Big Hands, Celebrations, Crafts

Mickey Paper Wreaths

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We have a very large corner mantle over our fireplace that normally gets filled by my Christmas village for the holiday season.  I absolutely love my Christmas village, but each building is boxed up individually and it is a ton of work to bring up from the basement, set out and arrange.  Just like a lot of the other Christmas décor, we decided to keep the Christmas village packed up and that left me to figure out a new way to decorate that space for the holidays.

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My initial idea for the mantle was to do a large wreath.  I had seen other crafters versions where they had various sized artificial wreaths zipped tied together to form a Mickey shape and thought that would be easy enough.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck finding smaller sized wreaths for ears, so I went to my plan B which was to buy foam wreath forms from Michaels and wrap them in green garland.  Well, the price on the styrofoam shapes was more then I was expecting so I decided it just wasn’t worth it and moved on to a plan C  – cutting and crafting my own paper wreaths from Dollar Store posterboard.  And, because I had done Mickey and Minnie versions of everything else, it only made sense that I would make 2 versions of the wreaths.

A paper wreath is nice and all, but I was worried it still was going to look pretty plain.  I needed some way to dress them up and that is when I recalled these:

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For each of my baby’s first Christmases, I ordered them personalized Santa hats from a wonderful eBay seller out of the UK.  They no longer fit Camden’s or Keira’s head, so I was happy to find a way to repurpose them and put them on display.

I found and followed the Construction Paper Wreath Tutorial from Our Small-Town Idaho Life, with mine just being on a bit larger scale.  The posterboard was a bit awkward to work with due to it’s size and stiffness, but it was worth it for the impact the finished wreaths make.

For each of the large wreaths, I began by cutting a full sized piece of posterboard in half lengthwise and then folding each half again lengthwise.

Along the non-folded edge, I marked out 1.25 ” strip that would later be used as my gluing area.  I then marked along the fold in 1″ intervals and used my ruler to draw in straight guide lines perpendicular to my glue strip.

I then cut along each of the lines from the fold upwards, making sure to stop cutting when I reached the glue strip guideline I first marked out.

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Once all strips were cut, it was time to flip my cut posterboard sheet inside out and join the glue strip on each side together to form a cylindrical tube.   I chose to work with rubber cement because it is fairly forgiving if you need to reposition a little, but it creates a quick, permanent bond (so long as you coat both sides of the paper you are bonding together.)

Once my tube was formed, I inserted the last ring on one end into the last ring on the other end to create a circle.  If you didn’t want a Mickey shaped wreath, you could now decorate your wreath.

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For the ears, I repeated the same cutting and gluing process to 4 sheets of posterboard I had cut down to 8″ x 11″.  Once I had my tubes, I trimmed each of 4 loops from one end, leaving the glued strip so I had something to attach the ear onto the big wreath form with.  I then fed it through 3 of the loops on the big wreath and attached it on itself on the other side to form the ear.

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I fit the kids Santa hats onto the loops to find the spacing I needed between the ears and then attached the second ear on the other side of the Santa hat.  I was lucky that the hats fit snugly on the loops and I was able to keep them on without gluing or damaging them.

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I then hot glued on some red pom pom’s to both wreaths to create hidden Mickey holly berry bunches.  To differentiate between the Mickey and the Minnie wreath, I also added a red bow to Minnie.

The wreaths were a little flimsy on their own, so for my final step I cut a piece of wrapping paper to fit inside two large square picture frames (from Ikea) and hot glued the wreaths directly onto the wrapping paper.  This will allow me to remove the wreaths and still use the photo frames after Christmas.  I am sure the wreaths would be fine hanging directly on a door or wall, but this seemed to be the best solution for displaying them on my corner shaped mantle.

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The framed wreaths fill our large mantle up nicely and I love the personal touch they have with the kids names on the Santa hats!  The large stuffed Mickey and Minnie also on the mantle are toys the kids received last Christmas.  They work perfect up there, but it has been a battle with my 3 year old to allow me to keep his Mickey up there.

