Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Gifts Update

This is actually a post from my personal blog but since we recently finished up the "Homemade Christmas Gifts" segment... I thought it was fitting!

I don't like it when Josh is gone. Yesterday he had to overnight in Twin Falls for work (Highway was shut down at the UT border) and though the girls and I had a fun night together watching Tinkerbell and eating pizza... the house felt empty without him! So, once I got the girls in bed, I decided I would use the time to finish up some last minute Christmas projects that I've been putting off.

First, I needed to find a solution to my little baking strike. (The snow continued its winning streak since my last post!) The lack of time and supplies meant I was going to have to get creative. Let me rephrase that... ATTEMPT to be creative.
Well, here's what I came up with:

A homemade "Movie Night" Kit. The other day I had picked up these little red containers from the dollar store. I gave them a quick paint treatment (using masking tape and white acrylic paint), printed off labels with my scrapbooking program, and edged the container with black ribbon.

In the package was popcorn, hot chocolate, red licorice, candy... and a couple homemade treats: banana bread and Muddy Buddies. I had hoped to be able to print off some vouchers from RedBox to finish it off - but couldn't find a gift certificate link anywhere on their site. Oh well!
I also finished up a set of decoupaged wooden letters for my friend's little boy's nursery in his Chicago Bears theme (I forgot to take a picture but asked her to send me one once she got them up on the walls) and half-finished an embroidered fleece blanket for Dad.
Whew. Well at least I made some good use of my time while he was gone. And I was so tired before I finally went to bed at 2am that I didn't have to worry about lying awake listening for mysterious noises!
Oh, today I also decided to test out my friend Dawn's recipe for "Oreo Truffles"

Email me for the recipe :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Traditions: Ho Ho Ho

Santa is a favorite around here. Besides all the obvious reasons, he happens to outshine Mommy and Daddy each year in the gift giving area. This year he will be delivering a wood "Play Wonder" Kitchen in pink and white. Kaylee has been begging for a play kitchen for months, so I know it will be a hit (and Jadyn likes to do everything just like big sissy so I'm sure it will be her favorite too!) In the play oven, he'll also be leaving a cute set of stainless steel pots and pans. He always leaves the gifts unwrapped, so they're the first thing the kids see when they wake up. (Hopefully we won't have an early riser who finds it before we get to see her reaction... good thing Josh likes to wake up before everyone else on Christmas morning. No sleeping in at this house!) Santa leaves some fun goodies in the stockings too... with the usual sweets of course, an apple and orange (funny, he does that at my mom's house too!), a few small toys/gifts, and lottery tickets. Yep, I said lottery tickets. Another childhood tradition. Trust me, they're a hit!

Sooo.... what does Santa do at your house? I'm thinking of putting in a few new special requests. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Traditions (Help!)

Now that my girls are getting to an age where they can actually understand and enjoy Christmas a little more, I'm really wanting to start introducing some new family traditions. So... I'm hoping you will give me some ideas of what you do (or what you did growing up!)
I'm going to spread this over the next couple days to cover a few different areas. Right now, I'd like to hear about your Christmas Eve traditions. I'm always curious to see if people do gifts the night before or only on Christmas day. Growing up, we always got to choose one gift to open before we went to bed (I think Mom hid our "big" gifts so we wouldn't choose them!) In Josh's family, they always opened pajamas to wear that night, so that's what we have started doing with the girls. This year I found some super cute ones at the Gymboree outlet for $10!
Other than that, we usually just watch a Christmas movie together and Josh reads the Christmas story from the Bible. Kaylee has been asking me for a month if we'll be making cookies and milk for Santa, so I'm sure that will be on the list too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thank you Martha!

Submitted by: Marie M

I found these cute ideas from marthastewart.com. I love to wrap presents almost as much as I love to open them. Nothing says Christmas to me like matching presents under the tree.

This button-stamped gift wrap is fun to make. Affix button to a cork with double-sided tape. Place plain paper on a piece of felt or a folded piece of fabric (this cushions the paper so the mark will be even). Top with a pretty button tied on with baker's twine.

Recycle holiday cards as labels for presents. With a pencil, kids can draw (or stencil) the recipient's initial onto a card, and cut it out. Punch a hole in the letter, and tie to gift with yarn or ribbon.

Happy Wrapping!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Something for the Kids: A Snowman Kit

More from Andrea S!

Use craft foam sheets to cut out eyes, mouth and buttons. Stick pipe cleaners, doubled and twisted, through the middle to attach to snowman.
Nose: buy a styrofoam nose from the craft store, shave it down a bit to make it look more like a carrot, paint orange and spray with clear coat to seal it against the elements.
Scarf: 1/4 yard (I think) of fleece, cut into a strip and frey the ends buy cuttin into 1 x 2 inch strips, then pulling them tight to corkscrew.
Find a hat from the Dollar store or local costume shop clearance section. Poke holes on opposite sides and stick pipe cleaners through.
Put it all together in a bag or box and it's ready for the next snowfall.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homemade Gifts: Scrapbooks

Submitted by: Andrea S.

