I’m not usually a big Valentine’s Day person, but then again, a holiday built around chocolate can’t be all bad! Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, I got the urge to make something – anything! – and I put together … Continue reading
If you’re already familiar with Spoonflower, then you know how amazing their site is. If you haven’t been introduced to them yet, be prepared to be completely addicted! They can custom print anything on fabric, and you can design your … Continue reading
Every year, I make a handmade holiday gift for my coworkers and our kids’ teachers. I love bringing them into school and the office and spreading joy! I’ll list all the past ones at the bottom, so you have more … Continue reading
It has been a busy few months here, but I’m sitting by the fire and finally have a minute to share our Christmas decorations – just under the wire this Christmas Eve. If there were a graph showing how many … Continue reading
I have a lot of craft projects “incubating” – I get excited, I buy supplies, and then… I wait for the perfect moment to create them! We could also call this hoarding of craft supplies, but that’s not in the spirit of the season!
We’ve got an enthusiastic new social committee at work, and they organized a “Secret Snowflake” exchange for the holidays. “Handmade is encouraged,” they instructed. Now that’s my kind of challenge. My gift recipient loves to host dinner parties, so I found her a cute serving bowl, some holiday dish towels, and I am finishing off the package with these DIY coasters!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White 4″ square tiles – very inexpensive at the hardware store, or you can order online
- Decorative paper – choose thinner paper that absorbs the adhesive and molds to the tile
- Mod Podge
- Water-based varnish
- Silicon bumpers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut paper to fit tiles
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on tile
- Lay down paper and smooth out
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge over paper
- Letting dry between layers, add one or two more coats of Mod Podge
- Add three or more coats of varnish, for a more durable finish
- Add silicon bumpers to bottom
Here they are in my home and getting ready to go spread cheer in my friend’s home!
Next time, I’d like to try making these coasters, with the paper sandwiched between glass, because I think they’ll hold up even better. Next year’s teacher and coworker gift? Maybe!
Hope you are having fun sharing treats and gifts this season!
Julie aka “Jewels”
I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots … Continue reading
Superheroes have been capturing our imagination for decades, and the recent revival of superhero movies shows they are truly timeless. And since everything else with kids changes way too fast, superheroes make a great and enduring theme for their decor. I really enjoyed making these art projects for our kids and our friends’ boys.
My materials for the vintage superhero art were:
To infinity and beyond,
These little luggage tags make wonderful gifts that are quick to make and practical!
Every kids loves having something with their name on it, and every adult fears taking the wrong bag at the airport. I’ve actually done this – and it was a huge pain, because I had to spend hours and $$ going back to LAX to exchange the bag, but I was relieved that at least the woman whose bag I accidentally took was really nice about it.
I love all the ways you can customize these luggage tags. I am showing these with scrapbook paper, but I’ve also made some out of wedding invitations to give as a gift to the couple, and you could use photos or lots of other ideas!
I’ve made tags with two different types of lamination:
There’s really nothing better than a beautiful combination of scrapbook paper and stickers, is there? … Well, maybe dark chocolate and red wine… or world peace… okay, but these are really fun and pretty, so go and make some, because world peace may take a while to achieve.
This beautiful scarf has been shared by many knitters. It’s a simple pattern where the yarn does the hard work. Originally made with Noro yarns, I tried it using some yarn I already had.
The concept is simple – two colorways of self-striping yarn alternating every two rows. The ever-changing combination is mesmerizing and beautiful.
How to do it:
- Plan for a finished width of 6-8″ and finished length of 5-6′
- This pattern is knit in a 1x 1 rib
- Slip the first and last stitches on the second row of each color to keep the edge neat
- An odd number of stitches will look extra neat, because you start and end each row with the same type of stitch, but an even number is simplest, because you start each row the same way. I did it this way, and it’s barely noticeable
This scarf is addictive to knit, because each section comes together in a unique pattern. It’s also very photogenic!
Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.
This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.
What you’ll need:
- Canvas tote bags. These ones are great, because they are a cotton blend. They still look and feel just like cotton canvas, but they don’t wrinkle (I’m allergic to ironing)
- Stencils: I chose a tile design, arrows, gingko leaves, feathers, and birds (even though I just bought mine a couple of months ago, some are no longer available, so I’m linking to some similar ones. I got mine from Cutting Edge Stencils and Amazon)
- Craft paint
- Textile medium
- Sponge painters
- blue painter’s tape and old magazines
How to do it:
- Prewash the bags
- Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
- Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
- Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
- Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
- Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
- That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!
Here are just some of the combinations I made!
Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:
Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:
Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.
I really liked the feathers!
I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.
A close up of the feathers:
The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.
My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:
And I got to keep this one for myself!
No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!
it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:
Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:
- Dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils
- Stamped tea towels
- Magnetic desktop picture frames
- Washi tape gift jars
- Pancake and hot chocolate mixes in jars