Each June or July I start looking around on the Internet for ideas on things to make people for Christmas. Part of the reason is because it is often cheaper, the other part is that I really enjoy doing crafts and there is a part of me that still finds more meaning in a gift that someone took time to make or create for them. I'm not sure my young nieces and nephews feel the same way, but maybe someday they will see the value in it.
Thanks to crafty blogs, the ideas and tutorials out there are really great and a lot of them are actually things kids and adults would enjoy having. This is one of the first years I've actually started early enough to finish a few projects for Christmas gifts.
I made my kids and my niece and nephew each a Family Memory Game.
I first saw this idea and wanted to do it for my kids. I knew Jack would love playing it and it would help Lillie and Elliott learn the names and faces of family they don't get to see often. I basically followed the tutorial and then made the bag up myself.
I cut out the first letter of the last name of the family getting the game out of fabric and sewed it to the bag, to try to personalize it even more.
I bought the wooden rectangles from Hobby Lobby (online because we don't have that store here) and painted them all black. Then I cut out rectangles from matching scrap book paper and decoupaged it to one side.
For the other side I took pictures of family members (mostly pulled off of Facebook) and had 2 wallet size copies printed (also uploaded online and mailed to my apartment). I then decoupaged them to the other side of the rectangle, and after everything was dry I had a matching game!
So this was a fun one, but it did take much longer than I anticipated since I made 3 sets.
Next I made one of my nephews a car cozy. I don't have pictures of the one I made him, but I do have an extra one here at home that I'll pull out for Elliott at some point, you'll get the idea though.
This is a little travel hot wheels car carrier. It rolls up to be pretty compact. When unrolled you'll find 6 pockets for the cars and a road. I thought it might be good to have around at a restaurant or the doctors office or anywhere a toddler boy needs to be entertained.
This was a fun project that I enjoyed making with my friend Melissa. You can check out her blog post with pictures of her finished product.
My kids have never owned a scarf, mainly because they've just been too young, but this year I decided they might benefit from one. I found scarves at Gap that were $12.50. I examined them and all it was was some felt sewn together and had a ball thing hanging at the end. I decided to just make them. I probably didn't spend $12.50 on all 3 that I made.
The boys each got a Steelers scarf and Lillie's is a little more girly. For hers I just sewed 3 strips of felt together down the center and then cut slits on each side, probably an inch apart. It's warmer than I imagined it would be.
I also made these luggage tags as part of my sisters gift. I don't have any pictures, but they were easy too!
My final project was to create a train table for the kids. Jack still loves playing trains and Elliott is getting into them. We've always had tracks, but no formal train table. Honestly we don't have room in our apartment for a real train table, so I decided to order tracks and make my own board that I could slide in and out from under Jack's bed. I bought Melissa and Doug's train tracks, they work with Thomas Trains but are much cheaper than Thomas Tracks. Then bought a piece of plywood, sanded it down and painted green and blue to indicate grass and water. It's not fancy at all, but simple and serves the purpose. Then using the layout that was suggested with the tracks I put the set together and hot glued it to the board. Now when they want to play trains I pull it out and either keep it on the floor or put it on top of the toy box, so they can stand up and play with it, at night it slides back under the bed.
So here it is January and I've already started my spread sheet of family members names so when I come across a fun idea I can make a note of it and get started. My goal this year is to be entirely done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. This way I can relieve stress through out the year by working on projects and eliminate the potential stress of last minute Christmas shopping!
Do you have any fun crafting blogs you read?