Saturday, November 15, 2008

Holiday Gifts

Here's post number one!

A box of goodies (decorated shoebox?) filled with things you have in your craft cupboards, for your favorite little nieces or nephews - pipe cleaners, a bag of feathers, felt, stickers, pompons, sequins, buttons, a bottle of glue, maybe a piece of sandpaper, cut-outs, cardstock shapes, popsicle sticks, little balls of yarn, beads, stars, whatever you've got!
I gave my niece such a box last year, and she loved it! She had lots of new supplies for decorating and crafting.

A pretty planter filled with forced bulbs. A beautiful pick-me-up for the long winter months. Either time it so that they bloom at Christmas/Yule, or for a bit after for staving off February's blues.

Tub teas are super easy, and much appreciated by most girls. You can either put some bulk in a jar accompanied with a new white washcloth tied with a ribbon to keep the tea inside or use a culinary cloth with a drawstring. The natural markets also sell little linen bags with a drawstring -- or you can make your own quite easily.
Lavender with bits of orange peel is a favorite, and of course Rose, also Raspberry or Strawberry leaf are very nice. You'll want to have fragrant oils for it too, and a fixative, such as dried orris root. (iris root) This will help to scent the teas, and keep the scent for longer.

I have a fabulous recipe for Bath Bombs - so delicious.
10 T baking soda
5 T cornstarch
5 T citric acid
1 1/2 T sunflower, sweet almond, or canola oil
1 1/2 T water
1/2 t Borax
1 T essential oil of your choice
Mix baking soda, cornstarch, and the citric acid. Mix the oil, water, borax and sent in a jar, making sure to shake it well. Drizzle the liquid mix over the dry ingredients, and mix it well with your hands. You can press them into molds, or I just shape them into balls, that are about 2-3 inches big. Let it set for at least 24 hours to harden, but then wrap it in plastic or cellophane or store in a container to keep the oils fixed to the balls. If I remember right, it makes 2-3 per batch, but it's been about three years since I've made them!

Bath Salts are nice, too.1 cup of epsom salts
10-20 drops of essential or fragrance oil
1 cup of sea salt
Mix up the salts, then take about a 1/2 cup out and put it into a little bowl. Add the oils (and food coloring if you like) to the salts, and mix well. When it's blended, mix this into the remaining salts. Repeat the process until you have the color and scent you want. Pour the salts into a pretty jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake it every day for a week to keep the salts loose.

A felt board is a good gift for a little one - I made one for Trev and Maddie one year out of stiff cardboard and a giant piece of felt. I cut out shapes of letters, numbers, shapes, figures, clothes, etc.

A puppet theatre can be made pretty easily out of a spring-rod curtain rod (or two) put into a doorway. Just cut and hem a hole in your "stage material" somewhere in the middle toward the top for the window. Sew a piece back on at the top for the backdrop curtain, if you like. Make or buy tickets and play money to go along with the theatre. Hand puppets can be made easily out of felt, also.

A dream pillow is a lovely addition to anyone's favorite pillow, just make a pillow-sized flat pillow with maybe 2-3 cups of lavender flowers sewn inside of it. You can decorate it with a couple of slim purple ribbons or bows, or some embroidery if you like. They can insert your pillow inside of their regular pillow case, have it tucked in with their pillow. I made one for my mother a few years ago - she enjoyed it for at least two or three years!

We have a hiker's plant press that we keep in our adventure pack. This year I'm making some for loved ones. You only need very thin plywood, cardboard, and acid free paper, and for binding - non-adhesive velcro and a sturdy plastic rectangular ring. Perfect for nature walks!

A few years ago I made a cloth carry-all for my colored pencils and charcoals. It's made out of linen, and I was careful to make extra padding for the pencil tips to protect those precious expensive pencils! I made extra pockets for a soft rubber, a sharpener, and a regular eraser. I just roll it up, it's much lighter than my tin for the pencils. My friend Julie is making one with a place for a sketch pad for a gift -- here's hoping she'll let us have a peak at how to go about doing that!


Julie said...

If I figure out how to do the crayon roll I'll definitely share, although not on my blog as family reads there:)

A couple things we will be making are Marshmallow Shooters, tie dye clothing and homemade art supplies.

I love the plant press idea! Thinking on who would like one:)

In years past, Lee has made stilts out of logs, and I have made matching games out of 1/2 inch thick approx. 3-inch diameter, log slices. I stamped various images on the pieces and then colored them in with fine tipped markers. Also have made Tree Blocks from various sized fruit tree branches (apple and cherry are great for this), then made a drawstring bag with the child's name on the outside from iron on embroidered letters. .

I hope others will share their ideas, as I'm hoping to give mostly handmade this year.

Stephanie S. said...

Julie - me too!

EC said...

Good grief, you're on a roll here. These are all fantastic!

Shelane said...

do you have a minute to type up more detailed instructions on the plant press? i've never seen one so i'm afraid i'll get it wrong if i just make it up.

Stephanie S. said...

I'll do it today. I'm gonna run to the craft store to get a couple of things (and to let the children flex their imaginations for gift-making) and I'll do it later today, or as soon as I can!