Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A very crafty Christmas

Like most of the Western World seems to now be (and as I have mentioned *ahem* once or twice) I am addicted to Pinterest. This year at Christmas it has given me quite a lot of inspiration to make a lot of gifts for people.

As I am not generally a very crafty person, I decided to share my creations with my lovely readers. Especially as they had lovely reactions too!

Cellophane, curling ribbon and LOTS of sellotape were definitely my friends, and I got quite skilled at wrapping up pretty much anything in a pretty way - presentation really is everything.

Personalised mugs
These were very nearly a Pinterest fail. designs on porelain baked at 300C for 35 minutes is RUBBISH! However do that 3 times and then swear a lot as the designs rub off with your thumb and then bake the crap out of the mug at about 400C for an hour DOES work better. I did tell these stories when I gave them to the recipients and advised they are not washed up and perhaps used for ornamental purposes.

None-the-less, the boy and the best mate both loved their personalised mugs. I have a great photo of Marsha screaming "PIVOT!" as she opened it, but as she is in her PJs I'm not sure if she'll appreciate me sharing it ;)

The boys is Game of Thrones themed and says "Winter is Coming" then in smaller writing "Drink Toffee Nut lattes" (his fav winter drink) - and it came with a bottle of Toffee Nut syrup and chocolates.

Finally both of my gift receivers didn't realise I'd made them at first which made me doubly proud!

Date Jar
My sister and her fiance are both money and time poor and don't get the opportunity for many dates. I think sometimes a little creativity is all that's needed but when you a million other things on your mind its very easy for those to fall by the way-side. So I gave them a bit of a helping hand.

I had great fun thinking of nice dates I've had, unique places I've been in London and when all else failed - Googling! I split the lollipop sticks into categories so they can choose easily depending on their budget. I made sure there were lots of "Free" and split that into "Free - Romantic" and "Free - fun"

A few of my ideas included:

  • Go to the park and play on the swings
  • Edit photos of each other
  • Stay up all night and watch the sunrise
  • Go on a daytrip to France
  • Play hide and Tesco!

I didn't get any great photos when it was finished but I made a label that I glued on the side and top detailing the colour categories  and I also include a photo album. I personalised the inside telling them both to "Make lots of memories together". It was a lovely album where you can write a few lines next to each photo.

On the same theme I also made a "dates with baby" jar for a certain amazing McMuppett who is soon expecting. I really hope it arrives in the States before she reads this ;) Instead of using lollypop sticks I used wooden hearts from Hobbycraft.

Re-creating old photos
I think this was the gift I was most proud of. It was a joint effort with my sister after I had seen a much "simpler" version on Pinterest where someone had just recreated one photo.

In our family there are a lot of "iconic" photos of me and my sister - generally in very silly outfits  We spent an entire day recreating these, and framed them along with the originals. We were really pleased with how they came out in the end - especially with all the effort we put in with finding similar outfits and getting the locations as close as possible.

Although shorts in the garden on the coldest day of the year was not the most fun we've ever had!

I think the best bit of this though was our Mums reaction when she opened it. We pondered for quite a while on the best way to present it, before settling on pre-hanging them for her and "wrapping" the wall.

However we took it one step further. We figured out the placement and banged in all the nails whilst she was out. Then we took everything down again and waited until she had gone to bed on Christmas Eve before hanging and "wrapping" them.

It was the last gift opened on Christmas morning and I really wished I had videoed her reaction. It was priceless - I have never seen my Mum get this emotional over anything! She squealed, clapped her hands jumping up and down...and then burst into tears.

Seriously if you need an idea for a Christmas gift - do this! Parents, grandparents, Aunties, cousins - anyone in the family who loves photos.

We also got a "nice" one as we were in matching outfits (something we haven't done since we were very young!) However the one we were most happy with was us literally under the tree. We then customised a simple wooden frame with Christmas crafty bits and are really happy with it. - Sort of an alpine lodgey feel.

We hope this will become a permanent Christmas decoration in our home now.

Movie boxes
Way back in the summer I saw these adorable plastic popcorn holders, and as I had recently picked up a massive box of proper American microwave popcorn I knew I could make great gifts from those. Sadly they were just SLIGHTLY too narrow to fit a DVD in them but with my cellophane magic-ness I think it worked out pretty nicely. I didnt pack the entire thing with sweets and chocolates, but instead padded the bottom with balled up paper so I could then arrange the top with sweety goodness.

This photo is for a certain second McMuppett and was meant to be given during our pre-Christmas meet up but sadly she was struck down with lurgy. Get better soon Becca and this will be waiting for you when I see you next!

Cellophane gift sets
I bought a couple of little bottles of whisky for the boy and wanted a creative way to present them. In addition I bought a couple of the discounted Soap and Glory mega gift sets (Thank you Martin Lewis!) and then split them up into smaller personalised gifts. I was tres pleased with this super thrifty gift ideas and I still have lots of bits stashed away for future gifts or maybe even a blog giveaway.

Inexpensive cellophane and pretty curling ribbon and the gifts are good to go!

Overall I just love how thrifty, crafy and personal I have been with my gift giving this year. Sure there were also DVD's and various other "normal" gifts but I think these were the best ones to give and receive.

And it seemed I wasn't the only one getting creative. My Mum MADE - yes MADE me this amazing Friends photo frame! Unfortunately as my front door is plastic coated I can't hang it there as in the show, instead it will get pride of place on either my front room or bedroom door.

My sister gave me a very personal gift that is kind of long winded to explain, but it basically marks my (now non-existent) room at my Mums and had a lovely poem along with it too.

Marsha (my Wife for all intents and purposes except legally. Does anyone else have this with their best mates? Eh we're weird and we love it - role with it!) had an "engagement ring" commissioned for me from my uber talented sister! Except I had no idea about this on Christmas day and it was a lovely 'Christmas magic' present.

Our long term family friends the Lawrences made me a lovely gift basket of scrummy sauces and dips. It was really personal and I'm loving trying all the different flavours. Especially the balsamic vinegar which I had tonight and could plough through very easily! (I didn't get a photo before I started trying them all)

And even the boy got creative with this amazing gift for his sister - framed prints of her favourite bands album covers. I thought that was a lovely idea and I hear she was very happy with them.

If you would like to make homemade gifts for your loved ones, my best advice is to start planning now. A few of my friends said they ran out of time to get supplies and literally to sit down and put gifts together. I was planning most of mine from the Summer. It does take some time but it is so worth it!

Also don't put too much pressure on yourself. I had originally planned to sit down on one day and make everything at once, but I actually found myself making a couple of things each evening in front of the telly. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

Did you get or give anything homemade for Christmas? Planning on anything crafty for upcoming Birthdays, Valentines Day or next year?

Leave me a comment, tweet me or pin any of the images from this post :)

1 comment:

  1. This was amazing. I didn't know your mum MADE the Friends Frame! I totally need to hire you and your family to do everything for me!

    Hope you don't mind, I'm going to share this post on FB. I think people should look at 'craftsy' gifts for special occasions. When you get them right they are the best things ever! x


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