Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pipe Cleaners To The Rescue

Yesterday, Lindsay came down with her brother's ailment. Nathan was still working on recovery while she was experiencing the worst of it. Today, both kids were still feeling less than perky, but they were also bored.

When they are ill, provided it's not a serious illness which would keep them confined to bed, we like to allow them outside for fresh air and to soak up some of the healing rays the sun provides. Unfortunately, this time of year, that isn't always an option. This year it is certainly not an option, so I was left to try and come up with something to keep hands and minds relatively busy.

While Nathan was relatively happy just curling up with a book, Lindsay was interested in something a bit more creative. However, yesterday, she really wasn't up to anything too complicated. I thought a bit and remembered the two packages of pipe cleaners I had grabbed the last time we were at the dollar store. I checked, and sure enough there were plenty of red and white ones. I cut them in half and within minutes she was happily twisting them together to create candy canes for the tree.

Today, Lindsay was feeling a bit better so I put my thinking cap on again, and tried to come up with an idea that might be a wee bit more challenging for her. Again, my mind wandered to the pipe cleaners and Christmas ornaments. I looked online for ideas but couldn't come up with the perfect idea there (although I did discover my oh so clever candy cane ornament idea was less than original..) so I thought some more, pulled out a pipe cleaner and started playing with it until I came up with an idea Lindsay thought was great.

It took a bit more searching for products I knew we had stashed around somewhere, and a bit of experimenting, twisting pipe cleaners this way and that, finding just the right size and color of beads to string on for the noses, and deciding the best way of affixing the google eyes, but in the end Lindsay and I had oodles of fun, and we ended up with what we both think are some pretty cute ornaments to add to our tree.

The black, as well as the red and white reindeer were the two I made to give Lindsay some ideas. She had a great time making the others all by herself. Her most favorite seems to be the white one with the bright orange nose.

On the off chance you may want to try making a pipe cleaner reindeer, here's how we did it!

For each reindeer you'll need
1 12" pipe cleaner (or two if you want to make a bi-color one)
1 bead, with a hole large enough to thread through 1 pipe cleaner
2 small google eyes
Glue (we used elmers)

Fold your pipe cleaner in half to find the center. Thread the bead to the center point.

If you choose to make a bi-color reindeer, twist the two together.

If a child is doing this, the next step is where they may need some help:

Fold in half again,with the nose being your center point, and bend each side towards each other about 2" from the center point. Tuck one end underneath the other as if to tie, and twist it up at the opposing corner. Tuck the other end under at the bent point, twisting it up. Straighten everything a bit if necessary so you have a triangle with the bead "nose" at the bottom corner, and a long "tail" sticking up at the other two corners.

Fold each "tail" in half, upon themselves, pinching the fold, then fold a portion of (maybe half) back up and out in a direction you like to complete the antler.I noticed it helped to twist the last fold around the main portion of the antler, to make it seem more like a seperate fork.

If you chose to do a bi-color, then the last folds can be seperated for additional antler forks.

At this point, I like to bend the bottom portion of the head out just a little so the nose sticks out a bit. You can also pinch the nose portion in just a little for shaping. Now just squeeze a dot of glue at the two upper edges of the triangle (where the antlers begin), and top that with your google eyes.

Hopefully I described this in a comprehendable way! LOL If you have a question, let me know and I'll try to explain it more clearly ;)

Hopefully, tomorrow both my children will be feeling much better. Otherwise, I think I may have to find something other than pipe cleaners to get creative with. ;-)


bev said...

You can make magic out of anything! Great job!!!

HDMac said...

Isn't it wonderful how the simplist of things can entertain children?! She did a GREAT job!!!!!!! Hope all are feeling better!!