Christmas Gifts


1. Clay Tile Puzzle

Clay-dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup salt

1/3 cup water

1. Mix salt and flour together in bowl.

2. Add water a little at a time. Squeeze dough with hands until smooth. More water or flour can be added until dough is smooth.

3. Clay-dough can be stored in plastic bag until used.

Puzzle

1. Roll dough 1/4″ thick with jar or rolling pin.

2. Place round lid or cardboard square on top of slab, and cut around shape with table knife.

3. Scratch a design into surface with pencil point or other suitable tool.

4. Now, cut tile into six or eight irregularly shaped parts (see illustration), but do not separate pieces until they are baked.

5. Bake puzzle on foil in a 225° oven until it is dry (15 or 20 minutes on each side).

6. After puzzle cools, paint with markers or water colors. Then apply two coats of clear nail polish.

7. Now the pieces can be scrambled and the puzzle put together again.

2. Rice Bags

You will need: sturdy fabric, felt, small buttons, yarn, embroidery floss, rice, scissors, needle and thread, and white glue.

After deciding which bag you wish to make, draw a pattern the size desired and cut a back and front from fabric. Now you are ready to decorate the front.

The little man has hand-stitched eyes, nose, and mouth, and yarn fringe hair. The clown face has felt nose and cheeks glued in place, buttons for eyes, and embroidery floss for mouth and top-knot. The little tortoise has felt feet and tail, small buttons for eyes, and a shell pattern embroidered with yarn.

After finishing the decoration, stitch the back to the front, right side in, leaving a small opening on one side for stuffing. Turn right side out, stuff with rice, and sew opening together.

3. Ring Spool

To make a practical ring post, insert a short length of plastic straw into an empty thread spool and decorate as desired.

5. Reindeer Puppet

By Nina Grover

Find a man’s unusable, long-ribbed brown sock and cut off ribbed top. Sew one end of ribbed top together. Cut this piece in half (in direction of ribs) for legs. Sew edges together, leaving end open on each piece (see illustration). Turn inside out and stuff with cotton. Sew open end of leg onto each side of sock 4″ from opening. Cut a tongue from red felt and glue to end of sock’s toe. Put sock on hand with sole on back of hand and fingers poking toe end out. For nose, glue or sew a pom-pom or button 2″ to 3″ from tongue. Place ears made of brown felt on each side of sock at your wrist. Place eyes made of felt, buttons, or store-bought eyes 2″ in front of ears.

Antlers are made by poking pipe cleaner into sock above and between ears and by bringing one end back up through, leaving the same length on each side. Attach shortened pipe cleaners to each end forming a V shape.

[illustrations] Illustrated by LaFarne Holtz

[illustration] Illustrated by JaNeanne Webster