Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The holidays are here and for me that means lots of holiday crafting, baking, knitting, and creating.  Today I wanted to share with you 36 handmade gift ideas that you can create for gifts this year. It can be a challenge to come up with great handmade gifts year after year so I hope that these 36 handmade gift ideas will give you some inspiration this holiday season as you tackle your own holiday crafts.

Of course, all month long will be dedicated to baking, crafting, and knitting as we prepare for the holidays. After this month, we will get back to tackling the organizing and caring for our homes after the holiday aftermath.

For now, I am looking forward to reveling in a lot of one on one time with my glue gun and baking in the kitchen with you.

Let’s get crafting!

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

1. Knitted Anthropologie-Inspired Scarflet
2. Coffee Filter Wreaths
3. Close to My Heart Barrette
4. Honey Nut Granola
5. Treasure Chests (For a Boy or Girl)
6. Yarn Wreath For All Seasons
7. Cinnamon Delight Bread
8. Cabled Knitted Headband
9. Personalized CD
10 Light Banana Oat Bread
11. Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves
12. Peppermint Syrup (for Homemade Peppermint Mochas)
13. Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Brownies
14. Gap-Tastic Cowl
15. Hot Cocoa Mix
16. Knitted Dishcloths (Part One)
17. Knitted Ruffled Scarf
18. Knitted Dishcloths (Part Two)
19. Oreo Biscotti
20. Movie Lover’s Gift Basket
21. Hand Painted Mugs (DIY Painted Pottery Day)
22. Spiced Pumpkin Bread
23. Vanilla Scented Granola
24. Gorgeous Gathered Scarfs
25. Merci Scarf
26. Photo Journals With a Unique Spin
27. Vanilla Chai Mix
28. Shades of Gray Knitted Headband
29. Yarn Ball Wreaths
30. Cozy Knitted Fingerless Gloves
31. Oatmeal Cookes & Milk Bath Soak
32. Stretchy Ribbon Bookmarks
33. Rolled Rosette Rings
34. Snickerdoodle Biscotti
35. Candy Cane Bath Salts
36. Knitted Prayer Shawls

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Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I am so excited to begin sharing some new gift ideas for all the people in your life. Of course, if there is one trend that is hot right now it is mustaches. We wanted to jump on the mustache-loving trend and share with you some free mustache templates that can be used to adorn any mug and a free mustache printable for your favorite teachers.

Mustaches can adorn anything from a fun glass beer mug for a great guy gift, to a cute little shaving set for your favorite dad, to a fun mug for your best friend.

To begin, there are many ideas for paint that you can use with your mug. You can buy a fine tipped painter’s marker at the craft store and outline and paint your mustache with this and/or you can buy a porcelain paint set (that requires not heat setting), or a porcelain paint that needs to be baked.

With the type of paints that don’t require heat, you are looking for one that has a conditioner, the black paint, and then the gloss. These do not need to be heat set, but do require ten days to set up.

I used a combination of the two. I applied the conditioner, used the paint marker and filled a bit with the black paint, and then applied the glaze to set the paint. I have had great success with the non-heat setting variety, but you can choose whichever type works best for your budget, is already in your craft supplies, or whichever is on sale.

You will also need a beautiful mug for your project. I found these large white mugs for a little over $2 at Walmart. Feel free to visit the dollar store or thrift shop for an inexpensive mug of your choice!

Begin by applying the conditioner to your mugs and let them dry. This should only take about ten or fifteen minutes.

Cut, secure with a little tape underneath, trace with your painter’s pen, and fill in your mustache of choice. We have three different options available so you can choose your favorite for your mug.

Let it dry overnight and then apply the glaze over your piece.

Of course, what fun is a mustache mug without a great printable go along with it? This mustache printable is the perfect sign to adorn any teachers desk.

“Raise Your Hand If You Must Ask (Mustache) a Question,” is a great motto for class. I placed this fun printable in an inexpensive frame that I spray painted red. The mug is filled with a small denominator Starbucks gift card to round out this budget-friendly gift for your favorite teacher.

Get Printing:

Raise Your Hand if You Moustache a Question Free Printable

Printable Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 11″ (can be trimmed for an 8×10 frame)

Print on Heavy-Duty White Cardstock

 

Three Free Mustache Templates

Printable Dimensions: These mustaches are 3″ long

Print On Standard Computer Paper for Tracing

 

Happy mustache mug making!

What holiday craft projects have you been working on?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

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How to Make a Monogrammed Coffee Filter Wreath

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

When my book proposal went out in the literary world, I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into two bedrooms that were both in need of a serious overhaul, to prevent me from thinking about the big decisions being made. All of that nervous energy turned into fuel into creating my daughter and son’s room into what I had envisioned their new big kid spaces to be.

