Friday, December 24, 2010

A Cubee Kinda Gift

It’s Christmas Eve! I can’t believe it’s already here. If you're anything like my family, you have a house filled with happy people and—surprise!—you have an unexpected guest! Okay, things may not be that drastic but maybe you need the perfect little “smile!” gift or stocking stuffer.

The answer? Cubees!

I love Cubees. I’ve given them a few times as gifts and after the initial shock of getting a blockhead, people get a chuckle out of them.

There are calendars and pop culture icons and even holiday cubes to bring smiles to people’s faces.

So, check out this site and have an amazing, happy, healthy, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Write Kind of Flowers

Winter can seem so dreary. It goes on and on and, besides the wintry white (and brown), there isn’t a lot of variety of colors to see. These pens are just the thing to brighten your day plus they’re useful so you’ll want to make a whole bouquet of them! I'm sure you've seen these at stores to keep people from walking away with them; when they're done well, they really are pretty neat.

I once made these with a Young Women’s group and talked about individual worth and how we’re each unique and special just like the flowers we were using. That’s one of the really great things about this project—you can find the specific flower that you or your giftee loves or the flower that best represents your relationship with them. A pink rose or a bright, happy sunflower…any flower would be perfect!

Floral tape comes in a lot of colors. I usually use green but you can pink any color you want. If you're doing this for a girls' party or bridal shower, pick a color that goes with the theme.

Flower Pen

Materials and Supplies

~ Bic ballpoint pens

~ Floral tape (comes in a variety of colors but I generally use green for obvious reasons)

~ Fake flowers

~ Wire snips


1. Decide if you want your flower to have a leaf or not. You can attach it separately or with the flower head depending on where its location is on the stem.

2. Cut the flower stem about four inches from the head of the flower.

3. Hold the stem against the end of the pen making sure the head is just above the very end of the pen. Add a securing piece of tape around the flower stem and the pen

4. Begin to wrap the tape around the pen and the stem. Pull tightly but not too tightly or it will tear. You want the tape to change color slightly, get a bit lighter. This way you know that the tape is sticking to itself.

5. Continue wrapping in a spiral to toward the tip. I stop just before the shaft tapers to the point.

Extra idea?

These are so quick to make, I suggest making several and placing them in a glass vase. If this is too big, grab a small terracotta pot, fill it with beans and stick the pen, or pens, out of it like flowers.

Don’t forget to include cards!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old School 'Rapper

Sometimes giving the actual gift is a hard task to do. When someone asks for a fish, you can’t exactly wrap up the little buddy and place him under the tree until Christmas day. So giving a stand-in gift can be a fun way to give the person something to open and not have to worry with air holes and potty breaks.

How ever you choose to present the present, the wrapping can be just as special. Martha Stewart and the little elves working for her have come up with these amazingly cute little gift bags.

When I say these bags are little, I really mean it! They measure about 2” x 2” x 1” and have lots of patterns to choose from. It suggests using wax twine for the little bags but I use curl sheen ribbon and it’s really pretty. I use a glue stick to glue all the paper parts to each other and hot glue to glue the handles on.

Little gifts are really neat. Maybe it goes back to our childhood cubbyholes, being able to tuck little things into little spaces. How pretty would it look to have little gift bags tucked all over the tree?

Think of the special things you could put into the bags—hugs and kisses, special time, candy, jewelry, photos…lots and lots of smiles! They make lots of things in miniature, too. Just imagine how much you can put in such teeny tiny bags…

Extra Idea?

Why just give them the money when you could fold it in a unique way?

This site is full of fun ways to fold money!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Craft projects are all about using or reusing and recycling items around the house in unique and creative ways. Sometimes all it takes is to flip something upside down and all’a’sudden it’s something completely different!

The bells for today’s craft are like that. The thing I like about terracotta chimes or bells is that their tone is so uniquely theirs—they aren’t shrill like metal wind chimes can sometimes be and little Zuzu Bailey will still be able to say her iconic line when you hear these bells ring!

Terracotta pots come in lots and lots of sizes from the very small to gigantic and you can get them from craft shops to home improvement stores. The nice thing about this project, too, is you don’t have to have an ounce of painting abilities (though I know everyone does!). The technique for this project is to glue ribbon around the bell or decoupage by cutting an image out of a piece of material—like a snowman, candy cane, snowflakes, or other wintery things—and glue it down to the side of the bell.

Terracotta Bells:

Materials and Supplies:

~ Terracotta Pots

~ Wood beads (about an inch)

~ Ribbon (try to get thick ribbon or maybe even cording)

~ Hot glue

~ Scissors

~ Paint brush or foam brush

~ Mod Podge or Elmer’s glue

~ Image from material


1. It’s always a good idea to wipe down the pots to get rid of any dust or dirt left on the pot during the firing process.

2. If you wish, you can paint the pots a base color like green or red and even a metallic color like silver or gold.

3. There are two decorating techniques. I went with the simpler ribbon embellishment but you can add a picture or decal or material.


Use a hot glue gun and glue the ribbon around the rim of the pot making sure you're gluing it right side up while the pot's mouth is down. At the end of the ribbon, fold the end under so that the edge is clean looking.


Cut out the design or decal you are going to glue to the side of the bell. Make sure it’s smaller than the bell so that you can see everything and there won’t be any creases or wrinkles when you glue it on.

