A Very Mermaid Christmas

Few people know that Christmas is popular even under the sea. Mermaids wear festive hats just for the occasion!

Many years, I create an ornament that shows whatever is enchanting my kids that year. From the Orange Fairy when my son was obsessed with all things Orange, to the Peppermint Fairy from the year my daughter danced as a Peppermint in our local Nutcracker ballet, the ornaments are fun to make, and even more fun to remember. 

The peppermint fairy was a gift the year my daughter danced as a peppermint in the Nutcracker

The peppermint fairy was a gift the year my daughter danced as a peppermint in the Nutcracker

Helping kids make fairies is fun. However, anytime I help them, I take the back-seat in order to support their ideas and choices. So giving myself room to create any fairy that I want is tremendous freedom.

My daughter has a (slight) mermaid obsession. We included mermaids in the Forest Fairy Craft book. They were summer mermaids with crowns. How could I modify the mermaid for the holidays?

I wanted a tail that curved, which took finagling. A few trial and error attempts where it looked too bulky or gigantic. I always draw pieces on paper first to cut out and test shapes. Then I use test felt (inexpensive felt in any color) which I can sew together with a few little stitches to see if the scale works. Once it does, time to create! 

Mermaid Fairy Doll Ornament by Forest Fairy Crafts

Both my daughter and nice love turquoise, so I used that as an inspiration color for both mermaids. 

Mermaid Fairy Doll Ornament by Forest Fairy Crafts

Using just a wee strip of faux fur on their hat was a fun carryover from other fairies that I was working on at the time (Saint Nicholaus). The Faux Fur is a little tricky to sew, hard to get the needle through, so it's definitely an adult quest. You could create a similar look with a strip of white felt.

I also use metallic thread similar to this one for that added sparkle. It's tricky to sew with the thread so it winds around their outfit. 

The girls loved their mermaids! And it's a joy to see them again year after year.

Happy creating, one and all! 

*this post does contain affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase through these links, a small amount returns to the Forest while your price remains the same. Thank you :)

Happy Christmas!

We send happy, sparkling wishes for peace and joy to everyone today. Whether you celebrate Christmas or other holidays, we hope today finds you with family, good health, and delightful laughter.

I love creating fairies all year. Christmas gives me a lovely chance to create glittering decorations.

I adore Fairyland during the holidays :)

Wishing peace, abundance, and love to all :)

Happy Celebrating :)

Child-Made Fairies for Christmas

One of my favorite things about the holidays is making fairies with children. Every student in my class (20 in all) makes a fairy. The boys (and a few girls) are not inspired by fairies, so they make elves. Or angels. Whatever the fairies are called, they bring joy to the season.

Our book was inspired by projects like these fairies. Because families sometimes wonder how their five, six, or seven year old made such treasures. Every little fairy/elf/angel is unique. Reflecting the unique voice of the child.

How does it work?

The directions, with many photographs, are all in our book. What the child makes and what I make depends on time and the child. Some children show great independence and want a lot of creative freedom. Other children enjoy having my attention for each little step. I do have a plan for creating twenty child-made fairies. I am working on a post for sewing fairies with groups of children. For now, though, I want to share my secrets for working with one child at a time. Because I get to make these with family, too.

What the child does:

  • chooses felt and pipe cleaner colors, yarn, sequins, wings
  • sews the decorating felt band on the hat, adds sequins and decorations galore
  • sews up the back of the hat
  • adds beads and bells to the top of the hat
  • winds thread (pants or tunic)
  • chooses petal skirts
  • tries hat on to see how it all looks together

What the adult does:

  • makes the body
  • draws the face
  • cuts the felt
  • threads the needle and ties knots
  • demonstates (models) the first couple of stitches and how to add sequins
  • lets go of expectations :)
  • folds hat in half when decorating is done, sews an anchor stitch at the bottom
  • models sewing up to the top of the hat (one stitch)
  • knots thread for clothing
  • models first steps for winding thread (pants or over-shoulder, under arm)
  • holds wings until they are attached with winding thread
  • clips tiny amount so petal skirts can scoot up the legs
  • glues hair and hat on fairy/elf/angel

Of course, this all changes depending on the age and personality of the child. And it doesn't have to be done on the same day. Take breaks. See the little bits of felt and thread come together to create a magical keepsake. 

One of our favorite things at the recent craft fair was hearing from families whose students left us five or even ten years ago. "We still have our fairies," they said. On the tree or the table or the mantle. 

We still love our fairies :)

Christmas Card Giveaway

I just took photos for this year's holiday card and I can't help but share :)

Introducing the Christmas Tree Fairy! She shines in the forest.

