10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas – “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree” Ornament

We are very happy to participate in this year’s edition of Mama Miss’ event “10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas”! What is it all about? It is simple. Take a children’s book and craft a Christmas ornament based on it 

Our choice was Nico’s absolute favourite Christmas book since he got it last year (does it show in the video?), “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas”, which is a hilarious Canadian adaptation of the traditional “12 Days of Christmas”, which is taking twelve Canadian icons (such as squirrels, loons, hockey players and more) and transporting them into one of the funniest carols you’ll ever meet. SO it was an easy  choice for our project!

The protagonist, the porcupine, was our choice for the ornament and if you don’t want to make one from scratch, there is one thing that can be used as a base to save quite some work – a pine cone (and let’s be honest, with the book we are using as inspiration, could there be anything more fitting?)! To get its colour closer to the fur of the porcupine, we let the cone soak in a bleach/water solution for 24 hours and then baked it on 250 F for 2 hours, so it would reopen. Have a look at “Town and Country Living” for the exact instructions.

To make the rest of the porcupine, we cut a face, arms, legs and nose (Alex used a marker to make a black circle around the nose, since Nico does not quite have the fine motor skills for this yet, but it could be drawn on directly, if you have an older child or do it yourself) out of beige felt, added two small googly eyes and handed the whole thing over to Nico. With some tacky glue in a little aluminum pan and a Q-tip Nico applied some glue to the face and put the eyes and nose on. To stick the face and the feet on, Nico applied the glue to the tips of the “petals”, while for the arms he put glue on top of the petal and then stuck the arms on. He did a great job! Since Maman couldn’t do them anymore, grandma made little bows to finish off the porcupine and voila – something was missing…

He looked a little barenaked. So we racked our brains how to spruce him up and get him closer to the original. It took us three days to come up with the right idea, the first one that came to mind was to cut the bristles off a vegetable brush, but that sounded like too much work. Alex thought of raffia, we didn’t have any, so grandma came up with the idea of using wool. Maman cut some white wool, applied a line of glue in the back and glued it on, like hair. The day after (she wanted to make sure that everything was very well stuck) she carefully untwisted the two strands that form the yarn and then very, very carefully brushed it with a fine comb to make it look more poofy and less strandy, and then trimmed everything to make it look even. And another voila – now we really had a really cute hand made porcupine that is going to upgrade any pine tree 

 As you can see, we did not attach any string, we sat him on the branch directly and he stayed on well. It is up to you, if you want to hang him in the tree, he can also be used sitting on a mantle or a center piece on a table. We named him Einstein the Porcupine, do you see the resemblance?

Around the World in 24 Merry Christmas (advent activity)

(Nov 29, 2012) I was gluing Nico’s Christmas calendar in his monthly book he just got and noticed it had a theme, so I thought I could come up with a theme one too… Kids like to learn new things, they always dig new languages so why not how to say Merry Christmas in 24 languages! A new one per day for 24 days, like you would an advent calendar. We are providing you with 24 flags and the 24 respective ways to say it in the printable below. How do you use it? Simple! Get 24 big craft sticks paint them Christmas colors or…

…do like I did, have Nico do it with our home made glitter paint. You can paint both sides, we didn’t for time reasons. I love how he was so happy to stir with both hands and how focused he was painting. In the end it worked better with me holding a stick at a time. FYI all this has to be done in your pyjamas, of course! 

Print the pdf, cut it all up and glue it on any of the following ways:
1) Glue a flag at one end and the words at the other end on the same side of the stick. (good for a child who doesn’t read yet) (pictured version)
2) Glue a flag on one end and the words at the other end but on the opposite side of the stick. (good for a child who reads a little)
3) Glue a flag on one end and keep the words in a little pouch or box next to the sticks. Have the child pick a paper with the words and guess which flag it belongs too (good for an older child that reads and likes geography, unless you wanna help a lot too, then it works for little ones too)

Hope you have fun with this, we sure will trying to pronounce everything and finding it in our atlas.

:-)

If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Email it
to us or post it on our Facebook page. We’d love to do a Facebook album, a Pinterest board and a page of your creations 

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