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Now that December is here, Christmas decorating can begin in earnest.  Our Christmas tree is always decorated in a traditional Nordic style, with glossy red apple ornaments, straw stars and pinecones, and little red Yule Nissen (Christmas elves).   Another name for these friendly folks is Tomten.  One of our favorite books to read at this time of year is a classic Astrid Lindgren tale called The Tomten and the Fox.  We love it.  We have little Tomten and Nissen all around our house, and decided recently to make some more ourselves to add to the tree and give away as gifts.

What you need:

·         small pinecones--we picked ours this summer on a trip to the ranch

·         wooden beads

·         jute string or yarn--for hair

·         paint, permanent markers or fingernail polish to decorate the eyes

·         felt fabric squares

·         tiny jingle bells

·         scissors

·         glue gun

·         needle & thread

To start, paint a face on your wooden bead.  I used blue nail polish and strung a whole line of beads on a shish kabob skewer to make it easier to hold and dry them.  Next cut your felt fabric into circles, then into quarter circles.  Take one quarter circle and sew the two straight edges together, creating a little cone shape.

Sew tiny jingle bells to the tips to make teeny tiny hats.

Use a hot glue gun to attach a wooden bead face to the stem end of your pinecone. 

Glue hair to the top of the wooden bead face using the hot glue gun.  We tried lots of different styles: braids, long and straight, short and fuzzy.  If you’re using jute twine, you can get a more hair-like effect by unraveling the strands in the twine.  This whole step can actually be done either before or after the face bead gets attached to the pinecone…whichever works best for you. 

Cut long strips of felt fabric and glue them around the “neck” of your nisse as a scarf.  This also, conveniently, covers up any unattractive glue globs that might have developed when you attached the head.

Last, glue a hat on top of your nisse’s head and attach a string for hanging.  If you’ve done this project with kids, I also recommend finding a place where they can attach their name and the date they made the ornament.  I still have Christmas creations that go up on our tree that I made when I was in kindergarten.  It’s great to make memories.

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