Author Topic: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!  (Read 30253 times)

swick

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Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« on: March 10, 2014, 04:43:48 PM »
Hey Everyone,

In the spirit of being organized and starting early, is anyone up for a Homemade Christmas 2014 Gauntlet?

The goal: have as much of Christmas as possible be Homemade/DIY. I would like to expand it this year to include the entire holiday season (not just gifts) and focus on homemade/recycled/upcycled/second hand/experiences instead of stuff/alternative non-consumer ways of celebrating as well.

Starting early because making takes time, as does convincing family and friends to jump on board.

This is the place to bat around ideas, get encouragement, share your progress, problem solve (vent) and inspire.

Anyone with me?

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 05:13:22 PM »
Waving hand.  I am in!

One of the things that I have been doing lately is teaching teenagers to sew through our 4-H organization.  I am finding there are lots of kids who want to learn to sew, knit, crochet, etc.  If you have some skills, share them!  Your community will be better for it.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2014, 06:35:07 PM »
I'm in! With the caveat that I'm still going to buy presents for the nieces and nephews (because otherwise the siblings - okay, one sibling in particular - would stop talking to me).

One part that will be a real challenge, but hopefully fun: convincing the BF that all the contents of our stockings for each other should be homemade. I'll report on how I go there!

Who has great ideas about what they'll make? This year I want to make jewellery and baked goods (both of which I already know how to do), plus stretch my skills to bath bombs, vanilla extract, maybe crochet some tree ornaments.

Stacey

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2014, 06:59:07 PM »
I'm in!  I've been teaching myself to knit over the past couple of months, so I imagine that knitted gifts may be a theme.  My mom already requested to washcloths - Mother's Day, check!  I'll have to think of some other good ideas for those who may be less excited about receiving a hand knit gift.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 07:34:37 PM »
Awesome! Glad to have some interest:)

I have a few ideas I'm tossing around but haven't committed to anything yet:)

We have to send all our family presents so there is that added expense, also means everything has to be fairly light and easy to send.

 - Getting some of my photography printed and mounted on Foam core (light and easy to send)
 - making gift boxes of candy
 - making customized perfume blends
 - Creating a photo travel book for my mom and Husband's parents (we all took a trip together a couple of years ago)
 - Various aromatherapy gifts - bath scrubs, soaks, lotions etc.
 - Custom tea blends with a pottery mug
 - Homemade spice blends/salts

We aren't going home for Christmas and most of the events in town, we are putting on (through my work at the art centre and our involvement in every arts and culture non-profit in town) so no really big expenses there. I do make a whole bunch of "generic" gift bags for all my volunteers and people who are doing good things in the community or have helped me out throughout the year. Last year these included: Homemade hot chocolate mix, a white chocolate orange lipbalm, a small package of homemade pomegranate jelly candies. I'll do something similar this year - but not sure what I will include yet.

What I really need to start brainstorming is ways we can keep our spirits up and create new traditions as we are basically home alone for Christmas. It really hits DH hard, and all the added stress from his parents because all the other kids get to go home for Christmas every year. Still trying to make it special without saying "why bother"? is the name of the game for us.




Hotstreak

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 09:45:19 PM »
I'm in!  So far I have a bottle of BBQ sauce, and a special BBQ sauce squirt gun I got at a work party last year.  They're going strait to the family party next year :)

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 10:18:10 PM »
Oh, this is so great!

I was thinking *last* Christmas that I should really make homemade vanilla for lots of folks on my list which has to be started 6 months before Christmas. Hopefully this thread will be motivation to get this going!

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 10:30:24 PM »
I was thinking *last* Christmas that I should really make homemade vanilla for lots of folks on my list which has to be started 6 months before Christmas. Hopefully this thread will be motivation to get this going!

Are you able to share your method for vanilla? I'm assuming it's vanilla extract?

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2014, 01:38:33 AM »
Sure! This is the tutorial I was going to follow:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/homemade-gift-series-1-vanilla-extract/

It sounds super easy. I've never done it before, but there are lots of folks making their own vanilla and loving the taste and the price. I happen to LOVE vanilla, and was once gifted a bottle of Mexican vanilla. I'd love to replicate that intense vanilla flavouring at home.  I never actually measure vanilla in recipes .. just eyeball it. And usually always use more than the recipe requires. Thank goodness for cheapish Costco pure vanilla. I do think it would be cheaper to make my own; to supply my vanilla addiction as well as provide unique, homemade Christmas gifts to those on my list this year!

