Snowman Gift Wrap

The last few years I found myself up late on December 24th frantically wrapping presents, not exactly the way to get into the spirit! This year I knew I wanted to do it differently. These are the three things I wanted to happen:

  1. I wanted to spend some time being creative while wrapping the presents.
  2. Find some time to spend with friends that didn’t involve eating cookies (I have to admit, I’ve gained 10 lbs. since I began blogging, I’ll refer to it at the new blogger’s bloat.)
  3. And finally, give myself time to really get creative and then share the results with my readers.

My genius plan was to have a girlfriend get together and wrapping party. So, I invited four girlfriends to come chat and wrap.

Unfortunately a stomach bug, an out-of-town hubby, and life with kids put a damper on everyone’s plans except Renee’s. Despite our small numbers, we still had fun talking, catching up and wrapping some creative packages!

Over the next few days I’ll share with you the tutorials. I hope you get some ideas for your gifts (if you still haven’t wrapped yours). And I hope you don’t spend the evening of December 24th wrapping them all by yourself.

Snowman Present

Materials:

Black felt or black construction paper
Cake size paper plate
Buttons (2 eyes, 1 nose, 5-6 mouth)
Red Ribbon
Snowflake stickers, snowflake paper punch, and/or other embellishments
Wrapping paper
Elmer’s glue
Hot Glue Gun

Start by wrapping your present as you would normally.
Preheat your hot glue gun.
Then cut out your black felt or construction paper in the shape of a hat. Feel free to use this template or make your own.

Cut a piece of red ribbon for the brim of your snowman’s hat. Then gather your snowman pieces and lay them out on your package.
Use the hot glue gun to glue the cake plate upside down to the package.
Then glue the brim ribbon to the hat.
Glue your hat on the package letting the brim overlap the cake plate.
Cut another piece of ribbon for your snowman’s scarf and fold it in half. From the folded edge, you will want to fold about 2 inches back on itself. This will be your snowman’s scarf knot. Play with the scarf and “knot” until you like how it looks, then use the hot glue to affix it to the gift box.
Use some more hot glue to adhere the buttons to the cake plate.
Then embellish your package with snowflake stickers, etc. Besides the stickers, I used the snowflake hole punch to punch many little flakes. Then I glued them with a small dot of elmer’s glue.
 “Frosty the Snowman!”
Rudolf Gift Wrap
Materials:
Two twigs
Brown craft paper or paper bag
Two buttons for eyes
1 Red pom pom
Red Ribbon
Snowflake stickers or hole punches
Jingle bell
Elmer’s glue
Hot glue gun
Preheat your hot glue gun.
Wrap your present as you normally would.
Cut out a reindeer head from the craft paper or a paper bag. Feel free to use this template or make your own.
Lay out your reindeer pieces on the package where you want them.
Coat the back of the reindeer head with Elmer’s glue and attach it to your gift.
Using your hot glue gun, run a thick line of glue onto the back of your twigs and attach them over the reindeer head.
Use hot glue to attach the eyes and nose.
Tie a bow with your red ribbon. Attach a gift tag and jingle bell to the bow and then hot glue it to the package.
Finish off decorating your gift by adding paper punch snowflakes with elmer’s glue and/or stickers.
“Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer!”
 
Side note: I bought the paper punch, stickers, and embellishments in the scrap-booking aisle at Target. And our Costco has the biggest spools of wired ribbon I’ve ever seen.
Be sure to check back these last few days before Christmas because I have SIX days of creative gift wrappings to share with you! Head on over to Day #2.

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Glass Jar Votive Holders

This has to be one of my favorite activities to do with the kids!

Start by saving jars for a month or more! Salsa, jelly, vegetable, and baby jars all work well. Soak the jars to remove the labels and scrub any excess glue off.

Materials:
Materials.jpg
  • Clean Jars
  • Mod Podge (or diluted School Glue)
  • Brushes
  • Jar of water to rest brushes in
  • Tissue Paper (I limited the palette to whites and blues)
  • Magazine cut outs, sheet music, stickers, or decorative hole punches
  • Plastic tablecloth or sheet to cover your work area

1. Tear your tissue paper, sheet music, or other paper into small strips and/or cut magazine pictures into small pieces.

TornPaper.jpg

2. Brush a coating of Mod Podge onto the outside of the jar.

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3. Lay down your first layer of papers. (You be the creative genius here! You really can’t go wrong.)

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4. Coat the top of your paper layer with more Mod Podge and continue until the jar has been covered. It is okay to and encouraged to overlap layers. (Again, you are the creative genius!)

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5. Finish your jar by brushing on a final coating of Mod Podge. Be sure everything has been coated.

