Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Minute Handmade Gifts

Here are five handmade gifts that can be made last minute. I am still mostly making mine so you'll just have to trust me that I have tried these and they are great. Also, all no sew.

Healthy Frozen Dinners! - I made my mother and father in law five dinners, they were all hearty, healthy, and a little involved. If they were too easy they wouldn't have made a great gift! The point is to gift meals that are saving your recipient a night of work and kitchen clean up. I included directions, coffee, wine, frozen rolls and bread (made fresh at our market with organic ingredients). I tried to buy nice items and use high quality ingredients. It started out seeming a little overwhelming but what I ended up doing was just having a huge cooking day and I doubled almost everything I made them and froze it for us as well which meant I also had a week of no cooking for myself after my crazy, intense day! ... guess what though I don't have any photos ;)  


Name, Birthday or Anniversary Photo Collages - My photos for this project are sitting at Walgreen's right now, that's one of Ava's A's above. Go to this Flickr site (try not to spend hours looking at the galleries) and pick a name or a birth year or anniversary year and download the numbers or letters you like. Next upload them to your favorite one hour photo place and have them printed at 4x6. When you go to pick them up stop by TJ Maxx or Walmart etc. and pick up a good frame with the right amount of openings. It is easier to make dates if you do this last minute because 4 opening photo frames are easy to find! You can make your own of course (like this) by gluing cheap dollar store frames to a board and spray painting it all - but remember you have less than a week now so maybe next year. If you buy a mat that is pre-cut and print them in black and white then they will look a lot more like the classic ones you see everywhere. The one below could also be pretty cool - it looks like it is just those cheap packs of Ikea frames glued to a black board cut to size. 

 Jewelry - there are some awesome jewelry tutorials online. I want this bracelet and it has a video! I would wear this everyday. Making jewelry is easy and can be done in front of the TV in one night. 

We did make bracelets but we went a little lower-end than the one above ;) Ava made these for all her cousins and a few friends too with a bag of beads from the craft store. Everyone loved them. I really wanted to help Ava made bracelets with all their phone numbers on them but the number beads for those turned out to be too hard to find enough of for everyone. Most kids need ten numbers on their bracelet now since almost all of them memorize cellphone numbers. 

Chalk Board - These are great for kids and adults. I made this one for our entry with a dollar thrift store frame spray painted gloss red. I had my husband cut me a cheap piece of wood scrap which I painted with chalk paint to put in the frame (we tacked it in on the back). I made my own chalkboard paint with this tutorial. Apply chalk board paint on with lots of thin layers and then 'season' it well as directed in the tutorial link. If you aren't making several boards or aren't using the chalk paint for other projects then you would be better off just buying the chalk paint pre-mixed, because the DIY version leaves you with a ton of extra ingredients.

I plan to mix up some more paint to make Ava a board book like this one.

Penny Keychain - I am still looking for my last few but simply putting pennies from each important year on a keychain is such a sweet gift! The ones sold by PatsDesign (photo below)  are also affordable and come with a stamped coin. It is pretty simple to drill through a penny but practice on a few first. 

Other things I have made as gifts in the past include superhero capes (for girls and boys) and embellished tea towels. I also really want to make some enhanced silhouettes like these.

There you go! Happy Crazy Crafting!
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