First up, let's discuss the time sucker project. Shayne's family always grew up with a family advent calendar. Their mom would tuck treats in each pocket and every day they got a treat of some kind to help count down the days until Christmas. I always loved that calendar. Now that both of Shayne's sisters have started families of their own, I thought a great gift for each of them would be to make a family advent calendar. I looked around Pinterest and Google for ideas until I found one I liked. I decided a wood cabinet style one would be great. I wanted it big enough that they could count down with ornaments for the tree, chocolates or treats for each family member, activity cards or any other thing they decided to use. I designed it all, planned it out and then talked my step dad into helping me construct it. We purchased some 1/4" veneer plywood and used that to build it. My stepdad was amazing and did all the cuts I needed (there were a lot of them!!). I took it from there and sanded it down and applied two coats of white paint. I also created some designs for the doors and used my Cricut to cut out number stickers for each door. I added 4 coats of each colour to each door (this took forever!) and then painted the detail squares for some of the numbers. My stepdad did the gluing and assembling for me (life saver!) and it was all coming together. The doors were swinging a bit too much in and out so we came up with a solution- adding wooden blocks with magnets to each door. It truly finished it off and made it feel more professional. We used small finishing nails as pins for the doors so they could swing open and used construction adhesive to glue most of it together. This project took waaaaay too long but they both turned out amazing and the girls really loved them.
Another home made gift I attempted, was for our newest niece's room. When her older sister, Noelle, was born, I painted some wooden letters to spell out her name for her baby shower gift. Her mom, Crystal, loved them and they are now up in her big girl room over her bed. Crystal had asked me to paint some for our new niece's room as well but I hadn't gotten around to it. I thought Christmas was a great time to do it. I picked up some plain white MDF letters from Michael's to spell out her name and then I just got to painting. I wanted them fun and bright so I just made it up as I went along. I love this gift because in the future, as the girls grow, they can repaint or decorate the letters any way they like. I picture them collaged with magazine cut outs of the newest heart throb or painted in new fun colours to match their rooms.
Another one for the kids, was some snowman kits. I have seen this gift a few times at family functions and always love it! I decided to make my own though, to make it even more personal. I purchased a top hat from a local party store and a scarf from the Dollar Store. Then I needed to create the other pieces needed to make a snowman. I had lots of Sculpey clay left from trying a different project so I knew that would work well. I picked up some wood dowel pieces from the dollar store as well to use for the stick part that goes into the snow. Then I just sat and started molding some coal, carrots and buttons. For the coal and carrots, I "bulked out" my shape with aluminum foil first- meaning I basically crumpled up aluminum foil to create the basic shape I needed and then just covered it with a thinner layer of clay. This gave the piece more stability than being solid clay. I made sure to insert a piece of dowel in each ball of "coal" so that I would have a hole once it was baked to glue a dowel into to. Once I was happy with all my pieces (2 pieces of coal for eyes, a carrot for the nose, 5 pieces of coal for a mouth and 3 buttons - all times two since I was making two kits), I laid them all out on a cookie sheet and baked them for the required amount of time. Then I painted them all and glazed them with a finishing clear coat. I glued the dowel pieces in and then just had to wrap it up. Both of my sister in laws loved them so it was definitely worth all the effort. Plus they came just in time for the giant snow storm we got Wednesday night!
That pretty much sums up the hand made gifts for Shayne's side of the family, I did make some for my side though as well. For my brother and sister-in-law, I made a personalized name print. I loved it sooo much and plan to make one for Shayne and I soon as well. I will be sure to share my tutorial when I do but for now- behold the pretty print! (The name is scrambled to help protect their privacy).
For my parents, I had planned on making them personalized soup mugs but the flu took a week away from me and I didn't finish them in time. I plan to get those done shortly and will share them via the blog or Instagram when I get them done. I also made some home made doggy treats for Jixer and her doggy friends- I used this recipe and they loooove them.
Well that sums up my hand made holiday for this year. Did any one else make some presents for loved ones? I heard many times this year that the hand made gifts were their favourites- that makes me sooo happy!
If you want some more hand made goodness- check out these posts from last year's holidays. A personalized photo book for baby. Date night certificates. Baby's First Christmas Ornament kit. Pinnable World map. Candy & Gift Card Bouquet.