Our first Jesse Tree ornament
On Thursday, I talked about celebrating Advent using the Jesse Tree. I promised to document the making of our little ornaments for anyone interested.

First, we read Genesis 2:7 and discussed who the creator is and how man is unique from the animals. Then, to help us remember this, we made an ornament using Sculpey clay. In case you aren't familiar with it, it is basically a grown up version of playdough. I really enjoy making little things with it and we occasionally make things to go along with our lessons. When you are finished, you bake it in the oven and have a permanent little clay sculpture.

The clay comes in small squares divided into four rectangles. To make an ornament the size of those in the printouts from the previous entry, you will need one of those four rectangles. If you have never worked the clay before, or your child is going to be doing this alone, you might want to give them a little extra. (Or shrink the images to make smaller ornaments and use proportionately less clay.) Before making anything with Sculpey, you start by kneading the clay. This strengthens and conditions the clay so that is easier to work and it forms stronger bonds.

Then slowly begin pressing it into shape. Begin by pressing it between your fingers, then lay it on a flat surface and continue flattening it until it is the right size. You can trim the edges if you like them neat, or leave them rough like we do. Flip it over so that you have a smooth, flat surface on your clay. Lay the image face down on top of the clay. Rub with a spoon to ensure complete contact between the clay and the image. Press a small hole to string yarn through later.

Place in an oven at 275 degrees F for about 20 minutes. When it is finished, allow it to cool completely before removing the paper or trying to lift the ornament. It continues to strengthen as it cools. Then carefully remove the paper and string your ornament.

Then you just need a tree or a branch or somewhere to hang it to represent your journey through the Old Testament together with your child. Ours is currently hanging on a lampshade.

By the way, these make excellent little presents that young children can make. Photocopy pictures of them and follow the steps. Then you will have little ornaments with their precious faces to hand out to special people.

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