Semi-homemade Gifts

This was originally posted over at Sunny Vanilla a few weeks ago when Jennifer asked me to be a part of her Homemade for the Holidays week. Enjoy!

When Jennifer asked me to participate in the Homemade for the Holidays series I was honestly a little worried.

You see, I’m more like semi-homemade. In fact, I’m the crafting equivalent of Sandra Lee.

I get mistaken for her all the time.

Notice the resemblance?

No? Huh. Must be a setting off on your computer.

Wait. Let me give it one more try.

See? I told you. We’re practically related. In fact, maybe “Sandra Lee & Me” should be my new blog title.

I love to create homemade gifts but don’t always have the skills to implement my big ideas so I do what I can and learn a little more each time. Hopefully one of these days I’ll move away from my Sandra Lee tendencies.

Today I’m going to share with you two crafts I will use as part of my Christmas gifts.

Both projects I’m going to share would be great used as ornaments, wine adornments, or gift tags.

The first ornament involves layering pieces of felt to create a desired shape.

It’s relatively simple and uses only a few materials.

Here are the materials needed: felt, objects to trace circles, scissors, a piece of wire, a Sharpie, and a glue gun.

Trace the circles onto the felt.

You end up with various size circles depending on the jar circumference used. Pardon the different colors shown as I dropped my camera after the picture below was taken and needed to take new pictures).

Stack your circles once they are cut into the desired shape.

Individually fold each circle and cut a small slice in the middle of it. This creates a hole for the wire to pass through.

Bend the bottom of the wired ninety degrees so the felt circle has a place to “sit.”

Take the circle you would like on the bottom of your ornament and slide it down the wire.

Place some glue on the bent wire and attach another felt circle to the glue. This new circle becomes the new bottom and the curved part of the wire should no longer be seen.

Stack the desired number of felt piece by simply sliding each felt circle down your wire.

Continue layering felt pieces into the shape you desire.

Glue on embelllishments in order to complete your ornament.

The shape and color combinations are endless. Adding wooden beads between layers gives the ornament a more rustic look.

Christmas tree, ornament, snowman, modern design

Since personalized gifts are always a hit, I created custom ornaments. The one below is for my father-in-law who is a proud Canadian.

Cut out a design using your scissors and felt.

I free handed the letter “a” but cut out the maple leaf using an image I printed out and placed on top of the felt. I then cut around the paper.

Glue all of the front pieces together.

Using the twine, glue a loop onto the back of the ornament. Next, glue a matching piece of fabric to cover the glue.

Add some fun and personalization to a tin of cookies…

… or use them as wine gift tag

This tag is for my sister Amanda and her husband Ben and it includes an image of their home states.

What about….A lively gift tag for the music teacher or the Saints football fan in your life? Really, the possibilities are endless.

In addition to brightening up a gift, they will look great on their Christmas tree.

Hope you’ve seen something that inspires you to create something handmade (or semi-handmade for some of us) for someone you love.


Have you been making any of your Christmas gifts?

The 36th Avenue

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Father’s Day Gift – Part 2

In addition to the printables the boys filled out for Derek, we put together a few snacks for him to take to work.

I bought 3 of these containers from Target

Filled them with snacks: honey roasted peanuts, “kisses for Dad,” & sweet candies

Wrapped a ribbon around the sides – secured with tape

Alex created some labels for each jar: Super Dad, #1 Dad, We love you

I desperately wanted to edit the labels Alex created by enlarging the word size, changing the font but I held back. How it looks is really not the point. In the end, Alex was so proud of his labels and so was I.

I chose these containers because they are stackable and would take up less space on Derek’s desk at work

At Target we also found some firework paraphenalia – pops & confetti bombs

So we made personalized sign covers for them. Cheesey I know.

Pop sounds like Derek is 75 years old but we just went with it

Here’s the final Father’s Day gift: the 3 containers, the father’s day printables, the dynamite gifts, and messages written on hand tracings. (Some people are having trouble printing out the printable. Please email and I will send you a copy if that happens.)

