Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Homemade Christmas - Coasters

So a week ago, I did a little talk at the MOMS group I am part of on all these lovely homemade Christmas gift ideas.  And today I had two different moms come up to me to tell me that they have been making coasters by the boatload to give as Christmas gifts!  I'm so glad I could be of help. :)

So here's the instructions:


This is probably the easiest idea I have come across in awhile.  It costs the least, and takes the least amount of time.  Plus it's totally customizable.  What could be better?

First, head to Lowe's and pick up some of those plain white tiles - you know, the ones that cost 16 cents a piece (yes, they really are that cheap!)  Next, you need either some scrapbook paper, or some favorite photos printed on regular paper.  Cut them just slightly smaller than the tile.  Glue it on the tile, and cover with ModPodge (I think I talked about it in another post.  It's basically just watered down Elmer's glue that can be found at any craft store.)  I used a paint brush to get my ModPodge on nice and evenly, but you can even use your fingers if you want.  Lastly, cut a piece of felt the same size as the tile and glue it to the bottom of the tile. That's it!  Really!  See, wasn't that easy?  Use some photos of your kids to make some for grandparents, or photos of cool places for your globe-trotting aunt.  Or just pick some nice scrapbook paper and give them to most anyone you need a gift for. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Homemade Christmas - doll diapers

As you know, I have little girls at my house.  And being a cloth diapering family, it has become very important to my girls that all their babies were cloth diapers as well.  They've been trained so well! ;)  Rather than buy multiple diapers for all their babies,  I decided to make them some.  

Doll Diapers

The first step was to find a doll diaper that we already had that fit the babies well.  Once I found one, I used it as a pattern.  I decided to make things as easy as possible, so I used fleece, which doesn't fray.  After cutting it out, I attached velcro on the front of the diaper, and on the wings.  Making multiple diapers was really inexpensive.  I sewed the velcro on, but I'm sure it could be glued on with fabric glue.  And if that's the route you choose to go, this is a No Sew project.  I also cut out about 8 squares of fleece that get used as baby doll wipes! I love watching my girls change diapers and "wash" the dirty ones. :)

A Homemade Christmas - note cards

Letter writing is becoming a lost art these days.  Sending an e-mail, Facebook message, or text is so much easier.  But I LOVE finding a personal piece of mail in my mailbox!  I have to say, getting Christmas cards is a highlight for me, because I get to hear from all sorts of people without just lurking around on Facebook. :)

I don't send as many cards as I would like to, but I still send what seems like a decent amount each year.  I think it would be safe to say I send at least 30 (sometimes more like double that), not counting the Christmas cards I send out every December.  And cards can be expensive.  So I make my own.  And contrary to what some people may think, they don't have to be complicated.

Note Cards

Notecards can be fairly simple, or as complicated as you want.  Due to being a busy mama, I tend to make mine pretty simple.  Here's an example:

All you need is some white card stock, or plain white cards from a craft store.  One of our local craft stores puts packs of 100 white cards and 100 matching envelopes for $5.  I just can't beat that, even buying cardstock and cutting it down to size myself!  Next, you need some colored card stock, or scrapbook paper.  I cut it to be slightly smaller than the front of the card.  The third thing you need is a stamp pad and stamp.  I like to stamp the image on the paper I plan to use before gluing it to the card.  That way if I go off the edge, or don't like the way it looks, I haven't ruined the whole card. :)  A simple way to spruce up the card even more is to get some embossing powder and sprinkle it over the stamped image as soon as you stamp it.  This will allow the powder to stick to the ink.  Then you can heat up the powdered image to create a glittery or glossy raised look.  So simple, yet so elegant!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Homemade Christmas - personalized mugs

Sometimes I feel like I have too many mugs.  But the right mug can quickly move to the front of the cupboard and become a favorite if it's something I love!  Rather than trying to buy a mug that someone will like, how about creating your own?

Personalized Mugs

My mom, mother-in-law, and I all love drinking tea.  So the design for the mug I made was a no brainer for me.  It's a tea mug! Over the summer I found a mug with four different colors of permenant markers for $1.99 at Michaels.  Another option is to buy a white mug at Dollar Tree for $1 and grab a Sharpie.  Pick your design, whether a monogram, a saying of some sort, or a drawing, and add it to your mug.  Then bake it in the over for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  How easy is that?

A Homemade Christmas - Bath fizzies!

Bath Fizzies!  If you are a bath person, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Those lovely little things you drop in the tub that fizz up and make the water smell so nice.  A friend specifically asked me if I could figure out how to make my own, so I went on a hunt and came up with a recipe! It was originally posted by Martha Stewart, but I made some modifications of my own.  Here's my recipe:

Bath Fizzies

3/4 c baking soda
1/2 c citric acid (found in the natural/ vitamin section of a local grocery store)
1 c cornstarch

Sift all three ingredients together to remove any chunks.
Fill a small spray bottle with water and about 6 drops of food coloring (I used blue)

Using no more than half of the dry ingredients at a time, lightly spritz the powder (careful not to make it fizz!), stirring after every few sprays.
Once you get it to a consistency that can be packed well between your fingers, stop spraying.
Add about 5 drops of essential oil (I like lavender) and mix carefully.
Scoop 1/4 c of powder and put it in a muffin tin.  I used the bottom of the measuring cup to pack the powder down.

Continue until you've used up all the powder.  The original recipe I found said to let it harden for two hours.  I didn't feel they had hardened up enough at that point, so I recommend letting them sit overnight before popping the finished product out of the muffin tins.

I ended up with 15 bath fizzies.  From what I've read, these should be the perfect size for a luxurious bath.  And isn't it exciting that they are so easy to make?  Have fun!

A Homemade Christmas - fabric scrap key chains

I love being crafty.  And I love being able to save money when possible.  So when it comes to Christmas, I love the idea of some homemade Christmas gifts.  I can have fun making something with a specific person in mind, and hopefully do it for less than if I bought it at a store or bazaar.

In the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, I'm hoping to post multiple ideas that I've put together this fall as gifts.

WARNING: if you're on my Christmas list, you might end up seeing something that will be coming your way!

Fabric scrap key chain

A personalized key chain can be a fun little stocking stuffer.  These require just the most basic of sewing abilities.
scrap of fabric
scrap of coordinating ribbon
key ring
needle and thread

I used pinking shears to cut my fabric scrap into two matching circles.  That way they had fun zig zag edges. Then I folded my ribbon in two around the key ring and put the two loose ends inside the fabric scraps.  Then I just sewed around the edge of the circle, capturing the ribbon as well.  Voila! A beautiful key ring for someone special!