Today, I am joining together with other bloggers to show support for the victims, family, and community of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. For further information on this effort, please visit:
As a child, I loved Alice in Wonderland. My mom had an antique copy of the book with a loose binding and color pictures printed occasionally on shiny paper. I used to read it endlessly.
In college, though, I really came to appreciate Alice. My Freshman English class decided to chuck the “official” book, a long-winded memoir by an anthropologist, and instead voted to read Alice in Wonderland. Because school – even college – should be enjoyable. Fun, even.
During the class discussion of Alice, another student pinpointed Alice’s magic: She wasn’t a whiner like Dorothy. Although he stated it rather cynically, he nailed it. Alice didn’t spend her time wishing she was somewhere else: She chased a rabbit into an unexpected world, and once she got there, she kept exploring and discovering, all the time asking curious questions. It was an adventure, and she embraced it. Alice epitomized childhood innocence.
We were all reminded this past week how quickly childhood innocence disappears; I wanted to preserve a bit of it in remembering those who perished at Sandy Hook Elementary. I thought back to Alice in Wonderland and by chance was able to find my old college copy of the book – battered and yellow and perfect for upcycling. I used it to make Christmas ornaments.
I’m not very crafty, so this is a pretty simple project. You will need:
- An old book, or magazine, or catalog.
- Modge podge.
- A brush.
- An ball-shaped ornament. I used clear plastic ones from Ben Franklin, but you could also cover an old ornament.
- Very fine glitter. I used a champagne color because it works well with the yellowed pages.
Put something down on the table, you’re going to make a big mess.
Tear the pages you want to use out of the book. Trim away excess margin and white spaces, as shown above, then tear the pages into strips (so that you can read sentences). I liked the torn-edge effect, but if you prefer, you could use scissors or a paper cutter.
Remove the metal tops from the plastic balls.
Paint the modge podge on the back of the strips. Let it sit a few seconds; the paper gets softer and easier to work with. Starting from the top, lay the strips down on the ball, covering all the plastic and slightly overlapping the pieces. Smooth out any lumps or bumps, adding extra modge podge to the top if you need to soften the paper. There’s no real science to this, just as long as the look of it pleases you.
Once the entire ball is covered with paper strips, turn it upside down and let it dry for a bit.
Coat the entire ball with a generous layer of modge podge, and using a shaker top, shake a thin layer of glitter over that. Turn the ball back upside down and let it dry completely (overnight).
Dip the metal caps into the modge podge, and then dip into a bowl of the same glitter. You want a thick coat of glitter here so don’t be shy.
When everything is dry, put the metal caps on the balls, and hang on your tree. You can also add little tags to the top using twine or ribbon, perhaps identifying the book or simply with a holiday greeting.
The finished balls are more glittery than they appear in the picture.
One final thought: Today is the 24th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 innocent men, women, and children lost their lives. One of them was my dear friend Rachel, age 21. I miss her every day, but especially today.
I wish you all a safe and peaceful holiday. Thank you for visiting.