November 18, 2011

Our {Thanks}Giving Tree

Last year we officially started hosting Thanksgiving at our house, an honor only bestowed upon the family with the most young children, the least kitchen space, and the messiest house!  Yet, it brings our families together and I have to say I kind of love hosting, as I get to channel my inner Martha a little bit. 

So for our first official Thanksgiving-at-our-house, I got the idea to create a leafless tree silhouette out of some brown paper I had laying around and some paper leaves for guests to write on, and express what they were thankful for. 
This year I got a bit more ambitious.  I am really into felt lately and picked up tons of felt squares from the Joanne's quarter per sheet Halloween sale.  I had some leftover felted wool from making Addi's Halloween costume, and though I was saving it for a matching skirt or hat, I got too excited and decided to use it as the background for this year's reusable felt {Thanks}Giving Tree. 

Here goes:

1 art canvas, big enough for your tree and its leaves (I believe mine was 18 x 24")
piece of felt large enough to cover the face of the canvas with about 1.5" on each side to wrap & glue
glue gun
various colored felt squares for leaves, tree, and anything else you want to add
fabric shears

1. Gather materials and start heating up the glue gun (little girl not needed, but sure makes crafting more fun!). 

Glue gun & fabric shears not pictured

2. Cut around your large felt piece so that you have about 1.5" to wrap around each edge.  It doesn't hurt to have extra.  You can always trim later.

3. Take your glue gun and glue the edges of the felt around the sides of the frame, little by little, pulling taut and smoothing out as you go.  It's nice to neaten up your corners so they don't bunch up on the front or sides.

Give your little one the felt squares to play with while hot gluing.  Next stop, the clean laundry bin!

4. Take your felt and cut out the bare tree, and the leaves, and anything else you're inspired by.  You can freehand if you're comfortable with this or draw first.  Get crceative--there's really no messing up!  I like to fold the felt in half to cut the leaves so they're a little more symmetrical.

I put the leaves in my favorite milk glass vase.  The kids love pulling the leaves out of something so special!

Take your scraps and make felt people and other stuff.  Make use of your new felt board all year round!

In my efforts to take a few quiet(er) moments and reflect on what we're thankful for this year, I went about trying to tie the tree into Thanksgiving and showing our appreciation for the people in our lives with the book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  The older kids understood that giving made the tree happy and sad, and that it needed a show of appreciation and love.

The plan is each night the kids state something they're thankful for and why, and then each adds a leaf to the tree.  Here were the first night's responses:

Addi (2): [I am thankful for] Ms. Marian.  Why?  Because she teaches you how to dance?  [Big smile & enthusiastic nodding]

Logan (4): I am thankful for Mah-Mah (grandmother).  Why?  Because she cooks me food!  (Extra sweet because she was sitting two feet away listening to the whole thing)

Tristan (7): I am thankful for [a girl in my class] because she helps me when I get hurt (I'm feeling a second grade crush coming on, especially since his statement was accompanied with a bashful smile.  Oh, boy!)

These are the moments that make those other ones (you know which ones I mean) all worthwhile....

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, the tree turned out great. What a beautiful way to encourage kids to reflect and realize all the wonderful people and things in their lives to be thankful for!