Friday, December 27, 2013

Ho Ho Homemade Holidays: DIY Christmas Round Up

Last year, my mom's family made an agreement that for Christmas 2013, we would all exchange homemade gifts. I'm a last-minute Christmas DIYer. Always have been, probably always will be. So it was especially fun for me to hear the rest of the family talk about the last-minute Christmas craft scramble!

Even though hand making gifts can be incredibly stressful, and I always end up asking myself whether it's worth it, seeing how much time and effort everyone put into their creative gifts made this Christmas so special. It's easy to feel burdened and overwhelmed at the holidays, but exchanging homemade gifts really reminded me that generosity comes in many forms. When someone makes you a gift, they are also giving you the time they invested in it. It's a non-refundable, non-exchangeable gift that we should all appreciate more. Everybody came up with such creative projects, I'd like to share them with you:

I gave cheese board making a try. I learned about this fantastic program in Michigan called Urbanwood. Basically, local sawmills are allowed to collect dead urban trees, rather than forcing cities to bear the expense of removing the trees and sending them to the wood chipper. The mills process the wood into usable planks or rounds and sell them at local Habitat for Humanity ReStores. I purchased three slabs of walnut at the Flint, Michigan ReStore. They were so naturally beautiful that I really only had to clean up the edges, drill and router holes, sand the surfaces, and apply mineral oil. I absolutely love the results (and I'll probably need to make another batch, because I am noticeably lacking a cheese board now)!

For my camping-enthused relatives, I made a canvas firewood sling loosely inspired by this one and a bag of paraffin wax fire starters. I also threw in a jar of matches with sandpaper glued to the lid for striking.

My mom made these awesome necklaces out of washers, scrapbook paper, and resin. Seriously! Metal washers! She also made several super cool birdbaths out of thrift store lamps and glass ceiling light domes. But--womp womp--I forgot to take pictures of the baths :(

My Uncle Jim made me this gorgeous ring out of shed deer antler! He cut a thin round from the base of the antler (I think) and used his Dremel to drill a hole in it. It's like wearing a piece of art!

My Aunt Amy made me a beautiful cuff bracelet out of scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, and a metal base. I absolutely love the colors. This project could easily be tailored for anyone on your gift list. My aunt is also an extraordinarily talented photographer. She took a picture of the hubs and me and very neatly cut around our outlines. Then she inserted us into a picture frame with an photo of bursting fireworks as a backdrop. She included photos of sunsets, rainbows, a weathered barn, a Christmas light display. We can change the background to match our moods--it's like having a new set of vacation photos without leaving the house.

Even Cousin Max got in on the fun by making all of us beaded keychains--I love my turtle!

And, last but certainly not least, my most ardent and loyal reader, Debbie, gave me a small pyramid crafted from beautifully marbled paper from Primrose Paper Arts. I can't wait to display it on my desk.
I couldn't be more happy that we decided to craft as a family . . . and I know we're all planning for next year. Be creative and enjoy!

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