Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mercredi: The Art of Giving

Now that I live in the snowy north I often hark back to the days when seeing snow meant either a several hours long drive up the mountain or slapping a Currier and Ives lithograph on the refrigerator. It occurs to me at that moment that most people live in that kind of situation. Though the descendants of European ancestors tend to think of Christmas, Yule and cetera as cold weather, snowy holidays, they may very well not be. As I write it is 84 and overcast in Caracas, Venezuela and 68 and clear in Sydney, Australia.

I think the lack of the white stuff is particularly hard on kids who see pictures of Santa and the “North Pole” and stockings hanging over a crackling fire. I remember So Cal vividly; a crackling fire is the last thing you want to think about when Christmas dawns at 80 degrees. With this is mind, I thought I would share a couple of simple projects that I learned before we moved to Alaska which can bring a bit of Holiday snow to your home where ever that may be. These projects are a great way to decorate, keep the kids occupied now that school is on hiatus, and teach a little science and magick if you are so inclined.

First up, ice flakes. These are relatively simple but they can be messy and are not a project for young children alone. You will have to help them as these ingredients can cause trouble without supervision. Here’s your list:

White chenille stems
A tall, wide glass jars that can hold more than
2 cups of boiling water (for each jar)
5 tbsps borax (or each jar)
A dowels, pencils or rods of some kind
White string or fishing line and scissors

Cut any number of chenille stems (those foot-long wires covered with fuzzy fabric that used to be called pipe cleaners) into equal thirds. Twist them together to form a six-spoke wheel that looks like an asterisk. Tie some string (or fishing line) to the middle of your pencil and the other end to a spoke of your asterisk.

Set your future flake aside and pour boiling water into the jar followed by the borax, one tablespoon at a time. Stir well; the borax may not totally dissolve, which is fine. Dip your asterisk in the jar, letting the pencil rest on the lips of the jar so that the flake is suspended in the water and borax mixture. Repeat with as many jars and asterisks as you have time for, and then leave your creations on the counter overnight.

The next morning, remove the new ice flake. It will be covered with clear crystals formed by the borax which look very much like ice. Chemistry at work! Help the kids hang these near windows where they will catch the sunlight. Have your children make a wish for the New Year with each flake you hang; there’s the magick. If you’re giving ice flakes as a gift, have the kids make a wish for the recipient instead.

Another, and admittedly less messy, way to make snowflakes is to again use chenille stems but this time string them with silver, clear or white beads until each arm is covered with glittering “gems”. Leave room at the end of each arm to wrap it back around and through the last bead to secure them. Make a loop at the end of one arm to hang the snowflake – either with string or fishing line – from windows, doors or even the tree. This is another great “wishing” project that will keep until the next year when kids can recount whether or not their magickal intention worked. Re-evaluating and even keeping a journal on magickal workings is a wonderful habit to start early; that way you know what might need tweaking next time. Ayez l'amusement ~

Header: Children with lanterns Victorian clipart via The Graphics Fairy


Timmy! said...

Very crafty... and clever too, Pauline.

Pauline said...

I know, it's not really like me but when little kids are involved...