Since I posted about homemade Christmas gifts on Friday, I just thought I’d give you some examples of things I’ve done in the past. Now, when I made these gifts, I didn’t always take pictures, so I had to have my parents take pictures of the things they had at their house.
And these are simple. I’m not an elaborate person (as you can tell if you ever take a look at my walls–there are minimal decorations around my house), so I keep the gifts simple and to the point. I’m sure you could come up with many ways to make them “prettier.”
"Who Am I?" packets
The point of this craft was to let the kids be a part of their gift to Grandparents. I also wanted to record some of their favorites that they can look back on in a few years and see what has changed. This is how the gift was given. All wrapped up and tied with a ribbon. I’ll include some pictures underneath of this opened out. You can do favorite colors, foods, places to visit,activities, etc. I did their eye and hair color and birthdays. Each flap had a little more information to help the grandparents figure out who was who, then on the inside was their picture and I had the older two sign it in their shaky 3 and 4 year old handwriting.
Displayed on Grandpa and Grandma's piano
Idea #2–Vanilla Baskets
I made a few “Vanilla Baskets” for family/friends last year. Inside I included Homemade Vanilla, Vanilla Candied Almonds, and Vanilla Biscotti and Hot Chocolate. The vanilla takes 6 weeks or more to “steep” so you have to start now if you want it done by Christmas. The longer it sits, the stronger the vanilla becomes. My vanilla beans came in this cool little tube, and there are enough beans that I can start a new jar once the original one is too weak.
This frame was made 2 years ago, just before Elsie joined our family. Miranda was doing pretty well with her handwriting at age 5, and Clare was drawing perfect “kid art” at age 4. Grant was still too young to hold a pencil, so I just signed his name. I took a cheap $5 frame from Michael’s, and attached scrapbook paper to the matboard. Then I placed their work on a coordinating background and the frame was finished. I know there are few earthly things more valuable to my dad than the Scriptures and his grandchildren, which is why it is no surprise that this hangs at eye level on the wall next to his recliner.
We did these homemade crayons the year we were preparing for our adoption. We didn’t have a lot of extra money lying around, and these were cheap! I bought several packs of Crayola crayons when the back to school sales were going on (I think they were only $.15 for a 24 pack). I bought the silicone molds at IKEA for a couple of dollars each–they had several molds to choose from. Then it is as simple as peeling off the labels (that isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re doing a bunch of them!!!), dividing them into colors, and melting them down. We used vegetable or soup cans that were cleaned out to hold each color, then popped them in the oven on a cookie sheet to melt. The kids can help with everything up to this point. They can peel, and they can sort colors, but once the cans came out of the oven with melted wax, it was difficult to let the kids help. We tried to let them use an oven mitt to hold the cans with, but then the can just wanted to slip out of their hand. Jason and I ended up doing most of the pouring of the hot wax. The kids did help us decide which colors to pour in which order. They didn’t take long to cool, and they popped right out of the molds. It was fun, and the kids enjoyed giving something they helped to make.
I asked Steph if she had any pictures of her homemade creations from the years past, but unfortunately she does not. Last year, during the summer, she picked blackberries from her yard and froze them. Then in November or December, she pulled them out and made blackberry syrup/jelly. She paired this with a homemade pancake mix to give as gifts. I’m pretty sure the year before that she made some layered jars of ingredients for cookies or something.
I would love to compile your homemade gift ideas into a post. If you have made anything as gifts, send me your ideas (along with pictures if you have them), and I’ll post it next week. I have my supplies for this year’s homemade gifts, but am always on the lookout for simple ideas to use, so load me up at dressesnmesses at gmail dot com!