October 19, 2013

Toddler's Christmas Tree

 photo file-23.jpg In addition to being just plain fun, this "3D felt board" can also provide a way to reinforce the names of colors, shapes, and Christmas images. My granddaughter will be 23 months old when December rolls around. She can play "Decorate the Christmas Tree" to her heart's content.

I still have to make more Christmas specific ornaments: stocking, Santa, angel, etc., but the tree is almost ready to go.

Yes, I know it's still October, but I wanted to post this early. It seems to me this is the sort of project there's no time for when we get into November.

I made the largest 1/2 circle I could make out of green felt and lined it with a double layer of bathing. (Why double? - because there was so much of it and I figured if I paid for it, I might as well use it.)  photo file-10.jpg

The radius of the half circle was 35-1/2 inches.
When shaping the half circle into a cone, I only overlapped about 1/8 of the half circle. I wanted the slope of the cone to be fairly gradual (like a Hershey's Kiss). That way, the felt ornaments would be more likely to stay in place when a toddler "slapped" them on. You can't tell how wide the base is here, as the back of the cone is collapsed in this picture.
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The whole thing took 5-1/2 bags of poly fill, plus the left over scraps of batting. I wasn't careful about stuffing the tip of the cone. So, after it was all put together, I had to go back and rip open the seam just enough so that I would be able to insert my finger. Additional filling was added until the tip was firm.
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A circle was cut from 1/2-inch plywood.
Quarter-inch would have been sufficient (and a lot lighter too), but I used what I had on hand. After cutting it out, I had to trim 3 times before it was the right size.
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The cone was stapled to the bottom of the plywood in about 8 places. Then I finished stuffing the base and stapled all around.
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I stapled on a handle, as the base is wide and this made moving it around a lot easier.
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A green felt circle was glued to the base. The edges of the circle wouldn't stay down long enough to dry, so I ended up whip-stitching it all around.
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Painted some tree boughs and added a star.


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October 1, 2013

Why Did the Skeleton Miss the Halloween Ball?

Because he had no body to dance with!
I just love stupid Halloween jokes.

You can still eat outdoors in Southern California if you can find shelter from the Santa Ana breezes.
In fact, some nights you may WANT a breeze.

This skeleton arm centerpiece is one of my favorite Halloween decorations.
I use it every year.
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A large plastic glass is wired to the skeletal hand.
Colored water passes for a bloody cocktail.

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The skeleton was bolted to a board. The glass of water adds significant weight to the upper portion of the centerpiece which causes the arm to tip over. Make sure your wooden base is long enough to add some additional weight (bookends, heavy books, brick, etc.) to counterbalance the arm.

An alternative solution is to mount the arm on a wedged-shaped base so that a glass of water is needed to keep the arm from falling backwards.

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The bloody wine glasses are made from Dollar Tree glasses.
Hold the wine glass horizontally by its stem and rotate it, all the while squirting a ring of red glass paint around the outside.
Sit it upright and let the paint dribble down.

Little plastic skeletons help tie up the black and white napkins.
The skeletons came from an old skeleton garland.
Lots of them had lost a limb or two, so I cut the garland apart and used the skeletons that were still in tact for napkin rings.
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Red metal picnic plates serve as chargers. Red metal bowls join with white Heller melamine to complete the setting. There's no possibility of breakage using these babies! Photobucket Candle holders are milk glass goblets.
Isn't this fun??!!!!!
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