Melissa

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 05:46:52 AM »
Count me in as well! This will give me the motivation that I need to start early (i do contract work in the medical field and I am always working more hours around the holidays).

I do stamping and scrap booking. I already know for my SILs that I am making decorative boxes full of themed, blank stationary.

I would love to learn how to crochet mittens for my kids and nieces and nephews.

And maybe gift boxes of homemade candy. I have done that before and wrap each type of candy in different colored foil and put in white candy boxes. The kids loved helping with that project

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 06:04:32 AM »

We aren't going home for Christmas and most of the events in town, we are putting on (through my work at the art centre and our involvement in every arts and culture non-profit in town) so no really big expenses there. I do make a whole bunch of "generic" gift bags for all my volunteers and people who are doing good things in the community or have helped me out throughout the year. Last year these included: Homemade hot chocolate mix, a white chocolate orange lipbalm, a small package of homemade pomegranate jelly candies. I'll do something similar this year - but not sure what I will include yet.

What I really need to start brainstorming is ways we can keep our spirits up and create new traditions as we are basically home alone for Christmas. It really hits DH hard, and all the added stress from his parents because all the other kids get to go home for Christmas every year. Still trying to make it special without saying "why bother"? is the name of the game for us.


Hey Swick,

This is a tough problem but one that I think every couple (family) needs to resolve.  Holiday expectations are high--not just gifts but travel obligations, etc. 

For us (that is, my husband and me and eventually our son), this meant creating our own traditions which is something I think you are doing.  My husband's parents, when they were alive, lived about 150 miles from us. Fortunately older siblings paved the way.  When their children were small, they decided to spend Christmas in their homes with immediate family; those within driving distance got together on Boxing Day with a sib occasionally flying in from somewhere else.

Where I live is my home--not the place I grew up. The last time we went to the place I grew up, my son was completely depressed. He liked being in his home for Christmas, not my former home.  It is all so tricky...

Ultimately we decided to create our own traditions but not be rigid. We can try new things.  We can travel periodically over the holidays but we prefer our simple time tucked in together in our home.  Ironically, I find that the people who want us to travel to them during the holidays refuse to travel to us during that time period! 

Good luck figuring it out.  It is tough...

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 09:09:39 AM »
Ironically, I find that the people who want us to travel to them during the holidays refuse to travel to us during that time period! 

Good luck figuring it out.  It is tough...

Ain't that the truth! Thanks for your response Worsted Skeins :) We moved up here in the winter time in the middle of an epic snowstorm, it was a 20+ hour drive north, after almost getting smucked by several different semi trucks we got out of the car, kissed the ground, and vowed never to do that drive in winter again.

Part of the issue I struggle with is I just don't really feel any attachment to the holidays, since I have spent most of them as an adult in countries that don't celebrate it and I have some negative memories from the childhood ones. My DH on the other hand is much more sentimental. We both have basically all our families back home in one town so there is definitely the feeling of being left out.

We carry on my parents traditions of appetizers on Christmas Eve and Breakfast Strudels on Christmas morning (they are in the recipe index and totally awesome, I highly encourage the starting of that tradition in your house!)

I would like to do some sort of event for people who don't have families in the area this year. There are a lot as we are an industry town. Not sure what though.

Happier at home: I really love the idea of homemade stocking stuffers:)






Elaine

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 09:36:28 AM »
I will try my best, but I'm not the craftiest of folks on here.

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 05:11:55 PM »
I'm in! I tried to do this one year in the past but didn't have enough time to finish everything and ended up doing some crazy last minute shopping.

For two nieces I can sew fun dress-up dresses (I already have most of the material)
For a nephew who will be about one a half years old by then...? (I can knit squares, but not hats or anything. Will have to think on this one.)

I also really like the idea of experiences. I'll have to give that some thought for my nuclear family and other friends. But I won't really have time to truly think/work on this until May or June. But at least it's earlier than I started last time!

wintersun

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2014, 02:16:04 PM »
I love this idea.  I am not going to join the challenge right now because I feel uncomfortable committing to too many things and already am committed to exercise, decluttering and keeping track of our finances, but am cheering you all on. 

