Christmas at the Inn

….popcorn chains, Scrooge, Christmas cake and the Winter Witch

When the staff at Montgomery’s Inn put on a Christmas market they go all out. Weeks in advance the volunteers have been making Christmas cakes and gingerbread cookies. The walls were adorned with original paintings of Christmas Past, Present and Future and strings of popcorn  and evergreen boughs were lovingly placed in the window wells and over the hearth of the fireplace.

On the day of the market the vendors set up their tables with more Christmas decorations and the Inn’s Winter Witch handed out cookies to the children. It’s a wonderful market and the community came out by the hundreds to support their local heritage museum.IMG-9689
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Pinterest is a Teacher’s Best Friend

….for art lessons, teaching math, classroom rules, class management and Christmas crafts

Last week we hosted our annual Craft Night at our school. It’s an event that the community of parents and students loves to attend. For weeks in advance the teachers pair up with a colleague (some go solo) and scour the internet for craft ideas that small children and their parents can successfully complete in 10 to 15 minutes or less.

The parent council funds the evening and each teacher is given a set amount of money  to purchase supplies. It works out to approximately $1.00 per craft. This year some of the crafts included bees wax candles, decorating glass ornaments, making bath salts,  and decorating cookies.

I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration and came across these beautiful paper trees mounted on a disc of spruce wood. Lyckoslanten is a Finnish blogger who posted this simple craft over at Lyckoslanten. I didn’t discover the translation button till much later but I easily figured out how to recreate this craft.

The tricky part was figuring out how to get the wood. At first I thought I could pick up branches from camp but that didn’t happen. Then I thought I could use the cut-offs from Christmas trees but we didn’t get our tree until after Craft Night.

into intoA week before  the event I went to a Winter Market in the Junction. While there I saw a couple of vendors who used birch wood to create some of their crafts. I also saw some beautiful trees made from birch wood. I asked them where they got their wood. One of the vendors offered to cut all the discs for me but at a price of course and it would have used up most of my budget. In hindsight it might have been worth it. The other vendor suggested that I buy the birch logs from a garden centre and use a chop saw to cut them up. A much cheaper option.

I went with the cheaper option and spent two evening cutting up two twelve foot birch branches into about 180 discs. I couldn’t belief the amount of sawdust it created. I spent almost as much time cleaning up as I did cutting. After I cut the discs I also had to drill holes into each disc for the skewers to fit. My friend L photocopied Christmas sheet music onto 150 sheets of photocopy paper. We tried heavier card stock but it was more difficult to fold.

On the night of the event we set up the tables at the back of the library with all the supplies that people needed to complete the trees. We added some tiny gift boxes that could be added to the base and some stars and snowflakes that could be glued onto the paper.

The entire evening took only an hour but it was extremely busy and I spent most of my time punching holes into the pleated paper so that the skewers could go through the middle. By the way, the best tool for this turned out to be an awl and a hammer. All in all it was a very successful night and everyone loved their trees.

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