Last year, I made special peppermint fairies in honor of my daughter dancing as a peppermint in the Nutcracker.

They appeared on a forest-fairy holiday card. 

This year I chose a Christmas Tree Fairy. Just because.

Now I need to get busy making the cards :)

I would love to send one to you or a child in your world! These good wishes from the forest will be fun to open in the mail!The fairies love to share happy cheer!

I will pick two comments from below to receive a limited edition holiday card from the forest. We can send to your address or a different address of your choosing. The contest closes on December 1. We have a super-fancy surpise planned for December 2 so check back Tuesday. We love giving magic!

I will contact you through email, so be sure to leave that for me. I hope this week finds you enjoying family and the sparkle of the season!

Terms and conditions: Entries are free. International entries are accepted. Contest ends on December 1 at midnight Pacific Time. All comments are appreciated :) Peace and joy!

Peppermint Fairies

Every year I like to create a fancy fairy. I want to inspire myself. This year, my daughter is dancing in the Nutcracker. She is a peppermint. What a perfect theme for a fairy! And of course I had to make two, one with white on red and the other with red on white.

I planned to keep one and sell one to share the joy, but my girl will have none of that. They are sisters, you see, and cannot be seperated. So our home now has two new sparkly sweet-fairies!

I must admit, I don't mind. I couldn't choose one, either.

To make these fairies, I collected lots of red and white goodies since fall. Beads, baker's twine, sparkly ribbon... I bought the chenille stems (pipe cleaners) already twisted red and white. And the candy canes were with the Christmas Miniatures in the craft store.

I am not planning on making anymore for this year. She was a puzzle! I rarely use glue except to put the hair and hat on their heads. For these ones, though, I glued the ribbon onto their hats after a few attempts to sew with tiny-tiny stitches. It was a lot of work! Then the ribbon slipped anyway and the spiral wasn't matching... The fun of crafting, the labrynth with lots of false-ends where you turn around with another way, there must be another way. :)

My girl adores them. And they will remind me of this year and her dancing in the land of sweets. A happy holiday season indeed! 

Christmas Sketches

We draw a lot in our classroom. And, every year, students ask me for help. 

"How do I draw an elf? How do I draw a reindeer?"

As often as possible, I encourage their own ideas. "What shapes do you see? Where can you start?"

My students are 5 and 6 years old. Especially around the holidays, overwhelm may rise up at any moment. So this year I decided that a little inspiration could go a long way. I made simple sketches for them in an easy, one page format. 

Clicking on the image will bring you to a larger size you can print for personal or classroom use. I also have a PDF you can download with both pages.

At first, I planned to fill the back-page with more drawings. Except I ran short on quick, easy ideas.

Then I had my own inspiration. Words!

Of course! Children love to make cards and decorations. They could use a word-bank for holiday ideas.

As often as possible, I used a visual cue to help show the written word. This helps our early readers.

We realized that I forgot an angel and train along the way, so they are on the back too. I print these out double sided and keep them available throughout the season. Children love to color them and use them for project ideas. Children usually take my basic shapes and create with a lot more detail in their finished projects.

So fun!

Please be aware, I drew these with student-help after school in pencil :). They are a little rough through my eyes. When I scanned them, the pencil transferred light so they may not print perfectly. If I wait to make them perfect, though, they will never be posted for you :). Also, the light writing gives children a nice chance to trace letters! 

I hope these sketches inspire us to create more winter scenes. Let's draw together :)


Christmas Sketches and Words PDF Dowload 

All resources are property of Forest Fairy Crafts.  Please contact us for commercial use permissions.  Thank you!

Handmade Ornaments, You Still Have Time, Really!

Only days remain, yet these ideas don't take more than an hour.  You could collect the supplies in a cute bag or basket to give on Christmas morning, then share craft-time together that day and sew a memory of the holiday together.  

Who can resist a well decorated tree?

Download the free pdf tutorial here

The turorial shares how to make the ornaments with very young children who sew the needle through both pices of felt at once and add decorations to both sides. For the pillow-version, children decorate each side seperately. Then children sew around the edges, leaving a space for stuffing. Add stuffing and sew shut. 

Or heart?

I love shiny happy beads and sequins.

Another quick idea that keeps children busy for awhile, and makes charming decorations for tree or windows (or gift tags), is God's Eyes.  Once children pick up on the wind around pattern, they are hooked and will make one after another.  The Magic Onions has a lovely tutorial posted here

Trees and grandparents and parents love handmade ornaments.  Have fun!