I look forward to reading more inspiring posts.  1967Mama I think the homemade vanilla is a wonderful idea. Do any of you have a signature dish you give every year?  I was thinking of using a brownie recipe or something which people would look forward to each year.

Also, what do you give to relatives who are between 14 and 30?

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2014, 05:20:40 PM »
Thanks @wintersun! I was just taking stock of my vanilla beans today and thinking I really must get going on this if I want it ready for Christmas 2014!

What a good idea on giving a signature dish! I have a brownie recipe called "Ultimate Brownies" that I"ve made for years that I hadn't thought of giving for the holidays. It uses EIGHT squares (!!!)  of semi-sweet chocolate.


expatartist

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2014, 06:35:34 PM »
Yes - I'm in! I'll be making lavender silk sachets, lip/body balms for dry winter skin, etc. Looking forward to inspiration from all your ideas here.

kkbmustang

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2014, 06:57:50 PM »
My 9 yo daughter is one step ahead of me. This weekend we did a test run for homemade lip balm. She found the video on youtube. It turned out great (petroleum jelly -- not my fave but we had some on hand, old lipstick and vanilla extract). I had three tiny jars with screw on lids (travel size). She was so excited and really proud of herself and so was I. She wants to make them for her friends for Christmas. Adorable.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2014, 07:19:01 PM »
OK, so I made the chai tea concentrate that is over on the Starbux At Home post, and it is AMAZING and would make a fabulous Christmas gift too!

I would need to learn how to can the liquid in order to give it as a gift. Any canners out there that would know how long to can a liquid such as this in a water bath canner??

I can't BELIEVE how good this is! WAYYYY better than Oregon Chai in the tetra pak, which really is the gold standard of chai tea for me! haha! I buy it for myself as a treat sometimes, and otherwise just use chai tea bags, milk and sugar. This is so superior and I think would be MUCH appreciated by the family and friends on my Christmas list!

Here's the link originally posted over there by serpents tooth!

http://www.vegetarianslowcooker.com/2009/10/chai-latte-concentrate-oregon-trail.html

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2014, 07:36:29 PM »
That's awesome kkbmustang!

Crockpot chai concentrate is awesome :) I have not made it up and given it - but I have made up cute little packets that include the spice  and tea with instructions. Have hooked quite a few people and then they can make their own saving them ore moeny in the future. Very handy, especially if it is for people not local so you don't have to worry about breaking bottles in the mail.

I might also make a huge batch of breakfast strudels ( they are in the recipe index)  and give them away locally for presents this year. I vacuum seal them in packets of 6, stick them in the freezer and they stay frozen until you take them and bake them from frozen, hands off and really tasty, everyone appreciates them.

MayDay

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2014, 08:32:41 AM »
I am so in for this!

Ascotillion

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2014, 06:29:23 PM »
Count me in too! Last year I picked up some mini loaf pans for a few dollars, and gifted homemade pumpkin bread and fudge to a lot of my friends. Some of them still talk about how tasty it was! This year, more homemade stuff :)

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2014, 12:36:43 PM »
I'm joining this too!  After seeing some vodka on sale this weekend, I pulled the plug and just bought 40 vanilla beans off ebay to make a big batch of vanilla extract.  I am also thinking of making vanilla sugar with some of the beans.

My one rule is that I get to buy "real" presents for anyone under 18.

We will be mailing half of our presents this year, which is going to limit some of things we can make.  I am going to try and make as much of our gifts ahead of time as possible.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2014, 05:13:55 PM »
I was JUST saying to a friend, not 2 hours ago, that I have until July to go out and buy my vodka and vanilla beans and get them brewing for Christmas presents!

San

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2014, 11:35:56 AM »
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person thinking about the holidays this time of year. So glad I'm not alone!

We do a lot of jams, jellies, salsa, cordials spice mixes, etc for family the last few years, and we'll keep doing it. The kids are harder. Last year I made busy books out of felt with different scenes and figures to go on them for the under 4 group. But this year they did this annoying thing and kept growing, and the older they are, the harder it is to make them something.

