Monday, September 19, 2011

A Homemade Christmas For Those Who Aren't Martha

Bannon has abandoned us!!  Miss B. is off on a cruise, and is probably tipsy as I type this.  I'll be holding down the fort until she gets back and recuperates from her 10 day hangover.  So, without further ado...part two of Kerry's Christmas Extravaganza!

I was told the other day that there's less than 100 days left until Christmas.  Even though I've been preparing in bits and pieces since August, because I'm slightly insane, I still feel like I have more to do than I have time for.  So I began to comb through all the websites that I've bookmarked that offer homemade gift ideas, and I found a few good ideas for myself.  I also found a lot of good ideas that were too good to not share!  So here is a rundown of some of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy!  And don't worry about a skill level here-my issues with advanced crafts have been well documented.  I wouldn't ask any of you to do something that intimidates the hell out of me!

I have fallen in love with Not Martha.  As one might assume from the name, this refers to the fact that it isn't necessary to be Martha Stewart to pull off one of the crafts on the website.  There are nifty food ideas that make great gifts, such as pies and cobblers in jars.  There's a handy car kit that would be a useful gift for the newest driver in the family, instructions for homemade spa gifts (think bath bombs or lip balm), and my personal favorite, this dahlia brooch.  I think it may find it's way into my mother's stocking!

Tip Junkie has some great suggestions for younger kids.  There are ideas as simple as a homemade coloring book, or as ambitious as a homemade play kitchen that you make out of a bookshelf.  Other ideas include memory games, felt play food, a race car tote, or this adorable superhero cape and mask set that I hope to whip up for the Little Dude to go with his new Batman and Superman jammies.  And, while I don't have specific links, there are plenty of recipes available online for homemade play dough, paint, chalk, crayons, and so many things kids like.  You can never go wrong with a gift that lets a child create something new.

For tweens and teens, you do have to get a little more personal.  Some gifts are pretty gender-neutral.  A homemade fleece scarf in your teen's school/favorite sports team/Hogwart's house colors is an easy, useful gift.  A case for an iPod or iPhone tailored to a teen's tastes would also be a great gift.  But if your teen is picky, fear not!  There are tutorials out there for homemade purses, hair accessories, jewelry, wall art, blankets, journals, tote bags, and so much more.  Make google your friend.  And don't forget that kits you assemble yourself are always a good bet.  Fill a bucket of microwave popcorn with a DVD or two, and some theater candy.  A music lover might like some iTunes cards, a new set of headphone, and a t-shirt from their favorite band.  My niece is getting a cosmetics bag filled with nail polish, files, toe separators, body spray, lotion, lip gloss, and whatever else I think will tickle her fancy.  Best part is, it's inexpensive!

Something the BD and I do every year for our close friends and the adults in our family is to make a cookie and candy tray.  The one thing that we know we can count on from year to year is BD's fudge.  I know bragging on him makes me sound biased, but he makes seriously good fudge.  Perfect consistency, marvelous flavor, and it stores really well.  He found a website a couple of years ago that, while rather wordy, gives instructions on how to not screw up your fudge.  BD swears by it, and after having eaten quite a bit of fudge, I swear by it, too.  Check out Skaarup Fudge, and wow your family and friends!  And when you're ready to make some other candies, or some tasty baked goods, check out Tasty Kitchen.  It was created by my beloved Pioneer Woman, and it has yet to let me down.  And don't forget that homemade cookie or cocoa mix in a jar is always appreciated!

And, last but not least, here's a roundup of websites with lots of ideas that don't fall into one category.  Yes, even Martha made the list-she's taken pity on people like me and has some great craft and decoration ideas!
Better Homes and Gardens-this is a great general list, featuring gifts that would work for grandparents using children's art, soft toys for baby, cool desk supplies for the executive in your life, and even a little something for Fido.
Family Crafts-a lot of these would be ideal for a child who wants to make gifts, but it also has some of the classics, like the fleece blanket.  There's gifts on here for just about anyone, and if your dog wants a snuggie of it's own, you're in luck!
BHG Ornaments-if you need a gift for the office exchange, your neighbors, or for that person who seems to have it all, why not make a homemade ornament?  Easy tutorials and creative designs make for some beautiful ornaments!  We usually do a small exchange with my aunts and uncle, and I plan to make some of these to give.
A Very Martha Christmas-even though I tend to hold Martha Stewart up as some sort of unattainable pinnacle of domestic perfection, her website really does seem to have it all.  Gifts for different levels of crafters, homemade cards, decoration ideas, gift tags, and so much more.  Her site also has non-holiday specific crafts that can please even the pickiest person on your list.

So, now you're armed with ideas galore-get crafting!  I hope to post photos if I actually get to make any of these ideas of mine.  And I want to see what you're making, too!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all of the great ideas :D I love making gifts and now my list is getting bigger!