Thursday, July 19, 2012

Christmas In July

Every year at this time I start getting serious about my Christmas to-do list.  Let's face it, if you're a crafter or sewer and you are planning to make any gifts you have to start at least getting your game plan in order during the summer months.

Some people do not like giving handmade gifts for Christmas, and I think that's because over the years they have gotten a bad rap for being cheap (in a bad way) and something that just ends up in the trash.  I am not one that has this mindset,  I grew up with the idea that a handmade gift was a thoughtful, loving gesture and a gift that would be a keepsake.  Any time a holiday or special occasion comes up my mind immediately goes to "what can I make?" or "what can I create?", it never goes to "what can I buy?"

Last year our budget was unbelievably tight and our list of people we gift to was bigger than ever at 21 people (my mom says this is a crazy number of people to gift to at Christmas and we need to cut back, but I love giving gifts, it's a sickness haha).  I already have my mental list going and it really helps to get it all out to get a visual on the matter.

For Grant I have very few things I plan on buying him.  He already has loads of toys so other than a few staples like age appropriate puzzles and the Mr Potato Head I have been dying to buy him since birth, my shopping list is small.  However my "to make" list is growing.

Superhero Cape
We have been using receiving blankets to get the same effect so I think it's only fitting that I make him one of his very own.  This is also what I plan on making my neice Sophie.  For projects like this I don't usually use a tutorial because I find it easier to just wing it but I did find one here that seemed to be easy to follow.

I have been on the lookout for wood blocks but haven't been able to find them at a decent price so this year I'm enlisting the help of my stepdad to cut some out for me.  I also want to make some personalized ones like these from Just Deanna 

I am hoping to find a nightstand at a yard sale to turn into this:
He just started showing interest in toys like this.  I've seen similar ones made from dressers, entertainment centers, etc.  google it or look on pinterest and you will find as many ideas as your heart desires.  I've had this on my to-do list since before my little man could crawl so I'm really hoping I find the stand I need.

I recently found this idea for an ABC book that I fell in love with.

Grant is just starting to become interested in coloring so I want to make him a crayon roll (like I made here) with the fat crayons inside for his stocking.

I noticed my mother-in-law's checkbook cover is looking pretty ragged and I already have the perfect fabric leftover from my mom's kindle case.  This will only be part of hers.

There's a great tutorial over at Small Fry & Co if you're in the mood to make one yourself.

Since we will probably be celebrating with my side of the family early and my sister doesn't have much of a Christmas movie selection, I decided so far on a Christmas movie basket for her and her fiance.  She has become more difficult for me to craft for and since she is living with her fiance they get a couples gift, which makes it even more difficult.

I used to buy my sister an ornament every year that said something about sisters.  Since my son was born I have intended on making her an aunt ornament since I can't seem to find one in the stores.  I want it to say something about best aunt or favorite aunt.  I love monogrammed ornaments and these are where I'm getting my inspiration.

My neice and nephews on my husband's side of the family are getting at a tricky age.  They are becoming more and more difficult to buy for and twice as difficult to make things for.  I came across the idea of marshmallow shooters last year and my husband wasn't crazy about the idea, this year I'm gonna have to talk him into it so I can play with one myself.  There is a great tutorial here.

I have had the idea to make a Christmas game for my mom for a while but couldn't quite nail the idea down.  After I found the Family Memories Game on this site I knew exactly what I wanted my mom's game to be like.

If everything works out the way I plan with the game I will have a tutorial and all the steps with how you can make your own family Christmas memories game.  I love the idea of all of us around a table sharing all our childhood Christmas memories.
I found another example of a Memory Lane game Here if you want to get ideas.

My sister-in-law loved her bathroom gift basket last year so her and my husband's aunt are getting them this year.  Let's face it money is tight for everyone and when it comes to toiletries you can spend a small fortune.  I've gotten pretty good at couponing so I don't spend nearly what others do, which makes baskets like these perfect inexpensive yet useful gifts.  The bonus is I've known for a couple months I wanted to do these gift baskets and have been on the lookout for specific items at great prices and I have already bought everything I need so I can mark these 2 gifts off my list.