I'm lucky that my family is really in to the stuff we make, whether its preserves, toys for the kids, or something crocheted. The cordials are the favorite though with the grown ups. I made limoncello always, but last year I made a strawberry cordial from the left over tops of the strawberries from jam. I just steeped it for two weeks in vodka and then added simple syrup. It was amazing. This year I'm making a gallon of the stuff so there's enough to go around.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 11:37:33 AM by San »

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2014, 01:53:51 PM »
The kids are harder. Last year I made busy books out of felt with different scenes and figures to go on them for the under 4 group. But this year they did this annoying thing and kept growing, and the older they are, the harder it is to make them something.

Two things I've made that have been a hit with 5-10 year olds are:

1) a craft kit/box -- prepurchased cheap school supplies like glue, scissors, felts, paint, then some dollar store crafty items like stickers, foam, beads, string, etc

2) a baking kit -- one ziplock bag of premade sugar cookie dough (or cookie mix in a jar where they add eggs, oil, etc), a cookie cutter, a tube of icing, etc

Both these gifts have been well received by parents and children alike, and by both boys and girls. You can add other stuff too .. Apron, wooden spoon, etc as your budget allows.  Works well for birthday presents too. 

San

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2014, 02:50:35 PM »
The kids are harder. Last year I made busy books out of felt with different scenes and figures to go on them for the under 4 group. But this year they did this annoying thing and kept growing, and the older they are, the harder it is to make them something.

Two things I've made that have been a hit with 5-10 year olds are:

1) a craft kit/box -- prepurchased cheap school supplies like glue, scissors, felts, paint, then some dollar store crafty items like stickers, foam, beads, string, etc

2) a baking kit -- one ziplock bag of premade sugar cookie dough (or cookie mix in a jar where they add eggs, oil, etc), a cookie cutter, a tube of icing, etc

Both these gifts have been well received by parents and children alike, and by both boys and girls. You can add other stuff too .. Apron, wooden spoon, etc as your budget allows.  Works well for birthday presents too.

Those are both EXCELLENT ideas! Thank you!

aetherie

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2014, 07:27:17 AM »
I'm in! I'll be knitting things for most people (and in fact have already finished two of these projects). Still have to decide about dad and brother.
In my family, handmade presents usually go over better than store-bought ones... :)

nikki

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2014, 07:43:02 AM »
Some of you may remember me from last year's homemade Christmas as the scrooge who gives nothing.

But... this year... I might!

I'm getting married in a couple months, and he'll be moving here, so I won't be spending Christmas watching Lifetime Christmas movies with my cat again. This time I'll watch Lifetime Christmas movies with my cat AND husband! Ya!

I'd like to give dude something this Christmas since he's probably expecting nothing. Our wedding will be at a courthouse, but maybe his sister will take some pictures. If any of them are nice I could have them printed and frame them.

Or maybe I'll just make a week-long feast of everything he loves to eat.

I'm totally into the idea of handkerchiefs made from old clothes, but he thinks it's gross. However, seeing as he uses the same PAPER TOWEL over and over, I think getting him to make the switch won't be so hard. So maybe I'll make some cute ones. No idea how to embroider at this point in time.

Ho hum. This will be a challenge.

The knitter

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2014, 08:12:38 AM »
Ooh the vanilla extract looks awesome. That will certainly be my adults/coworkers gift this year.

Last year I knit dolls clothes for my nieces and a set of three juggling hacky sacs for my nephew. I'll have to come up with something else for this year.

I started socks for other people but ran out of time, so I'm halfway there already!

For kids some ideas:
- felt story boards. I used to play with these all the time. You cut out felt shapes for people, animals, backgrounds, and put them in a tin. The storyboard is green or blue felt glued to cardboard. Kids can rearrange and tell stories with the items. It's really fun.

- it's been done already in my family, but a good idea for others: a magic spell book. It's basically a fun scrapbook made to look like a spell book from Harry Potter. To keep my nephew engaged, his mom added math and science projects described as spells, and included a wand. It was a big hit.

- my sister made the nieces and nephews superhero capes one year. It was awesome. They really loved it.

- I'm learning how to program, and in thinking it might be fun to program a personalized game for the older kids, something they could play on the iPad. That might be a next year present, based on how slowly I'm picking it up.




San

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2014, 07:33:46 AM »
Alright, I'm going to use this thread as a little bit of a 'keeping myself motivated, and seeing how far I still have to go,' thing, so here we go.

