Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas Crafts (Matthew 1:21)

'"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins."' Matthew 1:21 (NIV UK)
I have been enjoying playing Christmas carols on the piano recently, but the books we have are rather easy for me, being quite a bit below Grade 1. I am studying for my Grade 1 exam in the New Year, but I play Grade 3-5 tunes just now (eg. 'Fur Elise' by Beethoven), because I like there to be a lively bass clef instead of just one or two chords per bar. My favourite Christmas carol is probably 'Once in Royal David's City' or 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. 'O, Come, All Ye Faithful' and 'Angels We Have Heard On High' are also some of my favourites. What are your favourite Christmas carols? You can vote in my MiniPoll on the right to let me know (all votes are anonymous).
     I have also been making some Christmas tree decorations, because I am getting into the 'festive spirit' as some might say, and they are really quite easy and quick to make. I just took an old Tesco cereal box, cut out an A4-size rectangle of cardboard, and stuck an A4 piece of yellow paper onto it with some glue. Then, I used a stencil to trace stars onto the now-yellow cardboard, but I had to do it lightly, because the glue hadn't quite dried yet, and I was afraid the pencil would go through the yellow paper and make holes in it. Finally, I cut out the star shapes with sharp scissors (if you let the paper completely dry onto the cardboard before cutting the star shapes out, you can use more blunt scissors), punching holes in each star on one of the five points. You can tie a length of ribbon through the hole in each star if you like, but if you don't have any, you can use string, twine, thread, wool, or even some bits of reed grass (if you're getting really desperate!).
     Another Christmas activity you can do is a candle table centrepiece. These can take up more time than other decorations, but are very nice to look at. You will need:
  • Oasis Foam
  • Medium-Sized Holly Sprigs
  • Branches/fronds (about 15 inches long) of any type of Leylandii evergreen bush, freshly cut & green
  • 4 Candles (about 10 inches long), all of the same colour (I would probably choose red or dark green)
  • 1 Candle (about 12 inches long), a different colour from the 4 smaller candles (I would probably choose white)
  • Plastic box/tub or small wooden crate (eg. ice cream tub), about 15 inches x 9 inches
  • Water
  • 20 Cocktail Sticks (about 2.5-3 inches long)
  • Jug of any size
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Pine cones (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • PVA glue (optional)
  • Fake berries (optional)
Put the Oasis foam inside the plastic box/tub or crate, trimming it to fit with the scissors. Cram as much foam as you can into the tub, and try to make sure that no space is visible. Now for the fun part! Fill the jug with water, and pour it over the Oasis foam. Keep filling the jug and pouring more and more water into the foam until no more will be absorbed (you will find that the Oasis foam soaks up much more water than you think!). Stick 4 cocktail sticks on the side of each candle with sticky tape near the bottom, so that about half of each cocktail stick extends below the bottom of the candle. Push the 4 smaller candles into the wet Oasis foam in a circle around the edge of the container, each about 1 inch in from the edges of the container. Begin poking the Leylandii branches/fronds and holly sprigs into the wet Oasis foam; you can push them in at any pattern you like, or even just do them at random. Make sure that all of the Oasis foam is covered! You can place a few pine cones around the bigger candle or around the outside of the tub with sticky tape (or PVA glue if you prefer) if you like. Your candle decoration is now complete!
     I might make some of these in the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas. Please keep praying for my family as we make important decisions for our house - there is good news! We are have found a house to move to! We still need prayer for a safe move, though - I appreciate your prayers a lot!

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