Have a "Happy Birthday Jesus" Party for your Sunday School Children!

Christmas is a great time for a Sunday School party! The birthday of our King is the Best. Day. Ever!  There are so many fun crafts and games you can do with your children starting in Advent all the way through Epiphany!  OR have one grand party!  Here are some of the ideas I've used with my class which is mixed age group of Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  You can certainly adapt any of them to your age group.

First, you might want an invitation to share the details of your party  I made this sweet little postcard I can customize for you to print:

Jesus Birthday Party Invite

Next, you will need to decorate!  Here is a darling printable Christmas banner in two sizes to hang in your classroom or hallway.
Christmas Nativity Banner Garland
Mix and match with some gold star paper garlands like the ones here

Paper Star Garland from HoopsyDaisies


Of course, you will need a Birthday cake!  I adore this one!  While the children eat their cake, be sure and read the Nativity Story in Luke 2!
Happy Birthday Jesus Cake from Little Pumpkin Grace


Don't forget games for your party.  I LOVE Nativity Picture Bingo because it's good for ALL ages to play together!  Even the youngest children can participate with the help of an older child.  Older children can help lead the activity, too!  Be sure to have on hand some fun little prizes for the winners, like stickers, religious coloring books, even little sweet treats!

Nativity Bingo Game

You can also set up some activity tables with smaller group games and individual activites.  This set of nativity playing cards can be used for games like Matching, Old Maid & Go Fish!  Each card has a Bible verse.

Christmas Card Game

For a more active game with lots of laughs and rowdiness, this Candy Cane Race looks like great fun!!  You  have to move candy canes from the pile to a bowl using only a candy cane in your mouth! 
Candy Cane Game from Ministry to Children

Children love to wear costumes at parties, and these felt wise men crowns are perfection!
Felt wise man crowns from Little Folks Lane

Or make your own from paper plates!
Paper Plate Crown from DLTK's

Of course, you won't forget craft time!  I like to have a group craft and also set out coloring sheets to for children who are finished with other things and need to be kept busy.  Coloring pages are also great for early arrivals!

Nativity coloring pages

Nativity ornament keepsakes ALWAYS win at a Christmas party.  We made an ornament similar to this one last year that turned out so cute! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture it ..but I didn't use a blue background.  For Jesus we wrapped a wooden peg with a painted face in a little piece of flannel for  and cradled it in a pinch of Spanish moss.  Instead of the paper that says "the greatest Gift of all" we wrote  a Bible verse around the bottom edge of the cup with a gold sharpie.


Lastly, you might want to send the children home with a little goodie bag! You can fill it with sweets or non-candy treats like these Nativity play dough cans:

Christmas play doh cans


Top your bags with these matching toppers.  Just print on cardstock, cut, fold over the bag and staple in place.
Christmas Treat Bag toppers

Another favorite "take home" treat is the M & M poem.  We used it one year and attached it to a plastic candy filled candy cane like this instead of a glass jar like the picture below.
You can get a free printable for the poem like this here:

M & M poem download 


There are so many other adorable things you can do for your nativity party, but I hope these will get you started!

What are some of YOUR favorite Nativity or Sunday School Christmas activities?  I'd love to try them!  Please comment below!

Have a blessed Birthday party!
Tammy




Weekend Workshop--Nativity Playset Mini Lunchbox

Several years ago, I wrote a blog tutorial for the digital art website, Aimee Asher that showed you how to turn a little dollar store lunchbox into a cute nativity play set for children.

Nativity Lunchbox Printable in my Etsy store

We made them with all of our Sunday School children and it was one of my most popular posts ever! Unfortunately, that blog is no longer online, so I've decided to repost it here. 



It truly is a very inexpensive gift that is fun for the children to help make!

  
Here's what it looks like inside and on the back:

Of course, if your lunchbox is a different size than mine, you will need to change the size of the background pieces or use it for a pattern for your own papers. You can do this by changing your printer settings OR you can print then enlarge or reduce on a copy machine for personal use.


