Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Take a Break: August Holiday Gifts using the Sun to Start Now

It’s the first Wednesday in August, so once again, it’s time to post five holiday gifts to make now. Last year, I fell in love with the idea of Saturnalia, the Roman festival of solstice. It’s so cold in December where I live, that I figured it was time to honor the sun. This August, while it’s still hot, capture some of the sun and “gift it” this coming December. Below are five projects relating to the sun that will make terrific presents:

Sun Catchers: While your local glass artist will have these for sale fairly inexpensively, you can make your own using cheap colored translucent pony beads. This involves layering beads in cake pans, muffin tins or whatever else, and then melting in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Since this is melted plastic, use containers and a toaster oven that you use only for craft purposes. You can pick up very inexpensive cakes pans, other types of containers as well as a repurposed toaster oven at your local thrift store or tag sale.

If you have a bunch of plastic cups left over from your last party, consider turning them into sun catchers or even a sun chandelier.

Sun Ornaments: Since “back to school” items are filling up the counters, check the close outs and other sale sections of your store. Look for wind chimes and other items that may include suns. I found a wind chime at a store recently that provides about 12 suns that can be turned into nice ornaments. Just about anything works for a string for hanging, including fishing line, so add beads and other items to enhance your sun.

If you prefer clay, there are sun molds that you can use for Fimo, Sculpy and other clays. Silicone molds are very durable so you can use them over and over again and are often priced under $10. An important reminder, don’t use you craft molds for chocolates or other edibles.

Besides looking on-line for molds, be sure to check the close out sections of your local cooking store.

Sun Printing Use sun sensitive paper or fabric to create wonderful nature pictures. Place leaves, flowers or whatever strikes your fancy on photosensitive paper or fabric and place in the sun. Two minutes later you have a picture to frame. One place to purchase the paper or fabric is Steve Spangler Science.

If you don’t want to pay for special paper, use construction paper instead. This paper will naturally fade. Using restickable glue, attach a stencil, leaf or whatever you like to the construction paper. Leave in direct sunlight for a week and then remove the stencil. Once you have your sun print, you may want to use UV-resistant spray to keep it from fading further. Once it’s framed, no one will know its construction paper.

Sun Jewelry: With apples and other fall charms replacing suns and sandals check the close outs for items that can be used for bracelets, necklaces and even rings. This is another place where molds can be very useful. Using a simple sun mold, make lightweight charms using Fimo, Sculpy or other clay. Adhere pin backs to the dried clay using strong glue.

Sun Stencils: Download a sun stencil and use it for sun printing or other stenciling projects such as a pot holder, box decoration, wrapping paper etc.

For those needing an Olympic moment-ever wonder what that music they play over and over again during TV coverage? It’s the Olympic Anthem - composed by Leo Arnaud .Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" is often considered the most famous Olympic theme. Written in 1958 for Arnaud's Charge Suite. Listen to it at

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