odds and ends from a life under construction

Cheap and kid-friendly holiday craft kits from Target

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I grocery shopped without Jason last weekend. I’m prone to impulse buys generally, but it’s even worse when he’s not around to give me the side-eye that says, “Put it back. You’ll use it once and forget you own it.” [Jason: “Use it once? That’s generous.”] So it was no surprise (to me) that when I pushed the cart down the holiday decorations aisle I would be tempted by all the cute seasonal craft projects. I picked up several kits (all of them were $10 or less), but showing them all in one post would make for a massive, epic post, so I’m going to do them one at a time. First up: a felt wall tree.

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I had seen a total DIY version of this on Pinterest and decided it was the perfect way to give Evan something to decorate so he wouldn’t fiddle as much with the “real” tree. But I saw this in the store, and I know how overwhelmed I can get with having everything I do myself be just so to the point that it never gets done. $10 and 90 percent of the work is done for me? Sold!

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Evan was definitely a fan as well. As soon I showed him the box, he took over. I’m glad that everything in the kit was soft, because he shook the box like it owed him money. It took a few minutes to convince him to give me the box back, and then we cracked it open and spread out our supplies.

This is, literally, the easiest craft I’ve ever done. Because there’s hardly anything to do. No gathering supplies, no cutting, no measuring… The only adhesive involved is some double-sided sticky foam squares used to attach the tree skirt to the tree. The braided accent for the tree skirt was pre-cut. The tree and skirt were pre-cut. All the ornament shapes were die cut and ready to be pulled apart. All told, I think it took 10 minutes to get everything put together so Evan could start playing.

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The first step was weaving the braided accent – which is kind of like a woven tube of shiny metallic yarn, so it’s very squishy and flexible – into the tree skirt. And yep – the holes for weaving were already cut. There was about a foot of excess accent that I just left in, but you could cut it off and use it for something else.

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Next I attached the tree skirt to the tree using the double-sided adhesive foam squares. Evan loves to help in general, but he really wanted to get in on this part. I’d peel the paper backing of a square of foam, and he’d find the paper square and try to stick it to the felt.

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And that was the entirety of the “assembly” required for this project. I used the extra foam squares to attach the tree to our coat closet door and started pulling apart the felt shapes so Evan could decorate the tree. Or “deck tee,” as he says.

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He had a blast pulling the shapes off and moving them around. He’s very logical, like his parents, so he would line up the snowflake shapes in a row, then do the same with the ornaments and lights. And when he was done playing, he wanted to take all the pieces off the tree and put them away. We’ve trained him too well to clean up after himself. If I’m feeling ambitious, I may take the pre-cut felt shapes and embellish them with sequins or sewing, just so they look “fancy” and attract Evan’s attention as much as I’m sure our real tree’s ornaments will when we put the tree up after Thanksgiving. But for now, he’s enjoying his new toy.

Next up: an advent calendar that I anticipate will also take only 10 minutes to put together. Maybe 15 – sequins are included!

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