Monday, November 23, 2009

Keep 'em busy! Family Crafts for Thanksgiving Day

Do you have family that you dearly love but would rather not spend too much time talking with? You know, the Aunty who likes to ask you if you have gained 12 or is it 15 pounds since she last saw you? That Uncle who always feels compelled to share the tale of the time when you were two years old and removed your pants during dinner and walked around with your napkin on your head? That second cousin who wants to get into some serious detail about her latest surgery DURING the meal? Of course you know these people, as a matter of fact, they are all having dinner with you this week.

After dinner is over you may want to hide under the coats on the guest bed, or veg in front of the t.v. and pretend to watch some football game while trying not to talk about politics. Don't. You rarely see these people. Torture them with forced crafting. If you were at my house and were one of my crazy relatives you would be forced to do something crafty. I do it every year and every year the reluctant "I can't do this!" family member ends up telling me that they had such a great time.

Here are this year's pics for sure-fire post-dinner crafts for Thanksgiving day:

Felty Pumpkins
This is a craft that almost anyone age 5+ can participate in. All you need are a few balls of wool roving, some felting needles and foam blocks. Lay out the roving, chat for a few minutes about safety with the needles (DON'T poke them in your brother, DO keep them on the table, DON'T poke them in your sister!) and let the family go at it. Choose roving in pumpkin shades or you can even branch out to apples or peaches if your family is super creative.

Get a free downloadable tutorial here and print it out for everyone.

Bonus: family members will channel aggression into the needle and won't remember to make snarky comments about your new gray hairs!

Stamped Name Pendants

Great for anyone old enough to spell, but the younger ones will enjoy just hitting the metal! You'll need a bench block, a set of letter punches, a hammer, a selection of metal discs (I like brass) and a metal hole punch. Spread everything out on the kitchen table or on the back porch and watch your roughest-toughest guys stamp out tags for their hunting dogs. I suggest having each person trace their disc and write out the name they want to punch before putting hammer to metal. That should help cut down on the folks who forget how to spell their own name.

Bonus: Even the most jaded teenager will put down the wii and come see what all the pounding is about. Take pictures!

Bottlecap Magnets

Powdered resins like Amazing Glaze are fun to use and non-toxic and who doesn't want a magnet with a picture of their own favorite Auntie? You can work ahead by printing out family photos, words or team logos and by drinking lots of beverages in capped bottles. Add some do-dads like buttons, glitter, tiny toys or rhinestones and your family members will keep making these until you beg them to stop. Oh, for the magnets you can hit your local hardware store. I love Seaboard Ace Hardware in Raleigh. Use E-6000 or 527 to glue the magnets to the bottle caps.

Bonus: You could make some for absent family members and mail them, nothing says 'we missed you' like commemorative handicrafts!

Get a free downloadable tutorial here and you'll have all the Amazing Glaze tips you could want.

So, have a happy Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for the crazy, messy, crafty folks you are surrounded with. Send me pictures or let me know how your day went.