Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Craftiness

 Ok, so the holidays are coming if I am ready or not. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorite homemade type gifts with you. These are all things I have made myself so they are legit. Heh.

Anyway, homemade is cheaper and more meaningful to the recipient so try a few out. Let me know what you think about them and if there are any you would like to see or try out! I haven't added all of the ones I have, just a few of my favorites.

For your lady friends. Well, and possible male: These are awesome big batch crafties so make some for all your lady friends. Yes, even your mother in law.

Bath Fizzies (This is the most complicated but it is also the one that people usually love to get the most.)
1/2 cup citric acid, dry powder
1 1/2c baking soda
2 tsp coconut oil (or any other emollient oil like almond, avocado or apricot kernel oil)
1/4 tsp fragrance or essential oil
Food coloring (if desired)
Paper baking cups or silicone mold

First you need to make the base mix, to do this sift together the bicarb soda& citric acid in a large dry bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup at a time to another dry bowl, to this add any dried flowers, glitter etc. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 teaspoon at a time of almond oil, 6- 8 drops of your chosen essential oil& 6 drops of food coloring. Pour the oil mixture into the 1/2 cup of base mix& mix quickly before it starts to fizz. Combine with your fingertips until all color is evenly distributed. Wipe a little sweet almond oil inside your molds. Fill the molds with the mixture, packing it in firmly. Repeat this process with 1/2 a cup at a time, otherwise it fizzes up and is not as nice a result. You can also use different colors and scents this way. Leave the bath bombs to set for a few days. When set lightly tap the mold and ease out gently or just give away in the paper cups.

Bath Salts
3c epsom salts
1 drop food coloring (if you want)
2 drops scented or essential oil (I like peppermint or lavender best)
Mix. Put in container.

Salt Scrub
2 cups sea salt
1 1/3 cups aloe vera baby oil (regular works too)
8 vitamin E, capsules
2 tablespoons honey
Scent if you want it

Mix. Put in container. 

Brownies in a Jar
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans or chocolate chips
One quart jar

Pour and press sugar into a clean and dry one quart jar. Add cocoa powder and press down firmly. Pour in chopped pecans or chocolate (you can leave this out if you want, making sure they are evenly layered in the jar. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into jar and seal.

Attach these directions to the jar: "Empty mix into large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup of butter or margarine and 4 slightly beaten eggs. Mix until completely blended. Spread batter into a lightly greased or sprayed 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until done. Cut and eat." (Of course you can use your own words but don't forget to give them the directions and don't change the important stuff).

For the kids: These are all great for a playgroup type exchange or even just your relatives. You can make a ton of these things pretty cheaply so be sure to make some for your kiddos.

Cooked Play Dough
(Most like regular play dough)
1c flour (not self-rising)
1/2c salt
1c water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Mix in saucepan over low heat until rolls into a ball. (It does not have to heat long.) Just keep it in an airtight container. If you need to make different colors, add food coloring while mixing over heat.

Peanut Butter Play Dough (For kids over 1 year)
1c creamy peanut butter (Not the natural kind, its too oily)
1/4c honey
1c instant nonfat dry milk*

Mix together until smooth. The end.

*Obviously if your child has nut allergies this one is a no-no. I have heard of people substituting flour for the dry milk for allergies but not much can replace peanut butter.

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Recipe (This one is messy. I don't recommend letting younger kids help with this one.)
Two parts plaster of paris
One part water (or even just a little less)
Coloring of some sort (I usually use tempera paint or food coloring but you could really use anything.)

Measure the plaster of paris into a bowl, then gradually add warm water, stirring to combine. Add coloring, then allow mixture to thicken. Add water or not to make it the consistency of thick frosting or glue.

Now, you can use pretty much anything as a mold. When I did it, I used soap molds but you can use paper towel rolls or muffin pans or ice cube trays. You get the idea. It will take it a few days to harden so it just needs to be something you don't use all the time.

Important: The dust of plaster of paris can be bad for your lungs. Read the box.

Soap Crayons 
Ivory soap flakes (These work best but you can use any bar soap and just grate it up)
Food coloring
Ice cube trays (plastic works best)

Pour 1/8 cup of warmish water into a bowl. Add one cup of the soap flakes. Mix them slowly until you have a very thick paste. Add food coloring to suit your likes(don't have to use much and it will dry slightly darker than it looks wet). Shape into ice cube trays or just make balls with your hands and put on wax paper.  Let them dry for a few days before popping them out of the ice cube trays or handling the balls too much. Takes 3 or 4 days to dry completely.

For the grandparents/ keepsakes: Here is where I get all crazy and complicated on you guys. good news is, if you have made it this far, you can do these too. I'll include pictures if I have them.

Snowman Hand Print Ornament
Plastic ball ornament (Obviously a darker color is best but try to get a matte finish too.)
White paint
Black sharpie
Colored paint pens

Set up your area first. Paint on a plate with paintbrush, baby wipes for hands (especially with toddlers), several balls and the little tray they come in or something to dry them on upside down. Now, gather up your little one. In my experience, its best to do this part quickly, while talking in up beat tones talking them through what you are doing. It should be over before they knew what hit them. Anyway, paint the entire palm and fingers with white paint. Be careful not to get too much on there or it will not look right (it may take a few tries to get it just right). Have them grip the bottom of the ornament, trying to just make it a quick grasp and release so it doesn't smear. See the snowmen? Cute, right? Let the paint dry and then decorate your snowmen with your paint pens how ever you want.

Memory Ball
Ball ornament (plastic, matte is best but glass works)

Take the ball and write this year's family memories on it. Don't forget the date. Hang on tree. Do this every year to create an awesome keepsake for your family.

Hand Print Tree (This is cute on a t shirt or shopping bag or anything cloth really)
Green fabric paint
Yellow fabric paint
Red fabric paint
Brown fabric paint
Cheap sponge (cut one rectangle for the trunk and one star)

Prewash and iron the fabric you intend on putting this on. Same with the hand print ornament, get your space ready. I suggest doing a dry run with your child's hand to see about how big you are going to make your tree so you can center it easier. Ok, when you are ready, make a brown trunk at the middle bottom of where you plan to make the base of your tree. Now, make four, green hand prints palm side towards the top of the fabric, centered and overlapping over the top of the tree trunk. Slightly above and centered over that, make three overlapping hand prints. Then two, then one. See the tree? Let the green hand prints dry and then add your star and use their fingers to dot ornaments on the tree with other colors if you want. You can also use puffy paint to make garland and such but its really cuter the less you mess with it.


  1. Great ideas!! Thanks for sharing. I am going to totally make that peanut butter playdo...and try not to eat it!

  2. Great ideas!

    Where do you find citric acid, dry powder?

  3. Love these ideas! I have done a couple of them but there are a bunch I want to try now. So fun!


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