Done so far:

-Cordials for Mom and for extended Family White Elephant (Adults don't give each other gifts, we all do one grab bag, and it has to be homemade, or something we already have. Nothing bought new). Strawberry Cordial, Roasted Seville Orange Brandy, and Spicy Mango Rum.

Works in Progress:
- Jayne Hat from Firefly for my Brother-From-Another-Mother.
- Jam for In-Laws and misc. gift giving needs. This is ongoing, all season. Strawberry Rhubarb is on tap for this week.

Haven't Started:
- Yule Pajamas for the kids. Fabric already in stash.
- Frozen themed cloaks for daughter and youngest niece. Fabric already in stash.
- Felt board for daughter. Supplies in stash.
- Crocheted shawl for Grandmother. Yarn already in stash.
- Travel Art Kit for son. Already have most supplies.
- Candy Making kit for nieces. Need some supplies.
- My mom and I make scarves and hats that we distribute when the weather starts getting cold to the homeless in her Philadelphia neighborhood. We both try to make at least 10 between holiday season and Halloween/Thanksgiving. I'm behind this year and need to get working on this. So.... 10 scarves/hats.

More will get added probably. Don't know what I'm making for my partner yet, but he's hard.

ichangedmyname

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2014, 11:50:16 AM »
I am joining! :D

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2014, 07:37:46 AM »
So glad to see some action on this thread!

Finally got the homemade gift we were working on for my sister finished for last year...err it is only 7 months late! Totally worth it, imo :) Pictures are near the bottom of the page.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/fellow-board-gamesci-fi-geeks-please-help!/msg12296/#msg122962

We do have a few more ideas for new board games so will be working on those, I'm just not going to set any "Christmas" time limits for them!

My sister has just bought her very first house so I would like to do something artsy/nesty for her this year.

We are in the process of rebuilding our locla gallery/gift shop and I have been heavily recruiting artists, so I am going to see what I can do to barter for some Christmas gifts this year my aromatherapy for their art, there is a ton of talent in our area and somethings I know I should just leave to the professionals :)





Worsted Skeins

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2014, 08:40:55 AM »
So glad to see some action on this thread!

Finally got the homemade gift we were working on for my sister finished for last year...err it is only 7 months late! Totally worth it, imo :) Pictures are near the bottom of the page.

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/fellow-board-gamesci-fi-geeks-please-help!/msg12296/#msg122962

We do have a few more ideas for new board games so will be working on those, I'm just not going to set any "Christmas" time limits for them!

My sister has just bought her very first house so I would like to do something artsy/nesty for her this year.

We are in the process of rebuilding our locla gallery/gift shop and I have been heavily recruiting artists, so I am going to see what I can do to barter for some Christmas gifts this year my aromatherapy for their art, there is a ton of talent in our area and somethings I know I should just leave to the professionals :)

Where is the "like" button?  Nice work!

CommonCents

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2014, 11:41:47 AM »
- Various aromatherapy gifts - bath scrubs, soaks, lotions etc.

Where do you get the supplies for these?  I'd like to try to make some but what I've seen is expensive.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2014, 12:15:57 PM »
- Various aromatherapy gifts - bath scrubs, soaks, lotions etc.

Where do you get the supplies for these?  I'd like to try to make some but what I've seen is expensive.

Starting with bath salts and sugar scrubs is the most economical, then you don't have to buy all the different waxes and such.

The packaging can add up but the best place I have found is http://www.specialtybottle.com/ It was a fellow MMM'r who recommended it to me.

I"m in Canada so everything costs an arm and a leg too, I usually get a lot of my base supplies from NewDirection Aromatics, they do have a US site as well.
If you want to go into homemade spice blends and teas(or bath teas) and that sort of thing, for quality, price and customer service, Mountain Rose Herbs can't be beat, especially if you are ordering 25lbs or more. Definitely worth it to split up an order with a couple of friends for the discount. They also have essential oils as well.

Pretty much no matter how you work it out cost wise though, if you care about the quality of ingredients you put on your body (which is important with your skin being your largest organ and with how things placed on your skin are absorbed by your body) you will always come out ahead compared to buying the products retail.

