Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Festive Handmade Holiday Gifts

It's finally raining here in Southern California.  The heavy mist almost looks like snow!  It's as close to a white flurry as we get.   Time to fire up the logs in the fireplace, stay in our pajamas all day, sip hot cocoa, and...craft! 

Handmade holiday gifts are the best, especially those that are quick to make, inexpensive and say "Happy Holidays" in a special way. They are great for teachers, neighbors and other special people.

Today I'm going to show you how to embellish clear acrylic pails and turn them into festive holiday gifts for both Christmas and Chanukah (Hanukkah).  They can easily be adapted to any other holiday as well.


Clear acrylic pails  [I found 4-1/2" pails in different colors] 
Small 2" acrylic pails 
Shredded, crinkly paper
Crafting embellishments
Holiday Treats [to fill the pails]

Christmas Pail Fillers:   Assorted holiday candies, coffee, gift card, candles and playing cards.

Embellishments:  Choose ribbons, stickers, buttons, tags, and a rubber stamp with a holiday greeting.

The How-To:  Embellish the outside of a large pail.  I adhered beaded ribbon around the top of the pail.   Line the bottom inside of the pail with shredded paper.

Stamp a festive greeting onto a tag and tie to pail with ribbons.
Cover lid with pretty paper and rhinestones. 

I recommend decoupaging the paper to the lid to resist tearing.

Add the Christmas items to the large pails.  Fill smaller pails with candies such as m&m's or jelly bellies.  You can find holiday assortments or mix and match several bags of solid m&m's.

Here is what you'll need to make the Chanukah gift pail:

Fillers:  Chocolate gelt, dreidels, candles and matches.

The How-To:  Stamp a festive greeting onto a tag and tie to pail with ribbons.

Adhere ribbon around the outside of the pail.  For this one, I used two different ribbons, one at the top and one at the bottom.  Add shredded paper to inside bottom of pail; top lid with pretty paper or a sparkly bow.

Add contents to pail.

These pails are so versatile.  They make great table favors.  You can dress them up for many occasions including New Year's, the Super Bowl, Birthdays and Anniversaries.  You're just limited by your imagination and occasion!  
Handmade Holiday Treats

You may be able to find me sharing these ideas here 
as well as these new link parties:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hanukkah, Oh Chanukah

Any which way you spell it, the Festival of Lights will be here before you know it.  This year, Chanukah begins Tuesday evening, December 16.  It's just two weeks away, but you have plenty of time to create unique Chanukah decor and gifts.

Handmade Hanukkah Gifts

One of my favorite projects is this "Chanukah-in-a-Jar."  There are many variations of recipes in a jar for delicious cookies, soups, natural scrubs, and more.  In fact, I've even altered tennis ball cans for brownies-in-a-tennis-ball-can recipes. 

For this project, I use a clear plastic pail that is 6" tall with a 4" diameter.  It has a lid as well as a handle, which lends itself nicely for attaching ribbons and tags.

Start by gathering craft supplies to embellish the container.  Include printed and solid scrapbook or gift wrapping paper, ribbon, punches, stamps, ink, tags, charms, metal labels, etc.

Chanukah decor

At this point, embellish the pail.  This is what I did.  Cut a strip of cardstock 2" x 18".  If using a 12" x 12" piece of paper, you will have to cut two pieces and tape them together.  Then cut a coordinating piece of your printed or gift wrap paper  to 1-1/2" x 18"  Using a dry adhesive, tape these two long pieces together.  Adhere ribbon to center of strip.

Using a 2-1/2" circle punch, cut a circle with glitter paper.  Punch out two smaller circles (I used a scalloped punch, too) from the solid cardstock.  Stamp image on smaller circle.

Adhere long strips to pail.  Then adhere the circles to the pail, covering up the seams.  (This then becomes the front of the pail.)
Chanukah crafts

Using varied textures and widths, cut 6" strands of coordinating ribbon to pail handle.  Cover the inset of the lid with paper using decoupage sealer.  When dry, adhere label printed on cardstock and metal label holder to lid.  Tie charm to metal holder.
Hanukkah-in-a-Jar craft

Stamp "Happy Hanukkah" and "To/From" images to tags.

stamped holiday tags

You can find wooden dreidels at most party stores or in the Chanukah section of your local large discount store this time of year.  Decoupage top of the dreidel, using 1-1/4" square punch.  Punch a small hole in center of the paper square, which will fit over the dreidel stem.
playing dreidel

Then choose the "ingredients" for your jar.  I suggest an entire box of 44 menorah candles (enough candles for each night), the large dreidel, a small box of matches, chocolate gelt and candle blessings. 

