Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a homemade holiday

I have unfortunately returned back to the real world, after a much needed vacation (not to mention a few extra lb. picked up along the way).  My Turkey Day break ultimately served as a big tease- family, friends, and food- all crammed into four days... Christmas break cannot come any sooner!  Hope your Thanksgiving was as relaxing and filling (literally) as mine.

For today, I have decided to cover a few different DIY trends to get you ready for the holiday season. Finding your Christmas list a little long to be financed by your wallet? I've got what you need: my top 3 gifts you can make at home for friends and family- bringing creativity, sentiment, and a break for your bank.

#1: bath salts
[Photo courtesy of hubpages.com]
Have someone who loves indulging in the pleasures of a spa day? A great gift idea is to make some bath salts.  Pretty and functional, this gift is a great trinket to place near your bathtub, and use for a relaxing afternoon.  All you'll need is:

  • a bottle or jar (cleaned out)
  • Epsom salts
  • food coloring
  • perfume or essential oil

First, mix the desired amount of food coloring with the salts (enough to fill your jar), then add the perfume or essential oil, being sure to mix thoroughly.  Spread your salts out on a piece of wax paper and allow them to dry for a few hours, then put them in the jar! I like to add a pretty ribbon around the top to add some flare.  A great gift that doesn't take that much time or effort to make!

#2: soapy treats
[Photo courtesy of hotref.com]
This gift is sure to clean up any family member or friend! This simple soap recipe allows you to customize the message inside, leaving playful notes for it's user.
You'll need:

  • clear glycerine (cut into small pieces)
  • molds (hearts, circles, flowers, shells, etc..)
  • small charms (to put inside the bar of soap)
  • essential oils for fragrance
  • food coloring (optional)

To begin, melt the glycerine in the microwave, using 30 second intervals.  Then pour the melted glycerine into the mold until about half full, and let set. Place your charms in the mold, then fill the rest with melted glycerine.  Once the glycerine has set, you can wrap in plastic and decorate for a great gift!  To add fragrance or color, add these elements to the glycerine as you melt it.
For another idea, I like to use other materials besides charms: coffee beans, oatmeal, flakes of gold- get creative!

#3: wreath ornament
[Photo courtesy of familyfun.go.com]
This custom ornament gift is sure to warm the heart of it's recipient.  Inspired by the warm and cozy wool that is traditionally associated with Christmas and winter, this homemade gift is a great idea that will last for Christmases to come! This is also a great idea if you're looking to use materials you already have- recycle some old sweaters!
You'll need:

  • an old wool sweater (one sweater makes 3-5 wreaths)
  • a needle
  • embroidery floss
  • small red ribbon
  • fabric glue

For this gift, I would use multiple sweaters to make a multi-color wreath.  You can also use just one sweater to have just one color- the options are limitless.  The creativity is in your hands!  First, wash the sweater in hot water with a cold rinse, and dry on high heat.  The goal is to get the weave tight and frizzy, as to felt the fabric, so that it can be cut without fraying.  Then, cut the fabric into squares that are approximately 1.5" by 1.5".  Thread the needle with the embroidery floss, running it through the squares (it takes about 60 squares to make a full circle).  Tie the ends together to make the wreath's complete circle, and glue the red ribbon in a bow on the front, adding a loop at the top to hang on the tree.  Viola! An adorable wreath ornament.

There you have it! My favorite 3 homemade gifts.  What will  you be doing this Holiday season for your friends! Comment below!


  1. I was thinking of making my mum a christmas hamper with homemade thing so these ideas are great. It saves money and it shows that you have put in that extra effort as you've made something rather than just gone out and bought something. I especially like the soaps.