Tagged craft

How (Not) to Make Christmas (or Other Occasion) Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*

child-1016955_1280This simple tutorial (*this is not a tutorial*) contains all the instructions you need to create beautiful (*ahem*) handmade Christmas (or any other occasion) cards (*there will be no cards*) with very young children. Unlike most guides, I have included detailed instructions showing exactly what the children should be doing at each stage. This will ensure that there is no confusion as to when the crayons should be chewed, or the pictures torn up, thus allowing you to achieve a perfect result every time.

 
 
What you need:

White cardboard for pictures
Additional white cardboard for mistakes
Coloured cardboard for cards
Crayons in appropriate colours for pictures
Pencil
Pens for writing messages
Scissors
Double sided tape (of course)
Shoes
Coats
Pushchair

 
Note: This project does not require any sanity, so please do not worry if you don’t have any in the house.

 
 
What to do:

1. Draw some Christmas (or other occasion) pictures (such as, Christmas trees, Father Christmas, snowmen, or reindeer) on to pieces of white card. The children will colour these, and you will then cut them out and attach them to your cards to make Christmas scenes, decorated by the children, for your loved ones to treasure.

2. Give the children the pictures with appropriately coloured crayons. At this point, The Toddler should have a tantrum because she wants the crayons she has not been given. Specifically, she wants to colour Father Christmas purple.

3. The Toddler will quickly stop her tantrum upon realising that she can still colour everything inappropriate colours using the crayon choices she has been given. She will set about colouring her tree with the yellow crayon that was intended for the star on top. She doesn’t need it for the star. The star is brown. Because the tree trunk is pink.

4. The Baby should at this point start eating a crayon.

5. By now, The Toddler will have produced a beautiful piece of colouring. On the wrong side of the card. On the side that has the actual picture, there will be approximately two lines of colour.

6. The Baby should be colouring the table cloth red, having thrown her picture on the floor.

7. Resort to holding The Baby’s hand and ‘helping’ her crayon.

8. Take the above step to its logical conclusion by putting The Baby down with some toys away from the art, before returning to ‘helping’ her crayon on your own.

9. Reach a new low as you scribble some blue on to Father Christmas’ jacket and nose, having realised the one year old who has (not) coloured this picture probably wouldn’t neatly colour Father Christmas’ outfit in red.

10. The Toddler will have spent ten minutes carefully colouring her whole picture on white card using a white crayon. She will notice this has not been overly effective, and declare that the crayon is not working.

11. Attempt to hold The Toddler’s hand and ‘help’ her crayon. The Toddler should at this juncture have a meltdown, throw the crayons, and tear up the picture.

12. Draw a new picture on a fresh piece of card.

13. Agree that The Toddler can colour only the wrong side. In white crayon.

14. Relent and allow The Baby to resume participation in the colouring.

15. The Baby should be very excited by her return, and demonstrate this by scrunching up her picture.

16. Return The Baby to the toys.

17. You should by now have one partially coloured yellow and pink Christmas tree; one reindeer coloured entirely in white; one snowman not coloured at all, but with a Jackson Pollock-esque masterpiece on the reverse; and one quite well coloured Father Christmas, scrunched into a little ball. It has gone very well.

18. Fold your pieces of coloured card in half to make your cards.

19. You will now need to cut out your pictures to start making the Christmas scenes.

20. The Toddler should refuse to relinquish the pictures. She has not finished. She is just colouring all of the pictures, top to bottom, in black crayon.

21. At this point, you will all need to put on shoes and coats. Put the children into their pushchair, and walk to your nearest card shop. Buy Christmas cards.

 

(*Well, a two and a half year old toddler, and a one and a third year old toddler, to be more accurate)

Look What I Made: a Handmade Christmas With Nipper and Tyke

Some of you may know Alice at Nipper and Tyke: funny blogger, owner of a sleep helmet wearing genius, and talented artist and maker of tapestry (tapestress is almost certainly not the word). Alice also offers tapestry classes and makes do it yourself tapestry kits, so that we can all pretend to be talented tapestresses (definitely not the word).

For Christmas, Alice has made kits to make your own gorgeous tapestry Christmas tree decorations, and she has kindly given me a kit to try. The decorations come in a variety of designs and colour schemes, and each kit makes three decorations, in different sizes and shapes. They are all so pretty, but I chose the red and white design as I love the heart and snowflake motifs.

The kit comes in a little bag and contains everything you need. You get the tapestry needle, six plastic canvases (two for each decoration), all the threads, the hanging wire, instructions, and the pattern for your chosen design.

The designs are stitched in a half cross stitch. You sew each design twice, to make the two sides of the decoration, and then stitch the sides together and attach the wire for hanging. The instructions are very clear, and the patterns are really easy to follow (as in, I was able to follow them). There are simple methods for neatly securing loose ends at the start and finish. This may seem an odd thing to mention, but I know it will appeal to any other people like me who may be out there. That would be people who enjoy sewing, are actually reasonably good at embroidery, but inexplicably have never mastered using any kind of sensible, tidy method for dealing with the loose threads at the start and end. You would not need to have any pre-existing abilities or knowledge when it comes to sewing, embroidery or tapestry in order to follow these instructions. I would say your level of experience would really only affect the speed with which you can complete the decorations.

It’s really very relaxing to do the sewing, and it is satisfying seeing the pattern coming together. As you progress, and can see the designs appearing, it becomes pretty intuitive to see where the next stitch goes without needing to closely count out the pattern (though, of course, you can still do so, if living on the edge is not your thing). The best part is that, as Alice has done all the hard work of designing the patterns, providing instructions, and collecting up the necessary materials, it really doesn’t take all that long to make a lovely handmade decoration. You then get to look awfully clever and creative, whilst secretly knowing that it wasn’t actually that hard (because really Alice is the awfully clever and creative one).

I have taken pictures showing the materials, the stages and a completed decoration. Mostly because I have always wanted to be a little bit Blue Peter, and push my just started piece out of the way to plonk down my ‘one I made earlier’. In fact, if I have one criticism here, it would have to be the disappointing lack of double sided tape and washing up liquid bottles involved in the making of these decorations. Of course, for all those who have less romanticised recollections, and remember the reality of Blue Peter creations, this could only be seen as a positive for Alice’s creations.

N&T 1N&T 2
N&T 3N&T 4

You can purchase these kits on Nipper and Tyke’s Etsy store. I would definitely recommend them to add a bit of homemade charm to your decorations, or as lovely handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family, not to mention an enjoyable craft activity.

I give The Toddler and The Baby a Christmas decoration every year, and this year will be giving them each one of the Nipper and Tyke decorations I have made myself, so that will be extra special. I may neglect to mention that the credit is really all Alice’s (sorry, Alice): ‘Look what Mummy made you! Isn’t Mummy clever?’

N&T 5

 
 
(You can see more examples of Alice’s work on Nipper and Tyke’s Facebook page, as well as in her Etsy store.)

 
 

Disclosure: I was sent these items by Nipper and Tyke to review. All opinions are my own.