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Posts Tagged ‘Gift Ideas’

DIY Pincushion: Repurposing Jars “What are you doing with all of the baby food jars, Mom?” my daughter asked as she eyed the boxes of empty jars. “Oh, I’m saving them for projects.” Catching the look that my daughter and husband exchanged, I added, “It won’t be long before Charlotte moves on from eating commercial baby food, so I have to collect the jars while the collecting is good.” I plan on repurposing the jars for group activity projects throughout the year, so I’ll need a lot of them. These cute little pincushions are just the beginning. Next, I’ll make clever photo jars and then some petite terrariums. Oh, and how about fall votive holders and winter snow globes and Valentine’s Day party favors . . . .

Baby Food Jar Pincushion
As seen on CraftPudding

SUPPLIES
DIY pin cushion supplies
1. Baby food jar
2. Hot glue gun
3. Needle and thread
4. Polyfill stuffing or batting
5. Fabric, cut into a 5-inch circle
6. Scissors
7. Ribbon, enough length to go around the perimeter of the jar lid and wide enough to cover both the lid and the bottom part of the pincushion

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut a length of thread, long enough to stitch around the outer edge of the fabric circle. Make a knot at the end of the thread. Make basting stitches (straight stitches, evenly spaced) around the entire perimeter of the fabric circle. At the end of the stitches, don’t knot the thread or cut it off. You will need to pull this thread to gather the fabric. To make it easier for you to see the stitching, I’ve flipped the fabric over to the wrong side.DIY PIn Cushion Stitch

2. Plug in your glue gun to heat it up.

3. Place the polyfill stuffing in the center of the fabric circle. Pull the thread to gather the fabric until very little of the filling can be seen and it looks like a “puff.”DIY Pin Cushion Poof

4. Adjust the filling in the puff, so that it is evenly distributed. If it is to your satisfaction, go ahead and tie a knot in the thread and snip off the extra length.

5. Apply glue to the top of the cap, making sure to apply some just inside the edge of the cap. If too much glue is applied directly to the edge, it will slop over onto the side (see the big mess I made in the photo). Place the fabric puff stitch-side down on the glue, making sure it is centered on the lid. Apply even pressure on the puff until the glue has hardened. DIY Pin Cushion Glue

6. Finally, working small sections at a time, apply small dots of hot glue around the lid and then press the ribbon onto the glue. The ribbon should be covering both the lid and the bottom of the puff. For a neat finish, cut the ribbon about 1/4-inch longer than necessary and fold this amount back towards the jar. Glue it down, overlapping the previously glue-downed ribbon. DIY Pin Cushion Empty

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Although these small jars make cute little pin cushions, any size jar can be used for this project. Just remember to adjust the diameter of the fabric circle and the amount of stuffing to accommodate the change in the size of the lid.

2. I traced around a 5-inch-diameter bowl to get the correct circle size.

3. As mentioned before, these would make cute party favors. Fill the jars with anything you like.

Enjoy!

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Planting succulents A centerpiece using teacups and terrarium-sized plants gives my dining room a light and whimsical feel. So, why stop there? Teacup Floral CenterpieceRecently, I came across some hand-painted rice bowls and teacups that belonged to my grandmother. Noticing that a rice bowl and a teacup each sported cracks, I decided they would make perfect containers for succulents, my new obsession. Sorry Grandma, but it’s a great way to repurpose unusable china. I think my new little planters are pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. Planting Succulents in Vintage China

SUPPLIES
Containers: teacups, bowls, ceramic pots, etc.
Succulent cuttings or small potted succulents, proportionate to the size of the container.
Lightweight potting mix for cacti and succulents or a 1:1 ratio of high quality potting soil and Perlite
Aquarium gravel or small pebbles

DIRECTIONS
1. If the container you are using does not have drainage holes, pour a good layer of gravel in the bottom of it to enhance drainage.

2. Fill the container with potting soil to within 1/2″ from the top edge, allowing enough space to plant the cuttings without the soil overflowing.

3. Plant the largest specimen first and then working your way down size-wise, fill in the remaining areas. Remember to balance your arrangement by height, shape, texture, and color.

4. Top dress with aquarium gravel or pebbles. This prevents the Perlite from floating away, helps the cuttings stay in place, and keeps moisture away from the base of the plants.

Enjoy!

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February 7, 2014 Edition The figure of speech “Jack of all trades, master of none” suits me to a T. It refers to a person who shows competency in many skills, but is not particularly outstanding in any one. I recently learned some of the reasons why I am this way. Last week, in an astrology class, I learned that I possess something called Cardinal Quality. The site Astrology.com states: “Individuals possessing a Cardinal Quality like to get things going. They are active, quick and ambitious. Many projects get started, thanks to Cardinal initiative, although a good deal of them are never finished. That’s because Cardinal folks are much fonder of starting things than finishing them.” Adding to that, I also learned in class, that my zodiac sign’s temperament is that of air. Astrolibrary.org says this about those who have the of element of air, “They love learning, but bore easily . . . Air signs are into ideas and people. They are communicative; they must share information, interact with others, and influence society.”