Lastly, my husband's cousin (who is around 9) loves to draw and color and do anything with art supplies.  I always have a hard time thinking of what to get him and this year the light bulb went off at the perfect time, school supply time.  I'm purchasing art supplies like markers, crayons, colored pencils, water color paints, and drawing pads.  I already found the markers and colored pencils for $0.97 each.  I want to make him a travel art folder too.
Of course the one I'm making will be a little more mature than the one above haha.  There is a great tutorial here if you're interested.

Is it bad that just looking back over this post I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed.  I think I need to take a trip to Hobby Lobby to calm my nerves :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Homemade Makeup Remover

I saw the recipe for makeup remover on my cousin-in-law's blog TheParsleyLife, and my love of homemade "stuff" took over, I HAD to make some. 

I'm horrible at washing my face before bed, it's a bad habit and I vowed to break it after making this remover.  It's so simple and chances are you have all the ingredients.  I bought my travel bottles at the Dollar Tree.  The package contained 2 shampoo bottles and 1 hairspray bottle.  I already priced the ones at Walmart and if I'm not mistaken they are about $0.97 each and come in bright colors.  I halved the original recipe so I wouldn't have any extra and it filled up both my travel shampoo bottles.

Here's what you need:

1/2c water
1T baby shampoo
a squirt of baby oil (I don't find there's a real need to be precise here, more or less won't hurt anything)
I have kept my promise to remove my makeup every night since making it and I have to say it works so much better than other stuff I've tried, and BONUS, it was a whole lot cheaper!

I've already had visions of making cute little labels for the front of the bottles and including them in gift baskets/bags for upcoming events and holidays.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Felt Matching Game

We are going out of state to visit my husband's family and I feel the need to create some new toys.   Nothing major just simple items.  1 of them I came across in blogland and etsy is a felt matching game.  So I took a sheet of felt and cut it into 3x3 squares.  Then took multiple fabric scraps and cut 2x2 squares (cut 2 squares of each fabric), then just stitched them to the felt square.  Super simple right?

Grant doesn't know how to match them up yet but we have been having fun making dog and monkey sounds when he picks up those squares and he also likes to stack them then throw them all over the floor, haha.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Mini Cupcake Mess & Blueberry Simple Syrup Recipe

This was the scene on my counter the other day as I was trying so hard to make the perfect red, white, and blue mini cupcakes for the 4th of July.

I made a vanilla cupcake  and divided it into 3 bowls using food coloring to color 1 bowl red and 1 blue, leaving the 3rd white.  I put each of the batters into ziploc bags and cut the tip off of one corner so I could easily pipe the batter into the mini cupcake liners.  The only problem with this is I didn't at all pay attention to how much of each I was putting in and ended up over filling each of the liners.  Of course I didn't realize how much I over filled them until they were baking.  All 24 of them overflowed and stuck to the stupid pan and I had no choice but to scrape them out with a butter knife.

I did manage to fill them correctly the 2nd time around and decided to do red and blue cupcakes with white frosting.  I didn't want just a plain vanilla cupcake because that sounded too boring to me so I decided to make a blueberry simple syrup to drizzle over the top and give it a nice flavor.

If you haven't ever tried making a simple syrup for your cakes or cupcakes now is your chance.  It's so easy I couldn't believe it myself. 

Blueberry Simple Syrup
1/2c water
1/2c sugar
1/2c blueberries (or fruit of your choice)
place all in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil.  I couldn't remember what I had read online as far as how long it needed to boil but I let mine go for about 5 minutes until the water turned a pretty purple/blue and the pot looked like this:

Allow to cool down.  Now poke holes in your cake/cupcakes with a toothpick and use a spoon to drizzle the syrup over top.  Make sure to put plenty of syrup on because this is where all the flavor is.  I made the mistake of being a little shy with my simple syrup and regretted it after frosting all my cupcakes and tasting one only to find I couldn't taste the blueberry flavor at all.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my finished mini's because we lost electric in the middle of my frosting them and by the time the sun came up in the morning all the cupcakes were gone. 


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