Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Chain

Every December I help the boys make a Christmas Chain. It's always the same one. We print out 25 days of Bible verses, I cut them apart, Morgan glues them to longer strips of paper, and Jayden helps staple them into loops. Each year we rip one down each day and then throw it away. Last year the boys wondered why we make a craft just to throw it away.

While I respected their question, they'd probably go insane without it. Wondering and waiting, or they'd ask to drive by the neighbors house and check out his giant ".. sleeps until Christmas" sign. I happened to love the fact that this particular countdown chain took us through the story of the prophecies and birth of Christ.

So, this year I was determined to have my favorite countdown chain, but to do it differently. You see, last year I'd stumbled upon this awesome tutorial. It shared a cloth countdown chain so that you didn't have to "make a craft and throw it away." Only, I didn't have time last year to make it, so I filed the idea away and left it. Until last night. I pulled out some leftover Christmas material and some vlisofix and set to work.

Thing is, I wasn't willing to trade paper for cloth at the expense of not having our Bible verses. I really loved that about this particular countdown chain. It's why we've used it year after year after year. So, last year when I stumbled on that fun tutorial I started contemplating ways I could print directly onto material. I know you can buy material just for printing on from the shops, but it's pricey.

After a few weeks of debating it I figured I would need to come up with a way to feed material through my printed. Which reminded me of the countless times I've heard people mention freezer paper in their crafting journeys. I filed that tidbit away. Until yesterday. While I knew one could buy freezer paper in a grocery in the US, that wasn't the case here. I had to make a special trip to the small local quilting shop. Then I came home and used this tutorial. It worked, kinda.

My first piece came out fine, but my second one jammed the printer. In it's defence I made the material/paper combo a tad smaller then I should have and didn't alert my printer to the problem. That, however, didn't change the fact that I had one inky mess happening under the guest room bed! After a second pile-up with the printer I taped the freezer paper side to a piece of typical A4 paper and then put it back in my printer. It gave the whole thing just enough extra stability I had no more crash-ups.

I then cut out each of the Bible verses with my rotary wheel so that I'd have nice even lines. Then I used more vlisofix to attach them to the cloth chain pieces. I made my cloth chain pieces slightly shorter (by accident; half inch smaller) and slightly wider (by a half inch). Then, because I felt the need to, I sewed around the edge of the Bible verse pieces and then again around the exterior of the actual cloth chain, then I did the pinking sheers trick to them. I used no-sew velcro because it's all I had.

I'm quite pleased with how the whole thing turned out! Morgan noticed it right away and was worried he'd rip it when it was his day to take one off. I'm thinking that won't happen, especially if he's worried about it as I suspect he'll take extra care. It still needs a permanent home, but for now it's draped around my adorable snowman. Mr S gave me that cute snowman for my birthday; what can I say, he knows the ways to my heart!

Notes: You can find the Paper Chain pieces here at Hubbard's Cupboard; they also have a terrific Christmas Plan laid out for little ones. We've used it many times, and it's oh so fun.  You can find the Cloth Chain tutorial here from Roots & Wings Co.  You can find the tutorial for using Freezer Paper in your printer here at HazleRuthes.

Please note that Wax Paper, Grease Proof Paper, and Butcher's Paper are not the same things as Freezer paper. Freezer paper is paper on one side and plastic on the other side. This allows you to iron it right onto your material and easily remove it. Also note that you can use the same piece of freezer paper many, many times!


Phyllis said...

I love your cloth chain.

Edwena said...

Love it, Kendra!!! I wish you were here and I'd pay you to make me some of these wonderful things.