Homemade Christmas

I wrote a story for this past Sunday’s Courier & Press about the option of making handmade gifts as Christmas presents. This is nothing new to my family, although the idea has seemed to make a comeback in recent years with the rising popularity of social networking site Pinterest.com.

By the way, I’m very much into the “online corkboard.” It’s a great way to aggregate a bunch of other people’s ideas in one spot and have them all organized by subject. I think back to my big idea searching days pre-Pinterest (planning my wedding for example) when I used to save pictures I found from various websites to my computer’s desktop and bookmark sites like crazy.

I joke about how much more AMAZING my wedding would be if I had Pinterest, when in reality it was about as fabulous as any wedding could be (it was in the back yard of a Louisiana plantation home with a dog for a ringbearer, hot pink heels for the bride and feather centerpieces!)

Gifts in the past have included picture frames, photo blocks, signs, peppermint scented playdough, scarves and green beauty and cleaning products.

This year is no exception. There were certainly be (and already has been) some pretty awesome handmade gifts coming from the Doyle household. I can’t get into to too many details because I’d hate to give away any surprises. But I can share one little gem — Miles’ annual Christmas tree ornament.

It is something my mom always did with my sister and me — each year we made our own ornaments. From as far back as I can remember we would scour through craft books and magazines (this was before the interent people) to find our idea and then do it ourselves. Of course mom was there for help, but for the most part these were all my sister and me.

Some more memorable ones are Big Bird made from yellow cotton balls, glittered Christmas trees made from popsicle sticks and one of my favorites, a toy soldier made from a toilet paper roll.

This is Miles’ third Christmas so it means we are on our third ornament. And each year he’s used his handprint as the main component of his ornament, something that I think could be fun to stick with, at least until we run out of ideas. Faithful blog readers will remember my post about tradition and realize that he’s probably stuck with the idea for the next 100 years.

Anyway, the first year he was about five months old when I sat him in the bathtub and painted his hand with (non-toxic) white paint with the goal of getting his adorable tiny handprint on shiny blue Christmas ornaments. This task, as many involving tiny ones, was much harder than I expected. After several attempts (and a few breaks) we made dozens of adorable ornaments. I wrote his name and the year on the back in sharpie and tied a pretty silver ribbon through the top.

Here’s a picture of what the finished product looks like (note, this is not of our ornament, but from the blog www.asortaairytaleblog.com):

From: www.asortafairytaleblog.com

From: www.asortafairytaleblog.com

Proof of a messy process

Proof of a messy process

Last year, sticking with the handprint theme, we went with salt dough hand print ornaments. After making and rolling out the dough I pushed Miles’ 17-month-old and uncooperative hand in the dough. I also did a few of his feet for good measure. After getting the prints, I cute around them and then baked them. Once cool, I painted them red and green. Don’t forget to poke a hole in these pre-baking, so you can string a ribbon through them to go on the tree. I also sealed them after everything was done.

This too was much harder than I expected. But I’d brought the mess to my mom’s house and had her to help wrangle the kiddo making it manageable. To those attempting this ornament, it’s a two person job (and I don’t count the toddler as one of those people!)

Here’s a link to a tutorial on that with a recipe for the dough and a picture of a finished product. Again, this isn’t our finished product (I sadly don’t have pictures of our finished ornaments from year’s past).

http://tiealittleribbon.com/2012/11/salt-dough-christmas-ornaments/

from www.tiealittleribbon.com

from www.tiealittleribbon.com

This year’s ornament idea was courtesy of a friend who did something similar with her son last year. It took no less than three trips to the craft store for supplies but was pretty simple, I’m just not the most organized!

I painted the bottom third of his hand (thumb and bottom of his palm) with read, the majority of the palm peach and his fingers white and the pressed it on a piece of green foam paper. After it was dry we added eyes and a mouth with marker and then glued a white pom pom to the top of santa’s hat. It turned out pretty cute. It ened up being pretty messy, but Miles had fun.

Here’s a generic picture from Pinterest of a similar looking finished product and a picture of the mess!

Note that he IS wearing underwear here!

Note that he IS wearing underwear here!

SONY DSC

Do you like getting handmade gifts? Do you plan to give any this year? Share a link to your favorite DIY project!

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