SUPPLIES NEEDED (see photos below)
  • Nativity Lunchbox Printable available in my Etsy Store (click here)
  • Tin lunchbox approx. 5" x 4", any color available at dollar stores and craft stores
  • Spray Paint--only if you want to change the color of your lunchbox.
  • 12+  items to glue to the backs of the figures to make them stand up.  I used a plastic chess set from the dollar store.  Or you can use a pony bead glued on a button.  You could even use paper clips.  (See photos below.)
  • hot glue gun, scissors, corner rounder punch (optional)
  • Ribbons and Tag to embellish




Prepare Lunchbox
I liked the dark blue on this box, so I left it alone.  You can use spray paint to get any color you wish! 
My lunchbox "lid" has a bevel (indentation) on it, but the back doesn't so I had to make the background pieces to fit both. 

Prepare Nativity Printable 
  • Print figures on a bright white, high quality card stock or thick photo paper. You could also laminate the figures for durability, but keep in mind the glue won't stick as well to lamination.
  • Print background pieces on bright white, high quality photo paper.  You could laminate these, but ONLY one side because they won't stay on the lunchbox if they are double laminated.
  • Round the corners of the background pieces to better fit the lunchbox.  You can do this with a corner round punch or scissors.  Glue to lunchbox with hotglue.

corner rounder punch
  • Cut out figures.  To make cutting easier, leave a white border around them.  Also on pieces like the camel, you will need to leave enough white area for the stand to be glued to on the back.

  • Assemble the figures by hot gluing whatever items you choose to make your pieces stand up.  Here are some examples:

Pony bead and button.

Dollar store chess pieces

Plastic coated paper clips

  • Embellish lunchbox as desired.  We tied ribbons and a hang tag with the child's name on it to the handle.



I hope you feel inspired to create this set for your little ones to play with!

And now that that's done, would you like me to start publishing more Weekend Workshops? 
Let me know what you would like to see instructions for!

Feliz Navidad!

Writing a "Picture Bingo" Lesson Plan!

Yes, you can!
Tuesday I shared a post on how Christmas Picture Bingo can be used as a teaching tool and not just a party game.  It got me to thinking about many other ways you can build a complete lesson plan for several academic subjects around a picture Bingo game.

Here are some of my teaching ideas based on my Ho, Ho, Ho Bingo Game printable.
Just adapt them for the age group you are teaching or entertaining!

Spelling, Vocabulary & Handwriting

First, identify the objects in the picture bingo game to build your word list.  Choose words that are age appropriate. For example:


Once you have a word list, try these creative ways to integrate the bingo game with your word list:

Classroom Christmas Activities!

For all of you teachers of little ones...brace yourself.....December is almost here!  Between bad weather days, practice for school plays, sweet treats and general excitement over a jolly friend's visit, it is  hard to get any "learning" done.  But...you have secret weapons--activities that are fun AND educational!

Here are some holiday-themed printables and activities that you can use for the next few weeks to stay ahead of the chaos!

GAMES

Ho Ho Ho Bingo and Matching Game


Games can be a very helpful tool for teaching!  Kids are having fun and don't even realize they are learning!

Let's Talk WoolFelt!

Aren't these colors delicious?
National NonWovens' WoolFelt®

I LOVE WoolFelt®!  

MANY......MOST of my applique patterns use it.  It's perfect for my style of "story telling with fabric and needle."  
Plum Creek Collectibles Christmas Nativity pattern with Woolfelt®

Many of you have asked me about it--what is it, why do I use it, how do you work with it, and where do you find it?  So here are the answers to your questions!

What IS wool felt?

How to Choose Your Scissors...

or.... How My Scissors Chose Me!
My 8" Gingher Shears from my Mother-in-love!

If you sew or paper craft, you know how important your scissors are!  Given enough time, you grow a relationship with them and they have many stories to tell!

Scissors are like shoes...you can never have enough!

Here are a few truths about sewing scissors:
  • You cannot sew without them.
  •  Good ones are expensive, but they last forever.
  • They WILL get lost in the couch cushions......many times.
  • At some point you will probably label your good scissors with "Do Not Touch."