Oh, and just to share, our fairies from the Dragonfly Class (these take more than an hour):

Sending you sparkles and magic as you enjoy the season!

Angel Collection

The angels are home for Christmas.  I made these with our early-kindergarten students.  Since I only see them once a week, we sewed the hats together and I assembled the rest.  Their hats give them personality.  

This little boy showed me that sequins with very long stitches are charming.

While this boy's fairy used many different stitches with lots of decorations.  Each one became unique. 

This girl put three beads on most stitches (look at the left side of the hat).  She was very careful to choose a green, white, and red bead.

I hope that they will bring magic to the families who get to open them as gifts.

Sweet Angels :)

Elf Houses

Make your own Elf Houses!

Click here for the pdf directions

Last week was a fun adventure in my Dragonfly class.  I made rooms and the kids brought a thousand ideas.  I saw a workshops, homes, and even a dance studio!

Once we had the walls, I gave the children lots of paper scraps.

They inspired each other to keep adding more and more clever ideas.  This was one of my favorite open-ended activities ever.

I helped make the beds and tables, but the rest was all their creating.  And they got very creative.

Then they realized their fairies and elves could live in the houses.  How cool is that?

And my daughter stayed after school with her friends.  She said a gnome lived in her house.  Couldn't they make gnomes?

Of course.

And every gnome needs a disco-dance room in his house.

Elf houses quickly became elf-town.  And elf-town is ready to celebrate the holidays.  Happy holidays!

Christmas Fairies

These faires were created by our kindergarten and first grade students at the Nevada City School of the Arts.  We provide guidance, but they provide the magic :).  Each fairy becomes a sweet reflection of the child who created her (or him).  We made seventeen over the past three days.  We hope you enjoy this glimpse of Fairyland.

Using the Waldorf tradtion of allowing children to imagine the faces . . . this boy liked his fairy to keep his fairy whimsical.  I used to leave all of the faces blank, but students walked away and drew a face with the nearest pencil, then came to me crying when it wasn't what they imagined.  So we compromise and I draw faces for most students.  

And one Christmas Goblin (my student's words as he wanted red eyes)

Happy Holidays!  

The tutorial to make the girl versions of these fairies is available in our Etsy shop.  If you're interested in the boy version, send me a conversation through Etsy and we can figure out a way to help you (I haven't created his tutorial yet :)).  

Many thanks to Miss Becky, Miss Marin, and Asia for helping make Fairyland possible!

Paper Lanterns

Winter in our Dragonfly kindergarten/first grade class is filled with fun and fancy projects. We are happy to share ideas. These tutorials are quick because we're all busy in the winter season. Feel free to ask questions. Enjoy!

To make these lovely lanterns, watercolor a long piece of paper. When it's dry, draw a line on the back about 1/2 inch from a wide edge.

Fold in half to your drawn line. Fold in half again so you have four sections. Fold up a few inches along the bottom edge to make a base.

Cut along your fold lines on the bottom edge. Draw or trace shapes on each panel. Cut out those shapes to make holes.

On the back, glue tissue paper over the holes to make pretty glowing windows.

Fold the lantern again with the bottom edges overlapping to form the base. Glue along the 1/2 inch extra paper from that first line you drew in the beginning. Tuck that into the lantern to glue the four sides together. Let your lantern dry.

For the handle, we punched two holes and the children finger-knitted a chain to tie onto the lantern.  We don't have our own finger knitting tutorial (yet) but I liked this one by Moonbeams and Applesauce.  You could also braid or tie a few strings in a bow.

We use battery operated candles inside our lanterns. Fire can be dangerous.

These lanterns are a beautiful reminder of light during these dark nights. We hope you enjoy the crafting.

Many thanks to my co-teacher, Marin, for this gorgeous gift :)

Sew Sweet Felt Ornaments

Hurrah, the holidays are here!  In our home, we celebrate each year with a hand-crafted ornament.  They show us the years in a story.  "I remember making this!" my daughter said with excitement.

This is very impressive since she painted it when she was one :)

This year, we are sewing. My three-year-old sewed the beads and sequins on his tree.

Can you guess his favorite color?

I know he'll be reminscing about this tree in future years.  And we want to share the fun.  You can download the tutorial for these very easy felt ornaments.  Children get to decorate both sides so it is a perfect first project for children learning to sew.  Older children can trace other shapes around cookie cutters and get fancy with their stitching and decorating.  We hope that you enjoy the craft!

Happy Holidays!

Click here to download the PDF tutorial

All tutorials are property of Forest Fairy Crafts for family crafting.  We are happy to share the tutorial on your website if you link back to us.  For other uses, please contact us.  Thank you.