Over the next few weeks, I wanted to showcase some of the crafts that I created and how I decorated their bedrooms on a budget. The first tutorial I wanted to share was for this easy monogrammed coffee filter wreath for my daughter’s wall.  I am not the first to create a coffee filter wreath and I know I won’t be the last. I read a billion tutorials for making these and then decided to do it my own way with a few tips from each tutorial. When you create yours, I am sure you will do the same on your wreath to create a masterpiece for your home.

These are a beautiful accent to decorate any room in your house. These would also make fantastic holiday gifts for your friends, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, or teachers and cost about $8-10 in supplies.

Let’s get started. You need a wreath or wreath form of your your choice (I found this flat Styrofoam wreath at Hobby Lobby), a package of 200 coffee filters, hot glue gun, glue sticks (you will need about six for this project), a screwdriver, a lightweight monogram letter of your choice, and a can of spray paint of your choice.

Fold your coffee filter in half as shown here.

Fold your coffee filter in half again as shown here.

On the tip of this you will apply your hot glue and then fold the tip a bit to apply it to the wreath. Secure the glued end to the wreath, flattening it a bit and adjusting as needed.

The top of your filters will look like this. That screwdriver can go into the center to help push the filter into the wreath and save your hands from getting burned. You can risk it and just burn those hands up, but I found the tip of the screwdriver really works to help prevent burns as you add those filters in. I wish I could take pictures of myself doing this as I am doing it, but, unfortunately, I only have two hands and no one to work the camera for me.

Start filling the wreath in with the filters all over. Anywhere that you see that wreath form sticking out should be covered with your filters. You can bend and twist them into the spots, securing these with hot glue. Catch up on all of your favorite shows since you need to do this approximately 150 times.

Please don’t judge me on my favorite show. A girl needs an escape when doing her billions of loads of laundry and other mundane tasks around the house. It makes me feel hip and chic, unlike the 33 year-old woman sitting on her carpet making a coffee filter wreath.

Keep on going around and around and around. Don’t worry if it isn’t even, just do the best you can.  You can trim it all up in the end and no one will ever know.

Once it is all filled in on top, we need to cover the sides of the wreath so we don’t see any of the wreath form peeking out. Fold the coffee filters as I showed you above and this time we will lay them flat against the side to cover the wreath.

Just keep overlapping this final layer to cover up the wreath form as I have pictured here.  This wreath will be very full and the little spots that aren’t covered won’t be seen, so don’t worry!

Once you flip it over, you will see that the back layer is a tad longer than the other layers. Trim those up with a pair of sharp scissors and cut them down so they fit in with the other layers on your wreath.

Once the wreath is all trimmed up, you can mount a monogrammed letter of your choice. I spray painted mine green to match my daughter’s room. I found this little letter at Michael’s back by the wooden craft supplies. This letter was just, $1.99. The key to this is to find one that is lightweight so it stays on easily. Hot glue the back of the letter and secure it in place on your wreath. You can then hang your wreath with ribbon or just hang it on a nail, as I did here, to keep things sweet and simple.

This wall in her room is making me very, very happy right now. It is the first thing I see when I walk up the steps and was so inexpensive to do.  I framed three of my favorite pictures of her, all printed in black-and-white.

The, “Will We have Rainbows Day After Day?,” printable was found for free printing on Making It Lovely.  I found a frame for this at Michael’s for half off and printed it on my printer at home.  It is so sweet and fits perfectly with her personality and color scheme.

I could not be happier with how this wreath turned out and definitely recommend making one or two for yourself or someone you love.

Don’t toss the rest of your coffee filters out after making this wreath. Next week I will show you how I made this bouquet of coffee filter flowers to adorn a nightstand. No one will believe these are made from this household item and it can be a fun craft to decorate any table in your home.

What craft projects have you been working on? Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

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How To Make a Yarn Wreath For All Seasons

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Yarn wreaths are easy to create with a mere ten-fifteen dollars  in supplies and a whole lot of your own individual creativity. I have been dying to create my own handmade yarn wreath, but I hate to store out-of-season wreaths in my limited amount of storage in my house. I decided to create a wreath that you could use all year long that would be perfect for your door or to give as a gift this holiday season. I partnered with Walmart on this DIY project and I am excited to share it with you.

