Christmas Wrap-up & Handmade Gifts

Did you know there is a difference between handmade and homemade? I learned a couple years back that handmade refers to items or things while homemade refers specifically to foods. Fun fact of the day!

I hope everyone’s holiday was excellent – ours was as usual. Busy, but wonderful. I love to have a couple days completely filled with family, friends, and food!

Every year, I always try and make presents for people. I grew up hand making presents for people as long as I can remember. My mum and grandparents still have paper ornaments I made when I was three. I still remember making cinnamon dough ornaments with my mum to give as gifts. It’s something that has always been extremely important to me, and therefore it’s something I want to pass along to my daughter. Since she was a year old she has been making presents for people and I hope she grows up enjoying it!

For her gifts this year, we did a combination of photo gifts, and ornaments. My family loves photos, so these are always a winner.



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These were incredibly simple to make. We sat down with watercolors and salt to make the backgrounds. Then she looked through photos of her and Daddy and picked her favorite, and of her and Mimi and picked her favorite. For Mimi’s gift I did a little ‘interview’ with her about her Mimi (what Mimi likes to do, her favorite thing to do at Mimi’s house, etc) and wrote it up under the photo. Then I snagged two shadowbox frames from Target, assembled them together, and voila! Perfect gifts from a toddler.


For the ornaments I made a cinnamon dough, and we rolled and cut out shapes together with cookie cutters. Then I used got out some ABC stamps and she helped me stamp the letters on. Once they were all dry (a few days later), she painted them (I did the letter outline in white of course). The little ones were strung up as garland for our living room, and the big ones will be gifts. As you can see, I didn’t turn the snowman quite enough as he was drying so he got a bit curled. Adds character right? Right.


As for my handmade gifts, I did some drawings and paintings for friends.

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And also some Doctor Who bookmarks! I definitely made one for myself as well – who wouldn’t crack up seeing that face sticking out of your book?! On the backs of each bookmark are the words ‘Property of (insert recipients name) written out in Gallifreyan (aka the Doctor’s language for those non-Whovians out there). I found this awesome Gallifreyan translator on DeviantArt; it’s pretty fabulous.


And being somewhat of a crazy cat lady, I made a couple new toys for our two kitties. Again, very simple. I cut out two pieces of felt and sewed a button and a bit of detailing on, then stitched around the edge, stuffed ’em full of catnip and sewed the rest shut! Pardon the wobbly stitching – I don’t hand stitch things often. One of my kitties could care less about them, but our other one is OBSESSED with them! He wrestles, chews, throws, and generally tries to destroy them to get at the catnip. It’s hilarious.



As for my homemade gifts (aka yummy treats) tune in for my Holiday December Baking post on Monday!

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Fall Craft: Air Dry Clay

So despite the bout of 80+ degree weather with horrid humidity that just passed through, I am quite ready for fall. I bought some new jeans, busted my sweaters out of my steamer trunk, and actually had to wear slippers the other morning. Bring on the fall!

I can’t wait for apple picking, followed by lots of apple baking. Apple crisp anyone? Drool. . .Point being, I am ready for fall to be here; to see brightly colored leaves out my windows. So I decided to start some fall crafts with my little miss. I found this recipe for air dry clay via Nurture Store and decided to give it a go. It worked great! A nice white clay that dries by itself overnight – perfect!

All you need is:


1 part white glue to 2 parts cornstarch

I used 2 Cups of cornstarch and 1 Cup of glue, which made a TON. I would recommend using 1 Cup cornstarch and 1/2 Cup glue if you’re only doing this for one child.

So blob it all in and mix it up.


It will look like a sticky mess for a bit, but then it starts to form a nice dough.

I put some cornstarch on my hands (so it wouldn’t stick while I still worked it together) to work it into this nice ball.


I did end up kneading it a bit more cornstarch (I’d say no more than 1/8 of a cup) because I found it was still a little too sticky.

My mom gave me these excellent fall cookie cutters last year,


so we grabbed one of each size and started cutting out some shapes! My miss still needs a little help with pushing the cutter all the way down, but she did quite well.

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Then we put all our shapes on a cookie sheet with wax paper to dry. I used a straw to add a hold in each one so we can use them as a little fall banner after she colors them.


The next day, they were all dry, so she got to color them! We just used plain Crayola crayons (albeit the washable kind, since that’s all we have) and they worked great. I wouldn’t recommend painting these, simply because I have every idea that they’d start to disintegrate with water given what they’re made of. . .but crayons, markers, even colored pencils would work great! We started out just using fall colors, but then she really wanted blue and how could I say no? So they became rainbow leaves, acorns, and pumpkins. I plan to hang them pennant banner-style underneath my chalkboard once I redo it for fall.



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On the whole, this is a great, cheap, and simple craft with many applications. I think it would be great to try and make beads with older kids! As you can see from the pics, our session was very messy, but that can be avoided. I just don’t mind a mess (which cleaned up in all of five minutes – it comes right off with water!). Hope you find a use for this easy clay!

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