Just in time for the holidays, The Times Features Department decided to show you some of our favorite crafts! Whether you use these as your own holiday decorations or as festive seasonal gifts, these crafts are sure to impress.
Swirly ornament globes
By Kathleen Dorsey
Home and Garden and Lifestyle Editor
When I was a kid, my mom would set up the kitchen table in my grandma’s house for my cousins and myself and let us make these swirly, painted ornaments. We had an entire shoebox of different colored paints, and our tree always included at least a few of these globes. This craft takes a bit of patience and may not be perfect for kids under the age of 8, but it’s so easy that virtually anyone can do it!
Clear glass ornaments (available at craft stores or Target)
Metallic acrylic paint in various colors
1. Select your ornament and pull the wire closure out of the top.
2. Squirt your first paint color into the ornament, letting the paint run down the side of the glass.
3. Squirt in your other paint colors right on top of this paint dollop inside the ornament, again letting the paint run down the side.
4. Slowly swirl your ornament around, letting the paint cover all the clear areas. If the paint is used up and is no longer moving, squirt in some more paint to keep it going.
5. Turn your ornament upside down on a paper towel to dry. It the ornament will not stand up on its own, place a folded paper towel inside the ornament carton and use it for balance.
6. Let the ornaments dry overnight. In the morning, wipe off any excess paint and place the wire closure back on top.
By LaVeta Hughes
Cookery Tried and True Café and Catering in LaPorte held their 6th Annual Gingerbread Making Class last Saturday. It was an ideal creative and fun activity for my two adventurous daughters, who were excited about decorating the house while munching on endless gingerbread cookies, candies, pretzels, cereal mixes and other edible decorations.
½ cup (1stick) margarine, at room temperature
½ cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
3 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cloves
1/3 cup water
Cream together the margarine and sugar. Add the molasses and continue mixing until well incorporated.
Sift the dry ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternating with the water. If the dough becomes too stiff, add the last bit of flour by hand.
Work the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth in consistency. Turn out onto plastic wrap, form into a neat rectangle, wrap well, and chill thoroughly.
After all the pieces have been cut out using the template of your choice, bake at 350° F. for 10-15 minutes, or until firm but not browned.
Assemble the house by using the Meringue Royal Icing (recipe below) to keep it together.
Meringue Royal Icing
3 level tbsp Wilton Meringue Powder Mix
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar (approx. 1lb.)
6 tbsp water (1less tbsp for stiffer icing)
Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes, (10-12 minutes on high speed for portable mixer), until icing forms peaks. This icing can be stored in an airtight container and rewhipped before using. Yield: 3 cups.
To give royal icing decorations a shiny snow-like effect, add 1-tablespoon corn syrup to 1-cup royal icing.
Pour icing into a decorating bag and squeeze it onto the edges of the gingerbread pieces, as you assemble the house. Let it stand until it’s holding steady. Continue using the icing to decorate the house with edible treats of your choice. (Suggested items include, small candies, candy canes, cereal, pretzels, marshmallows, and colored icing.)
Recipe compliments of:
Cookery Tried and True
Toboggan Hat Ornament
By Patricia Kincaid
Librarian and Media Center Assistant
These adorable hat ornaments can also be used as a package decoration. You can make these with any color of yarn - even school colors!
36 12-inch yarn pieces
1 toilet paper roll, cut into 1-inch lengths
1-2 cotton balls
1. One at a time, fold each piece of yarn in half and slide the folded end through the tube piece. Slip the two ends through this yarn loop, over the outside of the tube. Pull to tighten. Continue with each yarn piece, sliding loops closely together until tube is full and all yarn ends extend from the same side.
2. Push all yarn through tube to the other side and straighten yarn colors (if creating a particular color scheme) so that they line up.
3. Insert cotton balls into tube to form a rounded shape. Place the hat on its side so that all yarn pieces are atop the last yarn piece. Tie the last piece together tightly, enclosing all yarn pieces, and knot.
Decorative Sticky Note Holder
By Vanessa Renderman
This is an easy, inexpensive gift perfect for teachers, secretaries or anyone with a desk and a need to jot notes. You can personalize it, but here are the basics.
Clear picture frame that stands on its own
Decorative paper (construction paper, wrapping paper, etc.)
Pack of square sticky notes
Hot glue or craft glue
Decorative accessories (bows, ribbon, stickers, etc.)
1. Pick A Theme - We did a holiday theme, but you can use neutral colors for a year-round look or choose different paper and doo-dads to fit the theme or personality of the recipient.
2. Cut The Paper - The easiest way to measure is to take the insert that comes with the frame, lay it on your chosen decorative paper and trace a line around it. Cut along the lines and insert the paper into the frame as you would a photo.
3. Decorate - Lay out the decorations as you envision them, to make sure they fit. (Don't forget to leave room for the pad of sticky notes.) Then, decorate. In our example, we taped the ribbon to the back, adhered the bow using its own sticky square and hot glued the snowman gift tag.
4. Adhere The Sticky Notes - You can either remove the slippery back piece of the sticky notes and stick the pad right on the frame or hot glue the back of the note pad to the picture frame. The hot glue will hold the weight of the paper better, but it may be unsightly when the last sticky note is used.
As someone who loves photographs and has hundreds of pictures stuffed in albums, boxes, frames, envelopes and other assorted containers, I'm always looking for creative ways to display or dress up a photo.
I stumbled upon a neat and easy photo craft while surfing the Internet recently. The materials aren't costly, it's quick to make, and easy enough for a child to tackle.
Juice Can Lid Photo Magnet
By Eloise Valadez
Food and On the Go Editor
A lid from a frozen juice can
1. Choose your photo - Pick one of your child, pet, pretty scenery, whatever you'd like. I chose my dog Annie, always a perfect subject for a picture.
2. Remove the lid from a frozen juice can. Cut a magnet the shape of the lid and glue the magnet to the back of the lid.
3. Then take your photo and cut it about a 1/2-inch or so smaller than the lid. Glue the photo to the front of the lid. Let dry.
4. Take 2 or more colors of dimensional paint and outline the photo with each one. You can use as many colors as you want.
5. After you've outlined the photo, take a toothpick and swirl it through the paint to create various patterns and designs. Let the paint dry.