Another homemade gift I've started doing is a scrapbook of our year for the grandparents. Doing a two page layout for each month, starting in Nov of the previous year, going through Oct. This gives me plenty of time to get it done and is a great way for them to see what we've been up to.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Homemade Gifts: Treat Boxes

Submitted by: Andrea S
(Whom I consider to be THE Craft Queen!... I'm saving two more of her posts for the next couple days so be sure to check back. And don't forget to give her mad props (a.k.a. blog comments) for her awesome craftiness)
My favorite thing to do each year is to bake treats and pack them up in fun ways to give to family and friends. This year I'm making two kinds of cookies and putting them into these baker boxes. I bought these online, but they are availabe at craft stores.

  • Measure and cut a piece of printed scrapbook paper to cover the top, attached with photo squares in the corners.
  • Cut a ribbon and attached across the top, I used small glue dots
  • Tie a bow out of the same ribbon and attach.
  • Cut out a star, chalk around the edges and stamp/print/write Merry Christams in the middle.
  • For the star pattern you could use a cookie cutter, I used my Cricut cutter.
  • Attach the star with foam circles to pop it up.
  • I plan to use white cupcake liners to hold my cookies on the inside.
  • Along with this there is a loaf of poppy seed bread, wrapped in foil and pretty yarn, a container with dipped pretzels, and a rice mix that will placed in Christmas bags. You can search out all kinds of different rice, soup, cookie and treat mixes online.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Homemade Christmas: No Sew Fleece Blankets

Last April, I coordinated a community service project with my MOMS Club to make tied fleece blankets for the Ronald McDonald House. (When the children leave the home they like to send them with something to remember their time at the house - and the blankets are one of the favorites!) 15 or so of us got together and we made them at one of our game nights. They were super easy, quick... and turned out so cute! You could make them for babies, kids... even adults. (Who doesn't love a warm fuzzy blanket??)

Materials needed:
Fleece fabric in desired pattern
*2 yards (buy another two yard piece in same or different pattern if making double sided) for teens or adults... will be big!
*1.5 yards for children
* 1/2 to 1 yard for babies
Fabric scissors (or circular rotary blade and mat)
Measuring tape


1) Lay the two pieces of fleece out of your work surface--one on top of the other and with right sides facing out. (If making double sided.)
2) Pin together, staying at least four inches away from the edge.
3) Cut a four-inch square from each corner (you may want to do 3" cuts if doing a small blanket)
4) Cut four-inch long strips all the way around the blanket, leaving an inch between cuts.
5) Tie the strips from the top piece of fleece to the matching strips from the bottom piece of fleece to create a fringed edge. (If only using one piece, you can just tie each individual piece into a knot.)

Your blanket is now complete!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Homemade Christmas Gifts: Festive Faux Ice Blocks


These blocks are so cute and easy to make. They make a great gift to anyone and everyone. They are so versatile. You can make them say just about anything.

Some cute ideas are:
* ... define good
* Naughty or Nice
* Wise Men Still Seek Him
* Believe
or you can make a Nativity scene.

All you need is:
* a clear security block from Lowe's. (Some have a pre-drilled hole in them where you can put a strand of Christmas lights in.)
* a roll cute ribbon ( I like the wired kind the best.)
* a pre-cut vinyl sticker (we make ours on a cri-cut but you can buy them at joanns or michaels)

You just apply your sticker to the blocks surface, add your ribbon and you're done!

Another cute Christmas gift is to make plates with vinyl sayings as well. You just cut out or stencil what you want to put on the plate and stick it. I like to go to a pottery place and have them glazed so that you can wash them in the dishwasher. But it isn't really a necessity. Or I've also tried buying a clear glass plate and paint the back of the plate with glass paint. Then after I've made my stencil I stick it on with tape and paint the etching paste on top of it. I usually leave it on for a few days and then peel it off. It makes for a really nice effect. You can also use the etching paste to make customized baking dishes. I guess you could give them as Christmas gifts as well. I usually make them as wedding presents. You will never have to worry about someone not returning your dish again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Please leave a comment and let me know...
What's your favorite homemade gift that YOU ever received??


Well, as most of you have noticed... I've been a bit MIA lately! Don't worry, it's nothing traumatic - things have just been crazy busy lately (Xmas shopping, teaching preschool, daughter being sick, training for my new part time job...) Anyway, our next topic will be
So please send me your ideas!! I'm planning on extending this one for two weeks. After that, we'll move on to Holiday Traditions.