Andrew’s says, “You’re my best dad.”

For the record, Derek is Andrew’s only dad. 🙂


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Weekend Bloggy Reading

Father’s Day Printable

Father’s Day printables are flying around blogland but I decided to create my own.

Alex and Andrew filled out their “All About My Dad” forms and will give them to Derek on Father’s Day along with a story they are writing.

I wrote down Andrew’s answers for him.

If you’d like a copy of the Father’s Day printable please visit my etsy shop.

Thank you.

How are you celebrating those special dads in your life?

Todays Creative Blog Katie's Nesting Spot The Shabby Nest

Lego Mini Figure Party Boards

For Andrew’s Lego party we created large wooden character boards.

During the party we took pictures of each guest behind the boards. When Andrew sent a thank you card in the mail, each guest also received a photo of himself as a Lego mini figure.

Below you can see Andrew is “Jay” from the Lego Ninjago sets.

On the back side of the boards are different characters I painted for our Halloween party. Since we already had the boards cut, it was a simple tracing and painting process to complete this set.

Below – “Penguin” from Batman Lego sets

Steps to Create Lego Party Boards:

1) cut board into desired size

2) use a tracer to copy image directly onto board

3) cut out head section

4) paint

5) cut large blocks for legs so the structure will stand up.

“Batman and Robin” mini figures

Below: The large board slides into the ground blocks in order for the structure to stand.

In case you missed it, we also played Lego Bingo – go here for a copy.

One more Lego party post coming soon!

Todays Creative Blog

The DIY Show Off Katie's Nesting Spot The Shabby Nest

Men, Listen Up

Men, listen up.

I’m about to tell you the way to a woman’s heart.

It’s not about the flowers.

It’s not about the chocolate (well, sometimes it is).

It’s not about the back rub (hmmm, that’s pretty good too).

It’s through this.

front of microwaveWhat? You say. A microwave. How can that be?

Consider this men –

It’s been months since the microwave has been cleaned.

Your wife placed a bowl of chili in there to heat up but instead it exploded.

She avoids the chili disaster by continuing to cook more food in there – for weeks.

Nothing is ever said about this situation.

It just goes on.

And then one day your wife comes home to this…

inside a clean microwaveCue the angels singing!

Flowers, chocolates, and back rubs have nothing on this.

This men, is the way to a woman’s heart.

Moustaches for the Masses

When looking around blog world I noticed many handmade Valentine’s. I especially liked the idea I found on Cupcakes Kisses n ‘Crumbs and thought my boys would too.

Steps we took to make Valentine Moustaches:

1) Alex found a mustache shape he liked on the Silhouette machine. We played with the size until he was satisfied with “the look.” The machine then cut out 50 moustaches from black card stock.

2) Next I took paint pens and wrote “Happy (Heart) Day!” Alex then wrote his name.

moustache3) Buy a ridiculously huge bag of Dum Dum lollipops since it’s the only bag at Walmart. I’m talking 300 Dum Dums people. I’ll have these for the next two Halloweens. Well, at least till the beginning of March.

4) The tricky part was getting just the right size hold to place our lollipop in. We made the hole by using an awl.

5)  We then simply slid the lollipop on.

Here’s a look at the finished project. Not the best photo. It was bedtime and I thought this was good enough at the time. Probably should have been patient for another photo.The boys were thrilled with the lollipop moustaches and can’t wait to give them to their friends.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day creations or plans?

My Husband is One Lucky Guy

My dad loves to give silly t-shirts for Christmas presents.

Over the years we have all had our fair share.

One Christmas my sisters and I each received a shirt that said, “What Happens With the Sisters, Stays With the Sisters.”

Another year Derek received a shirt that said ,”Derek, the Man, the Myth, the Legend.”

Last year my shirt had a wine glass with the phrase, “More book club please.”

But this year my dad found a shirt for me that speaks the truth.

When you see this shirt, you will automatically think, “Yes that’s Jen.”

I am this shirt.

I think you will understand once you see it.

trophy wife shirtHousewives of North Dallas, anyone?

