Keepsake Ornaments

I saw a post floating around on Pinterest about keepsake ornaments for your Christmas tree.  The post showed pieces of a wedding invite or birth announcement gracefully curled up inside a clear ornament.  It was perfectly put together with fun scripted paint on the outside and staged so that no matter how your ornaments turn out, you are going to feel a little less than par.  That’s Pinterest for you, huh?  Accepting early defeat, I got the idea to have the kids create keepsake ornaments during our Gulf Shores trip.  I figured we could have them collect sand and shells, write a date on the outside, tie a ribbon to the top, and go about laying around on the beach.  In practice, it took about an hour and all the adults ended up super gluing their fingers together.  Ah, memories!

I ordered clear, plastic ornaments from Amazon. These were 100 mm, but smaller would have worked fine as well. I wanted to do plastic so they wouldn’t be as fragile as a traditional ornament.

We sent the kids (and adults) out to fill their ornament with any treasures they could find on the beach. Notice that Anna was filling hers with rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.

The kids actually had a great time searching for stuff to put in their ornament. It was almost like a scavenger hunt…

Once inside, the adults super glued the two sides together to ensure that the ornaments wouldn’t break apart down the road. Nothing like your memories spilling out into your suitcase. We used puff paint pens (regular paint pens would have worked much better) to write the location and year. A ribbon was tied to the top loop so the ornament can hang – like ornaments like to do.

Voila! Eat your heart out, Pinterest.
The ornaments dried overnight and traveled really well for the ride home. Now the issue is going to be finding a branch that’s sturdy enough for Anna’s ball of rocks…


Tie-Dye T-Shirts

I haven’t tie-dyed anything since I can’t remember when.  It was always something that I enjoyed doing because the shirts always ended up looking so much better than you expect them to.  Plus, who doesn’t love rocking some tie-dye?  My first day of kindergarten, I wore a tie-dye jumper and had a ‘101 Dalmatians’ lunchbox .  It was totally psychedelic.  My mom was wearing a full-length jean skirt.  It.was.awesome!

Anyway, I digress.  The last time I tie-dyed anything, we used big buckets of dye to dip the items in.  Frankly, it was a pain in the hump.  I’ve recently realized that someone in the entrepreneurial spirit realized that buckets of dye are annoying and came up with a squirt bottle method to tie-dye.  I saw it in the store and thought that a tie-dye project during our beach trip would be perfect.  Turns out, it was still messy but the shirts still turned out great.  Maybe getting dye all over you is just a rite of passage for tie-dying??

What you’ll need: dye kit, rubber bands, plastic wrap, and something to tie-dye

Pinch and twirl your shirt around and secure with rubber bands. The bands don’t cause the colors to stop, it just keeps the folds together (which causes the funky patterns). You can Google ideas on how to fold and twist your shirt to create different designs.

Once your shirt is rolled and secured with bands (and the dye is mixed according to the package directions), squirt enough dye in areas to saturate but not soak the areas. Notice the finger stained hands. We made the girls strip down to undies so no clothes were harmed in the process. Despite Anna’s clear lack of enthusiasm, she actually really liked making her shirt.

Once the dye is on, wrap the shirt in plastic wrap. Let it marinate for 6-8 hours (the longer is sits, the brighter the colors).

Remove your shirts from the plastic wrap, rinse in cold water to remove as much excess dye as possible. Run it through the washing machine with light detergent, and then toss it in the dryer.  Now, marvel at your masterpieces!!

It’s amazing how different all the shirts ended up being. Luke’s was a striped pattern.

Anna went with the twirl!