Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall lanterns - or why I need more hands

We have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in Fall. First up is my dad, a couple days later my mother-in-law and then my mom. I sometimes find it difficult to think of something the kids can do for their grandparents' birthdays. As I said before, I am just not good at crafting. Never been. I have a lot of ideas, just that for some reason they don't usually turn out the way they looked in my head. Or on those gorgeous pictures those talented bloggers post.

That's the good thing about doing crafts with little kids: nobody expects the results to be perfect. So I gave it a chance. I found this tutorial online (it's in German but there are lots of illustrations) for leaf lanterns and thought that would be easy enough for me, uh, for the kids, to do. 

First we went in search of pretty grass, taking the go-karts for a spin. I took my bike and tried to keep up with the kids plus cutting the grass, so I didn't bring my camera. But this is what we brought home:

We found some pretty poppy blossoms, too. And lots of different kinds of grass. Small leaves would also work well here, but it's too early for that here. We pressed our finds overnight in my cookbooks, piling more cookbooks on top. Ideally you should do that a week ahead so it's all nice and dry and all flat. Yeah, well, guess I didn't plan ahead that far, so overnight had to be enough for us.

Next day we made the lanterns. It's simple, really. Find some jars in your recycling bin, clean and dry them. Then you cut out strips of glassine paper to match your jars. You stir some of that wallpaper paste into water until you have a custard like glue. Let it sit while you gather the rest of your supplies and try to keep the kids from cutting up all the pieces of grass and spread them all over the table.

Now onto the artsy part. Put the grasses or leaves onto the paper until you like the design - or your two-year-old decides he has done enough decorating and wants glue. NOW. While your five-year-old is still cutting up pieces of grass.

Have the kids dip one finger (or hand...) into the glue and spread it all over the outside of the jar until it's evenly distributed. Do that with two kids and two jars in parallel while trying to keep their other hands out of the glue and taking pictures for your blog at the same time.

Once your jars (and the rest of the table and kids) are covered in wallpaper glue, carefully place them at the beginning of the strip of paper with your grass and roll the jar until it's covered in paper. Press onto the jar and let dry. Repeat with more jars and paper if you still feel like crafting. Or if your kids still feel like crafting. Now try to get your kids to the bathroom to wash their hands without getting glue all over the house. Done!

Send the kids over to grandma for some chocolate, clean up the mess and relax with some coffee. Ahhhhh. Better. It's a nice project, really. Just maybe next time I'm going to get myself some extra pair of hands. Or skip taking pictures.And I'm definitely going to make more than four lanterns.

Leave the jars to dry overnight and voila, you have some pretty fall lanterns.

 What are your favorite Fall crafts?


  1. Oh, sind die hübsch!! Ich glaube, die machen wir auch... ich muss nur in der Stadt noch schöne Gräser finden, auf denen keine Hundehaufen/Zigarettenkippen/benutzte Taschentücher liegen ;0) gehen auch gekaufte...? *blinzel*

  2. Unglaublich, oder? Sie sind was geworden!!! Muss an den Kindern liegen. Ich packe sie übrigens gerade ein, während unten mein Mandelbiskuit abkühlt. Fehlt noch die Mascarponecreme und die Geburtstagsfeier kann losgehen.

    Hmmm, hab noch Gräser über, soll ich dir die schnell in die Post stecken? :)

  3. Suuuuuuper schön Swenja. Und tolle Idee! Komme drauf zurück wenn meine Schwegemama Geburtstag hat. Sie steht total auf sowas....


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