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Visual Arts in Education

Nutcracker Parade

The nutcracker tradition probably originates with the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written by German author E.T.A. Hoffman. This story was adapted for ballet by Alexandre Dumas and the music was created by the famous composer Tchaikovsky. Since The Nutcracker story takes place during Christmas, it’s easy to see how the elaborately carved …

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Camper’s Christmas

For most people, Christmas weather is too cold for camping in Canada. So why not create the magic of Christmas in July? In fact, that is a tradition in many campgrounds across Quebec. This year, a group of campers, inspired by my book How to make a Giant Nutcracker, created not just one but four …

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Gift boxes with all kinds of decorations

I made a lot of gift boxes using the pattern that you can find here, and I had fun decorating them all in different ways. I had to stop when I ran out of boxes… Let’s see what I did with buttons. First, a heart. And then, balloons. Why not? And a flower: Now, let’s …

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Jean-François Faucher at Santa’s Workshop

An interview with Jean-François Faucher, author of Panic at Santa’s Workshop, by Holly Ivy the Elf. Jean-François, what gave you the idea to write a Christmas story? Well, ou could say that the idea came to me by itself. One night in December, a few years ago, I was in my chicken coop, putting winter …

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Be inspired

One of the things I love most about the Animaplates website is the feedback that I receive from you, my readers. Especially when it includes pictures of your work. Creativity can be expressed in many ways, and that as very visible in a big project like my giant nutcracker. I feel very honoured to be …

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Monkey puppets in action

Although monkeys are apparently our ancestors (speaking in evolutionary terms), they often behave in ways that make us laugh. Have some fun making faces with the Animaplates monkey puppet in this video.  Then, make the puppet and invent a silly story yourself! The Year of the Monkey Maybe it’s not surprising that the Chinese Horoscope …

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Giant Nutcrackers Around The World

Here is a map showing the locations of the people who took up the challenge to build a Giant Nutcracker. Where available, I have added a picture of their nutcracker.  If your nutcracker picture isn’t here yet, please leave a comment below and attach your photo!     It had long be my dream to build a …

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What’s that elf doing on the shelf?

Ten years ago, an enterprising mother-daughter team (Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell) created a story that explains how Santa Claus knows whether kids have been naughty or nice. This story was based on their own family Christmas tradition according to which each year, Santa sent an elf to their home to watch over the children …

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Giant Nutcracker Construction Tips

The giant nutcracker is not a project for the faint of heart. If you start it, you need all the help you can get. Fortunately, our members help each other out, and this article is intended to record that information so that everyone can benefit from it. Diameter mismatch Mop head hair Diameter mismatch Construction tubes are …

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A sea of poppies

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war, British artists created a unique piece of installation art. From July to November 2014, in the moat of the Tower of London, volunteers under the artists’ direction planted 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each British or colonial soldier fallen in the War. …

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What turtles can teach us

Turtles are reptiles that  can be distinguished from other reptiles by the fact that they have a carapace. The carapace is made of bony plates that are welded to the skeleton. The carapace is a good protection against predators. Some turtles live in fresh water (aquatic turtles), others live in the seas and the oceans …

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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Symbols exist all over the world and each symbol can have more than one meaning. They exist because there is an inherent need to have something tangible to hold on to, even when you feel like there is nothing left for you. This is a situation Sadako Sasaki found herself in at an early age …

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