Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Creativity with Christmas cards

A box, a scene, a Midwinter moment?

recycling Christmas cards

inappropriately summery scene?

Having a bit of a fidget?
Nothing to do?
Bored?
And it’s raining again?



 

Make a little winter a scene to hang on a tree, a branch, a hook on the walll to stand on a shelf, or make a box to put that extra special present (or maybe just the key that makes it go) in

Why not dig out last year’s Christmas cards from the bundle at the bottom of the cupboard, or stealthily purloin one of this year’s, or the birthday cards you don’t quite want to throw out, or use a cereal packet (good card for making and folding, just maybe not as exciting in images as cards) and make a lovely little box?
 
You will need: a card or two, sharp scissors, a ruler, pencils or pens, glue (PVA is good here) and glue spreader, stapler, bradawl (or something for making holes - a pair of compasses would work), thin string

1. Cut the card in half along the fold - keep the “plain” half, you will need it later
Stage 1


2. Using the picture half of the card, on the plain side, draw a margin maybe 2 cm from each edge of the card

Stage 2: drawing margins













3. Where the lines cross at the corners, carefully cut along one of those lines to the point where the lines meet
Stage 3, cutting into corners


4. This card usually folds quite sharply, so now (use the ruler for a straight edge if you want to) fold up along each of those lines and where you have cut in, fold the short bit to make a corner
Stage 4: folding

Stage 6: glueing corners


 








5. Before glueing it all together, decide: if you are making a scene, keep the picture on the inside of the box. If you are making a box: you might want the picture inside or on the outside (you could always line the inside with some spare wrapping paper, or make a bigger box to become a lid.). Reverse the folding if you want to change the position of the picture

6. Making sure the sides of your box are sharply upright, glue the corner tabs onto the next side. A staple will hold it all in place. If the outside is too plain, you could colour it in or add some coloured tape. Or sprinkle it with glitter!



Stage 7: tab

Stage 7: an owl!

7. While the glue dries, prepare the scene to go in the box. Using the other piece of card (from stage 1 above), you could make a little tab to fix a figure to (we used some “embellishments” bought cheaply in a local craft shop), or you could draw your own character. Fix by glueing the tabs into the main scene. Again a staple might help. You might want to colour the tab so it fits into the background of the scenes. Some extra glitter might help again.


Finished scene


8. Use a bradawl or compasses to make a couple of holes (aim for places about 1/3 and 2/3 along the top side), thread a piece of glittery string or ribbon through, know it and hang your scene.


 Experiment with papers, colours, tapes, sequins.

Try different places to hang your scenes: a picture hook on the wall? from your ears? on your fingers (and create a fabulous dance around them)? a snowman’s nose?
box with picture on outside



Sunday, 15 December 2019

Ravens!

This blade of a beak 

...in celebration of ravens 

Raven, c/o Chris Foote
I like corvids. Big, black and thoughtful; smaller greyer and jesters or flamboyantly jay-bright and magpie striped, they are birds to command attention. They scare some people, annoy others and wake ire in still more but as a family they are a success story. And they have rook-walked into our stories across countries and centuries. They tend to turn up regularly in both the traditional stories I tell or the new poems and stories I write

Ravens, especially, are often sitting there, looking over the shoulders of my imagination and making “helpful” suggestions as I write (even more distracting when they do that when I am ‘telling!).  This is for them…

RAVENS


A blade of a beak
To slice flesh from bone
And shave hair from skin,
To free from blood from body
And hope from hearts.
A bright, black bead of an eye
To see now, and then, and maybe.

A dark, silent flight,
A snow fall of crows,
A blizzard for the dying,
To lift soul from pain
And into always.

Watching life’s beginning
And roisterous ending,
Ravenboy shakes a cloak of
Midnight feathers into wings, while
Ravengirl combs hair into quills
And Huginn and Muninn
Fly back to the claw-worn shoulders
Of the All-father’s throne.

And down in the woods,
On the rocks,
By the sea,
A woman,
All glamour and seduction and threat,
Rattles the bones in a bag
Of her own crowskin
And sings the hero to his fate.


The pictures used here are from members of the Facebook group “For the love of crows”
Many thanks to both Chris Foote (portrait) and Faye McNiven (flight). The raven strip pic is my own and is from Orkney
Ravens, c/o Faye McNiven