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6. Rest your votive holders on wax paper to dry. (Did you know that I never buy wax paper anymore? I use recycled cereal bags.) After an hour, flip your jars over to allow the other end to dry.

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Insert your tea lights or use flame-less candles and enjoy!

 

They are so adorable, that after the season has passed, I’ve been known to use these for pencil holders, for makeup brushes or impromptu vases for a bud or two. They also make a great gift from your child to an adoring Grandparent!  What do you think? Are they gift-worthy?

Sew Mini Gift Pouches from Napkins

AllPouches.jpgOh the quandary of what to get my boy’s teachers, the sitter, and all those other important people in our lives. Usually I take the easy way out and buy gift cards. Well – okay – I’m still going to give the gift cards, but this year I wanted to present them in something a little nicer. Something handmade with love. Cute mini gift pouches!

These little handmade pouches are perfect for holding a gift card and some holiday treats. And then after the holiday season has ended, the recipient can use the pouch to protect and store valuables!

My pouches started like this:

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Discounted cloth napkins! 90 cents for each napkin. And here is how they became cute little mini gift pouches:

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Open the napkin up and cut it into quarters.

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Fold the napkin in half.

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Allow 1/4 inch seam allowance on the open edge of your pouch, then layout your design and sketch with a disappearing marker where your stitch lines will appear.

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Sew along the lines you drew. (My machine has a few decorative stitches, but I could have done them by hand instead.)

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Then hand sew the buttons on where you want them.

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Once your design has been completely stitched You will need to hem the raw edge on your napkin.

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Next, fold over the top of your pouch approximately 1/2″ to accommodate your ribbon drawstring.

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Stitch the ribbon drawstring pocket closed. If your sewing machine has decorative stitches you may choose to use one of them, but be sure to sew on the right side.

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Fold your napkin back in half with the right sides together, and stitch along the bottom and open sides of your pouch. (I stitched this pouch a little higher on the bottom edge to make the flower stems end in the seam.) Be careful to stop stitching up the side before the drawstring opening.

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Snip off the corners of your pouch.

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Turn your pouch right side out.

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Cut a length of ribbon long enough to thread through the top of your pouch and to tie a bow. Then attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon. (I added some scotch tape so the pin wouldn’t fray the ribbon.)

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Gently feed the ribbon through the bag using the safety pin to push its way through.

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Add some goodies to your pouches and tie the ribbon to close it up.

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For the Rudolf and tree bag, I simply cut out the shapes using felt and stitched around the edges.

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One more trick for you. The snowman’s eyes were added after I stitched the button on using white thread. Then I re-threaded my needle and sewed in and out a few times on each hole to give him little black eyes.

I will be the first to admit that I need to center my designs a little better, but for now I’m happy with them. And, hey, isn’t it the imperfections that make them look handmade?

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_g5zUd7bijOw/TP5MiaPwgSI/AAAAAAAADLs/GU1XOSrD1_I/s1600/MoreXmasPouches.jpg

Update: I made a few more pouches last night, and altered my snowmen to a four hole button which gave me the option to add a mouth. I’m also perfecting my technique and getting better (not perfect) at centering the designs.

 

 

Pin for later!

DIY Christmas gift pouches made from napkins

I hope you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging. Here is the tutorial for the decorative birdhouse I auctioned off for our preschool’s silent auction (just in case you want to make your own birdhouse for Christmas!)

By the way, the winning bidder paid $25 for the birdhouse. Not bad considering the house only cost me $3.

First you should know that I sawed off the perch that came with the birdhouse. And filled the hole with wood putty. Then after a light sanding and a coat of primer, I painted the whole birdhouse.
Here is what the house looked like after painting:
I used a pair of needle-nosed pliers to carefully de-scale several pinecones.

Hopefully you don’t need a bandaid like I did. Ouch, those scales are sharp!

If you have ever watched a roof being tiled, they always start from the bottom and overlap shingles as they go up. This little birdie abode is no different. I started by running a line of E-6000 (super strong glue) on the bottom of the roof. Then laid the first row of scales.
Once the first row was complete, I overlapped a second row on top of the first. Here is a peek at the roof after three rows had been laid.
Once I reached the top, I moved to the other side. I did go back and adjust any scales that moved slightly during the roofing process. And this is what the house looked like when I was done with the roof.
As the roof dried, I searched my yard for a stick to use as a perch. It took a while, but I found one that had a “T” shape so I could insert one end into the house.
I chose a drill bit that was the same size as my stick and then drilled a hole into the front of my birdhouse.
I used some more E-6000 to line the hole, then slid the stick into the house. I also put a small dollop of glue behind where the stick touched the house near the top left of the stick just to hold it secure.
I needed to add a screw eye to allow someone to hang the birdhouse if they wanted to. I simply measuring the center of the roof and then I used a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw eye to drill the pilot hole. Screw eyes can pretty much be twisted in by hand, or you can use your pliers if you need a better grip.
Now it is time to give the birdhouse some snow! First I taped off the painted sides of the birdhouse with ScotchBlue painter’s tape to protect them from the spray.
I admit it, I’m cheap. I didn’t feel like buying some fake snow, so I chose to use white spray paint and glitter spray instead.
I pulled the can pretty far away, and actually the white paint was near empty so it spattered out. Which ended up being one of those happy accidents because I liked the splotchiness. I also gave the house a light dusting of glitter spray. To protect the house, I coated it with 3 coats of clear spray.
And here she is in her snow dappled glory!

