Quick! I Need a Crafty Gift!
It happens. I understand. Things get hectic, and you inevitably forget someone on your gift list. And the teachers! What about the teachers?!? Well, I have a habit of making many of my gifts myself (when time permits), and have learned a few pointers that will help you give them a personal touch, even if time is running out.
1. Something Wooden. In any craft store or section, there’s usually a decent selection of random wooden things. Grab a sharpie, get to doodling, then spray it with gloss varnish to set it.
If you’ve got a little more time, you can paint it in a little more detail with acrylics, or decoupage some little graphics onto it. Doodle some final touches with a permanent marker or paint pens, and you’re good to go!
2. Personalize Some Clothing. Inexpensive shirt + permanent marker and a little heat-setting=cute little something for someone.
Got a new baby in town that you need a creative gift for? Give your kid free reign with some permanent markers (hey–be careful with those!) on a package of plain onesies and it makes a cute (and wearable) keepsake. (These are ones our daughter did for her new baby cousin.)
You could also personalize it with some iron-on transfers or shapes you made yourself…(I did a blog post about it ages ago).
3. Embroidery Hoop T-shirt Art. SUPER easy. Take some favorite old “retired” t-shirts, cut ’em up, and stretch them across some embroidery hoops to hang on the wall. Voila! Fancy wall art!
4. Cup Cozy. With some iron-on appliques or your own brand of embroidery work, a quick little cup cozy is a nice touch around the office (at least, I hope my manager thinks so). They even have pre-made base parts in some crafty places. Wrap it around a reuseable coffee cup with a button hook or velcro, and toss in a gift card, or a few packets of tea.
5. Shrinky Jewelry. A good gift for a loved one. We love shrinky art. But what do you do with all those wonderful little doodles? You can make these doodle chimes. Or drill some tiny holes in them and hook them up to a ready-made charm bracelet.
6. A Quick Little Doll. I’m not sure, but most kids like dolls, don’t they? Mine does. If you’re skilled with the sewing of things, a quick little doll can be made with a little bit of fabric and some easy shapes. I made this little brachiosaurus in just a couple of hours. I probably wouldn’t turn to me if I needed help with the basics of sewing, but if you can handle your own, this is a quick & easy gift to make that kids should like.
7. Drill a Hole in a Dinosaur. Okay, I found this on Pinterest somewhere. I got an inexpensive little plastic dinosaur toy & used my Dremel tool to cut his back out, filled him with dirt and put a little mint plant inside. Easy peasy!
8. Turn a Watch into a Locket. Got a little more time? Find a used watch or order a cute crafty-looking one. Take the back apart (just go with it–I had to experiment myself) and replace all the guts with a cute little photo of your intended person’s family, pet, or special something-or-other.
9. Something Edible. If baking’s your thing, you could make all kinds of fantastic, wonderful, edible things. I’m not so good at that sort of thing, but I know an edible thing is nearly always appreciated (as long as you’re aware of someone’s possible allergies or food restrictions). This is an owl cake I made for our daughter’s 3rd birthday. Okay, I’m not suggesting you make someone a full-on CAKE, but if baking is your thing, I’m sure you already have ALL sorts of wonderful, edible ideas. We made cookies for the local firefighters, and they were so happy to have us stop by, that they didn’t even notice (or care) that I pretty much stink at making decent cookies.
10. Fill Up A Cup. This is an easy go-to I like to do for teachers or friends. Find a cute cup (OH! Look! This one happens to be from the shop of our collaboration doodles! Um. Yeah, a lot of people might be seeing those for Christmas this year…). Anyway, fill up the cup with a handful of chocolate kisses or candies, a pen and a notepad, and show your teacher how much you appreciate them!
So there you have it! Just a few little easy ideas for some last-minute gifts. I hope it helps if you’re in a pinch. I know most of my friends and family have personally already seen half the things on this list, or gotten them as gifts already. If not….well….Keep an eye out, you’ll probably see them THIS year, too. Not because I waited til the last minute….but BECAUSE I CARE! 🙂
And since I’ll be out of the loop and full of all kinds of good cheer next week, here’s wishing you all happy holidays, everyone! And my fingers crossed for another very happy new year…
A Quick Little Kneecap Post
Okay, we’ve been sick. We’ve been feeling all around miserable around here this past week. So I’ve been slacking in the blogging department. Hey, I can’t keep it ALL together ALL the time. I’d run out of duct tape.
So I thought I’d share this quick little project as a sort of mini half-post. I promise I’ll write a better one in a few days.
I’ve told you before how much our daughter loves Star Wars, and has a crush on C-3PO? So I should also mention, she’s a pretty rough-and-tumble little girl. She’s not afraid of a few bumps and bruises. Which also means sometimes she wears holes in the knees of her jeans. When I decided to get a little more life out of those jeans with a patch, I thought, “Oh, cool! I’ll put some simple, cute design with iron-on patches, and BOOM, done.”
…Until she said, “Can you do one as C3P0 and one as R2D2?”
Well, darned if I don’t like a challenge. So I did.
