Friday, January 21, 2011

2010 Homemade Christmas Gifts

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?


Glenna Marshall said...

Susan, this was so great!!! I will definitely bookmark this post for future reference. (We really need a car cozy, so I am putting that on my to-do list!)

This is an adoptive friend of mine who has a blog just for this type of thing. You might enjoy it--

Anonymous said...

All of your projects were so neat and personal. You didn't mention the stepping stone you made for me (I don't know who else) with the mosaic tiles around the edge and each of the children's hand print molded in to it. I know it was a kit but I am so proud of mine and dare anyone to put their foot on it. Love and Hugs, Great Gran

The Fitzgerald's said...

You are so inspiring! Miss you! - Meghan

rachie said...

You never cease to amaze me. Love the snow pics!

Michael and Jana said...

Hey Wyatt's! I'm really enjoying the blog. This kind of stuff amazes me. I am so very far from crafty that I marvel at those who are. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Now, I will just need to find the person I can pay to make it for me. haha.

Kristi Cherry said...

Susan, just this week Trevor and I played the family matching game you made for him! He really had a lot of fun finding his family members. And then last night, we took Hudson's car cozy to Chili's and it kept him entertained while we waited on our food! (I love how you put such a variety of cars in it too. The little skid loader scooped up chip crumbs and loaded them into the pick-up truck!) Thanks so much for being so thoughtful. We will treasure these gifts. And yes, you are an inspiration to me too.

Angela said...

Such cute ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

These are great gifts. I am thinking about making my boys a family matching game. That is so cool. Thanks for sharing with us.

Christi said...

You are amazing!! I love the family matching game...I might have to try that!

Gran said...

I got a stepping stone with the kids handprints on it and I love it. It will be in my flower garden this spring, not that I need something to remind me of them everyday. Miss yall

Kelly said...

HOLY COW, SUSAN! You are so talented!!!!! These are awesome!

The Abes said...

i'm in awe of you. a mother of three toddlers, in an apartment living in NYC, serving the Lord gladly and faithfully and you are crafty too! it's too much! WOW is all i can say! you inspire me!
-carrie a.