“Don’t come in here. We’re talking about Christmas…”

(Refresh your memory about that phrase by reading this post. Or don’t, because it’ll probably make you curl into a ball and cry a little.)

With Christmas smack dab around the corner (seriously? how is it December already?!), I’ve been busy trying to come up with some different gift ideas than what I usually do. This would be my normal, quite sane process:

…and then I die. It happens every year.

My goals this year are to:

1) Make by hand as many of the gifts as possible

2) Use thrifted and recycled materials

3) Keep the cost to a minimum

4) Not die. (A very wise goal, I do believe.)

I figured most people in my close knit group of friends and family won’t mind that I’m taking this route, being that they get something absolutely unique to them. I could be totally wrong though. They could all be waiting in anticipation for an expensive, store bought present from my SOON TO BE STAY-AT-HOME SELF, knowing that I’M ON A STRICT BUDGET but that would mean THEY’RE NOT IN TOUCH WITH THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON and would be quite SCROOGE-LIKE if you ask me. I just don’t expect that of these people. THEY LOVE HANDMADE GIFTS FROM THE HEART and VALUE THE THOUGHT AND EFFORT THAT GOES INTO THEM.

(I call that a subliminal guilt trip. It’s subtle, but it works.)

Anyway, here are a few goodies I’ve made so far.

Dessert/cupcake stands, made from pretty vintage plates and candlesticks. (Do you like my lone, strategically placed ribbon in the background there? I was feeling artistic at that moment. Don’t mind me.)

One of several yarn wreaths I’ve made so far. Wrapping that yarn takes some time, but man do they turn out cute. I may or may not be keeping this one in my entry forever and ever amen. (Did I say I was going to give these as gifts? Oh, right.)

What’s kind of lame is that I can’t share everything I’ve been making because most of the recipients read my blog, but I’ll eventually show you the rest. There are a lot of hair clips and pins and other things of that girlish nature.

So what about you? Having a handmade Christmas this year?

DIY – Anthropologie Inspired Flag Bunting Necklace

I absolutely love this necklace, but with the $70 price tag I was like, ummmmmm… let me try.

(What can I say? I be cheap.)

Supplies:

  • leather scraps (I found mine on clearance at the fabric store, but you could just as easily cut up an old purse or jacket or… pants? hee)
  • acrylic paint & paintbrush
  • necklace chain & jump rings
  • thin ribbon
  • scissors
  • a thick needle

Cut out several triangles from your leather. I ended up using 9 for this necklace.

This part was definitely an experiment. Being that I was using only supplies I had on hand at home & was trying to make this as cheap of a project as possible, acrylic paint was my only option. I’m no expert on paint, but I’m sure there’s another type that will last longer and hold up better. For now though, this works.

I poked teeny little holes in the flags with a needle, looped the jump rings through, and linked them all together side by side. About halfway through this process I thought to myself, “AHHH. Why didn’t I just glue this to the chain?”. It would’ve been a lot easier to assemble it that way, but I am no quitter. No siree.

(But I really, really wanted to.)

Attach the necklace chain to both ends of the linked flags. Tie a sweet little ribbon to the chain and call it a day… you’re done, sista.

The total cost for this knock-off necklace was about $5, since the only thing I purchased was the leather. Not too shabby!

DIY Scrap Paper Garland

Maddie has grown up so fast and is now entering the little girl stage (sob), so I wanted to start incorporating some new colors into her room to make it less babyish. There is a lot of light pink and white already, so I picked some pretty blues and greens out of my ever-growing paper scrap collection and made a super simple paper garland. I think it’s a good start!

Supplies

  • Scrapbook paper in coordinating colors/patterns
  • Thin twine (found in the gift wrap section at Michael’s)
  • Scrapbook Punch (I used one with a scalloped edge and a smaller circle, but you can always just cut them out by hand, old school)
  • Glue

Use your scrapbook punches to make several circles of various sizes and colors. This was so easy, Maddie helped me. Seriously.

Set the punched paper circles out so you know what you have and decide what kind of a pattern you want to use for your garland. I ended up alternating the cut outs by big-small-big-small, but you can really do whatever you want and it will still turn out to be quite adorable. (My OCD took control in the above photo. You really don’t have to stack them in neat little piles… Don’t mind me.)

For each little piece, you’re going to need two matching circles. You simply sandwich the twine between the two cut outs and hold them together with a dab of glue in the center. I really hope that makes sense. It’s a lot easier to do than it is to explain!

Keep sandwiching and gluing until your garland has reached the desired length. Voila!

Tack it to a plain wall for some added cheer, hang it above your bed, use it to wrap a gift, drape several strands across the ceiling to decorate for a party… and on and on and on. Have fun with it!

Tutorial – Fancy Ruffled Shoe Clips

Shoe clips are a fun little accessory that can add life and bit of fanciness to a pair of plain old shoes.

After seeing all sorts of adorable embellished flats and heels that J. Crew has come out with lately, I wanted to try my hand at it. I hope these instructions are clear enough and you are able to get some use out of it!

Ballet Flats from J. Crew – $185.00

Supplies:

  • Lightweight synthetic fabric (it’s wrinkly because I was tired and lazayyy)
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Needle & thread
  • Ink Pen (use a pencil… I couldn’t find one. I know, who doesn’t have a pencil??)
  • Shoe Clips… I bought a ton from The Creative Seed on Etsy for just a few dollars

Instructions:

Trace 16 circles onto your fabric — 8 for each shoe. I used one of my little Anthro bowls as a guide and they turned out to be a pretty good size, but I’d aim for 3 inches in diameter. You can even get all fancy and precise if you have a compass lying around somewhere. I use bowls. I is science.

Cut out the fabric circles.

Start with one circle. Fold it in half…

…and in half again.

Run your needle through the fabric at the part that comes to a point. You’ll see what I mean when you get here.

Repeat the fold-fold-stitch process with 7 more circles. You should have a stack that looks something like the above photo. Knot the thread a few times to secure the stack, and you will see the fabric form a little ruffled cluster.

Flip the fabric over and glue a shoe clip over the knotted thread. I pinched a bit of felt between the clip and used it as a bit of extra surface for the glue to adhere.

Repeat the last five steps with the remaining 8 fabric circles to create another ruffled bunch. That’s it!

Hmm… I think little red posies would also be quite adorable worn on a pair of black heels.

OH LOOK!

What a coincidence! har har.  I suppose you could even make some sweet little bows or some felt rosettes as well!

Oh Lord. I may never get to sleep tonight.

DIY Billy Buttons

These little flowers are so adorable, it kills me.

I can’t remember where I first saw them, but it’s been quite a while since they’ve been on my GIMME list. The only thing is, I’ve never seen them for sale anywhere in my town and I don’t really feel like spending a crap ton on them online… they’re freaking expensive!

Lucky me, as I was making my weekly craft store run I happened upon some little bags of little yellow ball things that look pretty similar. My sister in law was with me and I’m pretty sure she thought I was a mental case by the way I snatched them from the display, said MINE! and started petting them. (only slightly kidding.)

They didn’t have any stems, so I used some wooden skewers and improvised.

Not bad for $3, right? My night stand is much more cheery now.

You can find them at Joann’s… that is, unless you live here in Fresno where I already bought them all… MINE!