Supplies Needed:

1 straw wreath (large or small- this is the large one, pick this up at your local craft store if your Walmart does not carry floral supplies, approximately $4 for the larger size)

1-2 balls of yarn, depending on your wreath size (I selected Vanna’s Choice in Silver Heather, $2.77)

1 fabric quarter ($1.27)

2 pieces of felt ($.20 each)

1 autumn floral pick ($1.99)

8 alligator clips or 1 1/2″ bar pins that can be clipped to the back of your flowers (look for these over by the ribbon section or in the jewelry section of the Craft area, approximately $1.99)

Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

Scissors

Stamina, Pop Tarts, & Food Network for entertainment

Leave the plastic intact on your wreath to help cut down on the mess as well as to help your yarn to slide into place. Begin by tying a knot on the back of the wreath with the first ball of yarn. Carefully wrap the yarn around the wreath, covering it with the yarn. Continue doing this until the entire wreath is wrapped with yarn and then finish by tying it with a knot again on the back. A small wreath will only use one ball of yarn, but this larger wreath ended up taking 1 1/2 balls to cover it. Covering the larger wreath took me about forty-five minutes. I recommend tackling this with a Food Network marathon. And a box of Pop Tarts.

Once your wreath is covered, you can embellish it however you like. For my wreath, I chose two different types of flowers and used alligator clips to clip these to my yarn wreath so I can switch these out with the seasons.  To see how to make these easy Fabric Flowers, go to last month’s Close to My Heart Pin to get that tutorial. I am also posting that vlog below for even more visuals on this easy flower. With one fabric quarter, you can make two of these for your wreath. If you want more fabric flowers on your wreath, purchase an additional fabric quarter in the same fabric or another fun fabric. I covered the alligator clip with a little square of felt so I could make sure it doesn’t stick to my wreath.

The other type of flower that I added to my wreath is a simple felt flower. These are so easy to make. I am showing you with this gray felt, but made six of these in yellow for my wreath. Begin by cutting a wavy circle out of your felt. The bigger the circle, the bigger the flower, the smaller the circle, the smaller the flower. If you want them all the same size, use the first one as your template for your other flowers.

Begin cutting into the circle in a spiral motion. Around and around you go with your scissors until you get to the center. Leave the little circle at the end of your spiral intact.

It should look like this long piece of twirly felt. It will not be perfect.  Just remember that you can trim and angle everything the way you want it when you start creating your flower. It will look beautiful!

Starting with the end where you begin cutting, roll the felt back up. Keep wrapping and wrapping until you get to that little circle at the end. You can hot glue the felt as you go, but I found that the felt flower holds together well if you wrap it tightly enough.  Feel free to trim if you have any bits of felt sticking out or not laying as nicely as you like.

Open an alligator clip up and situated it between that little circle of felt. Secure it to the felt flower with a little hot glue.  Make as many of these felt flowers as you like for your wreath.  For my wreath, I made six out of the two pieces of felt.

Now comes the fun part. Take your two Fabric Flowers and your six Felt Flowers and begin clipping them on the side of your wreath. The best part about the clips is that you can move them around until you have them situated in the perfect place on your wreath. No worries about gluing to the wrong place.

Next fill in around the flowers with bits of your floral pick that you purchased. I weaved in a few leaves and a little of the fun berry foliage until I was happy. You can tuck your floral pieces into the alligator clips of your flowers or weave it under the wrapped yarn, whichever feels more secure.

Step back and admire your handiwork. Isn’t she beautiful? We will be revisiting this wreath in the Winter season and I will show you other cute idea for embellishing it. The possibilities with this wreath are truly endless and the best part… no giant wreaths to store until next season!

I am participating in the Nesting Place’s, “You Made a Wreath Out of What?” linky party! If you have a wreath, you should too! Happy wreath making!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

Seven Easy Scarves & Cowls to Knit This Fall

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I was madly in love with scarf knitting when I first began to knit. Knitted scarves are a fabulous way to learn pattern, try stitches you have never tried before, and can be an elegant  (and frugal) gift to give when the holiday season rolls around.  I love to knit scarves and I want to share with you five fun patterns to add to your knitting projects. Each of these is uniquely special and the patterns are free!

It may not feel like scarf season just yet, but for knitters, it is time to start our engines for holiday knitting. Each year I try to knit a scarf for our teachers, friends, and family. I already have my eyes on a few new patterns to try for this year, but wanted to share with you a few of my favorite scarves I have done in years past and how to package them for gift-giving this year.

Are you my friend on Ravelry? If not, I would love to be friends! My username is momadvice on there and I am always looking for new friends to knit with and share project ideas!

I knitted three of these ruffled scarves last year and all of them turned out so pretty! These ruffled scarves are definitely a statement piece, meant to add a punch of femininity to your winter coat! I made one in this light gray for my best friend, one in a charcoal gray for my sister, and one in ivory for my mom.  I am determined to knit one of these in a fun jewel tone this year for myself.