I’m curious, how much would you have bid up to on this cute little one-of-a-kind bird house?

 

 

 

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creative-gift-wrapping

I have so much to tell and show you, I can hardly contain myself! If you follow me on Twitter (PrettyHandyGirl), you may have seen this photo of the light fixtures I scored from our Habitat ReStore last week! (Yes, I also have a Facebook Fan page.)

I was ecstatic to find another light that I turned into a Pottery Barn inspired lantern. And it is identical to the one I showed you here!

In addition, I finally found a foyer light fixture that I love (after a little spray paint magic). And I also grabbed a three arm chandelier that looked like it could have been in Ballard Design’s catalog! This treasure was promptly installed in my girlfriend’s mudroom (which I can’t wait to show you!) She and I worked for several days on a storage and shoe solution for her narrow hallway. My goal is to get the final pictures of the project to share with you shortly.

In other news, I’m very excited to have been mentioned in November’s Family Handyman magazine.

Definitely not me on the front cover.

My son’s closet turned reading nook is pictured on page 94. If you don’t subscribe to this magazine, it is a great DIY and repair resource. But, if you don’t want to subscribe, you can still access most of the tutorials on their website.

Running out of breath here…

Finally, By Your Hands has a Q&A feature post on me today.

Check it out here if you are curious to learn how I got my start at being handy.

Anyway, let’s just say I’ve been a busy Pretty Handy Girl the past two weeks.

One of the reasons I’ve been busy is because both my sons had birthday parties to attend this week. I decided to make a few special gift tags that would double as luggage tags for the lucky birthday munchkins. They were very easy to make and really looked fab on the gifts.

Without anymore blah, blah, blah, here is the tutorial:

Supplies:
Metal Tag Maker Rims (bought at Michael’s)
Scrapbook paper (cardstock weight)
Mod Podge
Wax Paper (did you know you can use your recycled cereal bags for this?)
Paint brush
Paper cutter or Scissors
Decorative scissors (optional)
Ribbon
Regular pliers – I used glass nibbling or grozing pliers but any kind should work (DO NOT BUY the special tag crimper tool that the store wants to sell you for $25!)

1. Measure your metal tags (the set I bought came with a template).

2. Print out your gift recipient’s name on cardstock paper. Skip a few lines and print out their address and phone number on the same sheet. (In fact, I ganged up several names including my son’s so I could make many tags at once.) Be sure the names and addresses will fit inside your tag dimensions.

3. Using the tag template, cut two coordinating papers for the background of your tags.

4. Trim the name and addresses smaller than your tag dimensions. (I used deckled edge scissors.)

5. Line up all your cut paper and supplies on top of wax paper (cereal bag). Poor a small amount of Mod Podge into a bowl and dip your brush in it.

6. Coat the back side of one of your coordinating background papers. Place the other sheet of decorative background paper on top of the first one (backs together.)

7. Next coat the back of the name sheet with Modge Podge and adhere it to one side of the background label. Be careful to leave space for your hole punch on one end. Brush Mod Podge over the top of the name and the background paper to seal it.

8. After the front side has dried, flip it over and repeat step 7 for your address label. It is very important that you position your address on the same edge of the tag as the name on the opposite side. Otherwise you will end up punching a hole through one or the other.

9. Once the tag has dried, use your template to trim the corners off your tag and punch a hole through the middle.

10. Gently insert your tag into a metal tag frame (some trimming may be necessary). When you tag fits snuggly inside the frame, pull out your pliers and start squeezing around the edge of the metal frame. Work your way all the way around.

11. Thread your ribbon through the hole and tie it to your gift! Your tag can be re-used on a lunch bag, backpack or luggage!

I also cut an extra piece of scrapbook paper the same size as the metal tag;
put my son’s name on it;
and threaded it on with the gift tag
so the birthday child would know who gave the gift.
Who wouldn’t want one of these cute tags on their lunch bag?