This post is part of my ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series. To see all posts in the series, click here.
The Homeschooling Through the Holidays letter of the day today is “T”. I wanted to share our “Tree” (or tree problems!) with you and offer you yet another way to get kids involved with tree decorating.
We live in an apartment and between the toys and the homeschooling gear we don’t have a lot of room for a tree right now. Our tree is a little over six feet and about a foot and a half wide. It’s a spiral topiary style tree in a pot and we decorate it year round. After the winter holiday the Christmas things will come off a few at a time and we will gradually decorate the tree to celebrate the coming of spring. An excited youngster could have all the ornaments stripped off that tree in under ten minutes! This has been an ongoing issue for us in previous years.
I thought, what if the tree could be decorated with unbreakable things? In fact, what if it could be decorated with a fun toy that is meant to be taken off, torn apart, reassembled and put back on the tree? What if older children, just learning to sew, could make all the ornaments for the tree from scratch?
These soft, squishy felt ornaments stack onto each other and attach with hook and loop tape so you can mix and match the colors and shapes. The shapes can be as unique as you want them to be. They could be symbols of Christmas, or of winter. They could be geometric shapes, numbers or letters. They could even be dinosaurs.
You will need:
cookie cutters, sandwich cutters or other things to trace
felt in assorted colors
sheet of batting, about 1/2 inch thick
half inch wide hook and loop tape (such as Velcro)
yarn or ribbon
needle and thread
disappearing marker (I got by with pencils and color pencils.)
- Plan your ornaments by sorting your shapes into small, medium and large. You might also consider which shapes would look nice together. This is important for placing the tape.
- Fold the felt like a greeting card, wrong side out, and pin it so that it does not slip. This is particularly important if the felt has a distinct right side, because of glitter or embossing, and the shapes that you selected are not symmetrical.
- Trace your shapes onto the felt. You may have to dip the pencil in water to get clear markings.
- Cut your shapes and set aside.
- Press the same shapes firmly into your batting and trace two of each.
- Cut on the inside of the line, so that the batting shapes are slightly smaller than the felt shapes.
- You will need a hanger for each large ornament. Make your hangers by knotting the ends of yarn or ribbon to make a loop. I twisted my yarn to make heavier hangers. To do this, tie the yarn to the back of a chair or have someone hold it. Twist it by turning it in your fingers until it is very (VERY!) tight. Carefully detach from the chair. Keeping the yarn twisted, bring the two ends together. Holding the open ends together, let the closed end go. The yarn will spin and twist itself into a rope. Run your hand down the rope to make it neater. Use this rope to make your hanger.
- Cut half inch squares from the hook and loop tape. Sew the squares of tape to the right sides of the felt as follows: 1 hook for the front of each large ornament, 1 loop for the back of each medium ornament, 1 hook for the front of each medium ornament and 1 loop for the back of each small ornament.
- Stack the ornaments (felt, batting, hanger, batting, felt) and pin the layers together. If you are new to sewing baste (tack the layers together loosely with thread) and remove the pins so that holding the ornament is easier. Be sure to tuck in any batting as you go so that it does not poke out.
- Sew, using a running stitch, around the outside of the ornament, about one quarter inch from the edge. Be sure to attach your hanger firmly in place when you sew over it.
- Now have fun mixing and matching ornaments for your tree.
Kerry is a homeschooling Mom from suburban Nova Scotia, Canada. She loves baking (and eating!), crafts, reading and babbling about the meaning of life on her blog. Go and visit her at Fishbowl Fortune, where she writes about homeschooling Kindergarten, Christianity and alternative worldviews, homemaking and digital design.