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Customised Christmas Cards

Happy new year from P and me.

As a child I remember making handmade cards for birthdays, festivals, and no occassion ones. Thinking up designs, planning the colours, writing the apt words and personalising it used to give me a great sense of achievement.

Today, in this age of whatsapp and fb wishing, such simple joys and gestures are far and few. I wanted P to get a glimpse of my childhood holiday activity and have the experience going to the post office, buying stamps and posting the art work.

We sat down and decided the basic designs. P has been following the activity of making various animals  from thumb prinits, in the monthly Childrens Magazine we subscribe to. Hence he was keen to do similar reindeers.

We made a few Christmas trees from left over scraps of art paper. I got him to imagine what can be made out of the numbers 2016 and did a few myself.

Finally I made the envelopes for our cards and we trotted off to the post office to buy stamps and post them. P was super thrilled to stick the stamps and put them into the post box.

Such simple joys that made our end of the year memorable.

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Trapping Heffelump!

I know I have done something right when I see P creating something after reading a book. In the past too, characters in the books we have read have inspired a lot of art work. Today, yet again P was itching to give form to the story he liked, that he sat down to work soon after he brushed his teeth.

The muse for today’s creation is ‘Heffelump’ (from ‘Winnie the Pooh’). P was gifted this book – Eoyore, be happy, from Winnie the Pooh series – for his birthday.

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He doubled up in laughter the first time and every time that I have read it to him. Seeing his reaction, I knew it was just a matter of time that he will want to do an art work around Pooh or Tigger. That it was Heffelump who caught his fancy, came as a surprise. Guess it’s the mystery factor around him.

So, like in the story we have set up a Heffelump trap in our balcony, to ‘trick and catch’ him. And his face and form will be revealed to the world. We covered the trap with gift paper to trick Heffelump to think its a gift for him (P’s words).

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So tonight is the night when the the unassuming Heffelump will ‘fall’ for P’s trap and the world will see him!

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Handmade paper

This was largely my project and P was a keen bystander. I was making paper for the first time, so I deliberately didn’t urge P to join and was happy to let him watch. The traditional method of making handmade paper involves using a woodden screen and deckle. Since I have neither, I just laid it out on parchment paper and sponged out the excess water. I came across this technique by chance from a craft book.

I made a small A4 size sheet and put in some fresh flowers and leaves (should be done in earlier stage rather than end, which I did). It turned out a tad more brittle than what should be, but I managed to cut at the brittle portion and turn them into cute gift tags, cards and bag tags.

P thought the paper pulp looked like vomit and didn’t want to do anything with it. But when he saw the end product, a nice sheet of handmade paper, he changed his mind and said, ‘vomit has become so pretty.’

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Spicing up our bottles

P and I have been busy making handmade gifts and git wrappers for our gifting, this holiday season. After a point we decided to take a break from stamping, printing and all things paper. So I pulled out an old art project that I learnt from my kids at the NGO. It was also coincidental that a craft blog I follow –  teachbesideme.com, she too did the same activity with her kids. I showed it to P and he seemed keen on trying it out.

I pulled out old glass bottles and caps for the project. The metal caps needed a bit of sanding, so P gladly used the sandpaper and removed the silver paint. We couldn’t get the paint off from the plastic one. We then painted a thick coat of base paint using acrylic colours. Once it dried we painted our owls and elephant, again with acrylic paint. P also tried his hand at a lion and he went on to draw lavish whiskers and mane.

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Once dry we put the lids back on the bottles and I transfered the masalas and condiments into the cool bottles. Now I have a big smile when I open my spices draw, with the owls and elephant staring back at me.

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Personalised gift wrappers

It’s the season of gifting so P and I are back at our favourite art – stamping. We decided to make personalised wrapping papers to gift our handmade gifts. This not only adds a personal touch but also teaches P to look around and make do with the things we have before running to the store to buy.

I had a few stencils and stamps that I had saved from earlier days – I had bought these from the lovely craft store Itsy Bitsy. But as I wanted to teach P to creatively utilise things at home, we went on to make our own stamps too.

For making the stamps I used

  1. old wine bottle corks
  2. foam sheets
  3. double sided tape and scissors

I cut out a bird and elephant out of foam sheets and taped them to the corks and there we had – our very own stamps

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Once colours and ink pads were out, P and I happily stamped away on our dry cleaning paper sheets, parchment paper, old used chart paper and whatever else we found.

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We hope the people we gift will appreciate our personalised wrappers.

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Dad’s magnum opus – Aircraft carrier

Ever since P saw the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant being built in Cochin, he has been asking the father to make him one. It didn’t take much to convince the airplane lover himself. So over many weekends, my plane obsessed boys got down to work. The father started out by collecting old business cards from friends and family, who donated rather generously. Having collected quite a pile, P and H started sorting them in various lengths, widths and thickness.

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Once done H wrote out the exact measurements and since it involved an assortments of scales, tape and compass, P was super excited. He then started making the framework by sticking the cards. At this point P was only too happy to do the sticking and having his alternate version of INS on the side. Once the framework was done, more measurements were taken to make the deck.

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The deck too was made sticking less thicker cards. Then came the control tower and helipad. By now the aircraft carrier occupied most of our living room and P couldn’t contain his happiness. He immediately lined up his fighter planes ready for take off and landing. That’s when he realised the runway was not marked.

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Another round of careful measurements and the runway and helipad got marked and painted. And finally there it stood – the father’s magnum opus – aircraft carrier!

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Needless to say all other toys and activities have stopped after this and P is now busy flying fighter planes from INS Vikrant on rescue missions and imaginary war all day!

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Happy to you, happy to you!

It’s a big day for us. We have two reasons to celebrate. One is, it’s the father’s birthday and second, artwithp has completed 1 year. So yay! time to celebrate.

P and I started talking about what we wanted to do for acha (father in malayalam). Of course the conversation veered to planes from the word go. He threw in a ‘let’s bake a cake’ somewhere into the conversation. So there it was – a card designed with a plane(Boeing dreamliner, 777, 737 to be specific) theme and a homemade cake.

P and I traced out our respective hands and drew and painted the dreamliner and other planes. We wrote out our message and there it was ‘our plane load of love’ for acha.

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Unfortunately for the cake I was left to fend for myself. P made it clear he only wanted to eat it.

We started the day with birthday songs for acha and artwithp, cut the cake and trotted out to our respective call of duties.

More celebrations later in the day!