Classy Winter Centerpiece

Everybody! I have put together a Pinterest-worthy centerpiece.

I didn’t bedazzle the whole table like a true Pinterest godness, but I’m OK with that. I mean, honestly, I’m sitting at the table eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch, not prime rib.

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And it was easy. And cheap. I bought a red glitter cake stand from the Target dollar section and a plastic silver charger for $2.50. The candles and trees were on clearance at Joann’s for less than $5, and I had the rest of the stuff on hand. The goblets are my grandmother’s from her Avon collection, the jingle bells were in the kids’ craft box, the wagon was hanging on the tree, and I found the antelope in my son’s large collection of tiny animals.

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I ditched the original top of the cake stand and drilled a hole in the charger instead. A little hot glue protects it from kids who can’t keep their hands off anything.

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I seriously impressed myself with this centerpiece. Mediocrity is my usual benchmark.

Merry Christmas from The Lunch Hour Gardener!

 

 

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My Favorite Advent Calendars

December starts tomorrow! The first of December is the traditional day that Advent calendars begin, and I’ve gone a little overboard this year and have four separate calendars going for my family. Possibly five if I don’t get off the internet soon.

Here is a list of my favorite Advent calendars, buildables, and printables, including several I am using this year, and a shameless plug for my own creation.

**Click on the photos to take you to the Advent calendar you want to explore.

Let’s start with my very own Advent card printable. I have a new secondary blog called Bad Mister Kitty for artwork and printables, and this card set is available for free over there.

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Bad Mister Kitty’s Advent Cards ~~ 25 days to unravel the marvel and the mystery of the birth of our Savior
Hattifant's Woodland Cuties Printable Advent Calendar. Head on over to her website and check out everything. You'll fall in love, I promise.
Hattifant’s Woodland Cuties Printable Advent Calendar. Head on over to her website and check out everything. You’ll fall in love, I promise.
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Mr. Printables Christmas Street Advent Calendar ~~ Stay awhile and check things out on this website, too. It’s another one of my favorites.
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This is my Mr. Printables Christmas Street Advent Calendar. I printed it on colored cardstock. These boxes are filled with Lego pieces that will make a total creation by Christmas Day.
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Pure Sweet Joy’s Tiny Box Advent Calendar
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Lumberjock’s Santa Down the Chimney Advent Buildable ~~ Plans can be purchased on furnitureplans.com. This is adorable.
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Home Naturally’s Rustic Spiral Advent Calendar. No instructions or building plans, but nonetheless a beautiful way way to anticipate the birth of Jesus.
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Little Bins for Little Hands’ Lego Advent ~~ includes many, MANY Christmas Lego ideas for a new build every day in December. Legos fit perfectly into any tiny box Advent calendars.
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Your DIY Family’s Mini Forest Advent Calendar uses simple supplies to make a delightful little Christmas forest.
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Hello, Wonderful’s Santa Advent Favor Boxes. If it isn’t obvious, I love tiny boxes.

 

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The Full Routly’s Advent Nativity Set. A 25 piece nativity set is almost impossible to find. I printed this set onto cardstock, colored each piece, and adhered them to felt to use on a felt board.
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This is our printed and colored set on the felt board. The kids love to put together the whole nativity scene and add in butterflies and bugs and rocketships and aliens. It’s quite a sight.

 

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RedBirdBlue’s Printable Christmas Story Advent Calendar. This is a beautiful set and story, and the silhouettes look great in both color and black and white.

 

Which one is your favorite?! I can’t choose, can you?

All-Ages Craft: Leaf Garland

Garland, bunting, banner, pennant. I am smitten with anything I can hang on a string.

I am always on the lookout for crafts all the kids can do together. They are 12, 10, 8, 6, and four. Garlands fit this bill most of the time, plus the display is always wonderful.

Today’s craft is a leaf garland.

I purchased color diffusing leaf cutouts, but the same results can be achieved with coffee filters and a steady scissorhand.

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Begin by preparing the color medium you will be using. I diluted a variety of food coloring in water. The less water, the more vibrant the color. I used about one-quarter cup water and 10-15 drops of food coloring. We also used a watercolor paint palette with a variety of colors for a subdued color effect and Faber-Castell watercolor crayons for bright and bold leaves.

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Place a paper towel underneath each leaf or coffee filter. Use a paint brush to apply food coloring or watercolor to the leaf and watch the colors spread and blend. If using watercolor crayons, draw the design on the leaf or filter first, then apply water and spread the crayon.

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Lay aside each leaf, including the paper towel, and allow to dry completely. To hang on a garland, use a hole punch and run a string through each leaf then hang using thumb tacks.

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The leaves came together quite quickly, even for my youngest artist, and because the paper diffuses and blends the colors, it is very forgiving and difficult to differentiate artistic level.

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One of the kids would find a cool new technique and the rest would copy for a similar effect. The oldest in our group is 12 and she created some very intricate designs. My husband even got in on the action and created a leaf accentuating his favorite football team’s colors.

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Any art that brings together the entire family is the best kind of art.

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Collaborative Art Projects for Kids

 

I’m sure there are a multitude of good reasons for collaborative art. Cooperation, sharing, encouragement, membership in the Mutual Admiration Society, etc.

All benefits aside, we do collaborative art in our house because my kids are unholy terrors and they fight about everything: new crayons, whose turn it is to use the red marker, a sliver of paper crossing the imaginary line between them, the “better” glue stick, and everything in between. It. is. ugly.

So we work on art together. For now, at least. I’m hoping they’ll chill out a little after they get the hang of working together.

Here is an assemblage of our favorite collaborative art projects. Click on the pictures to connect with the printables and the artists.

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Mr. Printables Haunted House
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Mr. Printables Christmas Tree
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Mr. Printables Candy Land Heart
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Hattifant’s Mandala Doodle Poster
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Le Zebulon’s Klimt Tree of Life Collab
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Krokotak’s Leaf Mosaic using Radial Symmetry
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Frugal Fun 4 Boys’ M.C. Escher Lizard Tessellations

What are some of your favorite collaborative art projects?

 

Upcycled Egg Carton Floral Wreath

The kids and I collaborated on an Easter-y, spring-y art project: an egg carton floral wreath. In a nutshell, I cut and glued, they painted. Collaborators included my 11 and 9 year old niece and nephew, my 8 and 5 year old daughters, and my 3 year old son.

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As with most of my good ideas, I got it from Pinterest and modified it to our skill set. I could not be happier with how it turned out. It is gorgeous. I cannot stop staring at it. I just can’t believe a group of 6 non-artists could make something so beautiful out of trash and paint.

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We used 4 one-dozen paperboard egg cartons. I cut both the egg cup and the separator post in the middle to make flower centers. The leaves are cut from the tops of the egg carton. The whole business is glued onto a cardboard wreath base measuring about 15 inches in diameter, leaves first, then flowers, obviously. We also glued some buttons in the flower centers.

The wreath’s unexpected beauty was the kids’ doing. They mixed paints instead of using a single color on each flower and the results were just amazing.

And because no floral wreath is complete without a little fairy, we found a spot on ours to tuck her in.

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I had no idea trash could be so beautiful!