Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handmade Holidays 2011: Felt & Fleece Pillows

Years ago I came across a random blog post about giving your children Christmas gifts. I tried googling it to find the post again because I never did bookmark it. Silly me. But I couldn't find it again. 2007 or 2008 is eons ago in internet time. In this post, a mom talked about the 5 gifts she gave her children each year: clothing, books, toys, art projects, and something handmade. She had a very nice reason for each...clothes to keep them warm, books to give them knowledge, toys to foster imaginative play, art to bring out their creative side, and something handmade to show how much they were loved. This post really struck me (obviously, since I remember it four years later) and I tend to follow a similar pattern with the gifts we give our children. In the past, I've knitted sweaters for their Build-a-Bears and scarves and mittens for their American Girl dolls. Also, knitted scarves and matching hats for the girls. This year, I wondered what I was going to make them until I came across these adorable owl pillows. The girls LOVE stuffed animals so I thought this would be perfect for them and I could customize each one in their favorite colors.

You MUST click over to that link and check out the fabulous owl birthday party on the Snowy Bliss blog. You can buy her owl pattern on Etsy for only $6 and it's definitely worth it. Though, I'm sure you could spend the time to try and draw your own pattern. For me $6 was totally worth saving the time. I'm making five of these pillows for many of the girls we give gifts too. And I made a matching ornament to go with each one. You can find the ornament tutorial here.
These are all five pillows cut out before any stitching:
Here are two of my finished owl pillows enjoying an unseasonably warm December day:
This one below is for my younger daughter. Her favorite colors are pink and purple.
And with the matching ornament:
This set I made for a friends' daughter for her birthday:
My happy girls on Christmas Eve morning:
I also have a son and even though I'm not sure he will be very into it (he's only 23 months old), I felt like I should make him something as well. So I turned the owl pattern into a monster!
And here is the little guy cut out, ready to be stitched:
My son wasn't super into his when he opened it, but my daughter liked his as well as hers.

For each pillow, I used fleece for the main body of the pillow and felt for the appliqued pieces. I picked fleece because I thought it would be softer and cuddlier than felt. :-)

Handmade Holidays 2011: Gifts for Mom

I decided to hand make everything I'm giving my mom for Christmas this year. She and my stepdad are very into wine so I thought she might like some wine charms. I found a DIY tutorial here. They were soooo easy! I did find that that the glitter that was more flaky worked a tad better than just regular fine grain glitter. They both worked, but the fine glitter ended up getting bubbles in it. I was able to keep adding layers of glaze to fix it. But I definitely didn't have to worry about it with the flaky glitter.

I have never worked with Amazing Glaze before so I made a practice set for myself first. Here are my supplies: And what they looked like when I was finished:
I did add a couple extra layers of glaze compared to the directions in the tutorial. Here are the ones I made for my mom. They usually have couples over for dinner so I sort of made "his" and "hers" charms. My mom LOVES pink so I wanted to make pink ones, but thought I should maybe make some more masculine ones to go with them as well.
We were shopping in Mt. Vernon, Iowa this fall and visited the Ben & Flo's yarn shop. The shop owner is the sister of a good friend of my mom's. And I found this interesting self ruffling yarn from Knitting Fever. My mom has a great cream colored jacket and we thought this color yarn would look fantastic with it!
And the finished product:
Finally, to go with the wine theme again...I made a wine cork tree inspired from here. Funny thing is that I don't drink that much wine so I asked my mom and stepdad to save up the corks from their bottles for me so I could make this for her.
It took no time at all. I just hot glued it all together. I thought she might like this because she doesn't really decorate for Christmas anymore. They always come up to Minnesota to see us for Christmas. I thought this would be a small easy decoration she could take out to make their house just a little bit festive during the holidays.

Handmade Holidays 2011: Easy Photo Puzzles

Pink and Green Mama has a great blog with many, many ideas for things to do with your children. One of them is an upcycled wooden shape puzzle. Now, I didn't really upcycle my puzzles because I didn't have the puzzles to begin with. But I LOVED the idea of putting photos in the puzzles so I went ahead and bought the shape puzzles. I made one for my son and one for my niece. They both have grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins who live far away so it's a fun way for the little ones to see far away relatives on a daily basis!

The Melissa and Doug puzzle as I bought it:
I covered each of the shape pieces with scrapbook paper and mod podged it. For my son's, I found a pack of 8 pieces of paper at Target for $1.00 in their scrapbook supply aisle.
I traced the shapes on the photos and cut them out, fit them into the space, and then mod podged them to seal it.
And here is a more girly version for my niece:
A super easy and fun gift for a little one for Christmas or their birthday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Handmade Holidays 2011: Teacher Gifts

Here is another idea I completely lifted from Pinterest. Boy, my gifts this year sure would be ordinary and run-of-the-mill if I hadn't come across this silly time-consuming, yet awesome website!
I came across a link to this Crafting with Class blog that showed a cute idea for wrapping a Starbucks gift card. I thought what a perfect and thoughtful gift for the girls' teachers this year (and quite possibly every teacher from here on out....) The Crafting with Class blog gives you a link to a tutorial for making the box out of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper. It was super easy and maybe took me a 1/2 hour total to make. I let the girls help me pick out the paper.
The lid is even easier than the box!
I used glue dots to adhere the inside of the lid, and to attach the items to the sides of the box. I asked the barista at Starbucks for a couple of their sample cups and filled them with cotton.
Soooo stinkin' easy!! And then we wrapped it up with shiny ribbon and a tag.
The tag is strategically placed so the girls would know where the front of the box is. That way, when their teacher opens it, it will be facing the right direction for them to read the girls' writing inside. This last tidbit actually was my husband's idea. When Ella was showing him her box, he opened it so the writing was upside down. :-)

And last, but not least, we will be including some of these yummy candy cane pretzels in a treat bag.
All you have to do is melt candy candy Hersey's kisses in the middle of pretzels. Place them in the oven at 250 degrees for 3-4 minutes. I used a spoon to swirl them a bit once they were out of the oven. You could add a Christmas colored M&M to the middle as well for a hint of chocolate. Let them harden. Viola! A super easy holiday treat to hand out!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Handmade Holidays 2011: Owls, Tutus, Birthdays, oh my!

I'm posting this under handmade holidays because they are easily something you could do for Christmas presents. I just happen to have a very sweet niece who will be turning one this week and I made these for her birthday.

I plan to take photos of her in a couple weeks and she'll be wearing a custom-made cupcake hat made by Courtney from Tizzy Dee on Etsy and this tulle tutu I made for her. All you need is ribbon and a bit of tulle.
I figure the finished length to be 9inches for 6-12 months and 12 inches for 12-18months. In order to make the tutu this length, you actually have to double the length. So I bought a 1/2 yard (18 inches) of tulle in three colors. And cut them into strips about four inches wide. This is super easy to do with a rotary cutter and cutting mat.
Once you have the strips cut, you just double the strip up and loop it around a piece of ribbon. Continue until the tutu reaches the width you like or the fluffiness you like. By using a piece of ribbon and leaving the ends longer, you can make the waist of the tutu adjustable.
Here's a photo of the finished tutu and ADORABLE cupcake hat from Tizzy Dee. SOOOO STINKING CUTE!

And the birthday girl opening up her present:
I also threw together this cute little felt guy to hang on the bow outside of the wrapped birthday gift. It matches the colors of my niece's bedroom and it also matches one of the Christmas gifts I'm making for her. For now, the ornament will be sneak peek of her other gift. :-)
I found this owl on Pinterest of course. But you can find the template right here from Jessica at Juicy Bits.