Care Packages for Soldiers

It’s the day after Halloween and we, unfortunately, have a large basket full of chocolate candy bars. While I was getting breakfast this morning, the radio caught my ear. I briefly heard the end of a commentary on how we can help our troops overseas by donating leftover Halloween candy to be included in care packages for soldiers. I went on the Internet and searched for the topic.  I found Operation Gratitude, located in California.

Why do our soldiers need candy in their military care packages?

Why do American soldiers need our left over Halloween candy? I thought maybe because the soldiers enjoyed receiving the candy for themselves, but that isn’t the only reason. Our soldiers give the candy to the children where they are stationed…in turn, the children give them information which could possibly save the lives of our soldiers.

What other things do our soldiers need?

Here are four other ways you can help our American soldiers:

  1. donate your old beanie babies which the soldiers also use to befriend the local children, as they do with the candy…
  2. knit/crochet 5″ x 50″ scarves for The Scarf Project which hopes to collect 80,000 scarves for the holiday packages…
  3. make hand-made greeting cards the soldiers can use to write to their loved ones…
  4. write personal letters to be included in care packages to the troops.

If your organization or troop is looking for a community service project, organize a Collection Drive for military care packages for soldiers.  Guidelines for writing the letters to soldiers are given on the website. I imagine they need all these items ASAP in order for the care packages to reach the soldiers in time for Christmas.  Monetary donations are also gratefully accepted. It costs Operation Gratitude $11 to send each care package overseas.  Visit Operation Gratitude to find how to hold a collection drive, donate the above items, or make a monetary donation.

Homemade Heart-Shaped Pinata

This homemade heart-shaped pinata is a perfect decoration for a Valentine, Engagement, Sweet 16, or Bridal Shower celebration. You can use the heart-shaped Valentine pinata as a gift container, cardholder, or in the traditional way as a game filled with treats for your Valentine’s Day party or any other celebration, even a child’s birthday party.

Refer to these illustrations

List of Materials:

  • 12″ to 15″ (30.5 to 38 cm) heart-shaped latex balloon
  • 1 cup (250 ml) flour, or wheat wallpaper paste
  • 3 yd (2.75 m) each ribbon, 1/2″ (1.3 cm) wide: pink, dark pink, green, white
  • Several sheets of tissue paper: pink, light pink
  • 3 white ribbon roses with leaves, 3″ (7.5 cm)
  • Glues: rubber cement, glue stick
  • Miscellaneous items: newspapers, heavy-duty thread, ruler, paper towels, black marker, water, large bowl or pan, straight pin, scissors, masking tape

Directions:

  1. Preparations:  Cover a flat work surface with several layers of newspaper. Tear, do not cut, newspaper sheets into 2″ (5 cm) strips of varying lengths. Torn edges blend easier and add strength when covering the pinata.
  2. Balloon:  Inflate the balloon, and knot with thread. Place balloon on paper towels. See the Step 2 illustration and mark a 3″ (7.5 cm) square on the back. 2″ (5 cm) from the top, with black marker.
  3. Shell:  Mix a paste of 1 cup (250 ml) flour and 2 cups (500 ml) water very well in a large bowl. dip newspaper strips in paste, 1 at a time. Blot any excess paste on paper towels, and cover the balloon with layers of paper strips. Alternate horizontal and vertical layers, completely covering the entire balloon, except the marked 3″ (7.5 cm) square. Let dry; pop balloon with a pin. Remove balloon pieces, and trim edges of opening.
  4. Harness:  See the Step 4 illustration to wrap pink ribbon tightly around pinata edge, then around the center front and back, going from top to bottom. ribbon should intersect at the center top and bottom. Tape with masking tape as needed to prevent slipping. Knot; tie ends to form a 6″ (15 cm loop hanger at the top.
  5. Fringing:  Fold each sheet of tissue paper crosswise, and cut into 3″ (7.5 cm) strips; see the Step 5A illustraion. Fold each strip in half lengthwise. Clip every 1/4″ (6 mm) to within 1/2″ (1.3 cm) of cut edges to fringe; see 5B. You may fold and cut several sheets at once. Open each strip and refold lengthwise with opposite sides together; do not crease fold. Use glue stick to spot-glue straight edges.
  6. Covering:  Place pinata in a large bowl or suspend it for easier covering; refer to the photo. Begin at the center front, and apply rubber cement in small areas at a time. Clue the straight edges of the fringed tissue stips; overlap to completely cover. Follow the heart shape as you glue, and alternate the pinks as shown. fill pinata with treats before covering the opening.
  7. Finishing:  Refer to the photo to glue the ribbon roses to the center front. Tie pink and white ribbons into multi-loop bows, leaving ends to hang. Add several green ribbon streamers to hang, also. Overlap and glue to bottom.

Homemade Teacup Christmas Ornaments

If you save too-pretty-to-throw-away teacups with small chips or no saucers, now is the time to get them out of storage and recycle them into beautiful homemade Christmas ornaments. (If you don’t have any, you’ll find some inexpensive, beautiful teacups in thrift and antique stores.) A few ribbon scraps, greenery, and beads will give the teacups new life as beautiful homemade ornaments for Christmas. Christmas teacup ornaments

What you need:

  • Assorted small to medium sized china cups (saucers optional)
  • Dry floral foam
  • Florist clay and pins
  • 10″ (25.5 cm) ribbon, assorted colors and widths for bow, 12″ (30.5 cm) ribbon or cord for hanger
  • Three 7″ (15 cm) squares of white tulle
  • Assorted decorations: artificial pine and berries, small pinecones, baby’s breath, pearl bead string, small silk roses and leaves, miniature musical instruments, miniature gift packages
  • Glues: hot glue gun, epoxy
  • Miscellaneous items: serrated knife, wire cutters, fine-gauge wire, scissors

Directions:

  1. Preparation: Measure across the depth of each cup. Cut foam with serrated knife to fit, trimming away the bottom to the shape of the cup. Secure the foam to the cup with florist clay. If using a saucer, glue the cup to the saucer with epoxy blue.
  2. Tulle Poufs: Cut a 6″ (15 cm) square of tulle and a 6″ (15 cm) length of wire. Gather the 4 corners in 1 hand to make a pouf. Fold the wire in half and poke the ends into the top center of the tulle pouf as shown in 2A. Pull the wire ends down through the corners, so that the tulle looks like a rose; see 2B. Wrap the wires around the gathered corners at the base of the pouf. Make 2 to 3 tulle poufs for each ornament.
  3. Bows: From ribbon, tie a 3″ to 4″ (7.5 to 10 cm) double-loop bow; secure the center with 2″ (5 cm) of wire and twist the ends together. Poke the wire ends into the foam to attach the bows and tulle poufs to the cup; see the Step 3 illustration. Cut the wire ends short to glue them to the saucer.
  4. Finishing: Refer to the photo to arrange the decorations in the cup and on the saucer; hot-glue.

    To hang, insert and glue a florist pin into the foam near the handle. Thread ribbon or cord through the florist pin, and knot the ends together.

Christmas teacup ornaments

Homemade Teacup Christmas Ornaments – Source: Celebrate! created by Crafts Magazine, Crative Publishing International, Inc.