Handmade Gifts (and other reasons I’m patting myself on the back right now)

So, I said I wouldn’t return to the regularly scheduled blogging for another two weeks (holidays are hard!), but I did want to do a little show-and-tell with some of the gifts I gave this year, particularly the handmade ones.


As you may remember, Josh and I made the (ambitious) commitment to making all of our Christmas gifts for family by hand.  We knew this would help us save money and create truly personalized gifts, but we also wanted to see if we were up to challenge!  You have already seen some of the gifts (via previous blog post), but I’m going to show them again anyway.  Because I can.

Here we go:

For my mother, I took a song that reminds us of each other (“You Are My Sunshine”), printed it out (it turned out to be three pages) and framed it in three black Ikea frames.  And then I proceeded to wrap it up, ship it off, and not take a darn picture.

(Insert tear-jerking picture here)

Oh well…

For my mother-in-law, I gave the beloved linen spray:

homemade linen spray

You remember that stuff I made here?  I gave it to her as a Christmas gift (along with a host of other bath/good smelling/candles-girly things).  I think this stuff is fun for any occasion, and definitely a great alternative to Febreze… or other sprays with ingredients that are more than five syllables long.

For my orange-wearin’, University of Tennessee supporting father, I gave him the string nail art of the state of Tennessee (check out the tutorial here).

Tennessee nail string art

After the warm fuzzies of successfully completing a crafty venture set in, I decided to do the same for my Georgia-born brother-in-law, this time making Atlanta the heart and point from which all of the strings “radiated.”  Not the winning-est pics, but that’s because I only remembered at the last minute that I should snap a few before giving it away.

state string art nail georgia

Instead of buying a $10 pre-cut piece of wood from Michael’s like the last time, I decided to go with a wooden cutting board from the local dollar store (it wasn’t Dollar Tree, so the board was actually $3.99).  Then I sprayed it with a wood stain and painted the sides lime green (my fave detail).

state string art nail georgia

state string art nail georgia

The wooden cutting board came with its own hanger, and I let it remain, in hopes that my “utilitarian” brother-in-law will hang it on the walls of his spartan apartment (fingers crossed).

For my brother, we made a set of Scrabble magnets (heart-warming story found here… well, mildly heart-warming).

scrabble magnets

For Josh’s dad (my father-in-law), we decided to take advantage of a slightly long-term endeavor of mine.  Being a big fan of beer and an even bigger fan of preserving our planet, I have held onto to nearly all bottle caps whose removal I have been responsible for over the last year.  Other members of my family have been helpful in this endeavor as well (I didn’t really have to twist their arms).  At the time, I didn’t have a clear plan for said bottle caps, but I knew I would figure something out (I even have a Pinterest board devoted exclusively to this interest: check it out).

Well, I gave it the ol’ college try, and I came up with a fun art project:

bottle cap frame

I took a Ben Franklin quote (since then, I have learned that he may have not actually said this quote, but whatever), printed it off on regular printer paper, made a matte of hot-glue-gunned beer caps and stuck it in a shadow box (thanks again, Ikea).

In keeping with the beer cap theme, I decided to make some beer cap magnets for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend (who also came to visit us in NYC).  Then I liked them so much, I almost kept them… but Josh said no.  “Oooookkaaaayyy, Jooosh…”

beer cap magnets

I took the beer caps and attached a small magnet with hot glue, but not before I added a spacer to fill the cavity of the beer cap.  And what did I make the spacer out of???  Champagne corks!  Turns out that a champagne cork fits perfectly inside a bottle cap, so after I glue the cork to the bottom of the cap, I used a serrated knife (and took my time) and sawed of the remaining part (and you’ll bet I used the rest for the other bottle caps).


beer bottle cap magnets

Two upcycling efforts in one!

beer cap magnets

For my sister-in-law’s gift, I re-used the same method from the previous post about tile coasters, but this time I used images from her favorite movie of all time, Nightmare Before Christmas (when asked whether she considers it more of a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie, she enthusiastically replies “It’s an ANYTIME movie!”).

nightmare before christmas tile coasters

nightmare before christmas coasters

nightmare before christmas coasters

Handmade Christmas Gifts?  Check!

Oh yeah, and of course the handmade gifty-ness extended to the gifts Josh and I gave each other!

But more on that tomorrow…

In the meantime, subscribe (duh) and check out these links to previous posts (you know, in case you’re wondering how I made some of this stuff).

Handy Dandy Links:

Tile Coasters

State Nail/String Art

Linen Spray (Febreze alternative)

Scrabble Magnets


11 thoughts on “Handmade Gifts (and other reasons I’m patting myself on the back right now)

  1. Thanks, Raelynn! The string art — once you actually start doing it — is really easy…. just stressful at first, or at least for me, i.e., someone who stresses out over ridiculous things like string art:) You should try it! (and if you do, please share pics!)

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  3. This comment’s really late, but we had an awesome, crafty, GPP-inspired Christmas too! All three sets of parents got coasters – and they turned out FABULOUS! 2 sets were with pics of each family member, and the 3rd set was of Adam’s mom’s favorite TV shows. I found perfectly-sized boxes at Michael’s that fit exactly FIVE finished coasters, and voila! Also, since my li’l sis and bro both have vinyl albums out (Lille and Pacific Theater, respectively), I donated money to a good cause (support your siblings!) and made record bowls for some other family members (Grandma, etc). Thanks for all the excellent suggestions and how-to’s, Courtney! <3 A & A

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