Mod Podge the back of the material. If you’re using Elmer’s glue, cut it with a bit of water so that it’s soupier but not watery. It’s about a 1 to 3 ratio with 1 part water to 3 parts glue. Place the material onto the bell and decoupage over it. I cover the whole bell so that it looks uniform when dry.

Let dry about four hours.

4. Thread the ribbon through the hole in the pot. I do a loop so it can hang the bell from things. You’ll need to glue a stop on the inside of the bell through the ribbon so that the knot stays in place.

5. Knot the ribbon on both sides of the stick so that the ribbon doesn't go anywhere and the pot is secure.

6. Place the inch wooden bead onto the ribbon end and tie in place making sure that it will rest inside the bell when done—otherwise it won’t clang! If you're brain-frazzled like me and get a doll head bead instead of a bead with a hole all the way through it, just knot the end of the ribbon and fill the hole in the bead with glue and

Extra idea?

Christmas bells are special. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a moving poem that was turned into a Christmas carol. The poem is below so maybe you could print it off on nice paper and include it with your gift.

Christmas Bells

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;

"There is no peace on earth," I said:

"For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

There's No Man Like a Snowman

Snowmen inside the house bring a smile to my face. Especially when there’s no threat of them melting. I know I suggested the wooden snowmen a few days ago but I couldn’t not suggest this project—he's just too cute!

The first snowman like this I ever saw was made by our dear next door neighbor. There’s something therapeutic about these little guys. They’re filled with rice and they’re soft and lumpy and fun to play with. You can make them tall and skinny or short and fat or whatever you want!

Sock Snowman

Materials and Supplies:

~ White Socks

~ Rice or polyfill

~ Yarn

~ Craft Glue or hot glue

~ Scissors

~ Scraps of material

~ Puff paint, craft supplies (pompoms, ribbon, googly eyes, buttons etc)


1. Fill the sock about 2/3s full. If your sock is a bit thin, you may have to put a sock inside a sock. Tie the sock closed close to the top of the rice making sure it’s really, really tightly and securely.

2. Just like a snowman, section the body off into three sections making the head slightly smaller than the middle and the middle slightly smaller than the bottom. Tie a piece of yarn at the two points where the three sections meet.

3. Roll the top down so that it looks like a hat.

4. You can glue buttons onto the body or hat, add a scarf at the neck, or lots of other things. You can either use puff paint to draw on the face or stitch it on, if you have the knowledge. : ) I cheated and used a sharpie for the mouth and glued on googly eyes.

Extra Idea?

There are loads of sweet books about snowmen but my absolute favorite this year is Stranger in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy (Nature) by Carl R. Sams.

The photographs in this book are so magical! And the story is very, very sweet. Just be prepared to provide seed, nuts, and carrots to whoever you give this gift to!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One is Silver and the Other Gold

I’ve actually been really excited about suggesting this one! Old School Friendship Bracelets seem to never go out of style and it’s really a nice quiet Sunday activity that doesn’t require any skill but knowing how to knot.

I love this website.

Craftier people than I have come up with a million suggested patterns for bracelets. This may not be your exact brand of craft but if you’re going to have a houseful of children it’s a cheap way to keep them entertained for (hopefully) a couple of hours.

Materials and Supplies:

~ DMC floss

~ Scissors

Extra idea?

There’s nothing like wanting to start a craft without the materials to do it. You can get an assortment of floss colors for not much money to give to your little crafters so they can go off and make their own friendship bracelets!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not So Puzzling Craft

Can you believe Christmas is a week away? I have some friends that haven't even started shopping and are going to the mall today to find their gifts. I don't envy the craziness they will face! Instead, I'll stay in and craft by the warm fire and maybe make these easy-"piecey" wreaths.

I think everyone has at least one puzzle that it missing at least one piece. What to do with all the left over pieces? Make wreaths, of course! Well, that’s one of the many things you can do with the pieces but this post focuses just on making little wreaths with fun embellishments.

This project could be turned into tree ornaments, door hangings, package embellishments, and so much more! Imagine an apartment door completely covered with these little ornaments. Anther great thing about them is they're pretty flat so they're easy to store.

Everything, it seems, these days is made in miniature form. Bells, holly, ribbons, bows, berries, snowflakes, penguins, snowmen…just wander down the winter crafting section at the hobby store and see what you find. I personally like the little bells because they add a bit more festive cheer.

Puzzle Piece Wreath

Materials and Supplies:

~ Old puzzle pieces.

~ Acrylic paint—green (maybe red, gold silver)

~ Fuzz balls

~ Craft glue or hot glue

~ Ribbon

~ Scissors

~ Paintbrush or Q-Tip


1. Start by painting several puzzle pieces green. You can paint the front glossy side or the mat rougher side, it doesn’t really matter. You can get a few greens, green with sparkles, metallic green...whatever you wish. Let dry.

2. Arrange puzzle pieces in a circle. I lay down a base of several pieces not glued together then glue pieces on top to “fill” out the wreath. You can do as many levels as you want. I usually do three or four.

3. Glue on the embellishments.

4. Add a ribbon at top to attach it to things.

Extra idea?

Make several and paint them different colors to make them look more like a collection. You could make an advent calendar of sorts and put numbers on each wreath, counting to Christmas day.

Add a photograph in the middle of the wreath to make it extra unique and special.