Ornament sharing is one of the best traditions we have started in our family. I love ornaments. Years ago, we were invited to a friend’s home for Christmas. Their children were well grown with families of their own. Upon seeing her tree, I was fascinated! I didn’t know any of their children, but you could almost know them just by looking at that tree. I looked at each one and could see so many loving memories she had to gaze upon. Little hands, quotes, pictures, sewn objects by a beginner -there were so many things, the tree couldn’t fit another ornament. I decided then, our children would make ornaments every year for our tree, and for each other, when they could.
Not only can you make memories, siblings can make ornaments that express personality, and get really creative. It’s a wonderful way to give to each other! We write down names and have each child choose a name, mom, and dad participate too. We usually do this on Thanksgiving Day after we eat.
Here is a selection of ornaments we’ve made for the tree this year.
First, let’s talk about walnuts. You can really get creative with them! But splitting them in half so both halves are usable is a challenge. Note: Always check the walnuts for blemishes or cracks before buying – and the cost for about 6 walnuts is less than $1! That will give you 12 halves if you don’t mess up.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and toss the whole walnuts into a pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. When you can pick one up, take a sharp knife (mom or dad only), and put the knife on the slit and push gently down some. Give the knife a sharp push down, BE CAREFUL! The nut should fall cleanly in two. My 15-year-old daughter figured this out after I destroyed several walnuts. Note the rubber, it works to hold the slippery thing in place.
1/2 walnut shell
24 gauge wire (I found red!)
Cotton ball and triangle scrap of fabric
Hot glue gun
Paint or stamp pad – gold
1. Make a tiny face with the marker on the hazelnut. I just did closed eyes and tiny mouth. Glue the head to the pointed side of the nut. Cut a length of wire to hang, and glue each end inside.
2. Pull the cotton ball in half. A whole one was too much. Wrap your cotton ball like a little present, and glue – while hot, tuck inside the nut so it sits nice and cozy. Use a toothpick to ‘adjust it around’. It should fit snug but loosely like a blanket.
3. Print out on card stock Born This Day in Bethlehem. I made an image .5″ high and 2″ long and put the text on it. I cut it out and trimmed the edges with decorative scissors.
4. Now, take some raffia and tie it in the middle with another piece, making a sort of bow. You want to sandwich the wire between the sign and the raffia on the back. I just laid the raffia down, ornament with wire on that, put hot glue on, and pressed onto the sign. Just do it carefully with minimal glue! You can always add a little more from the back.
Always write the year somewhere on your ornament. I wrote ours on the bottom of the walnut.
Wire from the first project
Bell – ready to hang
Pinecones – We found our outside, easy in Colorado! You may need to purchase some.
Christmas Ribbon Trees
2 seed beads or other very petite bead (found in the embroidery section of the craft store)
1. Thread the embroidery needle with the silk ribbon and knot the end with a single tight knot. Slide one seed bead over the needle and pull to the end of the ribbon so that sits on the knot.
2. Start with one pearly bead. Slide down to meet the other seed bead. With the wrong side of the ribbon facing you, bring the needle up through the first marked dot, from the right side of the ribbon, pull through.
4. Continue the pattern until you finish with the last dot; top with one last pearly bead and the last seed bead on top of this.
Have fun making traditions!