It took me AGES to figure out if that was even possible. I thought about hand-sewing felt, about stitching the detail on with embroidery thread. I thought of all kinds of magically impossible ways this could possibly work, and was coming up blank every time. Until finally, I lowered my standards.
I finally just cut a simple outline of the body out based on the references I printed out (in black & white in the center), filled the detail in with Sharpie, and ironed them on. Bam, easy peasy.
She liked them so much, she insisted she wear her Lego Star Wars shirt to match.
FAIR WARNING: One trip through the washer, and the edges started rolling and looked horrible, so maybe this isn’t such a cool project after all, unless you’ve got wicked mad sewing skills. …In which case, can you please sew my daughter some Star Wars patches? 🙂
Anyway, we’re all on the mend here. Hope you’re all feeling well!
Back to School Baggies
My daughter just started preschool at the end of last school cycle and she loves it. She loves having a backpack and a packed lunch. I have very fond memories of the little notes my mom would leave for me in my lunch box. Since my daughter’s only 4 and can’t read, for awhile I was having a ton of fun decorating her lunch bags with Sharpie doodles…
But being a bit of a pseudo-hippie, it bothered me a little, throwing so many bags away every day. I mean, I’m not super hardcore, but when I notice ways I’m being wasteful, I try my best to find ways that might be a little better and aren’t TERRIBLY inconvenient. We used cloth diapers when she was little, we use cloth grocery bags (when we don’t forget to take them into the store), so why not whip up a few quick reuseable bags?
When I looked around online, there were a great many DIY options, several of which seemed quite complicated for an amateur like myself, with zippers and pulltabs and fancy fabric and such….except for one: this tutorial from Rhinestone Beagle. Our local fabric department didn’t have any of the fancy nylons I had seen in some DIYs, but they did have very inexpensive fusible vinyl, which is SUPER easy to use. You iron it on, and boom–whatever you’re making is water resistant. So that was good. Secondly, I’m not good with zippers, but I can sloppily fake some velcro like no one’s business, so score another point for this tutorial. Thirdly, I worried that certain opening fasteners would be difficult for my kid to open at lunchtime, so if I wasn’t fancy enough to put in my own zippers, I wanted one that folded over a bit. And lastly: I felt a little like I was taking the easy way out, not being able to doodle something new with every lunch. (I felt I had to live up to things like this)…I compromised by going with a plain fabric, so I could doodle some monster faces on the bags (with Sharpies, of course. …They should sponsor me).
And there you go! Personalized lunch bags!
Now, in hindsight, they’re a BIT small.
…Okay, they’re tiny. The sizes I had seen online just seemed so HUGE, so I sort of winged it and made them smaller. But I can fit a cookie or two in there, or a couple of small strawberries. But just for giggles, I decided to try a few of the fancy ones. I found a shop on Etsy called Cute Little Bugs, who seemed to have the best quality & the best deal. Zippers, nylon liner, cute fabric, and even a little tag for you to write your kid’s name on it. Super cute. And they’re not tiny at all.
So, as my daughter gets ready for her second year of Pre-K, I think I’m going to have to look into trying again to make some more baggies of my own–this time human-sized. That can fit actual food inside. The point is, I want to make lunch a little special for my kid. And there’s always room for some creativity!
I have this habit of customizing pretty much everything. I can’t stand a blank canvas, and I get even more excited to customize something FUNCTIONAL. So when I got a new pair of SCABS kneepads, they were not only awesome for my knees during falls (since an injury was jacking them up), with their white kneecaps, they were just begging do be doodled on….so I grabbed my trusty Sharpie markers and got to work.
Now this is one of those projects you do just for fun, because if you know anything about derby, you know those things are gonna get CREAMED. Point in fact: Here’s a picture of them in action:
And this is a pic of my newly customized kneepads after just one bout:
But you know, those doodles were fun while they lasted, and why not? I love to see people customize the things they own. To not accept them straight out of the box, to get creative and funky with them, even if it’s for a short time. What can YOU customize today?
more sharpie goodness
Sharpies are super cool. I got this plain $4 t-shirt at the store, and wanted to jazz it up. My daughter loves dragons & dinosaurs, but I wanted something softer than plain ol’ black. Gray sharpie to the rescue! I wrapped him over her shoulder so she’d feel like she was carrying her around all day like a pet.
Sharpies on shirts seem to hold up pretty well–one key is to heat it up to set it once you’re done drawing. You can throw a quick iron over it (the easiest for me) or throw it on a hotter setting in the dryer. While there’s always a little fading, the stretchier shirts seem to fade and look worn more quickly. I’m pretty sure the gray should hold up pretty well.
So try it yourself! Grab a sharpie, try the color varieties, and start doodling!
Sharpies are awesome. Our kid needed a footstool to reach the bathroom sink, but I can’t stand those boring plastic ones. Instead, I got a simple, plain wooden stepstool from The craft store, doodled on it with sharpies, and BAM–magical awesome stepstool. Ya know, like ya do. I think I sprayed a layer of acrylic varnish over it to seal it, but mainly only for kid-messes.