Tag Archives: handmade

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

How is it December already? Weren’t we just pumpkining all the things, jumping in all the leaves and carving all the jack-o-lanterns? Oh well. The holidays are almost here whether I like it or not.  I’m not making all my gifts this year. The handmade holiday challenge that I did last year was kind of insane. But I’ll still make a few gifts and I’ll still try to stay under $100, of course. If you are a fellow nut and want to MAKE ALL THE GIFTS here’s a few (or 20) ideas for low-cost gifts to make this holiday.

For the fashionista:

  1. A knotted bracelet
  2. A clay beads necklace
  3. Polymer clay hair accessories
  4. A holiday crown

For the foodie:

  1. DIY vanilla extract
  2. Upcycle a rolling pin
  3. Low sugar nuts
  4. Infused liquors!
  5. A personalized mug filled with coffee or chocolates

Can you knit or sew? These projects are super fun

  1. A knitted baby cape
  2. A chunky, knitted scarf
  3. A knitted scrubbie
  4. A leather clutch
  5. A look-alike, handmade American Apparel circle scarf

For everyone:

  1. Beeswax candles
  2. Pillows!
  3. A toy for your furry friends
  4. A clay bowl for jewelry, change or paper clips
  5. A hand-painted and customized ukulele
  6. And last, but not least, make everyone’s favorite gift (cash!) a little more exciting with this cash mobile.

What gifts are you making this holiday season? Tell me about them in the comments!

love,
melanie

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts

I, just like every human on earth, am guilty of waiting until the last minute to do things. There’s  something about that last minute pressure that really puts the heat on. This year I actually purchased George‘s Valentine’s Day present early and had it shipped to the house. And he opened it before I got home! It was an honest mistake, but I was so mad! I can’t ever surprise that dude. Anyway, now I’m rushing to make something small to give him so he actually has something to open tomorrow.

Here’s a couple ideas for those last minute Valentine’s Day gifts:

rp_Nuts-about-you-1024x616.jpg This Valentine’s Day printable is super-cute. You don’t even have to make the nuts recipe if you don’t have time. You can just attach it to a bag of nuts! Click here for the printable.

how to make vanilla extract If you’ve got a honey that loves to cook, homemade vanilla extract would be a great gift. Maybe they’ll get the hint to make you those cookies you’ve been wanting. Click here for the how to.

infused liquors Infused liquors are so easy to make and instantly elevate a drink. I’d let the liquor infuse for a few days, but it’s a gift that you both could enjoy this weekend. Click here for the tutorial.

gifts for male teachersIf your darling isn’t a drinker, then a personalized mug filled with coffee or chocolates would make a cute gift. Just make sure you don’t put it in the dishwasher! Click here for the details.

Here’s to homemade Valentine’s gifts! And waiting until the last minute!

love,
melanie

 

Handmade Holiday Challenge: Customized Ukulele

customized ukulele Some of my favorite childhood memories involve some sort of musical accompaniment. My sister, my best friend and I used to make up all kinds of songs. I distinctly remember a song about dirty clothes sang to the tune of Baby Love by The Supremes.

Back of the customized ukulele For Christmas I want to give the joy of music to my niece. But in my true fashion, I couldn’t just give her a plain ol’ ukulele. I had to customize it.

First I bought this relatively inexpensive ukulele from Amazon. Originally I had planned to cut out vinyl decals to add to the body of the ukulele. But George, my super talented husband, really liked the idea of customizing the ukulele and volunteered to hand letter it. He used a white paint markers for the base, then created texture with a black paint marker.

customized ukulele detail It’s kind of adorable. Maybe my niece will be the next Dolly Parton. I’m at least going to win best aunt award this year.

How are your handmade gifts coming along?

love,
melanie

Handmade Holiday Challenge: Infused Liquors!

infused liquors I’ve never been too keen on flavored liquors with the exception of my college Smirnoff Lemon Vodka phase. I feel a little barfy just thinking about it. But that’s because most of those liquors are artificially flavored. I mean Cinnabon-flavored vodka? That can’t be real.