Beautifully Ruffled Lace Scarves

Pattern: Ruffle Lace Scarf by Suzie Blackman

Needle Size: US 10 Needles (40″ circulars)

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Heather Gray

Notes: If you want a scarf that is wildly impressive, can be created with a single ball of yarn, and looks like a million bucks than this would be the perfect gift to give this holiday season. It is a very mindless knit, but is an INSANE amount of stitches, especially in the last two rows (over one thousand stitches!). The beauty of this scarf though is that you only need to know how to knit, purl, and yarn over to create it.

The twisting is created by knitting the scarf length-wise, rather than width-wise and through the series of yarn overs. As pictures above, you can see that it is really hard to see your stitches, let alone if it is actually going to twist. The good news is, as you cast off, you will see that scarf naturally twists, making that beautiful ruffled twist.

This one is definitely a statement piece and is also a statement of your absolute love for whoever you might make it for!

I followed the pattern that is linked above, but added four more rows to give the scarf a fuller appearance. I repeated rows 11-14 two times before I started rows 15-16. I am really glad I did and love the lush fullness of this scarf.

Gorgeous Gathered Scarves

Pattern: Gathered Scarf by Maryse Roudier

Needle Size: US 4 & US 7

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Lime

Notes: I knitted two of these beautiful scarves in a soft lime green and in ivory for my sister and best friend as holiday gifts and they both wore them often with their winter coats. This was the first time I attempted anything that ruffled or gathered, and would be a fun pattern for someone who just wants to start trying a pattern with some texture in it.

This pattern is so easy for a beginner and was a gift that was loved by both of them.  You actually use two different needle sizes to create the gathered effect on these scarves which added beautiful detail and a bit of ruffling to the scarves. I loved that the cotton is so stretchy and soft. I would definitely recommend this pattern especially to a beginner who is looking to add a little variation to the traditional scarf!

Merci Scarf

Pattern: Merci Scarf by Susan Rainey

Needle Size: US 8 Needles (I used size US 9 needles, which created a little bit wider scarf, but you could use the US 8’s that are recommended)

Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Weight in Molten Lava (2.5 skeins)

Notes: This scarf is so simple and fast to whip up that it would make the perfect gift to give to any man in your life. The pattern is one that you can complete while watching your favorite shows on television and is almost impossible to get off track.  This yarn was also perfect for creating a really warm scarf, perfect for our Midwest winters.  This pattern is perfect for a beginning knitter or for a last minute gift for someone special in your life!

I made these for my husband and brother in last year’s holiday crafting marathon and they both wore them every day. It made me so proud to see my knits were loved by them and to know they were wrapped in something that I made just for them.

Anthropologie-Inspired Scarflets

Pattern: Anthro-Inspired Scarflet (available as a free Ravelry download with your free Ravelry membership) by Kim Seio & Lydia Flowers (optional, for embellishment) or cute buttons.

Needle Size: US 8 Needles (straight) for both the flowers and the scarflet

Yarn: Premier Yarns Chunky Weight in Pristine (scarf) & Yarn Bee Boucle Traditions in Black (for the first scarf) & Premier Yarns Chunky Weight in Brown with simple ivory button threaded with pink embroidery thread (for the second scarf)

Notes: I followed the sizing and increases that ilikecookies(another Ravelry member)  had shared in her pattern. She said, “Increased until 30 stitches, worked 15 rows even until ribbed section and knit 15 rows of ribbing to make a slightly larger scarflet.”

I added a black Lydia Flower (size small) with a red button center to finish it or colorful buttons with contrasting embroidery thread to finish! For more pictures of these, please visit this post.

For a sweet and simple gift idea, create one of these scarflets and tuck a small denominator gift card in the pocket where the scarf slides in.  I made a stack of these for our teacher gifts last year and each one had a $5 Starbucks gift card tucked into the pocket that was created in the scarflet. Next time I make this, I will have to write on the label though that these were scarfs. The teachers thought they might be hats…which I guess you could do too!  Regardless, I got such wonderful compliments and tried to make each of them unique with flower embellishments or different unique buttons and colored embroidery threads on each one.

Dolce Neck Cozy

Pattern: Dolce Neck Cozy by Fiddle Knits Designs

Needle Size: US 9 Needles (straight)

Yarn: Bamboospun Natural Bamboo (purchased at Hobby Lobby)

Notes: This was one of my first projects when I learned to knit and would be a perfect project for a newbie knitter.  At the time I had no idea how to do buttonholes or how to knit with two strands of yarn so this was what I was able to do with my limited knitting knowledge. I completed the Dulce #2 (Browns) Pattern. This took almost all 148 yards, but I knitted loosely so I would not have to make the buttonhole. I opted for one button instead of two and chose a black wooden button to bring the cowl together.

