So, now that Christmas is over, I am officially able to publicly share some of the gifts I made for my family. I was going to post them on facebook when I first made them, but feared that someone would see them. I tried to go as homemade as possible this year with gifts. Of course, I had to buy a few things here and there, but it was fun to make gifts that were either sentimental, practical, or both! I don't have pictures of everything, but I'll share what I do and just tell you about the rest.
For Mom and Dad: photo/message blocks
I stole this idea from Yummy Mommy, and they came out pretty well for my first shot! I won't recreate the tutorial that Michele created, but I will tell you that I did a few things differently (mostly because I am impatient and impulsive, not because they weren't good ideas). I didn't sand/paint the edges--once they were done I liked the way they looked and I was afraid of doing what I so often do: too much. I decided with this project I would leave less as more. I also decided to paint one side of each of the blocks with chalkboard paint rather than putting letters onto the blocks because I wanted my mom to be able to change the message and the pictures as often as she wants. So, each block has 1 chalkboard, 2 photos, and 3 sides of decorative paper.
P.S. They loved it!
For the "other" men in my life (my brothers, James' brother, and my sister's beau): homemade salsa, a bag of chips, and homemade chip-clips
James took a day off from work and we baked a made salsa all day--it was a blast! I got the recipe out of my Ball canning recipe book, and it was delicious! I picked up really good whole wheat chips at $3 a bag, and threw in some decoupaged clothespins with magnets on the back (I'll have to throw in some pictures of these in a later post when I make more), and voila: a handy, yummy, crafty gift.
For my girls (one sister, a sister-in-law, and a someday sister-in-law): matching earrings with a twist
I had some beautiful turquoise beads that I've wanted to use for a while, and all of my girls are a little earthy, so turquoise makes a beautiful go-to stone. I personally think that turquoise matches everything, but I've been known to make some bad matches in my day. At any rate, each of the three ladies was made a pair of earrings with turquoise, but different accents. Kaitlin received a ring of freshwater pearls hanging from each ear from which dangled a turquoise disc. For Kelly, I repurposed gold leaves from an antique earring, again paired with turquoise. And Meg received earrings that featured a cluster of classic white pearls with the turquoise. I hope that each fit their personalities, and hopefully you will agree when I post pictures!
For my baby cousin: a no-sew fleece blanket
I'm sure you have all seen these. I followed a tutorial, which I can't find anymore, but just google it and choose one--you can't go wrong. Again, did I take a picture before wrapping it up and giving it away, no. But, I'm planning to make another one for baby's big sister for Valentine's Day, so I'll take a picture then (and even add my own tutorial).
For my cousins, I made a donation to Show Hope, an awesome organization founded by one of my favorite musicians, Steven Curtis Chapman and his beautiful wife and family.
James and I filled stockings for each other with little gifts, and we're instead giving the "gift of experience" by sharing a play and nice dinner out together.
Every year I attempt to simplify Christmas, get back to it's true meaning and, in turn, give meaningful and heartfelt gifts. I think this year was a success, and Christmas meant so much more.