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This Months Feature Story

In search of an evergreen for the holidays

By Laura Livingston Snyder

Of all the traditions a parent could follow while raising children, getting the annual Christmas tree is probably one of the most memorable.

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Lights on the Lake

Lights on the Lake 2017. Photos by Dylan Suttles

Lights on the Lake continues through Jan. 7. Visitors can drive through the illuminated wonderland along Onondaga Lake every evening from 5 to 10 p.m.  The entrance is via Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool. Admission is $10 per vehicle, Mondays through Thursdays, and $15 per vehicle, Fridays through Sundays. On Mondays and Tuesdays, visitors who show a Wegmans Shoppers Club card can get in for $6 per vehicle. For more information, call (315) 453-6712. And children can enter the Lights on the Lake Coloring Contest by going to this page, printing out the image, and coloring and posting the picture: https://www.syracusenewtimes.com/lights-on-the-lake-coloring-contest

 

For more details on this and other December events, see the Calendar.

 

 

 

 








© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York

A Blooming Craft


 

After this brutal winter, I wasn’t sure if spring would ever arrive. But nothing stays the same for long. In a way it’s like our children. Some stages seem to last forever, and others fade away without a memento to hold onto.

That’s where these do-it-yourself blooms come in. Fresh flowers fade, but these homemade ones will last. And they make great gifts for teachers, mothers or grandmothers.

This craft project would be best for kids to do with a grown-up. It’s a chance to do something constructive and fun with your child.

I took the original idea for this craft from 2.bp.blogspot.com and went a few steps further on my own to turn the flower buds into flowers.

Walmart was my go-to place for supplies and some of the materials. Jo-Ann Fabric has a good selection as well. Buying vases from the dollar store or thrift store is economical, but don’t buy the cheapest pipe cleaners: They will not be sturdy enough.

Twigs from fallen branches are plentiful; a short walk will yield more than enough. Don’t strive for perfectly straight sticks; those that bend a little have character. Choose sturdy branches that are about 12 inches long and just a bit thicker than the pipe cleaners. Rub off loose bark, dirt or sharp edges from other offshoots.

 

1 Cut the petals. Use the pinking shears to cut out three different sizes of circles or squares from the first material. These scissors will prevent the material from fraying at the edges and give it a zigzag design. The largest size of petal should be no more than 4 inches and the smallest should be about 2 inches. Keep each size in its own pile. Repeatwith the other fabrics, keeping each material separate.

 

2 Assemble the flower. Mix and match the materials and layer the smaller pieces over the larger ones. I used about seven.

 

3 Fold the sheer material in half, quarters or rolled to make the flower fuller in the middle. Poke a small hole in the middle of each piece with scissors, starting with the largest, and thread through with a pipe cleaner, leaving about an inch of pipe cleaner at the top. Pick a button and feed the pipe cleaner up and back out of two holes leaving only a little pipe cleaner to push against the backside of the button. Push the material up so it’s tight against the button.

 

4 Build the bud. Take a few pipe cleaners and cut them into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. With a hot-glue gun, attach one of the mini pipe cleaners to the last piece of material (this will be the underside of the flower) right next to the “stem.” Glue another mini piece over the first to make an “X.” The stem should be just about in the middle. This will hold the flower and allow the petals to be molded as if blooming.

 

5 Support the stem. Pick a twig. Put glue on one side of the tip and push it onto the pipe cleaner near the “X” to attach the flower to the stem. Twirl the remaining pipe cleaner around the twig. Set completed flowers upright or in a vase so they don’t get squashed. Repeat making flowers.

 

A few notes

When I cut the circles out of my material, small square pieces were left behind. I cut these out, pinched the end on one side and hot glued them on the twig as a leaf. One per flower is enough. Mold the flower by squeezing or pushing in on the “X” to prevent flat flowers. Be creative with the ribbon. Four flowers tied together make a sweet posy.

This craft project can be used for any holiday or season as a table centerpiece or even a wedding favor. My younger kids gave these to their bus drivers and teachers for Christmas. There are unlimited designs and styles of supplies. Just as in nature, no two flowers will ever be exactly the same.

Michael Davis photos

Laura Livingston Snyder is a writer and mother of four who lives north of Syracuse. She blogs at freshapplesnyder.com.