Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Holiday Crafts

Now that school has finished for the year, we have been having a few crafty days with friends.  We had a day of stamping and card making this week, which my girls particularly enjoy doing with their friends and the mums enjoy it too, so it is a win-win situation for everyone!

Another crafty morning we enjoyed last week with friends was painting ceramics.  We went to a store which was filled with lots of lovely pieces to choose from.  The idea is to choose the piece you want, in the price range you want and then decorate it with paint.  Some pieces on display were of pieces which had been beautifully painted, others were hand-drawn designs on plates, mugs, etc.  Some really great Christmas gift ideas to make for someone special.
Most of the girls decided on Christmas Decorations but one of my girls is a real cat lover at heart, so she couldn't look beyond the cat figures to paint - she just had difficulty choosing which one.

The colours look quite muted as they are painted on and required several layers of painting.

We left the pieces at the store for a week so that they could be kiln fired. 

We had some excited girls when they saw their finished pieces!

If you check the picture above of the cat being painted and then compare it with this picture of the finished product, you can see it was actually quite difficult to picture how they would look when done from the colour paints the girls were using.  They are both very proud of their efforts!

My own craftiness this week seems to be revolving about Christmas gifts.  Here is an idea to share with you - simple to make and the end result is so cute!

Marshmallows and Hot Chocolate mix presented as a snowman in cute little jars.  I actually filled some with Milo too as I know lots of people like this as a hot or cold drink too.  Some of my jars had Christmas coloured candies in them too. 
The jars are glued together and decorated with gem stones.  The snowman's hat it made from felt and some spotted ribbon for a scarf.  I forgot to take a photo of all my completed snowmen together, they looked so cute in a group, so I just have to make do with this single photo instead.  These are quite a cost effective gift, especially if you buy the supplies in bulk packs.  All our friends, neighbours, etc will receive one of these this year.  I just have to hope none of them read my blog first!!
I hope you are all enjoying your own Christmas preparations!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Playgroup Christmas Nativity and Party

It's hard to believe Christmas is almost upon us - it seems to have come around so quickly this year!  I still have so much to do and the last few weeks have been filled with lots of Christmas activities and parties.  Today I thought I would share with you a little of our end of year Playgroup Christmas party.
We always end our final day for the year with a big party and gifts for everyone.  It is a much anticipated event and nobody stays away on that day!   

We had all the children dress up in costumes and they did a mini version of acting out the Christmas nativity play and sang some Christmas carols.  The children performed this for their parents and grandparents and also an older people's group which meets elsewhere in the church's buildings.  The whole thing only takes all of 10 minutes, if that, so perfect for the attention span of the little ones involved.

We gave out these delicious Christmas Tree cookie stacks as gifts to all those who came along to watch.  The older children had fun distributing these gifts which were very kindly made by one of our playgroup mums.

Each year I make up scrapbooks for each of the children which is full of their art & craft work and photos taken of the children at play and doing various activities throughout the year.  It is a lovely keepsake which everyone looks forward to having.
For gifts this year we used Gift Bags.  This is the most effective way of packaging up gifts we have done so far.  Each year we improve on the process slightly.  The bags were all hand-stamped and contained the children's scrapbooks plus their Christmas gifts.  It made the whole process of distributing gifts so much quicker and easier.  This photos doesn't show all the children, we have quite a large group and short attention spans, so we need a process that works quickly.  I think we will do this again.

This year all the mothers, grandmothers and carers who come along each week all received a lovely Nutri-Metics gift.  We always do something fun for the ladies, not usually this extravagant, sometimes smaller gifts or even a secret Santa which we all contribute to.  This year someone very kindly donated a whole lot of Nutri-Metics products for me to use as gifts for both of our Playgroups, which is over 50 ladies - so it was a lovely treat for everyone!

We ended our busy morning with a lovely morning tea - so much food that we had plenty of leftovers!  It was a great ending to a very fun year, shared with a fantastic group of people.  We have the best playgroup ever - of course I am completely biased - but the sense of community, support and friendship within this group is like nothing I have ever experienced elsewhere, and I have certainly been to my fair share of playgroups over the years with my own 4 children during their younger years. 

Thanks for sharing our Playgroup Christmas with me.  I will be back to share more of my recent activities soon.