Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Gifts (And a Paper Flower Tutorial)

I’m reliable. You can count on me. Really. You can count on me not to listen to my voicemail. You can count on me to show up 15 minutes late. And you can count on me to be poorly prepared for just about everything. But in the end, I will get the job done. I will make a huge mess in the process, but I’ll get it done and I’ll have fun doing it.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week in our town. And surprise! I’m unprepared. Teacher Appreciation week is a big deal in these parts. I mean seriously, how else can all the stay-at-home moms around here one-up each other?!  We love our teachers.  Buddy Boy goes to preschool 3 days a week. This week’s activities include:
  • Monday:  Teacher breakfast and flower presentation.  Moms make Teachers breakfast, kiddos give flowers to Teachers. (I will be up at some un-godly hour tomorrow morning making my secret weapon cinnamon chip scones. I will not be making a mad dash to the florist section of my local grocery store because the roses in my yard are amazing right now.)
  • Wednesday:  Teacher lunch. Moms will be preparing salads, casseroles & desserts. (I’m off the hook for this one.) 
  • Friday:  Teacher lunch and Teacher dinners. More moms preparing more salads, casseroles and desserts for that day's lunch. AND still more moms preparing meals to stock the teachers’ freezers. (Because…well…I guess preschool teachers can’t cook…or maybe preschool teachers are so incapacitated by the end of the year that they can no longer take care of themselves.) 
  • Monday thru Friday:  Early release for Teachers. Moms come into the classroom and substitute-teach for a couple of hours each day so the real teachers can go home early. (Because that's what I pay all this money for -- so moms, not teachers, can teach my kid.)
I don’t know…I’m all for teachers, but it seems like overkill to me. What happened to the days where the kids saved their milk money, pooled it all together and then went out and bought Teacher a month’s supply of BubbleYum?

Personally, I’m a fan of the handmade Teacher gift. Something that comes from the heart and the hand of the kiddo. There will be a handmade gift from us this year, just like there was last year.  We made these awesome paper flowers last year and I think they turned out great.  Here’s a little tutorial.  It was tons of fun and the kiddos got to participate in just about every step. In other words, it really is a “kid craft” – suitable for a 2yo and a 4yo.  Here’s the list of what we used. We had most of this stuff just hanging around the house:
  • Paper. I used old packing paper, because I’m all about reusing.
  • Squeeze bottles. I used old water bottles.
  • Acrylic paint. The kiddo paint is too chalky for me, so we used the real deal.
  • Kid scissors
  • Hole punches. I used a double hole punch and a 2” punch.
  • Wire cutters/needle nose pliers
  • Thin wire cut into 2” lengths. I used floral wire because I had it lying around, but any thin wire would work.
  • Buttons
  • Thick paper-wrapped wire stems (available in the floral section of your craft store)
  • Glue (any kind – I used Elmer’s school glue)
  • Plastic “pony” beads (I used clear because I didn’t have beads that matched my papers.
  • Floral tape (optional)
  • Scenting oil. You can use essential oils, your own perfume, even a drop of vanilla from your spice cabinet will work.

First we taped down sheets of paper, filled squeeze bottles with a dollop of acrylic paint mixed with about a cup of water. We shook up the paint and squeezed, splatted and splooshed it onto the paper. OK, so some of it got squeezed other places too. Hey, messy = fun, right?

Once the paper dried, the kids cut out circles. What kid doesn't love to play with scissors?! And for this project, the more irregular the cutting and the less exact the size, the better. It's a win/win. While the kids were cutting their circles, I punched 2" circles out of used tissue paper in coordinating colors. I also used the double punch to punch holes 'near' the center of each circle. Again, lack of precision gives a better end result, so kiddos strong enough to operate the punch could participate in this step as well.

Next, I threaded a button and 6 paper circles (alternating painted paper and tissue paper) onto the thin floral wire and twisted the wire on the back side to hold everything together.

This was Buddy Boy’s favorite part. Crumple everything up into little balls creating “buds”.

Then I attached each bud to a paper-wrapped stem with a drop of glue and slid a pony bead onto the stem to secure it all and give it a nice finished look. You could cover all this up with floral tape, but I couldn't find any 'craft' color tape to match my stems, so I just left it as it was. After the glue dried, we carefully unfurled our flowers.

The last step was to apply a drop of scent oil to each flower.

Voila!! A sweet smelling bouquet for teachers. We used them to dress up the outside of plain brown paper handle bags filled with homemade cookies.


Christina Silverio said...

Great tutorial! These are beautiful! :)

Alyssa S. said...

Denise, you make the most amazing handmade gifts. Their teachers are super lucky to get those gifts! I agree though...all of that is a little bit of overkill, even if it is to show some well deserved appreciation to hard working teachers.

RamblingsOFaSAHM said...

Great idea! Although I guess I'm a bad mom when it comes to teacher week/day, I usually forget...

w said...

i like to give gifts to teachers. because i totally love one-upping all the other moms. and no. i didn't mean to strike that out.

thanks for the tute. but i'm not sure i need it since i have you to make them for me.

also. maybe the teachers might appreciate a spoon/cutting board set?

Anonymous said...

These are very cool.

Katrina said...

I bet the teachers love you! The week long appreciation seems a little over-the-top, though. I mean, teaching isn't easy, but the only working 9 months out of the year is pretty awesome. Seems like a bunch of poor, rich housewives have too much time on their hands...

Thanks for sharing your wit and gifts!

waqas Nawaz said...

really amazing these paper flowers are very beautiful thanks for tutorial

Farhan said...

Really very nice very cute paper flowers,i really like this Beautiful amazing

Giftxperts said...

True friendship is like a rose: we don't realize its beauty until it fades. Flowers gives the way for the true expression of your feelings. This website is providing very good flower ideas and offerings.

Beenish said...

Flowers are all time favorite gift for any occasion

Sweetode said...

Thanks for teaching us this origami technique, I think these flowers would stay fresh longer than natural.

Fakhir said...

Really a very nice blog and it is providing the good information about the Best Practices Guide and it is nice to read the information provided and such blogs help to students to find the proper way for their carrier and it is better approach to carry on the education.

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