Crafty Gift Review

I know I shared some of the crafty gifts I was giving for Christmas this past year, but I couldn’t share them all because some of my loved ones actually read my blog!  And I realized today that I can share them now (now, that it’s February…)

This is a tote bag I picked up from Hobby Lobby for $3.  I also used sprayable fabric paint, and contact paper for the stencil (which I downloaded from Martha Stewart).  I traced the stencil onto clear contact paper with a sharpie, and then cut it out, and applied it to the front of the bag. I was able to use the stencil twice (I made two bags), although I did have a few small tears that I had to pay special attention to with the second bag.  Once the stencil was applied, I used the spray-paint, also found at Hobby Lobby, and let it sit.  When dry, I peeled back the stencil, leaving this:

cherry branch tote bag

I also made some large prints like these, but made it much easier on myself by using large poster frames (which were 70% off at Michael’s) rather than trying to use spray adhesive or mod podge to attach them to MDF or foam core board.  Then when they inevitably fade, I can replace them with new ones.  The three prints altogether cost me about $3 at Staples.  I think the three frames together came to about $20 at Michael’s:

large engineering prints

Finally, in the picture above, you can also see my little silhouette project, which was way easier than it looked and brought tears to my mom’s eyes.  I used this tutorial (although getting The Boy to be still enough to get a sideways shot of his head was easier said than done – I managed to get one while he was asleep), and here is a larger shot of the outcome:

silhouette

We had a fine, crafty Christmas, and my pocketbook is thanking me for it!

How to Be Thoughtful About a Small Family Christmas

As I’ve mentioned, this Christmas, I will be without The Boy. Since the divorce, I have noted how few gifts are on my list for others.  Being an only child and having an only child leaves only gifts for my parents, The Man, and The Boy.  I’ll admit this is kind of nice, although giving the perfect gift is something on which I pride myself a bit.  I do get gift cards when someone tells me that’s all they want, but it’s difficult to stretch the traditions of Christmas morning out when you are giving gift cards to 3 other people…

How do I get my gift-giving fix?  Where do I get to be creative? (Mom, Dad, anyone else on my list — stop reading!)

I’m working on some crafty wrapping this year, thanks to all kinds of inspiration from Pinterest.  I just got a new sewing machine, so I will be working on these stitched wrapping projects from Shimtokk:

donotopen5

The tutorial is here at Martha Stewart (the idea was so good they were featured as a part of last year’s Gift Wrap Challenge!)

Stocking stuffers are another area where I get to be thoughtful and creative.  No dollar store trips for me!  Here are some of the projects I will be attempting:

Surprise Box from Martha

Dad’s will have his favorite treat, Jordan almonds, and The Man’s will contain his favorite, Necco wafers:

almonds & wafers

The directions are here at Martha Stewart’s site, again.  Haters can hate, but sometimes she’s got good, achievable ideas!

And maybe these:

DIYmonogrammug17

Filled with coffee or hot chocolate mix?  The tutorial is from Design Mom.

Finally, we have a tradition to spend some time on the gift tags – not making them elaborate or anything, but as clues to the gift.  Rather than just saying “To: Mom, From: Annie” it will elude to the nature of the gift, and from whom the gift is.  For example:  if I was giving my mom a book (a fairly common gift), the tag might read, “To: William Least Heat Moon, From: Alex Haley”. (Moon wrote one of Mom’s favorite books, “Blue Highways”, and Haley wrote one of my favorite books, “Roots”.  We know each other’s favorites, so this would be a big clue to her that it is book-related, and that it is from me!)

What can I say?  I like to emphasize the relationship I have with each person rather than the stuff.  I want to remind them about all of their little quirks which make them so lovable.  To me, that’s what this season is about.