This would be a great pattern to take on a trip because it has only one row of real pattern and alternates only between two rows one of purling and one of pattern. It has a herringbone type of look to it and looks far more complicated than it is.

I made this in bamboo which was so soft, it felt just like a blanket.

This is a great project for instant gratification! Wonderful pattern for a newbie knitter in understanding yarn overs.

Rainy Day or Snow Day Scarf

Pattern: Rainy Day Scarf by Beth Collins

Needle Size: US 9 Needles (straight)

Yarn: Bernat Cottontots in Strawberry

Notes: I remember being so darn proud of these scarves because these were my first scarves that I had ever knitted and gave as gifts to our kid’s teachers. This is a great pattern because it is easy and straightforward for a beginning knitter because  you only need to know how to do the purl and knit stitches.

This scarf was packaged with my homemade cocoa and vanilla chai mix in a green and lovely way… in those old Crystal Light containers. I used some holiday gift wrap to cover them and tied a gift tag with some raffia around the drink mix containers. These are ideal, particularly for teacher gifts, because I don’t have to worry that my children will break the jars in route to school. Waterproof and airtight, it keeps the drink mix nice and safe. With a handmade or store-bought scarf, it makes a perfectly cozy gift to give.
I finish all of my knitted gifts with fun homemade gift tags. I used my Silhouette Craft Cutter and used the rounded rectangle template to make these simple tags out of ivory card stock or you can simply buy a package of tags to add to your handmade gifts. As a holiday treat to myself last Christmas, I bought myself a personalized stamp from Babyjewels (an Etsy seller) and I have to say, it really added that professional touch to my gifts!  They have one for knitters and one for crocheters too.
If that isn’t enough patterns for you to kick of that fall knitting, be sure to visit my Knitting Trendy Gifts of Warmth or my holiday craft factory that I ran out of my house last year.
Happy knitting, friends!

Looking for more knitted projects?  Be sure to visit our Crafting section and Gifts section of the site for more inspiration!

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Back-to-School Close to My Heart Pin: DIY Fabric Flowers

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

This is the true story of two girls. One girl had a strong will and was a perfectionist. The other girl had a strong will and was a perfectionist. These two girls had a hard time coexisting together. One girl had to become a little softer with her heart and learn to let the little stuff go. The other girl turned four and just became a tad more laid back and a little easier for her mother to deal with.

Suddenly, these two became not only mother & daughter, but fabulous friends. They went on outings together, sang in the car wherever they went, watched girlie movies on Netflix,  and had many Chinese & haircut dates together. They did everything together and learned to love each other even more than before.

Now my best friend is leaving me for kindergarten.

Please don’t ask me about it.

I will cry.

This craft is an idea born from my own bittersweet sadness about my Emily leaving me for school. I wanted to create a little something for her that would remind her that mommy was always with her and was always thinking about her no matter where she was.  This is my Close to My Heart pin and I am sharing this craft idea with you today for the back-to-school season!

Head to your local Walmart and visit the craft supplies section of the store and you will find fabric quarters available for purchase for $1.27 each. You will also need one sheet of red felt for this project for the base of your fabric flower for a mere $.20!  If you are creating a pin for attaching the fabric flower to clothing, look in the jewelry section for 1 1/2″ bar pins with an adhesive backing. If you want to clip the fabric flower in your daughter’s hair, you can also find metal barrettes, hair clips, or even headbands in the jewelry section or by the ribbon to attach these simple flowers to.

If you don’t have a glue gun and glue sticks, be sure to pick those up as well.

You will need to cut nine circles out of your fabric. I used a large circle punch and created my template out of scrap card stock. You could also just trace a lid to a canning jar, if you don’t have a circle punch handy.

Grab your red felt and cut a heart out for the base of your flower. I just folded it in half and cut it just like I used to do my hearts for my Valentine’s.  This is the sentimental part of this pin for your sweet child, but if you just want to do a felt circle, you can do that as well!

Let’s make some flower petals. Fold your circle in half as shown.

Fold up one side of the circle that has been folded in half.

Fold up the other half of the halved circle and have it meet with the other side to form a petal.

It should look like this swirly thing on top.

Now hot glue the seam just a tiny bit together where the petal is gathered and then hot glue the end of the petal to the felt heart. Repeat this with all four ends of the heart. In the spaces left, fill in with three or four more petals. At the end, you will have one hole in the center to put in one or two petals that you have left. To get more visuals on this, I have created a vlog below where you can watch the petals being applied in action.

Once it is all filled in, it will look like this. You can leave it plain like this or you can add a cute button in the center by just smashing down the petals and hot gluing a button in the center. I think it looks pretty both ways!

