It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the car advertisements sing. To me, the craziness is just starting, but the wonderful doesn’t really kick in until right before Christmas. One of my favorite months is January, when I frequently spend the day reading a book in my jammies—ah, heaven! But for now, reading plans are on hiatus while I try to cram the unforgiving minute with sixty presents wrapped, to paraphrase Kipling.
In the spirit of helpfulness, I’m picking up where I left off five years (!) ago and presenting Volume 2 of The Poinsettia Library of Christmas Handicrafts. Maybe you all can find a present in the making:
Again, I urge you not to be fooled by this wonderful Christmas scene of the front. The pages inside tell a whole ’nother story.
I like candles, I really do:
Give me a nice-smelling candle and I’m a happy camper. What I’m not crazy about are those blobby candles that look like they’re made from fluffed-up lard. I’m pretty darn happy that craze has ended. While looking at this craft project, I was sucked into the directions:
I had to laugh at the picture of the white frothy wax being whipped up like a batch of meringue, and then being shaped into something that looks like the poop emoji. If it were brown, I think you might have a hit on your hands. On the next page, we’re told, “An extremely realistic chimney can be made by using a one-quart milk carton.” All you need to do is dip the carton into red wax a number of times, carve bricks, and then top with whipped wax to give it “that new fallen look.” Sometimes the accompanying text is almost as funny as the pictures.
Liven up the kitchen with a kitchen sparkler:
All you have to do is staple foil baking cups together in a “pyramidal shape.” Each layer is offset from the one below. You’re instructed to use fewer cups near the top to form a taper. After you’re done stapling you should apply glue to the inside bottom of the cups and sprinkle with glitter. Staple a small beaded prong (?) ornament to the top and place the whole structure on top of a foil-covered inverted baking dish. Voila! I’m sure your guests will be speechless.
Here’s a harmless craft project so we can catch our breath:
I was looking at the plastic lid ornaments in the upper right corner of the picture. When I was a kid, we made ornaments using baby food jar lids, and last year’s Christmas cards. Keeps the kids out of your hair for a while, and they have something to give to Grandma. I’m sure that a sufficiently crafty person could make something fun with the plastic bubble tree ornament project, but the potential for failure seems much higher.
On the following page, we’re encouraged to make angels from small funnels:
I have to apologize for the poor pictures in this craft book. They’re in black and white, and it looks like I took them with my imaginary photographic skills. Truth be told, I scanned this page at 600 dpi, so this is as good as it gets. The picture is somewhat blurred by the yarn and tinsel wrapped around the gold-sprayed plastic funnels. The heads are the “small decorated heads found in variety stores and hobby shops.” The wings are cut out of lightweight cardboard with lace glued to them. Then you mount the whole shebang on a piece of backing covered with dark blue fabric. Make fluffy clouds from cotton and place the scene “above a table or chest which holds other holiday decorations and used as a backdrop. It is an imposing touch for any room.” It might also be exhibit A in your emergency commitment hearing when your family thinks that you’ve gone off the rails.
I’m torn about the next craft project:
It might be kind of cool if you’re the kind of person who can make a homemade wreath look nice (it’s harder than it looks!). They used a bamboo framework from one of those paper sun umbrellas mounted in a partially open position. They recommend spray painting it a color, which is a good call as drab brown isn’t too festive. They took the string out from between the ribs at the bottom of the umbrella, and replaced it with wire and beads. Then decorate with ornaments and trim. This is where the reservations come into play; the instructions gloss over this most critical step. If this picture were in color, I would be able to say with confidence that it’s good or bad. I’m imagining it trimmed with pretty Shiny Brite ornaments, and that could be pretty.
I’m not sure, but the top right project might work:
You take ice cream cones, turn them upside down, spread thin frosting over them and decorate with cake trimmings. It looks like they used nuts and sprinkles. The trunks are made from life saver rolls with the outside papers taken off to expose the foil. I’m not sure why you would do this when sugar cookie Christmas trees are fun to make and taste way better.
The bad craft on this page is the thread spool wise men project. I’ve seen wise men made from macaroni, paper towel tubes, dish washing liquid bottles, and even folded magazines. This is a new one. You use a large spool for the body and a small spool lying on its side for the head. You’re encouraged to paint the small spool pink and paint a face. The hair is yarn and the crown is gold foil. Don’t forget the glitter and beads to decorate the crown. Hmmm, seems like too much work for the finished project. Plus, you’re wasting a perfectly good spool of thread.
Okay, they’re reaching with this “decoration”:
It’s a bottle, glass or plastic, trimmed in ball fringe that matches your bathroom colors, and hung by a hole in the cap. I don’t see how this looks like a Christmas decoration, unless you make them red and green, or blue and silver. But, even that quibbling overlooks the idea that this is decorative. Uh, yeah, no!
Finally, if anyone ever gives me this, I will get even:
What the what? You know, if you wanted the scariest Halloween costume ever, you could dress up like a clown’s mother and wear this apron. Otherwise, it could be used for any Dirty Job, and Mike Rowe would look great wearing it.
There is a craft project in here that I want to make for Kathy. ( Kathy here: I think I am terrified! ) If I get it done, I promise to take a picture and put it up here for all to see.
That’s it for this week. We still have a couple more Christmas posts coming up. Hope you all stay sane during this busy time.