Holiday Crafting: ABC Cards

December 2, 2010

Thank you all for the wonderful emails and comments about Rhythm of The Home. I have to admit that Bernadette, Julia and I consider ourselves to be really lucky to work on something that brings forth the creativity of so many talented people. I’m not sure that, besides mothering, we could ask for a better job (although Julia is also a nurse, which really kind of rocks). 

Today I am starting a bit new. Every day, from here until January 1st, I am challenging myself to come to this space and share a small craft, gift, recipe, yoga pose, meditation, etc. I am not forcing it, not trying to get myself to come here just because. Rather, I find my brain full of ideas once again, and my kids very much into wanting to craft and create. One thing that I found myself reflecting on these past few days, as I poured over the magazine, was how much I enjoy the simple crafts, words and projects that can be done as individuals, and as families.

A few weeks back, I saw this gorgeous post from Marina, and the bottom photograph made me stop and take pause. Oh how I love those letters. What a beautiful and simple way to help children learn, and so much beauty in such a routine exercise.

The boys happened by, and immediately asked if we could make a set. I had actually been just about to go and place an order for a set, but I figured that this had to be a great lesson, art project, and family craft all rolled into one.

The nice thing about these cards is that with a bit of paint, some stencils, and a pair of scissors, you can whip them up in no time. It is also a great way for kids to combine education and art into one.

The boys and I started out with 10 pieces of water color paper and paint, and I read them a story as they painted. We made enough to ensure that we could make two full sets of the alphabet cards (one for them, and one as a gift for a good friend).

Sarah Baldwin, of Moon Child blog, has a wonderful article on wet-on-wet watercolor painting that I would highly recommend for anyone who wants more info on this beautiful technique.
Rae, of Morning Sun Rae, also have a collection of ways to re-purpose all of the watercolor paintings that our little ones create (we also seem to have been on the same wave length in terms of the cards :)).

After the paintings had dried, and I had pressed them for a few hours under large books to ensure that they were flat, we then cut them into the sizes we wanted for each set. I used a paper cutter for ease, but a pair of scissors for everyone participating would work just as well.

I had a set of stencils from another project in the art drawer, and the boys love to stencil anything that they can, so they chose to use these for each card. Having said that, these cards are also a wonderful way for kiddos to draw or free paint as well.

52 letters later, we were ready to go. We finished off the cards by rounding the four edges, and then gathered our art supples together. Since we had used a sturdy paper, the boys now had their choice of mediums to create a picture that began with the letter it represented (if you are making these for a gift, you may consider letting the cards stay blank on the back, with a note encouraging the child to create their own pictures).

These cards can be packaged simply with a bow, or given in a small fabric bag carrying case to be taken almost anywhere. Jake and Elwood have spent the past few days creating many games to be played and enjoyed with these cards, and Elwood’s favorite has been a Scrabble like game where each one is given seven cards a piece to start, and then make words that are 3 or 4 letters each (this should be determined ahead of the beginning of play). Each takes a turn drawing a card, and the winner is determined once the deck is gone. The kiddo with the most amount of made words wins.

There is satisfaction in seeing a child make something so useful from start to finish, and for them to enjoy their own creation in many different ways. These cards also make a nice homemade gift that I am hoping the boys enjoy giving, and their friends enjoy receiving.

For more Handmade Holiday ideas, visit Tonya’s beautiful blog.


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