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Make sure to check back tomorrow to see the Mickey and Minnie stockings I crafted for the kids!

Big Hands, Celebrations, Crafts, Everyday Life

Mickey Top Hat Tree Topper

Creating a Mickey themed Christmas really hasn’t been that difficult given the amount of Mickey stuff already in our home.  I loved Mickey when I was a kid and that certainly hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older.  For evidence, you need not look any further then my kids toy box or closets.  With a boy and girl I think it is that much worse because I have reason to buy both the Mickey and Minnie versions of things!

I have slowly been adding Mickey and Minnie themed Christmas items to our main floor over the past week and it finally took until Friday for my husband to comment “I guess we’re going with a Mickey theme for Christmas, eh?”.  I love that he rarely questions my obsession and was even willing to go so far as to go give me my dream wedding in Walt Disney World.

While in Disney World for our wedding and honeymoon, they had bride and groom themed mouse ears that I purchased.  I wore my ears headband for most of our time in the parks, but the groom version was a bulky top hat and was too uncomfortable for my other half to really wear in the hot Florida heat.  My bride ears got packed away in a box somewhere in the basement after our wedding, but the top hat has been sitting out on top of a shelf in our living room for the past several years.

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While searching on pinterest for different tree topper ideas, I came across an image of a Santa Mickey top hat and was instantly reminded that we still had the groom hat sitting around.  After trying it on my little tree, I decided it would make the perfect tree topper.

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The hat looked good on the tree as it was, but I have a hard time not adding my own personal touch to things.   To Doll it up and make it more festive, I simply added a strip of red ribbon and a poinsettia embellishment I found at the Dollar Store.

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It’s a little quirky and different, and I love the way it finishes off our tiny tree.

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Hooray for being able to repurpose things I already own!

Big Hands, Celebrations, Crafts

Salt Dough Mickey Snowman Ornaments

This year we have decided to keep our Christmas pretty scaled down in terms of decorating.  After last Christmas, we nicely boxed up all our ornaments and Christmas décor thinking we would be moved into our new house by this point.  We are still a good two months away from being in our new home, but we have made the decision not to pull out all the Christmas decorations and then have to box it back up when we’ll have enough other packing and organizing to do right after Christmas.  I was originally disappointed by not being in our new home for Christmas and not getting a real tree like we normally do, but it has proved to be a bit of a fun challenge for me to come up with alternative cheap and simple solutions to decorate the house.

We have a 4 foot artificial tree I bought several years ago and we will be using that as our tree.  I decided to make some quick Mickey shaped ornaments for it out of Christmas balls, and then things kind of snowballed from there with Mickey themed DIY projects throughout our main floor.  This week I will be sharing with you what I have been up to and highlight a different Mickey themed Christmas project each day.

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Today we have some relatively simple salt dough ornaments I created to hang on the tree alongside the large Mickey Balls.  In my search for ornaments inspiration I came across these adorable Mickey snowman ornaments from busykidshappymom and thought they something simple I could recreate in salt dough.

I remembered I had bought a Mickey shaped cookie cutter about a year and a half ago with the intention of eventually doing a Mickey or Minnie themed birthday party for one of the kids.  I  have all kinds of Mickey party ideas pinned on pinterest, but there are just so many other fun themes to pick from that now I am not sure I will actually ever end up doing a Mickey or Minnie birthday party.  I wasn’t originally planning an entire Mickey/Minnie themed Christmas, but it worked out nicely due to our circumstances and has been a good excuse to put some of those pinned ideas to use.

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Salt D0ugh Recipe

  • 1 part salt (1/2 cup)
  • 1 part water (1/2 cup)
  • 2 parts flour (1 cup)
  • A small bag of glitter to add some sparkle (optional)

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To make the dough, I just dumped all the ingredients into my stand mixer bowl and used the dough hook to combine.  They came together fairly easy with a bit of hand kneading afterwards, but my dough was a little dry and I ended up having to add more water.