If you paper craft, you know what I mean about scissors, too, but in a different way.

Christmas Embroidery & Stitchery Designs

There is something about hand embroidery that is so relaxing!  And decorating your home for Christmas with your creations, or giving them as gifts is budget friendly and very satisfying!

Even if you are running out of time, I have some very simple Christmas embroidery patterns you can whip up in no time!   Frame the finished product, or turn it into a pillow!

Luke 2 Angel Embroidery Pattern

I'm not claiming they are EASY--if you are a beginner, you probably won't enjoy all the tiny words--but they are SIMPLE because they use just a few stitches and basic supplies--pattern, instructions, scissors and these:

Embroidery Hoop                                 Floss                                     Needles                                             Muslin

Pie Tales!

So, there is something I'm obsessed with that I must warn you about,....something I can't live with, but I can't live without....

something that creeps into my life every holiday season that I kick out with every New Year's diet resolution....

something I have a love affair with..........

Photo from Pillsbury

........Pie.


I'm serious!

Pie is perfect!  Not just because Pie Crust is one of the four food groups, but also because of the way Pie weaves people together and creates a lifetime of memories.

Christmas Invitations...Oh What Fun!

I certainly don't want to rush you through Thanksgiving, but.....

if you're hosting a Christmas event next month, you might want some help with invitations!  Here are a few I've designed that are ready for your custom information!  Just download, print and send!

OR skip the trip to the post office and send through email!

Here's a very pretty and versatile invite for Open Houses or any Christmas Party or Holiday dinner!
 Christmas Party Invitations

Grandma's Turkey Plate

Let's talk turkey...

My Grandmother had the prettiest plates on her walls.  They hung from special hooks like works of art.  My favorite was the turkey platter.  It looked something like this...

It was used at Thanksgiving and Christmas when all the cousins would get together for a feast.  My Grandpa would wear a white apron and was always smiling and humming while he cooked.  The wooden floors would creak when you walked through the dining room and the whole house would be full of laughter and fun, especially when he put on the Polka music and danced!

....Nativities Part 2

I know...it's not even Thanksgiving.  But if you want to get started on your handmade gifts, I need to do some showin' and tellin'!   Tuesday, I shared some of my digital nativity products with you perfect for paper crafting.

So today I thought I would share some of my sewing pattern....because just like the chicken (or the egg!) these came first!!!  My design business evolved from my first stitchery patterns and this trip down memory lane made me kinda proud...and thankful--very, very thankful!  So pretend you are in a museum as you walk through the halls!  LOL

 First Christmas Applique Pattern
Applique Christmas Nativity Pattern

The pattern above was my very first nativity pattern and as you can see from the number, the 14th pattern I ever designed!  (Yes, it says 114, but that's just to make me feel more important!)

So Many Nativities--So Little Space

Which are you--Traditional?  Contemporary?  Rustic? 

If you've peeked into my shops' Christmas sections, you will see how much I LOVE Nativity sets!  Whether hand drawn, computer drawn, or hand stitched, baby Jesus manger scenes are my favs!

Did I mention that I have ALOT?  These are just some of my digital products...wait till I PicMonkey my Nativity stitching patterns! 
Some of my digital Nativity products
I'm not sure what you would call my style, but I've been a Sunday School teacher for many years so I tend to design products that appeal to children. Card games, bingo sets, play doh wrappers, treat bag toppers, coloring pages, party garlands, invitations....did I tell you I like Nativity sets?

 My first Nativity clip art set was more primitive--you can see it in the right top two photos above.

Rainy Days on Mondays...make me wanna stitch!!

Fall is finally showing up in Dallas, Texas with cooler temps and a rainy Monday!  Days like this always make me want to curl up on the couch with a good----

Thanksgiving Turkey and Pilgrims Pillow

stitching project!!  If I curled up with a book I'm afraid I would take a nap a few pages in!

Keeping the Kids Busy at Thanksgiving!

