Thursday, September 30, 2010

Handmade Christmas 2010

Remember, just like last year, if you are one of my sisters-in-law, don't read any farther!

OK, for the rest of you, I'll share what I'm planning to make for Christmas presents. If you're doing handmade this year, I'd love to see what you're working on in the comments!

Last year, I picked up a bunch of Christmas fabric and ribbon on clearance in anticipation of making fabric bags to use for wrapping this year. I made several bags then realized how tedious it is and ended up wrapping most of the gifts in a piece of fabric not really unlike how I wrap with paper. The exception is that I didn't use tape, I just used ribbon and a bow (or bows...) to hold things together. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, and surprised that I have quite a bit of fabric left over! I also would like to mention that I made tags from last year's Christmas cards. I cut out any pretty picture and even some of the wording, punched a hole in them, and added a reinforcement sticker just in case I want to use them next year, too.

Let's start with my nieces. The oldest is 11, and she isn't getting much in the way of handmade. Right now, she's into all things peace sign and her favorite color is green. I found some big signs at Hobby Lobby, one that says Peace and one that is a peace sign, that were in every color *except* green. So I bought a can of spray paint and painted them! She is also getting an electronic Phase 10 game that I picked up for a few bucks on an sale last year.

Next niece is 7. She'll be getting a Husker sweatshirt (thrifted, 'cause I'm like that and her mom is OK with it), a Geoboard (No Time For Flash Cards), and a tiny fairy doll, including the "fairy catcher necklace" as seen here (both Treasures for Tots).

Niece #3 is 6. She'll also get a geoboard, tiny fairy doll (maybe something like the fairy house that is linked from the doll post above), and velcro catch ball. (Craftzine)

My fourth niece is 3. She'll be getting some lacing beads, a preschool sewing kit (The Adventures of Bear) or like this one at Frugal Family Fun Blog, and a toss & catch toy. (Chasing Cheerios). Her birthday just passed, and one of her gifts for that was a beauty shop in a box (see mine at that link). (Chasing Cheerios - see the one that inspired me at this link.)

We usually give my brother and sister-in-law meat from our cattle. My brother will also be getting some lego cards (Filth Wizardry) which will be used by my nieces with his enormous set of legos that still reside at our parents' house. I also made him some poppers out of a pool noodle (clearanced!). We had something similar when we were kids, and I got a kick out of making them. I also made a simple drawstring bag to store them in. There are 88 poppers, which means each of my nieces will have to pick up 22 after the mayhem is over...

All mothers and sisters-in-law will be getting homemade vanilla (Heavenly Homemakers), though I am making mine a bit differently. I read in the comments that bourbon makes a better vanilla than vodka, so I bought that instead. It is more expensive, and I haven't ran the numbers yet but I think it's still cheaper than buying vanilla at the store. I got a late start on the vanilla, but I think things are going to work out fine - I ended up with more beans than I needed, plus the bottle I am using doesn't hold quite a gallon. I'm hoping that by using extra beans and less booze, it'll be extra strong and will cancel out the shortened brew time. Plus, since it won't be "steeping" for as long, I plan to add more bourbon and let it keep on keeping on.

We got family pictures taken as Hubs's parents' gift.

Hubs' two sisters will get vanilla, of course. One is getting an initial kind of like this one from Flamingo Toes for one of them, perhaps stealing an idea from the fabric wrapped initial at goody-goody. Luckily, said sister-in-law painted her room based on something I made her and I have leftover supplies from it, so that helps! I found most of the letters of the other SIL's last name in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby. I'll paint them and fashion the missing letter similarly enough to pass muster. (Update, I broke my craft knife blade, but I turned a g into an s!)

I attempted to recreate something like this necklace from Catherines. As usual, my theory is great but my process is not so much. My flowers are not looking like flowers... Instead, I'm looking at something like this fabric bead necklace from froo*gal.

It floors me that my nephew is a year and a half old. Where does time go?? He will be getting a couple of toys that I got during a huge Amazon sale, a button snake (Counting Coconuts) and a tie rattlesnake (Skip to My Lou).

Last but not least, Goose is actually getting more store-bought presents than homemade ones. I found some Lincoln Logs (well, Frontier Logs, but same thing) on clearance, a pair of kitty slippers from Target's dollar aisle, a thrifted Snow White dress up dress, a thrifted book about kitties (it's in brand new condition, though), and a toss & catch toy like her cousin above. Though I have ideas to make her a fabric "book" of sorts with different scenes for her Care Bears, along with some elastic loops to store said Care Bears. We'll see how that turns out.

I don't have much for Hubs yet, though we have discussed pooling our resources and getting an elliptical as our gift to each other. Thanks to hubs's genius, we'll be getting some college hockey tickets for our brother-in-law, and he's getting a set of poppers as seen above as well. Men are much more difficult to stitch for! (My parents get meat from our cattle, too, by the way.) As I said above, I'd love to know what you're doing if you're making Christmas presents - let me know in the comments. You can see what I made for Christmas last year at this post.

For tons of frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom, where Jessica is also talking about gifts!


Heather said...

You are so organized! Love the ideas...been clicking through to see them all. I'm just really, really impressed at your pre-planning and creativity. As for us, I'm ALWAYS at a loss for my MIL. When asked, she will only say she wants pictures of the kiddos for other ideas. And yes, we give her pictures, but seriously what else do you get for someone with no hobbies other than walking her dog?

Not much homemade going on here yet. Maybe as we get closer I'll get some inspiration and time! Thanks for the awesome ideas.


Delia said...

Love your ideas! I made vanilla extract last year. It does taste better with rum rather than vodka, but you can use half of each to save a bit.
I have 3 little girls. My middle daughter loves horses & has asked for a hobby horse. I found this great like to make one. My oldest has an American girl doll & I plan to sew a matching outfit for her & the doll. Still uncertain about the 2 yo. She has so many hand me downs from her sisters that there isn't much she needs or wants. She is starting speech next week, so maybe there will be something that I can get her that will help with talking. My other idea is making an i spy bag for the car and attaching a picture guide of what to find in the bag. Eliminates the need to have to read while driving.
My husband is hard to buy or make for!

Due to drawing names, I have fewer people to give gifts to this year.
I drew my mother's name & we have a $50 limit. I am going to make her a cute handbag & haven't figured out the rest. My husband drew my bachelor brother's name. I will be getting/making that gift too. :) He loves my homemade meals & I have in the past given him a coupon book of 1-2 meals a month for his freezer.

Have to say that I wish you were my relative- we can use some of that meat! ;)

Lenetta said...

Ooh, Delia, you reminded me I should've posted to last year's handmade Christmas! I made I-Spy bags, you can see them here. Thanks for stopping by!

Netta said...

GREAT ideas... and you're so ahead of the game.
(But apparently your family members don't read your blog... how do you keep it all a secret?)

Zimms Zoo said...

if i tell you then i couldn't guest post about it then could i?

but some of them are ones that might work well for your nieces next year.

we are making bed warmers (the ones you fill with rice and heat). my grandma has already tried hers out because she is always so cold. she loved it. it stayed warm for hours.

Lenetta said...

UNCLE RAY!!!!! I've been wishing I could talk to you - did you see several posts back that Hubs' dad had Lou Gehrig's disease? Prayers appreciated. Oh, and Hubs just told me we got swept. Sigh. Maybe next year. :>)

Back to handmade Christmas - for my in-laws, we're going to have family pictures taken. There is not one but two mamas in our preschool co-op that take pictures on the side, professionally.

Netta, my sisters-in-law read my blog, but I trust them not to read this post (that's why they're farther down). Oh, my mom does too, but she knows about the vanilla, and they get meat. No surprises there. :>)

Christy, you let me know when you want to do a guest post again!

Abbi said...

It was fun to read all your plans! I am hosting a Handmade Christmas again, starting tomorrow. I meant to write and give you more heads up. I hope you will join me! It will be every Tuesday. I would love it if you would link up all your projects.

Have a great day!

Jessica said...

I've seen those button snakes around online and have thought about making one for my daughter. It's a great fine motor skill for their little hands. :)