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Once the dough was made, I simply rolled it out with a rolling pin, and used my cookie cutter to cut out my Mickey Shapes.  I then transferred the cut shapes to a cut sheet using a metal spatula, just as you would making sugar cookies.

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For the ear hat portion, I used the same Mickey cutter and then used a circle cutter to cut off excess at the bottom.  I decided to do them separately and not stick the two pieces of dough together at this point so painting the ears would be a little easier.

For the small snowman noses, I free shaped them from bits of the dough.

The final step with the dough was to  put a hanging holes in each piece.  I used a drinking straw and just poked through each head and set of ears to create a hole for my string to go through.

Once happy with my cut shapes, I put both pans of ornaments into a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven and let them slowly dehydrate for 2 hours.

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Once dried and cooled, my next step was to paint the ear and nose pieces using acrylic craft paint,  and then assemble each of my snowmen using hot glue.  Most of my string holes lined up pretty well when stacking the pieces, but I did put the strings through before gluing so I wasn’t struggling to feed them through afterwards.  Finally, I drew on the mouth and eyes with a small sharpie pen.

I also had some snowflake pieces I had cut out and baked so I gave those to my son and let him go to town on them with my sharpie markers while I was busy assembling my Mickey’s.

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This was my first attempt with salt dough and it was so easy it is something I will definitely try again.  If I were to make these same ornaments again, I would make the ear pieces a bit thinner, but overall I love the way they turned out.  They look cute on my tree and it was a very inexpensive project using ingredients and supplies I already had on hand.

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Crafts, Everyday Life, Little Hands, Two Legged Fun

Letter to Santa – Free Printable

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It is December 1st and the countdown to Christmas has begun!  We put our first cottonball on Santa’s beard this morning, hung our first ornament on our new Advent tree from Grandma, and then I decided it would be a good day to write and mail our letter to Santa.

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To keep things simple, I used the same template I created last year for my playgroup kids to use to write their letter’s to Santa.  They are all preschool aged, so this was a quick and easy way to get the letter’s written and let the kids have a bit of fun coloring a picture for Santa.

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You can download pdf version of the Letter_to_Santa file here.  Enjoy!

Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

Pictures with Santa 2013

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This week I took the kids to have our annual visit and photo’s with Santa.  Keira wasn’t in much of a smiling mood, but I did snap some good pictures nonetheless.  At least she wasn’t screaming her head off, right?

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I keep seeing Santa pictures popping up on my facebook feed with fake-bearded Santa’s and I must say that I love how authentic looking this Santa is!  He was also warm and friendly with the kids and patient while I snapped a hundred photos. This is our second year visiting this Mall Santa and I love that they allow you to take your own photos.  For Camden’s first Christmas, I paid $15 for a single printed photo and was severely disappointed with it.  They do ask for charitable donations to the Christmas Bureau, however, so I was happy to give my $20.

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In the car on the way to see Santa, I asked my 3 year old what he was going to tell Santa he wanted for Christmas.  His reply was “Maybe just everything”.  I guess that would about cover it!  Luckily he was a little less greedy when speaking to Santa and asked for “1 dino bot and a big Optimus Prime vehicle”.

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I guess this “Santa” needs to work on hunting down that Rescue Bots toy…

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Crafts, Little Hands

Kids Cottonball Christmas Countdown

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I am planning to do this craft with our playgroup at the beginning of December, but my 3 year old son saw me working on the digital file today and couldn’t wait to color his Santa.  He did such a good job coloring I decided we might as well finish off the project this afternoon and have it hung and ready to start adding the cotton balls December 1st.  I am sharing today so you can hopefully do the same with your kids.

I always had a chocolate advent calendar growing up, but have resisted the urge to buy the kids one this year. The chocolate is always pretty crappy in them and the last thing my kids really need is more treats. I loved the simplicity of this one when I found it on pinterest.  It is cheap, easy, and interactive for the little guys.  Plus, I am hoping it will help with counting as we work our way up to December 24th.