For the blessings, I printed the Hebrew, transliteration and translation on both sides of a 4" x 6" cardstock, rolled it up and tied it with blue & white twine.
Chanukah gelt
 The match box is embellished with cardstock and a stamped image that reads "Happy Hanukkah".

Arrange the candles and other "ingredients" inside the pail. 

That's it!  Here is the completed Chanukah-in-a-Jar:
Handmade Hanukkah GiftPin It

If you would like a copy of the blessings document, leave a comment with your email, and I will be glad to send you a copy.

These Chanukah-in-a-Jar make great gifts for children, grandchildren, teachers and hostess gifts.

You may also like these holiday projects:
hanukkah crafts

Hanukkah coaster and tray decor

Linking up here

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Thanksgiving "Giving Thanks" Journal

                Thanksgiving Journal
Pin It

Today I'm sharing an altered art project just in time for Thanksgiving, a "Giving Thanks" Journal. 


                            Giving Journal.
Giving Thanks Journal
Giving Thanks.  Thanksgiving.  Any way you say it, it's important to recognize and appreciate everyone and everything you have to be thankful for:  your loving family, best friends, your cuddly little puppy dog, your favorite teacher.  You get the idea.

A great way to remind yourself about all the wonderful people and things going on in your life is to create a "Giving Thanks" Journal. 

First, gather your supplies.  Select your paper, and then go through your craft stash, choosing embellishments you may want to use in altering your journal including ribbon, buttons, brads, metal findings, flowers, tags, chipboard, etc.  

Next, measure the front of your notebook, and cut the paper to size. 

Since my notebook has a spiral edge, I used a spiral punch down one side of the paper and carefully decoupaged it onto the notebook cover, gently sliding the paper underneath the spirals.  You will get a better seal if you apply decoupage to both surfaces.  In this case, I coated the front of the journal as well as the back of the paper.

After a few minutes, you can then decoupage the top of the paper.  This will help the surface resist wear and tear.

Now comes my favorite step:  Embellishments! 

I am a self-appointed ribbon queen.  I just love how ribbon adds so much color and texture to a project.  I cut 7" lengths of eight different ribbons, and tied them around the spirals. 
Creative Journal

I added a metal frame and coordinating cardstock. I typed out "GIVING THANKS JOURNAL" using my label maker (which I have owned since the 1960's!), and centered the labels inside the metal frame.

Then I punched out six divider tabs and glued them to the journal pages, creating six sections.

I added the words, 
Thanks, Hopes, Actions, Noteworthiness, Kindness and Sincerity.  
When you put the first letters of each word together, it spells THANKS.

This journal has a pocket on the inside front page which I embellished with paper, ribbon and a metal heart paperclip.  I tied ribbons through manila tags, which will be used as bookmarks).  If your journal does not have a pocket, you can add one to the inside back cover.

A few more embellishments including extra ribbon, sunflowers and brads complete the journal.

This would be a great time to start a new tradition in your family.  Pass around the journal at the Thanksgiving table, and ask everyone to jot down who and what they are thankful for, their hopes, their actions, etc.   Bring it out every year and add to it, read the previous year's notes, and continue adding to it year after year.

Wouldn't this be a great journal to pass down to future generations?  
Thanksgiving Journal
Pin It

I hope this altered "Giving Thanks" Journal inspires you to add something special to your Thanksgiving traditions.

And here's a quick and easy Thanksgiving project:

Put your party hat on at:

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Friday, October 17, 2014

Crafts for the Sports Fan


Yes. Yes. Yes.
The Giants Win the 2014 World Series!
Congratulations to my home team.

and now back to the original post:

"The Giants Win the Pennant!" 

After five nail-biting playoff games, my favorite baseball team is going to the World Series--for the third time in five years!  So how do you celebrate baseball by crafting?

Two years ago, I altered a tin can to celebrate their 2012 world series win.   You can see it here.   

I've updated this sporty & sweet idea using 6" hinged jars, which I'm sending to two of my favorite Giants fans living in San Francisco.     
SF Giants
After printing out the team logo, I made two versions, the one above, accented with orange & white twine, and the one pictured below, with black & white twine. 
Baseball Crafts
With Halloween and Autumn in the air, it is easy to find orange chocolate kisses.  Just look for the bag with the orange, silver and red kisses, and eat save the red ones, leaving you with the perfect blend of orange and silver to complement the SF Giants colors.

This idea is easily adaptable to any sports team.  With football season in full swing (oops, still got baseball on my brain), think of all the color possibilities you can conjure up!   What's your favorite team?  Have fun with this idea.  And in the meantime, I'll be glued to my TV next week to "root-root-root for the home team!"

Partying here and also at The Answer is ChocolateFrench Country Cottagelou lou girlsBack to the Basics Tuesdays with a Twist