Tag Archives: gifts

Make It Monday – Quick and Easy DIY Gift For The Guys

Now that I’ve posted an easy and inexpensive Christmas gift idea for the ladies, let’s focus on the guys. Besides food, (because what guy doesn’t like food?) it can sometimes be hard to come up with a unique gift for the men in your life. There are only so many tools, ties, and gadgets out there, and it can get tiring trying to find something you haven’t already given them. If you’re stuck trying to find a gift for the guy who has everything, think practical. One of the easiest materials in the world to work with is fleece. Choose a blizzard fleece (it won’t fray or pill) in a solid or print – favorite sports teams are a hit – and you can make all kinds of things! A no-sew blanket or scarf, a beanie, bag, the list goes on and on. One of my favorite things to make, though, are hand or foot warmers.

What you need:

Sewing machine and basic sewing skills

Scraps to 1 yd. blizzard fleece (depending on the number of warmers you’re making)

Scissors or pinking shears

Dry rice

Optional – manly essential oils, like sandalwood, citrus, or even lavender or peppermint

How to Make It:

For hand warmers, cut 4 squares from the fleece, approximately the size of a manly palm. Stack two squares together and sew around the edges (get fancy by using zig zag or specialty stitches.) Leave about an inch long gap in the seam to fill the pouch with rice. Fill it so that the pouch is firm, but still flexible and not overly full – you want to be able to sew the gap without rice spilling everywhere! Add a drop or two of essential oil into the pouch, and sew up the gap. Repeat for the other two squares, and you’ve made handwarmers your favorite guy can pop in the microwave for 30 seconds and stick in his pockets before heading out into the cold.

An alternative to the handwarmers is the foot warmer. The idea is the same, but the shape and size is different. Cut a rectangle, approximately 1.5 feet long and 6 inches wide, from your fleece. Sew and fill the pouch like the instructions for the hand warmers above. The warmer can be placed in the microwave for about a minute and a half, and placed under the covers at the foot of the bed, under a blanket, or could even be used on pillows or on top of socks and slippers before putting them on.

To go along with the cold weather theme, you can whip up a quick batch of window defroster (fill a spray bottle with 3 parts white vinegar and 1 part water) and tie it up with a scarf, or with something equally useful, like bungee cord or rope. They’ll appreciate the fact that even the “wrapping” is part of the gift!

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Whatever Weekend – ‘Tis The Season To Be Pregnant

Ok, this is just getting out of hand! We know 5, count ’em, 5 couples expecting babies. One of our friends has a cute shirt that says “’tis the season to be pregnant,” and it couldn’t be more accurate, apparently!

I am not one of those people we know who is pregnant, by the way. Just to clear that up. 🙂

I do, however, love shopping for baby gifts and mommy gifts. Really, babies get the cutest clothes, comfy blankets, cool toys … and they don’t even remember it later. Moms on the other hand, will remember a good baby-related gift for a long time.

Ring Sling Baby Carrier by SnuggyBaby

PDF Pattern 3 Peas In A Pod by tiedyediva

Natural Wee Skull Teething Toy by littlealouette

Cream Crochet Monkey Ear Flap Beanie by PurdyThings

The Feeder Frock Nursing Cover by LaDyLaDuke

Lots of love and respect to all of my mommy friends, and congratulations to all of the mommies-to-be!

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Make It Monday – A Long, Hot Bath

It’s official, I’ve caught the cold that’s been going around. Of course, it waited to set in until I was babysitting a friend’s kiddos! So, since I’m feeling, well, snotty, I’ll keep this Make It Monday short and sweet. Here’s a quick concoction for a wintertime bath that’s especially helpful when you’re sick, and that also makes a great, inexpensive DIY gift.

1 Cup Epsom Salts (or 1/2 C Dead Sea, 1/2 C Epsom Salts)

3-4 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Add the salts and oil directly to a warm to hot bath. The Epsom and/or Dead Sea salts help relax fatigued and sore muscles, while the peppermint oil helps open sinuses, stimulate the skin (a bit of an icy/hot effect mixed with the hot water), ease headache and lift your mood. It doesn’t hurt that it makes you smell like a candy cane, either! Drink a cup of tea, and enjoy the silence or some relaxing music while you soak.

Note: Only use pure essential oil, and avoid contact with eyes. While the oil will be diluted in the water, you may want to wait to wash your face in the sink after your bath.

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Make It Monday – Simple, Elegant Holiday Earrings

A pair of simple, sparkly earrings made using vintage beads.

If you’re looking for a quick, festive holiday accessory or a simple gift or stocking stuffer for female family and friends, a pair of earrings is a pretty safe bet. Provided one of your friends doesn’t have piereced ears (you could always invest in some clip-ons), it’s the one piece of jewelry that women are most likely to accessorize with. Even if they don’t wear necklaces, bracelets or rings, they’re likely to put in (and probably keep in) a simple pair of earrings that go with everything. Start an assembly line of beads and wire for this project, and you’ll be done in no time!