Infusing your own liquor is so much tastier than the manufactured stuff and makes mixed drinks extra special. And infused liquors make a great hostess holiday gift. Good thing my friends like to party because everyone is getting infused liquor this year!

infused liquors closeup Here’s the stupid-easy how-to:
Grab a canning jar. Cut up some fruit, add spices (if you desire) and fill the jar with liquor. I recommend using organic fruit so there’s no yucky stuff infusing the liquor. Then, shake once a day, everyday. The liquor will be infused in about a week!

I’ve tried strawberries and vodka before with great results. The vodka tasted just like real strawberries! This time I’m also trying an apple-infused bourbon and a green apple-infused moonshine. (The moonshine is legal, guys. It’s Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, if you are curious.) For the apple-infused liquors, in addition to the fruit, I also added a cinnamon stick and three cloves. I’m thinking with a little bit of simple syrup it will taste like apple pie!

I’m so excited about these holiday gifts, I might have to keep one for myself!

love,
melanie

 

 

 

Handmade Holiday Challenge: Vanilla Extract

how to vanilla extract First up on my handmade holiday challenge we have (drumroll please!) vanilla extract! I know, it’s not super exciting, but it is actually a thoughtful gift for my mom. My mom is an excellent baker and cook. She has intuition in the kitchen like no one I’ve ever met. She could take some peanut butter and beef jerky and turn it into a four course meal.

The last time I was at home we popped into “William and Sonomas” (as she calls it) and I caught her buying a 12 dollar bottle of vanilla extract. I was worried that some baking kingpin was making her run all of his errands. A 12 dollar bottle of vanilla? That’s extortion.

vanilla extract Anyway, for Christmas I thought I’d make real vanilla extract for her gift. It’s amazingly easy and way cheaper than the William and Sonomas version.

Wash and thoroughly dry bottles with a tight fitting cap. I got these from Michael’s for $1.16 a piece! Split your vanilla beans with a knife and put them in the bottle. Pour bourbon, rum or vodka into the bottle. Swig a little of each. I chose vodka (left) and bourbon (right) for my extract. The vodka version shouldn’t have much extra flavor, but the bourbon will add a bit of smokiness to your baking. Rest in a cool, dark place for 1 month. Enjoy or gift!

Are you getting to work on your holiday gifts? Join my challenge and let me know about in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

The Handmade Holiday Challenge

Gorgeous handmade socks by Hedgehog Fibres on Flickr

Gorgeous handmade socks by Hedgehog Fibres on Flickr

The average American adult is predicted to spend $786 this holiday season. That’s nutzo, ya’ll. And I must admit, I was one of those free-spending holiday nuts once too. But this year, no more. I’m no Scrooge, but I simply can’t spend the money I once did on the holidays. This year I’m giving myself a mere $100 budget to spend on gifts. How am I going to do it? Well, people, I’m getting crafty.

Why $100? Why not totally free? Well, crafts aren’t free unlike Pinterest leads us to believe. But handmaking gifts can save money if you’re smart about it. Even with $100 it’s going to be a challenge to get supplies. I’ve got a dozen gifts to give. (12 days of Christmas, 12 gifts, makes sense right?!) And there’s only so much time in the day.

Yes, I’m a nut to take on this challenge during the already stressful holiday season. But I’m a bag full of delicious holiday nuts, for sure.

Here’s the list of people I’m making something for:

  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Sister
  4. Sister’s cat (weird, I know, but we always give our pets gifts in my family)
  5. Mother-in-law
  6. Father-in-law
  7. Niece
  8. Brother-in-law
  9. Sister-in-law
  10. Husband
  11. Friends
  12. Co-workers

In case you are curious, my mom usually buys the extended family gifts. (My grandma, aunts, uncles, etc.) So, I don’t have to worry about them. I’m also spending a little bit on charitable donations this year, but I won’t be taking it out of my craft fund.

Will you join my handmade holiday challenge? What’s the best handmade gift you’ve ever given or received? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie