Search This Blog

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A few ideas for a DIY Christmas

I was asked by one of my readers to do a post on some DIY Christmas gift ideas so that people might have an opportunity to complete a few projects before Christmas rolls around.

It may be important to note, gentle readers, that I choose one DIY gift per year.  Thats it.  All our friends and family know they will be getting the same thing.  Choosing the right gift takes a lot of thought because I want to be sure it would be something everyone on our list would enjoy (with the exception of my two young nephews who do get separate DIY gifts).   This saves me having to worry "I know what my mother in law would like, but what on earth do I get my father in law?!".
Its also much more cost effective when making gifts to make one gift 17 times instead of 17 different gifts..

I have lots of ideas for gifts, however I do not have a tutorial ready yet for each one.

Small gifts (for neighbors, civil servants, teachers/coaches, hairdressers or anyone else you want to remember outside of your "gift giving" list)

- "We WHISK you a Merry Kissmas"  Just a kitchen whisk filled with chocolate kisses and wrapped in cellophane, tied with a bow.

- These hot chocolate snowmen are what I plan to give our neighbors this year. Just made with baby food jars
- Mini comfort bags (Here is my $0 no sew large version) are great for mail carriers, garbage collectors or those who work outside in the cold winter months.  They can heat up the comfort bags and slide them into their boots or mittens to stay toasty warm

- Fleece scarf.  Fleece is so great to work with because it doesn't fray.  That means it is no sew when making a scarf.  Honestly once you have bought your fleece from the fabric store just cut it into scarf wide lengths and cut fringe in each end.  Done and done!

- I LOVE this idea of a giving plate loaded with cookies. Will be doing this one for sure!
I love this idea!     “This plate shall have no owner for its journey never ends,  It travels in a circle of our family and friends.  It carries love from home to home for everyone to share,  The food that’s placed upon it was made with love and care.  So please enjoy what’s on the plate,  Then fill it up again,  Then pass along the love it holds to your family and friends.”

Family Gifts (for the majority of my gift list. These gifts would be great for couples or families)

- Gift baskets
    Pick a theme and run with it.  But do not buy all the contents of your baskets or you will end up spending a fortune!  One year a friend of mine and I made bath baskets for everyone.   Using melt and pour soaps and molds we made our own bars of soap. Then we made our own bath salts.  We burned Spa Sounds CDs for everyone and even made soap crayons and sponge balls for families with children.  I added store bought bath puffs and a small candle. 
One year That Guy and I did Sweet Baskets for everyone.  We made our own jam, sweet wine and dry cookie mix, add in a CD of sweet holiday music and you're set!
A friend recently did a Bed and Breakfast gift basket as a bridal shower gift but there is no reason it wouldn't work beautifully for Christmas.  She sewed her own pillowcases (using this blog post as a guide). Then using a Sharpie Paint marker (It has to be the paint markers!) she embellished a few dollar store coffee mugs. Add in either some coffee beans, a jar of marmalade or Belgian waffle mix and you have an adorable gift basket!
The key to a nice gift basket is to pick a theme and work within it.  The key to an affordable gift basket is to make everything you possibly can 

- Mustache Mugs
That Guy and I did a set of four of these last year for everyone.  They were a hit! As added bonuses they were quick to make (once I learned that one must use Sharpie paint markers on mugs, not regular Sharpies) and inexpensive.  We also added in a package of our own specialty coffee blend. 
Here is my tutorial
- Spice Blend with recipe book.  
This is the gift we did for year two of DIY Christmases. I leaned heavily on That Guy's culinary knowledge, but it worked out very well.  After walking in downtown Hamilton one evening we had stumbled onto a shop that provided all different kinds of spices and allowed you to mix your own blends with recipe book guidelines for how to do certain blends. Unfortunately the shop is no longer there but we loved the idea.  That year That Guy made the blend himself and then wrote a small recipe book focused on different ways to use the blend. I used my  creative side to design the book and have it printed.  

- Wooden Board Games
This is what everyone will be getting from us this year. I will buy a piece of wood and have it cut into game board sized pieces.  Using stain and painters tape I will stain a checkerboard pattern into the boards.  I will seal the boards with polyurethane. I have already got found sticks cut by a friend into disks. These disks will be the playing pieces. One one side of half the pieces I will use the same stain. The other half of the pieces I will keep natural. Flip the game pieces over and I will paint (or maybe use a self adhesive vinyl) to create the images for all pieces used in chess.  The game pieces will also get a coat of polyurethane. Now you have a chess and checkers set! 
There are many other wooden board games out there that you too could easily make yourself. 

- Calendars
There are so many fun websites you could use to do this. Of course photos of you and your family friends would be a great idea for each month.  But if you're a little uncomfortable with that (I was) just think outside the box.  Why not landscape photos? Every month take a photo of where you are - this would be stellar if you do a lot of travelling but can be beautiful even with photos from around your city.  Maybe track time through photos.  Take a photo of a tree or flower from the same angle every month and watch it change through the year. Or there are those neat letter photography images out there.  Perhaps think of a word you feel describes each month, then take a photo of that word using the images from letters found in the natural world. Of course a cook book/ recipe calendar would be loved by many too. 

For the Kids

I do like to give the young kids on my list a little something extra.  It is Christmas, after all!

-Felt car play mats
my tutorial
- Dino hoodies
my tutorial
- super hero capes/ dress up sets

- hair clip bouquet

- felt story pouch
 I did this with some classic childrens stories a few years ago.  I went to our local book outlet and bought the books for less than $5.  (I used Very Hungry Caterpillar) Then I traced some of the images from the book. (I traced the caterpillar and all the foods) Using the tracings I cut the images from felt.  Then I made a quick pouch also from felt that would house the book and all the felt images.  Now when the story is read the little boy can take out the felt images and "recreate" the story on the pouch front- or create his own story!

- "screen printed" t-shirts or onesies
my tutorial
- soap crayons and sponge ball

- fort kit
My tutorial
- photo coloring book with crayons
There is software available (we bought it from a vendor booth at a fair) that allows you to turn your photos into colouring book pages.   I think I paid $20 for the software four years ago, and I have got so much use out of it. I make one of these colouring books each year of my daycare children for my daycare children each Christmas. 

- white pillow case with fabric paint lines to look like ruled paper. Add a set of washable markers and they can doodle during story time. 

Hope these ideas can help get your creative juices flowing, gentle readers!


No comments:

Post a Comment