On the back of your fabric flower, you can attach either a pin (for pinning to their jacket or backpack) or a metal barrette to pull back their hair. We did a few each way so that we could accessorize those uniforms and glam up her backpack too.

I hope she knows how much I love her while she is off to school and be reminded of my love when she looks at her pin. I hope you can give this easy craft a try and that it can serve as a reminder to your daughter how special she is to you.

I love you, Emily!

What special traditions have you created for the back-to-school season in your house? I would love to hear your ideas! Be sure to check out my vlog below for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make these easy pins!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

Father’s Day Gift Basket: A Fun Movie Gift Basket

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

It’s no secret that I love my dad like crazy! This week we got the opportunity to celebrate him at a dinner in honor of his 35 years of employment with Bayer. This picture of my sister & I with him is one of my favorites from that evening together.  Sadly,  for us, our brother hit the road to start a fresh new life in New Orleans so one piece of our puzzle was missing in this picture. We are missing him a lot already.

Regardless, this gave me an opportunity to give him his dad’s day gift a little early and shower him with love for all of his hard work our entire lives. I shared with you this week, a power-packed punch of a gift to give your favorite superhero dad. I hope that gave a few of you a fun idea for a quick gift to pull together. Now I wanted to showcase one other cute idea I have for a Father’s Day gift basket that I thought you guys might like.

For your basket, look for a popcorn bucket or tub that you can use to fill it with your movie supplies.  I found this tub at our local dollar store, but you can check near the popcorn aisle or over by the popcorn poppers for another fun tub that you can use for the base for your gift.

Next fill the bottom of your popcorn tub or bucket with a little shredded paper or tissue paper. Someone shipped something to me in a million pounds of this shredded paper so that is why I am such a fan of it for a free filler in our house. Whatever you might have in your wrapping supplies will work beautifully for this project.

Fill your popcorn tub with your dad’s favorite snacks. My dad loves black licorice and movie theater popcorn so we filled his up with those snacks to enjoy while he watches his favorite movies. I spent roughly $5 on snacks, but you can spend however much your own budget allows on the snack portion of this present!

Now comes the fun part. Grab your kids and take a few pictures of them pretending to watch a movie. Use your movie bucket for a prop and snap a few pictures that you can use for your gift.

Upload your photo to Picnik. Under the CREATE tab,  select EFFECTS, then select the BLACK & WHITE option to change your picture to a a black and white image. While still under the CREATE tab, select the option for TEXT. Once you are in text, put in your message for your dad. Make sure not to put your text all of the way to the edge of the photo because it may cut it off when you print it. It is better to get it a little further in to assure that you don’t waste ink, paper, or your time!

You can choose from a variety of fonts and colors. The font I choose for these images was Budmo Jiggler. I loved this font because it looked a little like a movie theater sign with one’s name in lights. Add a fun movie message, as we did here. You can do all of this with a free membership to Picnik.

Save your image once you have finished it. If you have a photo printer, you can print these out at home. I printed mine on 4×6 Kodak paper with my photo printer. Attach this image to the front of your movie tub.

To include in our movie tub, we added a gift card for two month’s of Netflix for only $15.98. With our five dollars in snacks, this gift is just a little  over twenty dollars, but is worth two month’s of fun! We tied the gift card with this photo that we also printed on 4×6 paper and finished it all with a little red ribbon.

This quick and easy gift is ready to go and can be pulled together in just a few minutes!  I hope this gift will offer a little more inspiration to your Father’s Day gift ideas and we wish all of our dads out there a very Happy Father’s Day from us!

We happen to have a pretty amazing dad in our midst that we are looking forward to showering with love this year! I feel so incredibly blessed that our children have such an awesome father and am a lucky girl myself!

Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Father’s Day Gift Basket: A Power Pack for Your Super-Dad!

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Where would we be without wonderful fathers in our life?  Father’s Day gifts are always a challenge for me because I want something that shows our dads how special they are to us, but I can’t always think of the best way to show how much we love them.  This year I decided to make two gift baskets for our dads that are a breeze to pull together, are personalized to each of our dads, and happen to be awfully affordable.

This month’s DIY challenge for Walmart was to create a Father’s Day gift using items purchased from the store.  Head on over to your store to pick up the supplies for these fun gift baskets for your dads. I promise you that these gifts will be a big hit.

For our first Father’s Day gift, we have a sporty dad in our life. Ryan’s dad is passionate about biking and spends a lot of time clocking the miles on his bike. We thought we would make a power pack for our favorite superhero dad with snacks and drinks that he can take on the road with him.

