Archive for the ‘homemade gifts’ Category

Foam Photo Ornaments

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

These were a fun way to keep the kids occupied yesterday.  They loved making them and getting to go through pictures from the last few months to choose just the right one for their ornament.

They’ll hang on this year’s tree a little while then get packed away for next year, when we’ll marvel at how big they gotten since ‘last year’.

We used craft foam, scissors, favorite recent photos, glue sticks, ribbon or fabric for the ties,  a permanent marker to write the year and a hole punch.

The one extra thing we do is to cut a matching piece of foam for on the back to secure the picture in place better and to make it look more finished.

Happy Crafting!

Dollhouse Redo

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I’m still here.

Admist wrapping paper, paint and fabric and with quite a list of gifts to finish yet today and tomorrow.

But at least I got my favorite gift for Makenna finished.

This dollhouse was mine, and I suppose I’m dating myself, because I bet you can tell it’s from the seventies.  You have to love those rug swatches.

I decided to paint the whole thing pale pink with a tan roof because, well, everything should be pink as far as Makenna is concerned.  And its so much more girly than the charcoal gray and barn red roof that it had when I was little.

The inside is the same color because I decided that rather than me do the decorating,  Makenna can choose the colors and fabric and decorate the whole inside herself.  She loves doing that kind of thing.

This is the furniture for it….a bit of it may have to be redone too.

I’m so excited to give this to her.   I can’t wait to see what she does with the place.  I’ll post photos when she’s done.

Quick Homemade Gift. Checkbook Covers.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Last night I made a list of all the Christmas gifts I have yet to sew this year.  

It’s not good….Let’s just say I’m a little bit behind.

So when I noticed this great tutorial for checkbook covers at my favorite quilting site, Crazy Mom Quilts, last week, I was very excited.  (She also has some other great tutorials too.)

I made a sample one for myself first, and it took less than thirty minutes, PLUS the fabric all came from my stash of larger scraps.  I was very very excited.

If you can cut a rectangular piece of fabric and sew a straight stitch and iron you can whip up a few of these babies in no time for some last minute gifts.

Homemade Birthday Gifts

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Since we were going to be on vacation for the twins 8th birthday I had to get some gifts done quickly before we left (because I couldn’t have possible planned ahead and made things weeks before we left.)

I think this skirt is my absolute favorite thing I’ve made ever. 

II wanted fancy and pink (is there any other color), and Makenna just loves a ruffled skirt she got from Dabaw and Poppi last year.   So using that skirt as a template I went out of my comfort zone and made a skirt with ruffles for the first time. 

 It was really quite easy and didn’t take long.   Although I admit that after sewing each ruffle on I was scared to look at the skirt for fear I somehow did it wrong.

I will be making LOTS more of these, as well as adding a single wide ruffle to some plain skirts that I made her the past two years that are now too short. 

I will get a tutorial up in time for making these for Christmas.  I promise.

Jarod’s homemade gift was a little more mundane.  He’s a boy…so other than a quilt (which I really will make one day), I can’t think of too much that I could make him that would excite me.  

So he needed a rug for his room and I quick knit up one of my favorite easy to make rugs from recycled sheets.   The directions are here

This particular rug I made a little more narrow (cast on 21 stitches) and long, because it’s for beside his bed.  Now he wants a matching colored one for in front of his dresser.

And here is a picture of them on their birthday.  And look at that, the magic of photographs makes it look as though they actually like each other.

Homemade Crayons

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Whoever first came up with the idea of melting leftover crayons into bigger multi-colored crayons is a genius. 


And I’d think it was someone from Crayola except that if it was, that person probably ended up being fired. 

Think about it.  

For years mommies and teachers just threw out all those crayon pieces and ran out and bought more brand spanking new crayons (and I must admit I still get excited opening a new 64 count box with all those pretty colors arranged so perfectly) But now we can take all those pieces and melt them into these cool things and not have to buy more so soon. 

In fact these babies you see here were the homemade gift the twins gave to Alexandra for our January 7th Christmas.  My thrifty side kicked in and I thought why should I spend money on those big crayons for toddlers when these are great for her little hands to hold.  Sorry Crayola, but trust me I still buy way too many of your products.

For these crayons I only had a mini muffin tin available, but I’ve seen some really neat ones made in all kinds of shapes.  The best were at the Baum School where Makenna takes art lessons, they were made in popsicle molds and even had a wooden popsicle stick in them.  How cute! 

But, since my popsicle molds would melt together with the crayons in the conventional oven, and I am not sure how to do this project using the microwave (without possibly burning my house down), I’m sticking to muffin tins for now.  If you know how to do these in the microwave, please let me know.

Oh, and I know this craft project is already out there in alot of places, but in case it is new to you here are some directions.

Remove paper from your crayons and break into small pieces.  Place them in mini muffin tins filled to the top.  Place in a 250 degree oven until they are melted nicely.  Remove from oven.  Let cool and then place in the freezer for a few minutes and they’ll pop out easily.

Pretty Painted Glass

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Yet another busy weekend trying to arrange and rearrange ’stuff’ from our consolidating two households into one now that the addition is done.  Therefore, I needed to keep the kids busy.

Time to bring on the crafts.  One of the few things that will keep both Jarod and Makenna occupied for hours at a time with minimal bickering. 

