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 ISSUE 83   •   2  DECEMBER 2009  
   This issue: tree decorations


1. Editorial
2. Easy pipecleaner wreaths
3. Rustic Pastry Ornaments
4. Simple Foil Garland
5. Scouring Pad Trees

1. Editorial

Could it really be December already?

It is with some embarrassment that I must confess that we still haven't organised own advent calendar for this year! I comfort myself in the knowledge that we started the calendar late last year, and the year before. Heck, a December 3 advent start is practically christmas tradition in this house.

This afternoon at least we did manage to start the process. The kids glued paper and sequins onto little envelopes using a mix of white glue, green food colouring and glitter.

Next up I have to sort out the activities and go back to the local shops to pick up the packet of jellybeans that I wanted to buy earlier today before I realised I had left my purse at home. Yes, it's truly been one of those days.

You guys, on the other hand, have been amazing! I'm terribly impressed by all the great from those who have taken on the 
advent challenge this year. Here are some of my favourites:

1. A christmas book advent countdown from This Girl Loves to Talk.

2. Krissie's portable advent in a box idea – great for those who are travelling during December.

3. Toni's just-let-the-kids-go-crazy paper lunch bag advent calendar.

4. Great looking jar-based calendar from Fuse Interiors.

5. Fast and fabulous paper cup advent from Well I'll be a Monkey's Mama.

6. Lovely advent box of trinkets from At the Blue Barn.

I hope you enjoy the fun christmas decorations that I've put together for you in this issue. Of course there are heaps more ideas like this in the Christmas Craft printable mini-book! For just $6 you get 20 full-colour pages full of festive craft ideas plus the knowledge that you're supporting this newsletter which is delivered free of charge all year round.

And don't forget that for only a small amount more you can get your crafty little hands on the all-new Christmas Cards mini-book as well! I'm so proud of both these little books and have been thrilled at the positive response they've received.

Don't delay – buy them now so that you can get organised before December engulfs us all!

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

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2. Easy Pipecleaner Wreaths

This is an easy way to involve very young children in making christmas decorations. The tinsel style of piepcleaner works particularly well for this craft, but any old pipecleaner will do the trick.

You will need

• pipecleaners


1. Twist a loop in the centre of the pipecleaner.

2. Start threading beads on each side of the loop. When you have only a small amount of pipecleaner visible, join the two ends firmly together, being careful to conceal any sharp ends underneath the beads.

3. Rustic Pastry Ornaments

These pastry ornaments don't require any fancy baking skills or time consuming preparation. Simply purchase some frozen sheets of shortcrust pastry (ie, pie crust) and you're well on your way!

You will need

frozen shortcrust pastry (pie crust)
cookie cutters
a pen lid
nuts and seeds for decorating
egg yolk and pastry brush


1. Pop a selection of nuts, seeds and other edibles into a baking tray for easy access.

2. Wait 15 minutes for the pastry to thaw. Then, cut out pastry shapes using cookie cutters.

3. Ease the pastry away from the tray, leaving the shapes behind.

4. Carefully press nuts and seeds into the pastry shapes to decorate.

5. Place shapes on a baking tray and use a pen lid to punch holes in the ornaments. Then brush with beaten egg yolk.

6. Bake for 10 minutes (or until lightly brown) at 180 degrees C (375 F). Leave ornaments on tray to cool. Then attach ribbon and string up.

4. Simple Foil Garland

This craft is impressively simple and extremely appealling to kids of all ages. If I were ever to compile a list of my all time favourite crafts this one would have to be high on the list. 

Note: I must insist that you use a proper wool needle (or a plastic needle) for this activity – when I tested this idea with a normal needle I drew blood on my first attempt. Ouch!

You will need

• aluminium foil
• strands of ribbon or wool
• a wool needle (ie. a large, thick needle with a blunt end)


1. Thread the needle with a piece of ribbon or wool. Then pull off a piece of foil and scrunch it loosely.

2. Thread the foil ball onto the ribbon, and repeat.

3. When you've finished threading, give the foil balls a little extra scrunch to keep them in place on the garland.

You can use the same technique and different materials to make all sorts of tree garlands. Try threading popcorn, pom poms or packing peanuts.

5. Scouring Pad Trees

I couldn't resist sharing this idea which is one of my favourites from Christmas Craft. These simple trees are made made from thin green kitchen scouring pads. If you don't have any you'll be able to find them in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket.

You will need

• scouring pads
• scissors
• split pins/brads


1. Draw a christmas tree shape on a scouring pad.

2. Cut it out.

3. Decorate it with a selection of fancy split pins (brads). If your children are having trouble pushing the pins through, punch them some small holes with a hand hole punch.

4. To finish, punch a small hole at the top of the tree and thread through a ribbon so you can hang it up.

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