Things that (P)inspire Me: Teacher/Neighbor Gifts

**To read previous post in this series, go here.

This week’s “Things that (P)inspire Me” post could be best friends with the “Twelve Weeks of Christmas” series… total B.F.F.  This week, I want to look at Teacher/Neighbor gifts, but with a GPP spin — thrifty, crafty, and heart-warming (I just added the “heartwarming” part for today…. it seemed appropriate).

As I mentioned in this previous post, I think it’s important to remember teachers, neighbors, and any service providers during the holiday season, as they are often underpaid and under-appreciated.  This doesn’t mean you need to give them something particularly personal, as you are not necessarily “friends” with them, but some gesture will always be well-received (I speak from 6+ years as a teaching artist).

So, I have turned to Pinterest as a vehicle for organizing these ideas, and along the way I’ve offered my own tips.  A lot of these “pins” are things I have tried before but didn’t get any pictures.  As always, please click on the image for a link to the source website.


Epsom Salt & Sugar scrub

Ooohh… spa-tastic.  I made these last year for my mom, mother-in-law, and Josh’s aunts (so does that make them my aunts-in-law?).  At the time, I just used epsom salt, pure olive oil, and Vitamin E oil, but I like this recipe even more (and it’s just as easy/cheap).  Here’s a pic (it’s from Do It Yourself Crafts).

I especially like these during winter because they exfoliate as well as moisturize.

DIY Sewing Kits

Pinned Image

This super cute sewing kit was made over at  The creator of this particular project was inspired by a similar (but far less cute) sewing kit at Anthropologie, originally priced for $48.00 (what!??!?).  This could easily be done for less than $4.  Dollar Tree has sewing kits for $1, mason jars can easily be purchased at any craft store or Wal-mart.  The top part is a pin cushion, and that could be made just by gluing polyfill (or balled-up plastic grocery bags), and covering with fabric.  Perhaps another option for a more firmly packed pin cushion would be to fill a nylon knee high with sand, tie the end, then cover with fabric.  Attach a label or tag, and ba-bam!

I want one!

Heating Pads and Hand Warmers

Pinned Image

This particular project comes from The In Between Girls, however I have been using the same method for years.  These hearts are actually meant to be used as hand warmers, but if they were made bigger, they’d be great as heating pads to treat sore muscles.  My grandmother has made countless heating pads this way (she sewed them).  I did the non-sewing kind myself, and all it took was a clean tube or knee high sock (though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this kind of presentation with a gift), filled with rice, and closed with a knot on the end.  Stick in the microwave for about a minute, and that’s it!  When filling with rice, I would recommend not letting it be too packed in, because you want it to have some flexibility, especially if you want to be able to wrap it around your neck (but not in a creepy way).

Linen Spray

homemade linen spray

homemade linen spray

Yeah, I pinned myself.  I made these the other day, but I really believe they’d be perfect for acquaintances like teachers and neighbors.  In case you missed it, here’s a link to check out the whole tutorial.

Obviously, these ideas have a bit of a girly touch to them, so maybe your loyal mailman or child’s T-ball coach wouldn’t appreciate linen spray or heart-shaped hand warmers as much as…. sayme (“Cold hands are for sissies!”).

That’s where baked goods come in!  Here’s a link to a GREAT resource for even more teacher/neighbor gifts for both genders:  Sassy Sites: 161 Gift Ideas.  If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a lot of fun ideas for the DIY-challenged.  I’ll admit some of these are a bit kitschy-er than I would probably do, but they could definitely be a good jumping off point for you.  Here are two (less kitschy) examples:

S’mores Kit


Cowgirl Cookies (or cowboy)

Put all the ingredients into a jar and attach directions.  Mmm……

Cowgirl Cookies

Hope these help you in the gift scramble!   (Christmas is only two weeks away, after all — Eesh!)

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Other things you might like…

Things that (P)inspire Me

Twelve Weeks of Christmas

This hilarious picture of Ryan Gosling:

It’s like he’s speaking directly to me?  Right?!?