This weekend I was really brave and gave them paint (which by some magnetic force is attracted to all furniture, clothing and walls in our home) and glass (that breakable stuff with which they can easy cut themselves). 

All in all it was a success, with only the wood dining room table permanently altered with white paint despite the fact that it was covered in several layers of newspaper.  Perhaps I should buy one of those big plastic tarps at Home Depot for any projects, they’re waterproof, I think, and shouldn’t tear too easy….gotta put that on my ‘to do’ list. 

The twins each made their own personal drinking glass, plus a few gifts, which can’t be shown for their recipients might read this prior to getting their overly painted gift. 

If you’d like to keep your kids busy making their own Painted Glass, there are directions and a how to video on the main kidoozy website.

Homemade Pillows as Gifts

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

There’s nothing much easier or quicker to sew than pillows. 


So this January 7th Christmas, as time was running, out I raided my fabric stash and found fun fabrics to make pillows for the girls.


Alexandra is a kitty freak so she got kitties on one side and cows on the other.  Why cows?  Well the color scheme worked with the cats, and I always like to have the two sides of a pillow different in case you get bored with the one pattern. 

I thought she would go crazy over it because of the cats,  but alas, being a temperamental 18 month old, she liked her sisters pillow with the horses and dogs better.  Oh well.


Jarod didn’t get a pillow but another super quick project.  He was thrilled to get a guitar pillowcase of his very own.  Up until now he had to steal his dad’s pillowcases all the time.  Give the kid anything with guitars, cars or trucks on it and you pretty much can’t go wrong.


I’ll share more of the homemade Christmas gifts I made for the kids as soon as I get some pictures taken.

Recycling Christmas Cards

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I will admit that we have never had an organized Christmas card display technique.  We try to stand them all on a shelf where we can see them each day, and then the kids get after them, and they never stay standing and they end up on a nice pile on the shelf. 

And then, well now, it’s time to go through the stack of cards and recycle them into something useful.  They are always so pretty and I can’t stand to throw them away when someone was thoughful enough to send them, but I can’t pack them up to use another time either. 

Why?  You ask.  Well because we already have 3 boxes of old cards stacked in the basement, some dating back as far as 40 years….I’m not kidding…and I can’t bear to throw those away either. 

So rather than stack the cards in the basement for all eternity, we made them into some fun bookmarks and gift tags for next year. 

We made the bookmarks to use as gifts, plus we each made one with a favorite card and wrote a few memories and special gifts that we gave or received on the back as a keepsake.  There’s a video and directions of how we made them at our main kidoozy website.

The cards that weren’t really usable for bookmarks we used for gift tags to dress up next year’s gifts.  We cut out any size and shape depending on what worked with the design, and then we wrote ‘To’ and ‘From’ on the back or front.

So if you have bored kids, and some Christmas cards still floating around, get a head start on Christmas 2009.

So happy to sew

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

I was so excited I actually found time to get the sewing machine out and dust it off today… and then I encountered some twin crisis for about an hour, but I did get to sew eventually. 

I would sew everyday if I could, there’s just something about turning a piece of fabric into a useful thing that will be around a long time.

Not that I got too much done, but I did make two guitar themed pillowcases.  One for a belated Christmas gift and one for a Christmas gift for Jarod. 


Lucky for me we celebrate Christmas twice in one year.  Once on the 25th, when it’s Santa who brings the presents, and again on January 7th (because we’re Carpatho Rusyn Orthodox and follow the Julian calendar) and that’s when the kids get presents mommy made.  And it works out great, because I can usually steal a few hours the first few days of the new year to do lots of sewing.


Some of the other things I’m making are skirts and scarves and general frilly things for the girls to play dress up, a kitty pillow for Alexandra (who goes nuts for cats), a horse pillow for Makenna and a cute dolly for Alex that I found a pattern for a few weeks ago at Make Baby Stuff.


Will I get them all done?  I think so.  But with three kids, two dogs, two rabbits, and two very stubborn 81 year old parents lurking about the house, you never know what might turn up to stop me. 


But I promise I’ll share pictures as I get them completed.

Quick Wreath Ornaments

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

After a week of sitting on our front porch getting covered with snow, then ice, and then more snow, we were finally ready to put up our Christmas tree.  Somehow it turned into a all weekend project.  We put it up Friday, put lights on it Saturday and did the ornaments yesterday.   It’s done now, well, except for the star, but that’s my fault because I didn’t want to use the little old bought star we have, I thought the kids and I could make one that’s bigger, maybe we’ll start a new tradition and put the star up on Christmas Eve.  (That gives me 2 more days to get it done!)

While decorating we realized that the tree was a little top heavy, with all the breakable ornaments hung up out of the reach of an 18 month old standing on a bench (because I know she would pull the bench over to get whatever ornaments she could.)   We decided to make some  ‘Alexandra friendly’ ornaments that couldn’t be easily destroyed that we could hang near the base of the tree.  What we came up with were some of these cute little wreaths.

I had these tiny grape vine wreaths from a craft store a few years ago and since they looked rather plain, they never made it to the tree.   So we ventured into our scrap craft box and found some ribbon and lace and flowers and with a glue gun came up with a bunch of these cute little things in less than an hour.

They are so darn adorable, next year we may have to make some as gifts!

And if you don’t have little grape vine wreaths, just take a thin piece of pine (white pine branches work great) and wrap into a little circle to decorate.