Let me share an example of the Cardinal Quality-Air Element combination: In November, I decided to knit my son an afghan for Christmas. Having only knitted scarves in the past, I don’t know why I took on a project of that magnitude. After many “do-overs” and calls to my daughter-the-knitter, I completed the project, but ultimately decided that knitting was not for me. In January, I took a crochet class and decided to make a throw for my daughter. Again, with multiple “do-overs” and a bit of ad-libbing, I completed the project. Crocheting was easier, but again not for me. To make a long story short, I yearn to learn, but I lack the temperament and interest to stick to a single subject for very long. Hopefully, I’ll have better luck in the photography class I start next week!

#1 – Are You a Creative Person?
12 Tendencies of Creative People Have you ever considered yourself a creative person? Check out the 12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People and see how many of these traits you share with other creatives. For better descriptions of these tendencies, read the entire article, but in a nutshell they are:

1. Are bored easily
2. Are willing to take risks
3. Don’t like rules
4. Ask “what if . . .”
5. Make lots of mistakes
6. Collaborate
7. Are generous
8. Are independent
9. Experiment
10. Motivate themselves
11. Work hard
12. Aren’t alone

#2 – Valentine’s Day Printables and Love Quotes
The best Valentine’s Day cards or gifts do not have to come from a store. Homemade cards, treats, or gifts carry more love because of the sweat equity involved. Making homemade Valentine’s Day cards and treats are a cinch, especially if you use free printables. Whether it’s finding the right words for your Valentine’s Day card or making/assembling treats for school or for the office, you’ll find some creative assistance below:
Valentine's Chalkboard Printables Valentine’s Chalkboard Printables
75 Awesome! Valentine’s Day (Free Printables)
Free Valentine’s Day Bag Toppers
Treat Bag Toppers
Love Quotes for Valentine’s Day Cards
Valentine’s Day Quotes

#3 – An Extraordinary Gift
Extraordinary Graduation Gift
Because of its inspirational message, the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss makes a nice graduation gift. When one man’s daughter graduated from high school, he gave her the book and, as she opened the book to read it, he told her, “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.” Why am I sharing this story with you months before graduation season? This is a wonderful gift idea that obviously requires some advance planning. Even if you did not start this project at the beginning of your child’s academic career, you still have time to get your child’s teachers and coaches to write something in the book for this year!! Click here to read more about this story.

#4 – Smart As A Dog
Watch this video and fall in love with Misa, a tiny Yorkie. This little pup is not just a ball of adorable fluff. Judging by the number of tricks in her repertoire, she’s pretty darn smart, too!

#5 – Learn
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”
Thomas Huxley

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Pablo Picasso

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Christmas Cookies Like fog rolling in and stealing the sun, winter doldrums came and swept over me. Even though it’s not officially winter yet, I’ve been feeling kind of blue these last couple of weeks. Realizing this, I knew I desperately needed a special kind of therapy – cookie therapy. Luckily, a friend sensed my mood and we set up a “therapy session.” Baking and decorating cookies with reckless creativity and chatting and laughing made my case of wintertime blues disappear.

#1 – The Cookies
The cookies featured in the photo above are my holiday version of my Valentine’s Day Cookies. Click the link for the recipe and directions. These decorated shortbread cookies are cheerful to look at and delicious to devour!

#2 – Edible Gifts
60 Ideas For Homemade Edible Gifts If Chocolate-Covered Bacon, Earl Grey Kumquat Marmalade, or Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti sound delicious to you, just think how impressed your friends will be when you give them one of these edible gifts. PopSugar’s post Over 60 Ideas For Homemade Edible Gifts is filled with intriguing and interesting ideas. Some of them take advance planning such as making homemade limoncello or vanilla extract.

#3 – In The Mirrored Room
Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room - the Souls of Millions of Light Years Away Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama created an art installation called the “Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” that is both breathtaking and surreal. Lucky New York City folk can visit this amazing installation until December 21st at the David Zwirner Gallery. How I wish I could step into that room!

#4 – Finding Courage
How to Find Courage In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion sought to find courage, not knowing it was already within him. Each day we face a variety of struggles, most of which we deal with and then we move on with our lives. To do this requires courage. Like the Cowardly Lion, many of us don’t realize that we already possess the courage we need to face issues. We just need to uncover it. While reading an online magazine this morning, I came across an article by Steve Keating called How to Find Courage. Although it was written by a business man for a target audience, its message is applicable for everyone.

#5 – Never Too Late
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Go Now and Spread Joy!