Start with a basket or tub. I found this party tub over with the outdoor supplies for $4.57. This is a deep tub and  will be perfect for on the patio after dad is done using it for his gift.

On the bottom of the tub, put a layer of newspaper to fill out the tub. We don’t want to waste our budget on fillers for the basket and this is a great way to make the basket look fuller for less.

Now that we have filled out the bottom, you can add cute shredded paper, tissue paper, or anything else you might have in your wrapping supplies. Fill it out just enough that it looks full and hides the newspaper bottom.

Now it is time to fill it with power foods. I got Powerade and power protein bars for our dad. Feel free to add your own spin on the power foods. In my opinion, coffee and chocolate are power foods that would fit very nicely into this theme. Explore the grocery aisles for your own dad’s favorite power foods.

Next I had my kids pose for pictures in their superhero capes. Feel free to make your own spin on this though. You could also have your children do strong man poses or lift weights, put on a sweatband and leg warmers, whatever you think says power. Your dads will really get a kick out of this.

Upload your photo to Picnik. Under the CREATE tab,  select EFFECTS, then select the LOCOMO-ISH option to change your picture to a a brighter image. Use the scale to slide down the color on it so it looks bright and fun, but not flourescent. While still under the CREATE tab, select the option for TEXT. Once you are in text, put in your message for your dad. Make sure not to put your text all of the way to the edge of the photo because it may cut it off when you print it. It is better to get it a little further in to assure that you don’t waste ink, paper, or your time!

You can choose from a variety of fonts and colors. The font I choose for these images was Lexographer. You can do all of this with a free membership to Picnik.

Save your image once you have finished it. If you have a photo printer, you can print these out at home. I printed mine on 4×6 Kodak paper with my photo printer. If you don’t have a photo printer, Walmart offers one hour prints. The cards themselves are almost as awesome as what is inside your baskets.

Tape this image to the front of your party tub. I also stuck another picture on the other side of the tub of my daughter with her extremely scary power pose.

If you would like, you can include a small denominator gift card in your basket for some power tunes for the iPod or even a powerful book that dad could read.  I tied this with ribbon and attached it with this superhero card to let him know that this gift was for additional power.

This is a gift that I know your dad would love and the kids will have a blast creating it with you! I will be back tomorrow with one more quick gift basket idea and I hope that this will give a few of you a little last minute inspiration!

What gifts do you have up your sleeve for you dads this year? What gift has been the biggest hit? I would love to hear your ideas!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

Sweet & Simple Mother’s Day Gift

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. We really celebrated simply this year and it was still just as perfect. This year I decided to drop the Mother’s Day gifts the day before Mother’s Day so I could really enjoy a day to myself too this year. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing like a fresh bouquet of flowers bought just for me. I know our moms love them just as much so I headed over to the store to pick up a pretty  bouquet for each of them.

Supermarket bouquets can sometimes not feel as special as the fancy florist so I love to add my own little touches to the bouquets to make them a little more special. You can find rolls of tulle over in the craft section of your superstores or in the wedding section of large craft stores. Cut off a long strip of it to tie an elegant bow on your bouquet.

This bouquet was wrapped in pink and I thought this bow matched it perfectly.  Sometimes the smaller bouquets are wrapped in plain plastic. I love to fill the plastic out with colored tissue paper on the outside or have the floral department wrap the flowers for me.  Don’t forget to take those price tag stickers off the outside. After all, don’t we prefer if people don’t know how cheap we really are?

We made little personalized cards that we printed on 4×6 photo paper. I slipped these between the plastic layers and I am sure the little cards were saved as refrigerator mementos, as all personalized cards are. Just like the teacher cards that I made last week, start by uploading your photo to Picnik. Under the CREATE tab,  select EFFECTS, then select the BLACK & WHITE option to change your picture to a black & white image. While still under the CREATE tab, select the option for TEXT. Once you are in text, put in your message for your mother. Make sure not to put your text all of the way to the edge of the photo because it may cut it off when you print it. It is better to get it a little further in to assure that you don’t waste ink, paper, or your time!  The font I choose for these images was Pupcat. You can do all of this with a free membership to Picnik.

We also framed our favorite picture from Easter and then tied it with another tulle bow. I found inexpensive frames for each of our grandmas and I printed out the photos on my photo printer. We knew these would be a real hit with our grandmas. After all, what kind of grandmas would we have if she didn’t love our pictures?

Then we shocked them with our elegant flower deliveries. I don’t know who enjoyed that part more.

Happy Mother’s Day to our moms. We love you both!

