89 Days of Greatness: Day #17

June 9, 2014

Day #17 of 89 Days of Greatness. Today, we made ornaments. It’s not even Christmas in July; it’s Christmas in June, I guess.  And just a little bit of heaven on earth.

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Before I tell you how we pulled this off, let me assure you that this is not a talent-heavy activity.  I can do it, and I can’t draw a convincing stick figure with a ruler.  (The littles still remind me of the time when I earnestly tried to draw a cat for one of them and it came out looking like a warped, deranged turtle.)  When I ‘paint,’ it looks like someone gave a chimpanzee a paintbrush and then attached a canvas to a freight engine … that was running … and set the chimp free on top of all that to create a ‘masterpiece.’

But gathering beads and buttons and wire and stringing them together?  It’s so natural and rhythmic and calming to me that I could do it all day long.  Blind-folded.  On that moving train – although I’d prefer to be inside and not strapped on the engine.  To me, it’s far better than relaxing in a hot bath.  Baths are a mystery to me for two main reasons:  (1) how is it relaxing to soak in water that is getting decreasingly hot every second until the point when the water grows affirmatively cold?  I would have a mini-panic attack wondering when the dreaded change would take place, which rather defeats the purpose of relaxing in the tub (2) why is it appealing to soak in water that is dirty, which is what it has to be unless you shower off the dirt before you get in the tub, which seems to me to be a colossal waste of time?!

Clearly, I digress.

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The point is that creating something with wire and beads and buttons stills me to my core the way baths and gardening do for others; the fact that some people actually pay me to make crosses and napkin rings for them with said beads and buttons and wires is simply the proverbial gravy.

For our day of greatness activity today, I involved the littles in this calming glory, and the results were stupendous.

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It’s so simple that it’s laughable.  The only hiccup you might have is if you happen not to have the supplies on hand, but many of them you can substitute with other supplies that you almost certainly do have at your fingertips.

We used 18-gauge craft wire.  Anything higher is too thin and weak, and anything with a lower number is often too thick to get through the beads and some of the smaller-holed buttons you want to use.  (If you don’t have any on hand, you can pick up some at JoAnn’s or at Michael’s, or you can do a twist on this project with very sturdy string or twine or specialty yarn.  The look will be different, but there’s beauty in the creating … assuming there are no chimps involved.)

We also used beads – no plastic ones; they simply end up looking too cheap – and buttons that we have on-hand.  (There’s a story about why we have approximately 7,893 buttons on-hand, and I’ll leave it for another day.  Suffice it to say that it has to do with a hoarder whose property should have been fire-bombed at some point.  But then I wouldn’t have The World’s Largest Collection of Buttons to Be Used on Every Conceivable Craft Project in Anyone’s Imagination … Ever.)

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For the greatness, we cut off 10- to 12-inch lengths of 18-gauge wire.  (I used craft wire cutters, but sturdy scissors would work, too.)  With one of the smaller-size curling tools, we curled one end of each wire.  We added beads and buttons to our hearts’ desires, leaving one inch at the end for the finish-off.  (If necessary, trim down to that extra inch.)  We used the curling tool to curl / loop the unfinished end of the wire.  We then snipped 6 to 8 inches of Hemp chord to lace through the wire coil (at either end).  We tied it to the coil and then made a second knot, leaving an inch or more for hanging purposes.

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These are fun to make, and they can be displayed in a variety of ways.  Our idea today was to make them as gifts for teachers for this up-coming school year with the idea that the teachers might use them as Christmas tree ornaments.

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Watching the littles create their gifts for the teachers they haven’t yet met, watching the creativity and love they poured into the wire craft – it was inspiring.  (And so. much. less. messy. than. painting.)

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There was so much other greatness today between the first day of VBS (hence the tie-dyed shirts in these pictures!) and the backyard videos the littles had the idea to record – one was about the Garden of Eden, the other was about Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  They were (unintentionally) hilarious and adorable and worth keeping forever, and if I thought they wouldn’t disown me as their mama, I’d post the videos right here.  But I want them to continue speaking to me, and so I’ll have to pass.

Guess I’ll just have to look again and again at the wire beads.  Fine with me.

Godspeed.

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