Christmas is coming, and I'm starting to feel very festive now. I'm not one to dress the tree in November, but this weekend when my son arrives home from Uni for the holidays it will be time to deck the halls, well, the cottage!
If your home is filling with the smells and sounds of holiday time, and you have excited children at home, you might have time for a little craft project that everybody can help with.
Lots of people who've read the book have asked me for more details - so here you go!
What are they?
They're cotton wool snowballs that you can put small presents inside to open at the Christmas dinner table (or any time you choose!).
What do you need?
Old newspapers (or other paper)
Papier mache paste (made by mixing equal quantities of flour and water, or 2 parts of PVA glue with 1 part water)
Cotton wool (balls or a roll)
How to make them
Blow the balloon up to a suitable size for the gifts - remember they don't have to be too large, I'd say 15cm max diameter.
Tear the paper into fairly large bits.
Dip a piece of paper into your paste, let it soak for a few seconds, then lay it on the balloon. Smooth it down with your fingers.
Add more pieces, overlapping them. Continue until the balloon is covered. Then brush it over to make sure it is smooth.
Add a second layer to cover the whole balloon. Then a third layer.
Leave the balloon to dry - this can take a couple of days.
Once the papier mache is dry, take small balls of cotton wool and stick them to the surface with PVA glue. You want it to be completely covered (so that it looks like a snowball) but not so thick that bits fall off!
Once the glue has dried, pop the balloon. You can now use the hole as a starting point, and cut round the diameter so you have two equal halves.
Pop a small gift (chocolate coins, miniature toiletries, key rings, jewellery etc.) into one half. Put the two halves together then tie with thick ribbon and add any decorations you want and a label!
I hope you have as much fun making them as we always have.