Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry and Bright

Recycled cardboard egg cartons transformed into glowing, golden Christmas lilies.


My 5-year-old daughter and I have been on a mission to fill the entire month of December with daily projects to celebrate the Season; either a craft, or a recipe, or an outting.  Today's project came out so well that I had to share it.

After losing all of my chickens to my neighbor's dog, I have a stockpile of egg cartons that I have no other use for.  The tall centers of the cardboard ones looked like angel trumpets to me, so this is how we went about transforming them into festive flowers...

You will need:
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • Heavy-duty, sharp scissors
  • Paint of your choice--I used some metallic gel paints I had on hand
  • Paintbrushes, of course
  • A mini strand of Christmas lights

The first few I made took me awhile to figure out the best way to cut them out and really I found that carefully tearing them out most of the way was much quicker and easier.  The part you are keeping is the center supports, not the egg holes.  A one-dozen carton will give you five flowers, an 18-count carton will give you ten flowers.  Tear as shown in the photo below, being careful not to tear into your "petals".

And a little bit of cutting...I tried to keep it all in one piece to keep the mess to a minimum.

This is what you're left with.

Now make a little cut into each of the four corners about half an inch deep.

There's your petals.  Take your scissors and carefully cut them into a tapered shape.  (I forgot to take a photo for that part.)

Go wild painting them.  It becomes a very relaxing project once you get to this point and this is where the kiddos can begin to help.  I am boring and painted mine all solid colors.  My daughter got to mixing hers after awhile, but since they were all metallics it actually made for a very nice effect.  It might be neat to try doing some of them dry-brushed for a more rustic look, or maybe dip the tips of the petals in glue and sprinkle with glitter.  That would really catch the light and sparkle.

Here is the slightly tricky part... When they are mostly dry--dry to the touch--I found this to be the best time to curl the petals.  If you curl them before painting, they tend to uncurl.  If you wait to curl them after they are completely dry, the cardboard will crack.  If you can hover around and not forget about them, try to curl them with a pen/pencil as soon as you can touch them without rubbing off the paint and they will make a very smooth curl and stay that way once they reach the hard/dry stage.

There are already little holes at the bottom, so just gently push them onto the light bulbs.  This is also a bit easier if they are still a little damp.  The light makes the "pistil" of the flower and the cord becomes a vine!  I think these will look really nice woven into a strand of pine garland.  They came out so elegant that I plan to use them year-round.

Yes, that's a pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving in the background of my Christmas decorations... It's a Galeux d'Eysines and it's so pretty I can't bring myself to eat it yet.  Ideally though, I need to try to decorate for one holiday at a time...  Ha.

To my subscribers, if you're still out there...I apologize for the rare and sporadic posts.  With the new baby and homeschooling on top of that, plus the fact that I hope to get my housework caught up one of these years, I've had to neglect my poor blog.  Just know that I do miss you terribly and I often think back fondly on my blogging days.  I just hope Blogger will leave my content and settings here for me so I can pick up blogging again when my children reach, oh...say, 14.  (I don't know how the Pioneer Woman does it!)  Until then, I will try to pop in from time to time.  I hope you enjoy this simple project.  Take care!  :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Season

Wednesday morning's hazy sunrise.

One year without internet access has gone by quickly.  And I survived it!  Having my hands very full with other things helped to pass the time. 

Our second daughter arrived on March 8th.  She was born with a congenital heart defect called critical pulmonary valve stenosis.  Basically, there wasn't a hole where there should have been.  We spent the first eighteen days of her life in the CTICU at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH.  My daughter Ava, now five, thought it was quite a vacation staying at the Ronald McDonald House.  She is a big fan of ol' Ronald.  We even saw him in the Fourth of July Parade.

Savannah Joy is 5 months old now and doing fine.  You'd never believe the difference between how blue she was as a newborn and the big, healthy baby she has become now.  We spent our first month home tied to an oxygen concentrator and a pulse-ox monitor.  Now she squeals and "sings" with some very powerful little lungs.

I had originally coerced my husband to give up the internet, X-box Live and Netflix in an effort to tighten our belts and make a deliberate drive to get out of debt.  We made the last couple of payments on our car and managed to pay off two credit cards.  Although we hit the catastrophic cap on our insurance for this year, paying off those debts has freed up our monthly budget to pay comfortably on a few medical bills.  And we have an adorable, cherub-cheeked, baby girl to show for it.  :)

Ava and I just started our first week of homeschool "tendergarden" and we had a blast.  She is really enjoying the extra attention and togetherness and has applied herself wholeheartedly to everything I have asked her to do.

Today we began a science unit study on insects. After reading and discussing our lesson, we played a game of Cootie and discussed the different parts of insect anatomy and their functions. 

We capped off the afternoon with a scavenger hunt and took many pictures of insects we found in our own backyard. We'll come back to our pictures on Monday to attempt to identify them all and Ava will make drawings of them in her observation sketch book.
Here are a few of our finds:

This busy mason bee carried a thick load of pollen on his hind legs.

We were distracted from our hunt for an ant by this cute little roan filly that belongs to our new neighbors.  She came over to say 'hi'.

Of course we saw plenty of honey bees.  My solitary hive is still going strong, although I've not worked them once this year.  If they are still there next spring and I can fit back into my beesuit, I will take up earnest beekeeping again.  Right now I am merely a "bee-have'r", but I'm ok with that.  They are getting along fine without my intervention and I have to admit there is only so much I can keep up with right now, in this season of life.

Wasps...not my favorite!

Here we have one of those weird moths that look like a hummingbird.

And the Pièce de résistance...

A very large moth, the most beautiful I've ever seen.  What a lovely shade of pink delineated on its wings!  Ava was impressed with the large "eyes" on the moth's hind wings, used for defense.  It was like God gave us a special ending for our first week of homeschooling.