EDIT: I should mention you don't really need to buy packaging and that is the most expensive part. Recycling cute Mason jars and creating your own labels definitely works! I buy the packaging because I am usually shipping and because I sell the products I need a professional, consistent look. When I made the gifts last year I didn't tell DH's family that I made them and I kept getting requests as products ran out where they could be purchased from :)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 12:25:56 PM by swick »

Stacey

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2014, 08:15:19 PM »
I've been teaching myself to knit for the past six months or so and have recently begun taking a knitting class.  I now have yarn purchased to make a hat for my son and for my hubby.  These will definitely be part of their Christmas gifts this year.  I love how excited my son (he's three) is over the hat.  I let him pick out the color (purple, his favorite) and he's already "placing orders" for a pair of socks, a pair of shorts, and a shirt.  Ha!  I have to improve quite a bit to fulfill his wish list.  :)  For his birthday he asked for a purple washcloth.  I kid you not, he was more excited by that washcloth than any toy or other present he's ever received.  Kids are the best! 

Any good knitting ideas for other folks?  One thing I've made as thank you gifts are washcloths/dishcloths.  Can anyone think of anything in that vein?

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2014, 09:29:33 PM »
OK, so I made the chai tea concentrate that is over on the Starbux At Home post, and it is AMAZING and would make a fabulous Christmas gift too!

I would need to learn how to can the liquid in order to give it as a gift. Any canners out there that would know how long to can a liquid such as this in a water bath canner??

I can't BELIEVE how good this is! WAYYYY better than Oregon Chai in the tetra pak, which really is the gold standard of chai tea for me! haha! I buy it for myself as a treat sometimes, and otherwise just use chai tea bags, milk and sugar. This is so superior and I think would be MUCH appreciated by the family and friends on my Christmas list!

Here's the link originally posted over there by serpents tooth!

http://www.vegetarianslowcooker.com/2009/10/chai-latte-concentrate-oregon-trail.html

Thanks for the link!

I was literally just thinking about this today.
My family was talking about doing an apron swap.

I'm not sure if I am in, cuz I always get in over my head. But it sounds like the perfect time to plan and map out ideas!

hermoninny

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2014, 10:22:19 PM »
I love this idea!  My husband and I have been frustrated with how stressful and expensive Christmas has become for the past 3-4 years.  Last year was completely out of control.  It doesn't help that our daughter was born on Christmas in 2012!  So last year we had her first birthday combine with Christmas and enough was enough!  We've already talked to my mom about downsizing this year and she and my brother are on board.  I'm not sure if we can get my in-laws to agree or not because we've tried before to no avail.

So handmade gifts are just the thing!  I'm an avid knitter (I have a side business hand-dyeing yarn) and I also love to cook and bake, and I'm very into essential oils - I make a healing balm that's amazing as a diaper cream and antiseptic for cuts, rashes, etc. 

My list this year, to be filled in as I think of things, and probably refined as I procrastinate and run out of time:

Mom - bath salts/sugar scrub, handknit socks, homemade vanilla

Brother/SIL - homemade vanilla, spice mixes, bath salts/sugar scrub

Nephews - hacky sacks http://diagnosisknitter.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/im-so-lazy-heres-a-hacky-sack-pattern/

Grandma - homemade vanilla, spice mixes, healing balm

MIL - handknit scarf?

FIL - painted coffee mug, picture calendar

Aunt - paint bucket garden seat http://themicrogardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DIY-Garden-Seat-Tool-Storage-e1386752856892.jpg

Cousin - homemade vanilla, spice mixes

Cousin's husband - no clue

Our kids will probably get clothes and one toy each, plus some stocking stuffers.

Coworkers - homemade vanilla, cookies. 

Yay!  I'm excited for Christmas for the first time in a while!  I need to dust off my knitting needles and pick some patterns!  Just getting my knitting time back now that my "baby" is 18 months. 

« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 08:59:20 AM by hermoninny »

JuSp02

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #39 on: June 29, 2014, 01:25:31 AM »
I love reading everyone's gifts! It's giving me some great ideas.

My vanilla is really coming along. It's amazing how quickly the vodka changes color. I also picked up a great bottle from our local thrift store for one of the vanilla gifts.

