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Chicken wire jingle bell

When I blogged about my wire mesh jewelry holders with beads, I mentioned that I planned to make a Christmas ornament out of wire. Here it is. But instead of 1/4-inch hardware cloth, I went with chicken wire. Apparently, it’s called poultry netting these days, but my family raised chickens when I was growing up, and we called it chicken wire. We also raised pigeons, doves, and ducks—including a Mallard named Donald until a neighborhood cat killed him. This is one reason I don’t like cats. But I digress.

I got the idea for this ornament from an old issue of Marie Claire Idées, my favorite French magazine. As best I can tell in my limited French, they hung their diamond- and heart-shaped chimes in a cherry tree to keep birds away. I thought they would also make excellent Christmas ornaments or jingly door bells, hence the bell shape. This is my first one, so it’s a little lopsided. I show you how to not repeat my mistake.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Greeting card advent calendar

Remember when I told you three years ago that I was going to make an advent calendar the same way I made my hanging postcard collage? Well, I finally did it! Apologies for posting so late in the season. You probably already made or bought an advent calendar this year. But you can start saving Christmas cards to make one next year. The beauty of this design is that it rolls up and stores easily to be used year after year.

Candy tucked behind each card

Slip a thin, wrapped piece of chocolate (Ghirardelli Squares work well) or note behind each card for a daily Christmas treat. I cut out a square from the inside of each card, including the signature, and pasted it on the back so I will always remember who gave that card to me. You could also decorate the cards with glitter, brads, eyelets, ribbon, etc. All you scrapbookers know what I’m talkin’ about.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Star sheet music ornaments

Homemade ornaments are so much more fun, rewarding, and cheaper than buying them. Especially when they’re made of paper—in this case, sheet music. That’s why I included so many paper ornaments in my handmade holiday gift list. For this project, I made stars, but you can use nearly any symmetrical shape to make these ornaments (tree, wreath, heart, bell, angel, ball, snowflake, etc.). I made four patterns for you to download to make your own ornaments: star, bell, angel, and ball. Click here to download the patterns.

The song printed on the star is a little-known Christmas hymn titled “With Wondering Awe.” I chose it because it mentions the star more often than any other Christmas carol I found. Bell: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Ball: “Silent Night.” Angel: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” As long as you have a sewing machine, these ornaments are super easy to make. Read more »

Dec/Jan2011 Bust magazine cover Check out the latest issue of BUST magazine. One of my tutorials is featured in the “Home Is Where the Heart Is: DIY Your Way to a Winter Wonderland” article. You’ll find my Popsicle-stick snowflakes how-to on page 61 in the December/January 2011 issue. It’s so exciting to see my ideas in print. Thanks, BUST!

I also love Sarah’s stacked fabric Christmas trees from The Small Object (page 60 of the magazine) and Alicia’s pom-pom garland from Posie Gets Cozy (page 62).
Popsicle-stick snowflakes

Stocking stuffers for kidsPhoto by rickszczechowski/

These stocking stuffers aren’t handmade, so they didn’t make the cut for my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, but no Christmas gift list would be complete without stocking stuffer ideas. Besides, I’m a sucker for classic toys and practical gifts. Parents sometimes fall back on candy and the latest cheap plastic junk (that kids discard as fast as they eat the candy). Instead, give your kids stocking stuffers that are useful and engaging. The best part? None of these require batteries!

Stocking stuffers for kids

  1. Woodstock Bluesband harmonica

    harmonica |

    Woodstock Blues Band Harmonica

  2. bag of marbles
  3. polished rocks
  4. sea shells
  5. foreign coins
  6. magnifying glass
  7. rubber bouncy ball
  8. magnets
    Rare-earth magnets
  9. stamp and stamp pad
  10. four-color pen
  11. drawing pad and pencils
  12. box of crayons or colored pencils
  13. toothbrush
  14. deck of card games (Uno, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, or Go-Fish)
  15. bubbles Read more »

Top 10 gift certificates

You missed it, didn’t you? Admit it. I didn’t expect everyone to actually read all 137 handmade Christmas gift ideas anyway. So I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on No. 124. Having experienced a death in the family this year, the thought occurred to me that one should not wait until a funeral to share one’s fondest memories of a certain someone. So I designed the “Top 10 Fondest Memories” certificate for you to download, print (on legal size paper), fill out, tie with a ribbon, and give to a loved one for Christmas.

Then I was having so much fun with the idea that I designed three more Top 10 certificates: “Top 10 Reasons I Love You,” “Top 10 Favorite Things About You,” and “Top 10 Gifts I’d Buy You If I Had a Million Dollars.” (Got the BNL song stuck in your head now?) Click the links to download the certificates, or get them all at the downloads page. If I think of another Top 10 idea, I’ll make a certificate. And if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, have fun strolling down memory lane.

Handmade Christmas presentsPhoto by JurgaR/

This is the final part of my list of 137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, and we’re down to these two categories: 1) Media & services and 2) Cards & wrapping. I included cards and wrapping because oftentimes they are just as important as the gift itself. I hope you found this monster-of-a-list entertaining and helpful. Click here for Part 6. Check out these stocking stuffer ideas for kids too.

Part 7: Media & services

DIY framed quote

120. A friend or relative who enjoys poetry, famous quotes, or sayings would relish one of his/her favorites written in calligraphy or hand-painted in a frame or on a plaque.
Another way to frame a quote

121. For your elders, research newspaper and magazine articles from their youth and present in a scrapbook. Or collect newspaper articles from the year they were born.
Find your local library

122. Make a mixed CD and choose songs that make you think of that person. Under each title explain why you chose that song.
How to use iTunes to create a mix CD

Thomas Paul notebooks

123. Collect quotes that remind you of someone and either type or hand write them in a handsome notebook or journal.
Logs and journals at See Jane Work
Make a fabric notebook cover

124. Why wait for a funeral to share your fondest memories? Give a top 10 list of your fondest memories of the recipient. Download my official certificate, print it on quality legal size paper, write your memories, roll it up, and tie a baby blue ribbon around it.
Download the official certificate

125. Videotape and interview parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles about childhood memories, how they met, etc. and give to siblings, children.
Top 5 free video editing software programs

Read more »

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