Here’s what you need:

Earring hooks in silver, gold, or steel

Matching headpins or wire

Decorative beads (plastic or glass; clear, silver, and gold are classic choices)

Round nose plyers

Needlenose plyers

How to make the earrings:

Step 1: Once you’ve decided which beads to use, place them in the order you like on a headpin. You can play around with shape – use 3 different size beads (small to large) to creat a teardop, for example. Repeat for the second headpin. If you’re planning on making all of the earrings the same, go ahead and repeat for all of the headpins.

Step 2: Taking a beaded headpin in one hand, use the round nose plyers to grasp the open end and curl it into a loop. Before you’ve closed the circle completely, bend the plyers back in the opposite direction a bit, so that the wire at the bottom of the circle is crimped. This centers the loop above the wire, gives the earrings better balance, and makes them look more professional.

Step 3: Place the earring hook in the circle you’ve made, and close the wire using needlenose plyers to gently push the end in.

That’s it! You can customize the length of the earrings by clipping the headpins to different lengths with wire cutters, or leave them long for a dangly earring with lots of motion, adding as many or as few beads as you like. You can place the earrings in jewelry boxes to giftwrap, or punch holes in cardstock squares to insert the earring hooks and attach to packages (a needle works well; the closer the hole is to the size of the hook, the less likely it will be that the hook slips off the card.) The ladies in your life will appreciate the beautiful jewelry, and you’ll appreciate spending less money and less time searching for the perfect gift!

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Whatever Weekend – Happy Anniversary, Have Some Shoes

Tomorrow, my husband and I will be married for 2 years! He’s taking the day off, and we’re going to spend the whole day together. I’m going to fix him one of his favorite breakfasts – strawberries and biscuits, and we’re going to do whatever we darn well please.

I don’t know what the traditional 2 year gifts are (I think year 1 was paper,) but this year he got a coffee pot, and I got some shoes. Yep. And we gave them to each other early, because, let’s be honest, we have nowhere to hide a coffee pot and a pair of boots and flats from each other. It’s like trying to play hide and seek in our apartment – it just doesn’t work. To be fair, I do have a couple of little surprises for him tomorrow, but that’s about it – shoes and coffee. To be fair, Tom loves coffee and can’t live without it, and a dripping caraffe was really getting on his nerves. He was happy to get a new coffee pot; actually, he asked for it. And honestly, I love shoes, and I couldn’t think of anything else to ask for. My beloved boots are beginning to fall apart, and I need a new pair. 

It’s ironic that a barefoot runner bought his wife shoes, that a girl who’d rather have a good cup of tea bought her husband a coffee pot, and you might laugh at the mundane nature of the gifts, but why get something the other won’t use? We’re easily amused and completely content, and genuinely want to make sure the other is happy with their gift. So what if they weren’t wrapped? So what if we didn’t wait until tomorrow to exchange them? Now, every morning Tom makes coffee, he’ll think of me, and every time I slip on my favorite pair of shoes, I’ll think of him.

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Favorites & Freebies – Forts, Fawkes & Friday

Well, I guess all the holiday rush has finally caught up with me. I didn’t blog two days this week, and I’m starting to feel the stress of the season. Since I forgot our “Thoughtful Thursday” post, I’d just like to share how thankful I am for all of the people who have offered their help and support as I branch out into unknown territory. The volunteers have come out of the woodwork for the festival next month, and I couldn’t be more excited!

So, This pretty much sums up my Friday today:

You. Me. Fort Cute & Goofy Greeting Card by VixensEmpire

It’s chilly outside, I’m wearing my husband’s hoodie and flannel pajama pants, curled up under a quilt Granny made us. It’s a fort kinda day! I’m going to hunker down and get crafty.

On another fun note, happy Guy Fawkes Day! For those of you living in Britain, or who’ve seen or read “V for Vendetta,” you know what I’m talking about. “Remember, remember, the 5th of November. The gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.” For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a little wikihistory to bring you up to speed.

Now for the good stuff.

For your slightly more sophisticated side, belledecoutoure is giving away these elegant and whimsical pebble earrings by hperl:

Check out this free, yummy sounding twist on banana nut bread recipe from iplayoutsidethebox. What a cool thing to bring to the family’s Thanksgiving celebration! I’ve found that pineapple is also a great addition to sweet potato dishes. You might want to check it out if you’ve never tried it.

Here’s a freebie from digitalpaperprincess – a November calendar PDF file. Replace the picture with your own, and print out a size small enough to slip in your purse! You can even laminate it and stick it on the fridge for an instant dry-erase calendar that you can use again next year.

I hope everyone has had a great first week of November!

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Weird Wednesday – Gnomes and Ninjas

This is one of the first things I saw this morning, and it made me smile:

Felt Gnome and Ninja Fingerpuppets by FeltLunchbox

So, I thought I’d check out some other gnomes and ninjas on etsy:

Gnoming Around Gnome Reusable Snack Bag by sacksavers

Baby Ninja Plush by vivikas

Hiding From The Rain Art Print by pipodoll

Lego Ninja Cufflinks by Cufflinks

I won’t be surprised to see Ninja gnomes start sneakily popping up around the custom order requests!

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