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Dog Enjoying Car Ride His eyes close as the sun shines on his face and the wind blows through his hair. My dog’s face reflects sheer bliss during a recent car ride. Dogs live in the present moment and savor all of life’s little blessings. Simple things bring them joy: pats on the head, kind and encouraging words, treats to treasure, naps in the sun, running free, being loved. How is it that animals with brains the size of a human two-year-old can figure out the essence of happiness? Perhaps, we should let the world go to the dogs?

#1 – Dogs And Cats
11 Differences Between Cats and Dogs During the Holidays What do dogs and cats think about the holidays? If you’re a dog or a cat owner you’ll get a chuckle out of this BuzzFeed photo series called 11 Differences Between Cats and Dogs During The Holidays.

#2 – More Gift Ideas!
65 Homemade Christmas Gifts From week to week the number of homemade gift ideas on the Internet keeps increasing. This week I found 65 Homemade Christmas Gifts, which provides a wide-ranging collection of ideas and links. My favorite idea? There’s too many to choose from!

#3 – The Right Box

Gift Box Template Maker An obscure cabinet in my house contains boxes of all sizes. Because so many of them are crammed into a small space, I don’t dare remove one box, lest I create a box avalanche. I was elated to find the site Free Template Maker. Using the template maker, I can make small boxes to my exact specifications any time I want. All I have to do is plug in the dimensions and a template is made. Plus, I can re-purpose the cardboard from boxes in my cabinet that are missing lids or bottoms to make new custom boxes. The only limitation to this template maker is that your box template must fit on your printer paper. If you need a larger size, you can probably take a copy of the file on a flash drive to a copy service and have a larger template printed.

#4 – Go With The Flow
Learning To Go With The Flow
“There’s so much to do and so little time.” “Arghh, that person just stole my parking space!” “Look at how long the line is!” “What do you mean you’re all sold out?” Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? If they do, you might want to take a brief refresher course on how to go with the flow. 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow by Zenhabits provides the tips you need.

#5 – Is It A Waste?
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Marthe Troly-Curtin

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Sugar and Spice Pecans Do more ingredients and more steps make a recipe better? Not necessarily. Last week my daughter and I attempted to make an elaborate pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. The recipe involved more steps and more ingredients than a usual pumpkin pie recipe contains. In the end, the pie was good, but not incredibly better than other pumpkin pies of the past. However, one of the steps in the recipe required making sugar-coated pecans. Unlike other sugar-coated pecan recipes that incorporate one spice, this recipe’s winning combination of spice made these pecans stand out as the best part of the pie. Their ease of preparation make them a great snack for holiday parties or a crunchy salad topping. Put these crunchy bites of spicy-sweetness into cute jars, complete with a ribbon and tag, and you have a delectable gift to give to family, friends, and holiday party hostesses.

Sugar and Spice Pecans
Adapted from a recipe by BRIT & CO

INGREDIENTS
1 pound pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Place egg white and water in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until egg whites are frothy. Add pecans and stir to coat.
3. In a separate bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to pecan mixture and stir until well-coated.
4. Spread pecans onto a baking sheet and bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
5. Let pecans cool completely.
6. Store in an airtight container.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Toasting the pecans first brings out their flavor. Make sure they are completely cooled before using them in this recipe.
2. I love the recipe as it is, but just for fun, I’m going to try experimenting with other spices to see what variations I can come up with. Cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, and espresso powder come immediately to mind.

ENJOY!

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Lemon Tea Sugar Scrub Cold winds, dry heat, yard work, cooking, cleaning, etc. all contribute to making your skin rough and dry. Without spending a fortune and in only a few minutes, you can make a deliciously moisturizing scrub for your face and body. Keep containers of this wonderful scrub near your kitchen and bathroom sinks or your shower stall for whenever your skin needs a little tender loving care. To give away as gifts, put the scrub in cute jars, add labels, and tie on little spoons or scoops. Its fresh natural fragrance appeals to both guys and gals!

Lemon Tea Sugar Scrub
The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano

INGREDIENTS AND SUPPLIES
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Epsom salt
10 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
3 green tea bags
1 lemon to zest
Grater or zester
Large mixing bowl
Beautiful container

DIRECTIONS
1. Grate your lemon rind and set aside the zest.

2. In the large mixing bowl, combine and mix the sugar, Epsom salt, and loose tea (just rip open the bags and sprinkle the leaves in).

3. Add in the olive oil and mix.

4. Add the honey and combine well.

5. Add the lemon zest.

6. Mix everything in the bowl, then fill up your container.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Instead of using tea bags, I used loose-leaf green tea that I had at home. I estimated the amount of leaves that would be contained in three tea bags and I crumbled them into a bowl.

2. The next time I make this, I think I will try using a lemon-infused olive oil.

3. Little jars of this scrub make lovely hostess gifts or party favors.

ENJOY!

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