Whether you are hosting family & friends in your home, feasting with a bunch of school children in their lunchroom, or potlucking at your church, there are bound to be children who get restless and need something fun to do!

Thanksgiving Bingo
 Here is a digital Thanksgiving Bingo game that's great for all ages!  After purchasing, just download, cut and play!  You can use little objects around your home for the markers--pennies, beans, dry noodles!

It's FRIDAY!!

blog blog blog blog blog................ LOL!

It's been a week since I started learning how to set up this blog....it's been so much fun in spite of the huge learning curve I sit on!

I am feeling very proud of myself for installing a few gadgets and gizmos and well...slow and steady so the saying goes!  I've only been trying to establish a blog for 5 years now!

I had a WordPress blog a dear friend of mine helped me set up.  I posted faithfully for awhile....but life changes...people move on, business models change, good intentions turn into forgot & broken links!  I don't know why I felt I had to hold on...until another sweet friend encouraged me to just STOP and move forward!

So I did...and I am....and it's fun......but I get by with ALOT of help from my friends!!  Thanks to you dear ones, and especially the bloggers who are so helpful with my questions!  You are appreciated!

So, let's take a ride!!!!  It's Friday!  You can have the window!

Happy trails!

Tammy

The Tale of Two Stamping Friends!

Once upon a time, I discovered the wonderful world of handmade cards using rubber stamps!  I admit, I'm not good at making the cards, but I LOVE drawing art for the stamps. (disclaimer...I did NOT make any of these cards but am sharing them here from the Inky Antics website)

But, this is because I met a wonderful girl named Jackie, the founder of Inky Antics Rubber Stamps!  She is the fairest maiden in the land of stamping creativity and I was her apprentice!

I'll never forget the first time we talked in the early 90's.  She saw some of my doodles in a pattern book and asked me, "Would you like to draw for my company?"

One of my first stamps!


That started a wonderland of fun and projects between the two of us!

Friendsgiving is a Thing!

I'm thankful for my younger friends who teach me new things! 

Did you know that "Friendsgiving" is a thing?
Neither did I, until my young friend asked me to design an invitation for her.

"Friendsgiving" is a gathering of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving much like the traditional turkey day spent with families.  Sometimes it is before Thanksgiving and sometimes it is on Thanksgiving Day. It might be a full out feast, a potluck, or snacks and drinks.

Sounds like a ton of fun -- feasting without family drama?  I'll take some of that, please!
But apparently I did "Friendsgiving" way before it was a "thing" over 30 years ago....you see



Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving Custom Invitation

....when I was a newlywed, we were students living in St. Louis and couldn't go home to Texas for family Thanksgiving.   So, for a couple of years, we would get together with other student friends and people from work who had no one to share the holiday with.  This was great fun and was great medicine for our "homesickness."

But I'm chuckling to myself as I remember how these "gatherings of chosen family" were also lab experiments!  Many of my friends were also new brides and none of us had a clue how to make turkeys or pies--oh my!  We called our moms, consulted recipe books (no google back then) and did our best imitations of pilgrim feasts!

I can tell you that grad students are great guinea pigs--they don't care about your mistakes--they just want food that didn't come from the school cafeteria!

I would love to hear about your Friendsgiving memories!

Isn't friendship the best!

Tammy

In case you need some decorations for your "Friendsgiving" feast, try this printable Thanksgiving banner!  Just print, cut and string together the pennants to make a beautiful bunting for your mantle or dining room!
 Give Thanks Banner Thanksgiving Decoration



Hello Lovely!

It's a crisp, October day and the sun is shining on my new adventure!

 Welcome, my lovely friend, to my new blog home!  We've got alot of catching up to do!

Hand sewing, paper crafting, scrapbooking, rubber stamps.....I like them ALL!

And don't mention fabrics--I could swim in all the beautiful fabrics out there!  I just bought a batch of Red Riding hood fabric I'm dying to make something with!

Red Riding Hood by Moda


I've got lots of patterns, supplies and digital printables for you so join me as we make fun stuff!

Happy crafting!

Tammy