get your holiday craft on!

Holiday gift/wish lists are going up on blogs everywhere.  I’m sure others are doing what I’m about to do but I thought I would flex my creative juices along with getting some use out of my pinterest obsession.

Even though I procrastinate like crazy, I love making Christmas gifts.  Finishing them is a completely different story but the following are some ideas I’ve come across or done myself.  Maybe they will provide some inspiration for the person who is difficult to buy for or even the person who already has what they need/want.

1.  Sprinkle or confetti ornament:  I love this idea.  My mom had TONS of sprinkles at the time of her passing and my sister and I divvied them up.  They are crazy cute so this would be a great way to use them.  The clear empty ornament balls are approximately .99 each and sprinkles are $1-$5.00.  This giftie can be used year after year and is easily customizable considering the wide variety of sprinkles.  The link and picture shows how the blogger coated the inside of the ornament with a varnish.  I’m simply going to fill the bad boy with sprinkles or confetti.

I think this one calls for some kind of varnish but I'm just going to fill this whole thing up
ooooo – so pretty!

2.  The tie-flannel blankets:  Yep, these are a great standby!  It has appeal for all sexes and all ages – I think this is one of the reasons I like it.  The flannel isn’t always cheap but JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby have weekly coupons.

aww - my sweet niece and I making my sister's blanket
aww – my sweet niece and I making my sister’s blanket

3.  T-shirts:  at least 6 years ago, my student staff wanted to make t-shirts for a team event.  They got the t-shirts and took a Sharpie to them.  I still have mine and the ink is still visible.  Designing your own t-shirt is easily personalized with a fun saying/design.  Like I said, Sharpies work, I’ve seen bleach pens, and spray paint also works.  I’ve used cotton t’s but tech t’s are also possible.

3b.  Pillow cases, tea towels or any other fabric-y item:  two years ago, I inked some pillow cases for my student staff.  I used fabric pens and a stencil.  They looked good, if I do say so myself.  I actually got this idea from my mom years ago when we did this at one of my birthday parties as the activity and party favor.  Some of my friends still have theirs!

I made 12 of these bad boys!
I made 12 of these bad boys!

4.  Glasses (plates, bowls, whatever):  I’ve seen stemless wine glasses on pinterst that have been painted and they look awesome.  The wine glasses are nifty and mugs are very cute.  The key here is to get the right Sharpie pens or the ink smears and disappears.

5.  Photographs:  My brother is a professional photographer and I LOVE his photographs.  I’ve asked for plenty of them for gifties in the past.  But you don’t have to be a super pro!  My niece also has the eye and has taken some beautiful shots.  If you’ve captured a cool picture, print it and frame it.  Who doesn’t love some art?

get it? she has “the eye”? yep, I’m a dork

6.  Photograph words/letters:  I feel badly for the person who first came up with this idea because now I’m ripping it off… but so have a bunch of other folks so my guilt is mitigated a bit.  Have you seen the collages of words or names spelled out with photos of objects that look like letters?  They are really neat!  This does take some creativity and time but is well-worth it!  My friend sent me the bottom set of pics two years ago after everything with my mom.  There are TONS of ways to create your message!

eyeloveewe6b.  I also love taking a framing mat and cutting the inside out of it in a certain shape or letter.  I made these for my staff once – I took the mats down to Hobby Lobby’s frame section and they cut out a block “W” (this was done very quickly and cheaply by the way).  Then I put pictures and copies of funny memories of the year in the negative space.  Popped it in a frame and yay! a neato gift!  I love a good monogram!

7.  Framed recipe cards:  I love this idea and my friend recently did it in her kitchen – she framed recipe cards that family members had created in the past.  What a wonderful way to honor a relative’s/friend’s memory!  I am so doing this for my own apt with some of my mom’s recipe cards.

8.  Medal hanger, cute decoration and other subway lettering wall hangings:  okay, so that was a TERRIBLE title but bear with me.  A medal hanger really isn’t that tough to make if you aren’t looking for a metal one.  Some wood, and twist in hooks and shazaam!  A medal hanger!  Then you can personalize it however you want!  Even if it isn’t capable of holding 20 medals, who cares?  I also see very cute wooden creations with song lyrics, poems or quotes on them in stores all the time.  Again, these can easily be crafted with a trip to the hardware store and then a craft store.  Did you know Lowe’s and Home Depot will cut the wood for you?  I know you can get the wood pieces at the craft store as well but make sure it isn’t warped.  Sometimes they aren’t in very good shape.

9.  Scrubs, bath bombs and aromatherapy:  There are quite a number of recipes for scrubs and bath bombs online.  I made the scrub/bath salts two years ago and they were adorable.  Aromatherapy is also a useful idea!  Bath and Bodyworks sells this lavender spray to spruce up your linens before bed – it smells wonderful and gives bedding a sense of luxury.  Not to mention lavender promotes relaxation.  But guess what?  It isn’t cheap.   Make it yourself!  Lemongrass has a calming effect, peppermint energizes – the list continues and can be made into spritzes, bath products or a sachet.  What I like about these ideas are once you buy the supplies, you can make several gifts from the stash.

aromatherapy10.  Lawn games:  Have you heard of bags a.k.a cornhole?  This lawn game is wildly popular here in the midwest so a few years back I made my boyfriend at the time his own set.  I did have some help as I don’t have ton of tools.  Then I asked my artsy friend to draw the logo of his favorite football team on it.  Great scott!  It looked fantastic!  You can also make a ladder golf set or a game of washers.

11.  Create an exercise dvd:  either film yourself doing some workouts (this would definitely take a lot of time!) or put together a dvd filled with a variety of routines and/or videos from a bunch of sources.  I’m sure there are some copyright issues here but maybe if you aren’t selling it?  Look into it a bit <— yes, this is my “legal disclaimer”!  But seriously – how is this any different from making someone a mixed tape in high school?!

I wouldn’t say all of these presents are super cheap, which I think is a common misconception concerning homemade gifts.  That being said, there are ways to keep some of the suggestions  on the lower end of the expense scale.  The dollar store has quality options or online stores provide decent deals.  The other expense is your time!  I tried to pick ideas that wouldn’t require weeks of work.  In fact, the lawn game idea is what took me the longest (and cost the most) out of all of the above suggestions.  Oh wait – the word photographs could take some time too.  The other trouble I find with making presents is many options are geared toward women.  A couple of the above are an anyone option but this is tricky.

mine will be a bit better than this!

The biggest thing is not to add more stress to your holiday!  I’m making some this year because I was stumped on gift ideas beyond items that were completely out of my price range.  Or I did find something and am using a homemade gift as a stocking stuffer.  I enjoy the creative process so this is my idea of holiday cheer!

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