December 30, 2012
When Secret Santa was suggested at my job, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I’ve only been there a few months, and I’m still getting to know everyone. Plus, we had the stipulation of a $5 limit (good on the wallet, bad on the inspiration), so I really had to do a lot of thinking. But when I found out that you could make microwaveable hand warmers with felt and rice, I knew I had found the perfect gift! Our library is always either really hot or really cold, so I knew my giftee would love personalized hand warmers.
These are, in fact, very simple to make, and I’ve made more for family. Take fleece or flannel (double layer the flannel if it’s thin), cut into whatever hand-size shape you want, and sew most of the way around the edges. Fill with uncooked rice and add a little tea (I suggest peppermint), because the rice can smell a bit strange when heated. Finish sewing shut, and you’re all done! I want to make more and more, because they’re easy to make and make very quickly, so they’re satisfying.
To use, simply microwave for 30 seconds, and they’ll stay warm for 20-30 minutes! I need to make some for myself just to keep in my purse.
December 28, 2012
As I’ve mentioned on my food blog, I am totally and utterly in love with my Cuppow. This magical disk transforms a regular canning jar into an adult sippy cup!! I love mine so much, I had to give one to my friend (to whom I also gave homemade pickles, so really, it was just a way to reuse the jars I’d given her). She told me how much she loved it too, but complained that the glass was just to hot to use it for warm beverages. I told her I could fix that (not quite knowing how I would actually do that).
And since I’ve picked up knitting again, I can all of a sudden read knitting patterns. They have NEVER made any sense to me, and it was like I woke up one day speaking in tongues. I searched around for some knitted mug cozies, and I found people just as obsessed with their Cuppows as me.
The pattern I ended up using is from Miso Crafty Knits (which I found on Pinterest). It’s simple and yet looks very nice. I wasn’t entirely happy with how this turned out, but again, I’m just learning!! Considering a month ago, I never would have chosen to knit a gift for someone, let alone learn how to knit on double-pointed needles, I think I did a hell of a job!
December 26, 2012
When I was a kid, I got this magical ball of gifts wrapped in crepe paper. I don’t remember where I got it or what was in it (small trinkets of some sort, I’m sure), but I remember what a blast it was unwinding it to find all the things hidden inside. When I came across the same idea on Pinterest before Christmas, I knew I had to do something similar for my brother’s kids.
And then, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make one for everyone in my family. I knew my mom wasn’t going to do stockings this year, so I took it upon myself to make “stocking balls” – all the tiny things that would be in the stocking, all wrapped in a giant crepe paper ball!
I spent far more time than necessary, going through the dollar store and the dollar bins at Target and the sale racks at literally every store I went into. I picked some specific things for each person, plus more generic candies and toys that I knew everyone would like. I also made hand warmers for all the ladies (I would have made them for the guys too, but I ran out of time). All of these carefully selected items where wrapped up in crepe paper (one ball of paper was just right for one gift ball) and labelled with names.
One of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas was watching everyone open their balls and discovering what lay under each layer of paper. I loved making these, and I’m sure I’ll make them again. These would be cute for birthday gifts, too, especially if the main gift is something small like a gift card or some jewelry.
And one of the things I included in each ball was a pack of snowman gum! I thought this was super cute when I came across them on Pinterest, and since everyone in my family loves gum and these looked so simple to make, I knew I had to add them in. The only problem with these is that the orange pen I used for the noses wasn’t right – should have been a Sharpie – and it faded fairly quickly. The black Sharpie for the eyes and mouth was perfect. Oh well, just another excuse to buy some more pens!
December 12, 2012
I almost feel silly posting about this, but I think it’s so damn cute, I just had to. My brother’s kids came over last week to help decorate our Christmas tree with handmade ornaments. I brought all kinds of crafty things for them to use (but the paint was by far the most popular). After they left, I had a few clear glass ornaments left, so I was looking for something quick but cute to put up.
Luckily, I had pinned this adorable melted snowman ornament on Pinterest, and it was made out of things any self-respecting cook would have in her kitchen – salt (I used crazy-huge crystals), peppercorns, and a little piece of paper colored orange and rolled up tight. You don’t have to worry about messing it up by shaking it around – the peppercorns and paper are lighter than the salt, so they’ll stay on top. Simple and adorable.
Posted as part of the Pin It and Do It challenge.