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Homemade Holiday Gifts

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Project: Pomander Balls

Level: Easy

Age: 5 and up

Materials needed: Firm apples, oranges, pears, lemons, or limes, a skewer, whole cloves, orris root (This is a powder made from a root commonly used as a perservative or fixture in potpourris and pomandes. It is available from crafts or health-food stores or by mail order.), ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and/or allspice

  1. If you're using an apple, wipe it with a greased cloth before inserting the cloves.

  2. Insert whole cloves into the fruit skin so they touch each other, with no skin showing. Use the skewer to make a hole first in tougher skins.

  3. Combine two teaspoons of orris root and two teaspoons of ground cinnamon or other spices. Roll the completely studded fruit into the mixture of cinnamon and orris root, patting the powder into the fruit.

  4. Put the fruit in a paper bag and leave it in a cool dry place to shrink and dry. Rotate the fruit every three days or so.

  5. After several weeks, look at the fruit and see if it's dried. Shake off the excess mixture, decorate it with ribbon, and pop it into a gift box. If you made an apple, tie a ribbon to its stem. Refresh with scented oil when the scent fades.

Project: Candle Luminaries

Level: Easy

Age: 5 and up

Materials needed: Colored tissue paper, empty, clean 2-liter plastic popbottles (clear), craft glue, large artist's paint brush, small plastic container, small glass jar (a baby food jar works well), votive candle, scissors or knife

  1. Take off the bottle label.

  2. An adult can cut the top and bottom off the bottle. This will leave a clear cylinder.

  3. Tear tissue paper into small pieces.

  4. Mix one part glue to one part water in the plastic container. Brush glue onto the cylinder and press on tissue paper pieces, overlapping the edges. Work around the top half of the cylinder, then turn it over and finish the bottom half.

  5. When the bottle is covered, brush on a little more glue and smooth everything down. Trim away any paper that extends beyond the edges after the glue dries.

  6. Put the candle in the glass jar and slide the finished cylinder over it.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


August 29, 2014



Eating a colorful diet or fruits and veggies helps ensure your child is getting the nutrients he needs to keep his brain sharp while at school. Aim to pack three or more different colored foods in his lunch (or for snack) every day.


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