A Wintery 1st Birthday

My adorable nephew Corey just celebrated his 1st birthday. While we weren’t able to be in Canada and celebrate with them, his mom Deanna sent along some photos. I knew I had to share them with you so you could see a 1st birthday through the eyes of a  new mommy. Enjoy!

This past December we celebrated our son’s first birthday! I was pretty darn excited to plan for this event; I think I started designing the invitations in October!

corey invite Seeing that our Champ wasn’t really into anything in particular, I had thought a winter themed party would be appropriate and fun. We had decided to only invite family members to keep it somewhat intimate and hopefully not too overwhelming for Corey.

The planning went pretty well. We had established the menu and cake in advance so no need to stress, right? Wrong! Stress is a funny little beast. Having never really decorated a cake before I would highly recommend not piping a cake the day of the party!! Lesson learned for next year.

cake and surrounding objectsThe finished product! This occasion was my first attempt at making a cake and ‘piping’ a cake…how hard could it be, really? Ace of Cakes makes it look easy….yah, well I’m no Duff Goldman and my first cake looked a bit rookie..practice makes perfect I guess. I made a banana cake in the shape of the #1 with cream cheese icing. It was pretty delicious actually ( I’m hoping the taste made up for the presentation).

birthday vinylWe were debating on putting up a ‘Happy Birthday’ sign and decided that this one would be perfect. Everyone would see it and it would be subtle at the same time.

buffet of foodThe Smörgåsbord. Seeing as we had decided on a winter themed party, we thought it would be fitting if we served up food that somewhat complimented our theme. Candies, chocolates and finger foods were high on our menu list.

crackers and dipI’d have to say the most fun (and maybe the most delicious) treat on our table was the pine-cone-shaped-roasted-almond-cream-cheese-bacon-dill-pickle dip. You may think that food combination is a bit crazy, but all I’d say to that is don’t knock it until you try it. I think this presentation made up for the cake.

rice krispie treat snowflakesA fun spin put on your run of the mill regular rice krispie square. The only downfall would be the base product is not like cookie dough so you can’t re-use the treat base once you’ve cut your shape out. I tried and the rice krispie pieces cracked and crumbled.

hot cocoa barOur winter themed party sported a hot chocolate and apple cider bar. I had read about this idea on a website and thought it was a fantastic one. I mean who doesn’t like chocolate and when you can add marshmallows, whipped cream and more chocolate to it, it’s like heaven in a mug!

corey looking at cakeUltimate cake test. After singing Happy Birthday, we divvied up the cake and gave Corey his first piece ever! He studied it for about 2 seconds and then devoured it … with both hands! He didn’t stop plowing the cake into his mouth until he was finished.

eating cake

One hand would not suffice.

corey stuffing face with cake

He likes it, he really likes it!

opening presentsPresent time. Corey really wasn’t into opening gifts this year so I did the honors.

party gangThe party gang!

Doug and CoreyI’m pooped Dad! Playing with presents and eating cake is tiring.

Thanks for sharing Deanna! Can’t wait to see what you have planned for Corey’s 2nd birthday!

Close Your Eyes Kiddos

Last week I was walking through Toys R Us looking for the cheapest perfect birthday gift for Andrew’s classmate. Cherishing the alone time I was having, I decided to walk around and get some ideas for Caroline’s birthday. She will be two next month and loves Elmo. I’ve been thinking about doing an Elmo party for her so I went in search of all things Elmo.

I came to the party aisle and stopped dead in my tracks. Something was immediately disturbing to me. How can they make this? What cruel people think this is appropriate?

Elmo PinataYes, folks, an Elmo pinata.

Just think about it for a moment.

Elmo, the adorable, cuddly, lovable friend of your child’s getting his body bashed with a bat.

Imagine the terror that will strike in the minds of little kids when they witness this.

Shouldn’t this product come with a label? In the event that you use incredibly poor judgement and decide to have this at your child’s birthday party, you will be required to pay for 3 years of therapy.

I’m pretty sure we will pass on this and just opt for the Elmo napkins and plates.