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Family Craft Ideas

with Leah

I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and http://www.workitmom.com/bloggers/workingonmotherhood, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!

Foil And Parchment Winter Trees

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Are you feeling frenzied? I’m feeling frenzied. It’s the most frenziest time of the year, so I’ll make this quick. Click through for instructions for creating these chic, modern winter trees out of a cool new material you may have never heard of before.

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What you’ll need:

–cone-shaped items that tape will stick to (e.g., paper drinking cones or snowcone cups, papier mache cones, birthday hats)
Martha Wrap
–double-stick tape
–scissors

Last year I made cozy Christmas trees by hot-gluing circles of felt to papier mache cones. Remember these?

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The effect was great and the project was easy, but it was time-consuming to cut out all those circles, and kids and hot glue don’t really go together as well as kids and hot fudge do. This year I’ve done a spin on the same technique to create a craft that’s even quicker and easier and more kid-friendly.

Start by picking up some Martha Wrap from the grocery store (or online). It will probably be in the baking aisle with the aluminum foil and parchment paper, which makes sense because that’s what it is: foil on one side and parchment on the other. As far as I know, there’s nothing else like it out there and it’s really cool. I used it for all the notes in my advent calendar this year.

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Next step: Cut your Martha Wrap into squares approximately one inch by one inch. You can get out a ruler if you want to be perfect, but who has time for that? Not I said the fly. The one-inch squares were a good fit for making a tree out of a snowcone cup, but if your cone-shaped base is larger or smaller, you could scale your squares up or down depending on the look you’re going for. I don’t know if cutting this stuff will wreck your scissors the way traditional aluminum foil will, so maybe don’t use your nicest pair.

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Now you’re going to cover your cone by taping on your squares of Martha Wrap. Starting at the bottom, wrap a line of tape around the cone. (I used three pieces. Again, don’t worry about being perfect.) Then stick your Martha squares to the tape with one of the corners facing toward the bottom of the cone. Go around the cone like that, overlapping each square on the previous one.

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Continue up the cone in the same manner (a line of tape, then a line of overlapping squares) until the entire tree is covered. Each row should overlap with the previous, lower row enough so that when you flip up the tips of the squares, you’re not going to see the cone showing through.

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Now for the fun part: Flip the tips of the squares up one by one to create your flippy tree shape. The foil not only adds a little glam to the effect but it’s what allows the tips to flip up and hold their shape. Pretty awesome, eh?

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(You could, if you wanted, apply the squares foil-side up. I like how they look parchment-side up because (a) I love the subtle surprise of the foil peeking out at the tips and (b) you may have noticed that the foil side is stamped with the Martha Stewart logo, and I didn’t really want my trees to look #sponsored.)

We have our foil and parchment trees displayed on a shelf with some fake snow from last week’s snowglobe magnet project and a deer from last year’s DIY snowglobe project, but they’d also be cute on a mantel or as a centerpiece or even on the plate of each guest for Christmas Eve dinner. It took me exactly ten minutes to make one, so you have plenty of time to make a whole forest, especially if you have a team of elves kids at your disposal.

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