You too can make this adorable Thanksgiving garland for your get together this year. It’s a great family project!*
Time to complete: 1.5 hour or less depending on your garlands size and number of helpers.
*Time to complete if one of your helpers is a 3 year old who thinks she may have swallowed a wooden bead and it is stuck in her throat so you have to go to the ER during Swine Flu season: 7.5 hours
1 large container of wooden beads
1 skein of good quality yarn or twine
6 felt balls in Valentine (opt, if you use felt balls you will need a large needle to string them)
A wide eyed needle (opt but helps move things along much faster)
Your insurance card (opt)
Directions to the nearest ER (opt)
Your pediatrician’s phone number (opt)
A full tank of gas (opt)
A great excuse for the cops (opt.)
First you will need to cut your leaves out of various colors of felt. The number you will need depends on the look you are going for and how long your garland will be. Here are the leaf templates I used:
After cutting out the desired number of leaves begin the stringing process by creating a loop for hanging and creating a series of knots large enough to keep the beads from sliding off. When making this project with multiple children you may want to make a few smaller strings and tie them together when they are complete.
You can then begin the stringing process by adding a few beads followed by leaves and an occasional felt ball for color be sure to clip a small slit in the leaves so that they string easily. Repeat stringing process creating another loop at the end to easily hang.
* Please note this is where the instructions end and my harrowing journey begins read on…if you dare!
On a lovely fall evening I sat down with my brood to start the fall garland project I have been meaning to begin for about a month now, having already cut out my fall leaves we were ready to stringing. Normally one might assume this to be a quick and fun family project, however my older boys quickly got into a fight and disappeared presumably to find their light sabers and finish each other off. So my darling daughter and I continued to string and talk (mainly about princess movies).
My adorable daughter’s throat must have been getting dry from the amount of talking only three-year old girls and micromachine men can sustain so she said she was going to go drink her juice in the kitchen.
I then heard the universal mom equivalent to the nuclear button being pushed CHOKING…ok ok so it was more of a slight coughing… but come on she’s the only one in this house who shares my adoration for eyeshadow so I tend to panic easily. I fly into the kitchen with my superhuman mom speed to rival that of a True Blood vampire, to find my daughter calmly sipping her juice. “Are you OK?” I ask she says yes and we head back to the family room and proceed with the stringing.
Then my beautiful blue-eyed daughter looks over at me and makes little throat clearing noises. I ask again if she is ok and she replies, “Yeah I just have bead stuck in my throat and I can’t get it out…” “WHAT?” THIS IS CODE RED! THIS IS NOT A TEST REPEAT THIS IS NOT A TEST!!!…What do I do…I look, she’s not blue at all..so I lift her shirt (ok so I realize this maneuver will give me not actual usable information but hey at least I was pro-active) seeing nothing abnormal I then look back up at her face and I notice she is a little blue mainly around the eyes and a little…sparkley?? I then realize that I am looking at the aforementioned eyeshadow.
So what do I do? I think about attempting the hymlic manuever but I am not sure I can remember it…then visions of my arms around her chest and the bead popping slowly out of her throat only to land further in completely wedging itself and cutting off her air supply irrevocably nearly make me have a stroke…besides she can still breathe I don’t want that to change. I think about calling 911 but then decide that “bead stuck in my daughters throat” might not be taken for the kind of life threatening emergency I am now positive this is…AHH HA I will call my AFC business partner a registered nurse and she will be able to tell me some magic nurse voo doo which will remove the bead causing no harm to either my baby girls windpipe or my psyche. She doesn’t answer, turns out she is working at the ICU that night, probably nursing sick little ones who swallowed beads because their negligent mothers sent them in to the big kitchen unsupervised thus allowing them to enter a life threatening situation…tisk tisk. I tell her to sit very still in her chair positive that even the slightest jostling will cause her to lose conciousness.
I call the pediatrician and am asked a series of ridiculous questions like, what is her date of birth, and what is a phone number the doc on call can reach you at…DON’T THEY GET THIS IS AN EMERGENCY??? I wait for a return call and figure we will need to rush her to the ER… my cave girl gathering instincts kick in I gather one of every different kind of bead we have been using and a few leaves, cause you never know maybe one of those is in there too, some books and insurance information, a bottle of water, and extra pair of socks…I am debating on bringing blankets and my laptop when the phone rings…10 minutes what kind of service is that she could have died waiting!?
The frighteningly calm almost the point of being bored by my plight doc asks me how big the beads are I tell her they are smaller than a grape but bigger than a pea, kind of like an olive the klamata kind not the black kind but round and some have ridges I am just about the tell her the wood composition when she stops me and tells me just to go to the ER. I knew it! This is an emergency! I tell my 13 year old he is in charge of his brother until dad gets home in 20 minutes, hoping another intergalatic battle doesn’t break out. I then remember my cars tags have expired… too bad I’ll have to break the law to save my daughters life! I plan my succinct version of events to share with the cops should it become necessary as I carefully put her little UGGS over her tights sure that the choking will begin in earnest any minute and load her into my illegal crime mobile. We drive to the nearest ER. with the gas light on the whole way. I try to get her to talk all the way there to ensure that she can still breathe, apparently having grown tired of mommies freak out she tells me she just wants to rest because she is tired. NO NO NO I scream…in her defense it is 8:00 and she missed her nap that day but to me this is a further sign of her slip towards the white light. I think about getting her to sing but I am sure that this will in fact force into her airway more (especially the way my little broadway star can belt them out) and once again the image of the bead lodging itself in her tiny trachea makes me feel like I am the one with beads in my throat.
We arrive at the packed ER and fill out our form while I try not to yell out various words I have heard on ER (like STAT, CODE BLUE, and CBC BLOOD CHEM) to get my daughter more attention in her obviously life threatening situation.
The rest of the night involved a long wait followed by series of X-rays where I valiantly risked exposure to radio waves to save the life of my only daughter followed by an even longer wait dealing with the girl in the curtain next to me tell the doc she is having a panic attack (She probably heard my story and is panicking at the mere thought) reading princess story books, using the restrooms touching as few swine flu infected surfaces and my balance and their supply of paper towels would allow… more waiting.
Finally a doctor with the creepiest blue eyes I have ever seen (I think he may have been some kind of supernatural creature that can only work nights) arrives to tell us that “things don’t actually get stuck in windpipes and allow a person to still breathe…and the esophagus is amazing lined with muscles which move swallowed things into the stomach…blah blah blah… should pass on it’s own…only should have worried if she was vomiting, losing conciousness blah blah blah..to big to go into a lung….blah blah blah free to go.” At this point I feel as though I may lose consciousness and vomit.
We arrive home and my business partner calls and says “That’s no big deal…things don’t actually get stuck in windpipes if a person can still breathe, really the esophagus is an amazing thing…” Her cavalier attitude towards what I am still not entirely certain wasn’t a near death experience forces me to tell her I have to go.
We’re giving our garland away…or maybe bronzing it.