I started working on this scarf tonight for one of the babies in our family: http://disdressed.blogspot.com/2006/01/pattern-for-baby-scarf.html
I am thinking about knitting a modified version for one of the older children.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2014, 01:33:04 AM »
July is the last month to get homemade vanilla started in time for Christmas!  I must FORCE myself to go buy the alcohol and order the vanilla beans this week!!!!!!

hermoninny

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #41 on: June 30, 2014, 09:46:35 AM »
July is the last month to get homemade vanilla started in time for Christmas!  I must FORCE myself to go buy the alcohol and order the vanilla beans this week!!!!!!

I thought it only took two months?  I bought the bottles when I found them on sale at Michaels, but have been holding off on the vanilla beans and vodka because I thought that I wouldn't be able to start it till early October, then it would be ready by early December.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2014, 02:52:02 PM »
Hmmm...I suppose two months for vanilla could be fine. I was going by this from http://www.thesimpledollar.com


"Once we have our beans in the bottles, we just seal ‘em, shake ‘em vigorously for a minute or so, and then put them in a cool, dry place. After that, shake the bottle(s) once a week or so and you’ll have usable extract in a month, though most sites encourage at least two months of extraction and as many as six months is sometimes encouraged."

hermoninny

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2014, 04:09:34 PM »
Hmmm...I suppose two months for vanilla could be fine. I was going by this from http://www.thesimpledollar.com


"Once we have our beans in the bottles, we just seal ‘em, shake ‘em vigorously for a minute or so, and then put them in a cool, dry place. After that, shake the bottle(s) once a week or so and you’ll have usable extract in a month, though most sites encourage at least two months of extraction and as many as six months is sometimes encouraged."

I'd rather get them started now - I like crossing projects off my list!  I just didn't want something to go wrong and it be Christmas and my vanilla be bad.    Thanks!

PilotsWife

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2014, 11:29:08 AM »
What vanilla beans do y'all buy? I've checked out Amazon but there are so many options for types of beans & different sellers! Is there one type that's better?

Thanks!

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #45 on: July 04, 2014, 07:38:13 AM »
The biggest chunk of gift-giving effort goes to my 10 nieces and nephews and son. I'm having a baby in November, so I'm determined to get my Christmas shopping done by August.

I'm making the kids felt ornaments again -- what do you think of these? http://www.pinterest.com/pin/403353710349374481/

EEK! How do I resize that?!
(I also pinned a bunch of ideas to this  Pinterest board -- if you have any suggestions, send them along!): http://www.pinterest.com/staplerconfesh/diy-felt-ornaments/

I will also get the kids some sort of toy to go along with the ornament, but I'm aiming for spending less than $15 (wish me luck!)

San -- I love the Frozen cloak idea! Will you post some details about it? My niece loves Anna, so that would be a great gift -- and good timing, for the winter, for her!

aetherie

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #46 on: July 04, 2014, 10:10:33 AM »
Those gingerbread men ornaments are adorable!

I'm considering making something for my parents similar to this flower art (scrapbook paper mod-podged to canvas): www.pinterest.com/pin/399553798163873262/
but a bright, cheerful sun instead of a flower. They just got solar panels installed so it would be both cute and appropriate.

And I now have the yarn for several of my Christmas knitting projects, so I can get started soon.

hermoninny

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2014, 04:32:19 PM »
LOVE the gingerbread men!  So cute!

I'm five hacky-sacks down, and halfway done with my 6th.  My daughter seems to love them as well, so I might make some for her too.  I can get 7 out of one ball of yarn, and she would make the 7th kid, so it kinda works.

I bought the second two colors at Hobby Lobby over the weekend.  One opened on 7/4 about four blocks from my house, so we packed the kids up in the double stroller and braved the heat to go check it out.  Sales everywhere!  I also found a 40% off coupon online and was a happy camper.  :)

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2014, 10:00:32 PM »
I'm in!  I don't go 100% homemade, but I like to do as much as I can.  Looking forward to reading about your craftiness!  Things I did last year that we will do again:
Vanilla
Jam
Knitted scarves, hats, etc (loom knitted ;) )
Jewelry

hermoninny

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2014 Edition!!
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2014, 09:44:34 AM »
I started my vanilla this weekend.  It's already starting to change colors - so exciting!  I made six bottles, and am wishing I remembered to get a bottle and enough vodka to make some for me, too!  I still have plenty of vanilla beans left, so I definitely will be when I find more bottles on sale.