Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reindeer Games

When I was eighteen I got to go on a trip of a lifetime; three full weeks in Sweden with a bunch of other teenagers and without my parent.  Sure, we had chaperones but they weren’t overly paying attention since it was probably a trip of a lifetime for them, as well.

One of the many highlights of the trip was our visit to Lapland which is the northernmost region of the country within the Arctic Circle . . . the land of the midnight sun.   One cool things I saw was the herds of reindeer.  They are truly beautiful and majestic beasts.  And they’re tasty, too! 

Reindeer, also known as caribou, belongs to the family of deer (Cervidae) and is basically found inhabiting bleak arctic plain, or tundra, and the surrounding forest and mountain areas. The wild reindeer can be found in Norway, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska and Canada in large population and about 50 of them are seen around the Cairngorms region in Scotland.

The origins of the word 'deer' comes from the Middle English word 'der' meaning beast and from the Old English word 'dor'. The origins of 'rein' comes from the Old Norse word 'hreinn'

Male reindeer shed their antlers in the winters while the females don’t shed theirs until spring. In most pictures of Santa’s reindeer they all have antlers, so it can be assumed that they are female. 

Reindeer is the only deer that can be domesticated.  It provides, meat, clothing and transportation to humans.  And, because Reindeer milk is very high in protein and fats it can be made into cheese and butter. 

The reason for all the reindeer factoids?  I found a cute little project to make wine and champagne corks into cute little reindeer . . .

Cork Reindeer Instructions

You can use whatever corks you want for the reindeer.  You can make this cork reindeer with a Champagne cork head or a regular head, whatever tickles your fancy.  I’ve made two different versions . . . both were easy and fun and awfully darned cute!   A good project to do with the kiddies . . .

You will need:

  • 2 Corks Per Reindeer
  • 7 Toothpicks Or Jewelry Wire
  • Glue
  • 2 Googly Eyes (Or A Marker To Draw Them On)
  • 1 Red Pom Pom Nose (Or A Marker To Draw One On)
  • A Red Ribbon (Optional)
  • A Bell (Optional)

You shouldn’t need any special tools to get the toothpicks or wire into the cork. 

Start with the four legs. For version 1.0, I cut the toothpicks in half and inserted the pointy into the body.  For version 2.0, I cut four pieces of wire to equal length and looped the ends for little feet.  Put those into the body, two in front, two in back. If they don't balance exactly you can either stick the longer ones in a bit more or you may have to trim them up.

Now the head. Glue on the two googly eyes and the nose if you have them. Otherwise draw them on with a marker.

Put in two toothpicks for the antlers.  I also made a pair of wire antlers with wire by bending them.

Add a bow or ribbon or bell or whatever on to the front of the body.

And there you have it.  I cute little  reindeer! Or, in my case, two. 


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