I had a fantastic Mother’s Day. We went to church, I mixed up the waffle batter, then climbed back into my bed to be served. The kids loved serving breakfast to me in my bed and were very professional about checking on me often to see if anything else might be needed. I finished a library book, climbed out of bed for a half price frappe at Starbucks, and then climbed back in bed for the rest of the day. I got lots of hugs, kisses, storytelling, and tickles in with my children. I did not cook anything all day. I did not do one chore. I did not move from my bed hardly at all. It was perfect. It cost $2.22 for the whole day. It was just what I needed.


What did you do for Mother’s Day? Tell me what you did to celebrate YOUR day and Mother’s Day for your family & friends?


Oreo Biscotti Gifts For Your Favorite Teachers

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Three cheers for our favorite teachers! We have had truly some of the best teachers this year and this is the official Teacher Appreciation Week to really show your admiration for all that they do.  After volunteering in my son’s classroom, I know that I would not have the patience or endurance to do a job like that. I so admire the infinite patience, love, and knowledge that our teachers possess.

Both of my children have blossomed this year. With the teachers that they have, I can certainly see why!

Today I wanted to showcase an easy and fun gift that you can give to the teachers in your life. This Oreo Biscotti recipe is a dream to make and to eat. If you can make cookies, you can make biscotti! Biscotti is basically a twice baked cookie that is perfect for coffee dunking. You can find everything you need to complete this project at your local Walmart store.

Just as an aside, if I was a teacher, I would be drinking a whole heck of a lot of coffee.

Let’s shower them with cookies that they can dunk in all of that coffee today!

In your stand mixer, mix together melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar.

In a separate bowl whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to your wet ingredients in your stand mixer and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated.

Now it is time to add the star to the biscotti show! Grab a bag of Oreo cookies (feel free to save money and substitute with the store brand on these). Use a rolling pin to break up the cookies so that you can get a bite of Oreo in each bite of your biscotti.

Add the cookies to your batter and then give the mixer a quick spin. It should look a little like cookies and cream ice cream. Resist the urge to eat the entire bowl of batter. It will be tough- this smells so good!

Dump the batter on a parchment lined cookie sheet. This dough is so easy to work with that you don’t even need to flour your hands. Divide your dough into two equal parts and then flatten the dough until it is roughly 8 inches in length, with about a 1 inch thickness. Make sure that the two balls have enough space to grow when they are baking.

Bake the biscotti at 350 for 25-30 minutes until the dough is cooked through and the edges are golden. Let the biscotti rest for ten minutes before you cut into it.  Then with a very sharp knife, cut your biscotti on a slight angle, into roughly fifteen pieces for each dough ball. Lay them flat and slide them back into an oven for eight minutes. Pull them out and flip them again. Bake an additional eight minutes on the flip-side of the cookie. Finally, let them cool while you put the rest of your gift together.

Find a cute mug for your teacher over in the aisle with all of the lunchbox supplies or even over by the coffeemakers themselves.  Cute reusable mugs are an inexpensive addition to your gift and can be found for anywhere between $4-10 depending on your budget. Fill the bottom with colored shredded paper or a little colored tissue paper. Nestle your biscotti in a clear plastic treat bags on top of your cute mug.

Editor’s Note: Now that Picnik has shut down, you can do the same edits through PicMonkey instead! Follow the directions below:

Look through pictures that you have of your child and see if you can find a picture where you can add a little text to your photo. Upload your photo to Picnik. Under the CREATE tab,  select EFFECTS, then select the BLACK & WHITE option to change your picture to a black & white image. While still under the CREATE tab, select the option for TEXT. Once you are in text, put in your message for your teacher. Make sure not to put your text all of the way to the edge of the photo because it may cut it off when you print it. It is better to get it a little further in to assure that you don’t waste ink, paper, or your time!

You can choose from a variety of fonts and colors. The font I choose for these images was Pupcat. You can do all of this with a free membership to Picnik. Additional fonts are available with a membership, but I find that the free fonts are equally fantastic!

Save your image once you have finished it. If you have a photo printer, you can print these out at home. I printed mine on 5×7 Kodak paper with my photo printer. If you don’t have a photo printer, Walmart offers one hour prints (for a 5×7) for $.58. The cards themselves are almost as awesome as the biscotti!

Whatever you do, I hope that this adds a little inspiration to your gift-giving this year. These not only would make a great teacher gift, but I can see this being made into a perfect Mother’s Day gift for a special mom in your life too.

Homemade Oreo Biscotti

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup  butter, melted
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in chopped cookies. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 8″ loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Cut each loaf diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, on same baking sheet. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted on both sides. Cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe Source: Kraft Food & Family Magazine

What gifts do you have up your sleeve for you teachers this year? What gift has been the biggest hit? I would love to hear your ideas!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.