that come around every year. You may not hear much from us until after the New Year, so please be patient with us during this time. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Khrys @ GreenSpot-On
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