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Supplies

  • Printer
  • White Cardstock
  • Crayons
  • Scotch Tape or Stapler
  • 24 Cotton Balls (I used 12 and cut them in half)
  • Double sided tape or glue

1.  Open the CottonballChristmasCountdown_DolledUpDesign file and print both pages on white cardstock or heavy paper.  The original Santa image was found on kidsdomain.com.

2.  Have your child color the Santa image using crayons or felt markers.

3.  Fold the “Christmas Countdown” page along the fold line and staple or tape the sides shut to create a pocket.

4.  Staple or tape the pocket portion to the bottom of the Santa picture.

5.  Count out 24 cotton balls and put them in the pocket.

6.  Beginning December 1st, put one cotton ball each day on the circle’s on Santa’s beard using glue or double sided tape.

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Big Hands, Crafts

We’ve Got Ears!! Mickey Christmas Balls

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It isn’t much of a secret that I love all things Mickey.  I first saw these Mickey Christmas balls in the Christmas Store at Downtown Disney on our honeymoon and instantly fell in love.  They were a bit pricy, breakable and I was short on suitcase space so I didn’t end up buying any at the time.  Since then I have found tutorials online how to DIY and have been meaning to make them for the past several years, but never gotten around to it.  This year I finally bought the supplies (Dollar store, of course!) and they were way easier to make then I could have ever imagined.  I can’t wait to see them hanging on our tiny 4 foot Christmas tree! Continue reading “We’ve Got Ears!! Mickey Christmas Balls”

Four Legged Fun, Gift Ideas

Friday Favorites: Santa is Coming to Edmonton Book

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It amazes me how quickly stores make the switch from Halloween into full  Christmas mode.  It is hard not to feel a slight bit of panic November 1st when the Christmas decorations fill the shelves, holiday music fills the air, and you realize Christmas is just around the corner.  I hate the crowds, but I love shopping this time of year and seeing all the Christmas themed clothing, toys, decorations, housewares and books.

This year I am hoping to start a new tradition with the kids.  One of the ideas I have seen floating around the internet is to wrap a stack of books for them to open in the night’s leading up to Christmas.  Books are already part of our bedtime routine so I thought this would be a great way to bring a bit more Christmas magic and excitement into our house.  I have seen it done as a 30 day advent calendar, but I think I will shorten it and have enough books wrapped  to read for the 12 days before Christmas.

We already have a few Christmas books that I will wrap, but I stopped at Cole’s bookstore yesterday to quickly browse and see if there was anything new that caught my eye.  I was immediately drawn to a stack of books titled Santa is Coming to Ottawa by Steve Smallman.  I picked it up, disappointed it wasn’t Santa is Coming to Edmonton and then was delighted to discover that exact title hidden beneath the Ottawa edition.  As I flipped through the pages and saw the references to neighbourhoods and landmarks in our city, I knew it was a perfect Christmas book to add to our growing collection.

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The illustrations in this book are beautiful and I love that they show the familiar landmarks like the High Level Bridge, Art Gallery, Muttart Conservatory and Rexall Place.  I am not sure my kids will be quite old enough to recognize and pick them out this year, but I see them getting excited over it in the upcoming years.  My three year old has just started asking about where we live and trying to figure the world around us, so I really love the relevancy of this book.

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This book is just one of many in the series.  Other major Canadian cities that Santa is Coming to include Calgary, Vancouver, Hull, Ottawa, Toronto or just Canada.  For my American friends, there is a wide variety of titles that cover states and major cities from across the country.  And, because he is a British author, there is a vast range of English and European titles such as London, Belfast, and Scotland.

And  if these still don’t work for you?  There is simply Santa is Coming to My House.

Visit the Chapters/Indigo/Coles website to find all the Santa is Coming to titles.