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25 Handmade Gifts of Christmas (Part 3)

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about coming up with holiday gifts for all those special people in your life—your children’s teachers, your friends and neighbors, the babysitter, your hair stylist…What better way to say Merry Christmas and thank you for all you do then to present each and every one of these hardworking individuals with a heartfelt, handmade gift? And because I know we are all busier than the big man in red this time of year, your very own Simply Family holiday helper (that would be me) has rounded up the best of the web, 25 handmade gift ideas—complete with tutorials, pictures, and packaging ideas. Here are the next five gifts. Move over Martha Stewart, let’s get crafting!

DIY Modge Podge Photo Canvas

There are TONS of tutorials online for creating these super fun photo canvases, but here is the gist of it. You can even create photo blocks and photo tiles in much the same way.

What You Will Need: a canvas from your local craft store, a photo print (the same size as the canvas), Modge Podge, paint brushes, acrylic paint in the color of your choosing (you may want to coordinate with your photo), and scrapbook paper (optional).

To Make: Apply a thin layer of Modge Podge to the canvas using a paintbrush then attach your photo print. Next, apply another thin layer of Modge Podge on top of the photo and allow the print to dry completely. If you have any bare canvas showing around the edges of the photo, you may want to fill in with the acrylic paint (this is why you would want a coordinating color). Optional: you can even paint or scrapbook the edges of the (3D) canvas to achieve a more “gallery wrap” look. Voila! Your creation is ready to share and display—a great gift for grandparents!

Microwaveable Lace Crowns: Another gift for the little ones!

(Adapted from www.rookno17.com)

What You Will Need: ½ yard crocheted lace, fabric stiffener (the author recommends Aleene’s Stiffen Quick), a small bowl, tacky glue, one sheet of poster board, scissors, clear packing tape, a paper plate or parchment paper, thin butterknife or offset spatula, gold or silver metallic paint, rubber gloves, a paint brush, hot glue gun or jewelry adhesive, and vintage jewelry or rhinestones.

To Make: Place the lace in a small bowl and cover with fabric stiffener. Soak for 15 minutes. Prepare a crown form by cutting a 20” x 4” strip of poster board. Roll the poster board into a tube, and secure with packing tape. Line the outside of the poster board with packing tape to create a non-stick surface (to keep the lace from burning in the microwave). Remove the lace from the bowl and wrap it around the poster board, securing the ends with tacky glue. Place the crown and poster board on either a paper plate or a piece of parchment and microwave on high for 30 second increments until the lace is dry to the touch. Remove the plate and spray the crown with fabric stiffener (still on the form), then return to the microwave—repeat until you achieve the desired amount of stiffness. (The author suggests seven cycles.) Remove the crown from the poster board form (you may need to use a spatula or butter knife), and microwave (alone) for a final 30 seconds to a minute. Wearing rubber gloves paint the entire crown—inside and out—and return the now wet crown to the poster board form. Allow to dry completely (a hair dryer can speed up the process but do not return to the microwave). Once the crown is dry, attach bits of glitz (the jewelry pieces and rhinestones) using a hot glue gun or jewelry glue. Wouldn’t this sweet little crown be adorable for a holiday photo shoot?

Homemade Apple Butter

(Adapted from www.sweetpaulmag-digital.com)

What You Will Need: four pounds all-purpose or saucing apples peeled, cored, and cut into one-inch pieces, two cups apple cider, one and a half cups granulated sugar, two tablespoons lemon juice, one vanilla bean scraped, one tablespoon cinnamon, and a ½ teaspoon allspice. Makes three cups apple butter.

To Make: Combine apples and cider in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and allspice. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for about 35 minutes, or until mixture is very thick. Package in a mason jar with twine and a handwritten note, and you are in business.

Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

(Adapted from www.theidearoom.net)

What You Will Need: two cups white granulated sugar, ¼ cup almond (or coconut) oil, a few drops peppermint essential oil, red food coloring or a few drops raspberry juice, a piece of paper (to make a large funnel), and a mason jar (or empty milk bottle).

To Make: First, mix the sugar and the almond oil—add the oil slowly for a soft consistency. Next, add the peppermint essential oil. Divide the mixture into two separate containers, and then add the red food coloring (or raspberry juice) to one of the containers. Using your paper funnel, transfer the mixtures to your jar or bottle in alternating layers of red and white (you will want to press down on each layer individually to keep each stripe in line). Package with scrapbook paper and a bow, or the author’s premade label, which you can access here. It doesn’t get more festive or deliciously handmade than this!

DIY Geode Ring: For the fashionistas

(Adapted from http://stateofunique.com)

What You Will Need: a geode or pyrite (you can find these for sale on Amazon for less than $6), a ring blank (the author found the brass ring blanks pictured on Etsy), and some craft glue (the author suggests e6000 glue).

To Make: Add a small amount of glue to the ring blank. Press the stone (geode or pyrite) into place and allow to dry completely. That’s it! So easy, and such a stylish gift. You may want to make one (or five) for yourself!

Looking for more gift ideas from local merchants for the loved ones on your list? Don’t forget to check out the first annual Simply Family Gift Guide in the December issue of the magazine!