Thursday, January 13, 2011

handmade gifts for kids

Well, since we're on day four of snow days here and have nothing better to do, I guess I could finally get around to posting some of the gifts we did for Christmas.

Along with quick -super quick- how-to's, I wanted to do a rundown of how much things cost, not only to give you an idea, but really to get an actual comparison on our typical gift giving "budget". I know sometimes "handmade" doesn't always equal less money. I think it worked out really well this time though.
It was coming up with all the ideas that was hard. Actually I had plenty of ideas... the catch was it needed to be smallish and shippable since we're talking long distance gifts here. So that's what made it a little hard. I could come up with plenty of gifts that were too big or awkward or impractical to mail... having to stick with the smaller, lighter gifts was the challenge.
And as usual, the guys were the hard ones to brainstorm for and while I know I had good handmade ideas for them on my old laptop, I didn't have access to that so this is mostly who we bought retail for. We tried for those gifts to be just as intentional though, being one of our favorite family games, a favorite book, another handmade gift from Etsy, and a "pay it forward" type of project you can check out all about here. The only other gift I bought this year were these gorgeous birds from this great website.

I'm going to break down all the gifts we made into two posts because it's a lot.
And we'll start with the gifts we did for kids...

[My apologies; my pictures do not do a lot of these gifts justice... most of the time they were taken seconds before wrapping them up and I just snapped them to snap them, dim wonky lighting and all. So just imagine everything just a little bit cuter if it had a legitimate photo shoot...]


SO fun and easy to do.
Making them was rather addicting, actually and I wished I had more little girls to be gifting to!! There are simple tutorials all over the internet, so I won't go into detail and trust that you can figure them out if you ever want to make your own. I think I spent a total of under $20 and made four tu-tu's... and that's having no supplies to start with.

memory games...

LOVE THESE! I do think these were my favorite. We made these for a couple of the younger cousins... a one-year-old and a two-year-old and I'm jealous I didn't think of this idea when my kids were little. I collected pictures of the recipient and surrounding family... siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. And pets. :) I printed them out on my own printer at 2.75" x 2.25"and modge podged them onto wooden blocks Ryan cut down for me. I found thin boards at Michaels: 3"wide x 36"long for less that $3 apiece... we used just over two boards for two sets of games (10 matches per game). Also, one sheet of scrapbook paper (.59 each) covered the backs of each set of games. I grabbed a couple of canvas bags from the $1 bin at Michaels and painted the kids' names on the bag to hold the blocks. Total cost: about $6 per game and a couple evenings worth of applying modge podge while watching tv.
My kids couldn't wait to 'test out the game' for me...


Made to match a bedroom, filled with pictures of cousins. $1 frames at Michaels, painted white, added scrapbook paper and silk flowers with jewels (I bought a jar of decorative flowers for $6 and didn't even make a dent in the supply with the handful I used). Total cost: $3 for all three frames, plus $6 for flowers that I will use for years.

growth charts...

I've made these before for our first three nieces, so it was kind of a no brainer to do these for the two new baby boys on that side of the family. I love making something personalized to match their bedrooms and I love picking out a different growing "themed" bible verse for each of them.
I wasn't able to find the same thick, sturdy floor canvas I've always used in the past, so I just used part of a canvas drop cloth (for painting-- $12 for a 6'x9' at Lowes) that I actually bought to make a tree skirt and christmas pillows for our front porch. I cut to size and then fray checked the edges, hot-glued a popsicle stick (for just a little bit of weight so it'll hang nicely) and ribbon to the top and bottom and then on one I painted (stamped) and the other I cut out fabric, ironed on and stitch appliqued (don't worry, easier than it sounds!). For both I printed out a bible verse on iron-on printer paper and either ironed it right on to the canvas, or in the applique instance onto my fabric.
Total cost:
1) about .50 for the amount of canvas I used plus about $5 worth of fat quarter fabrics from JoAnns. And ribbon I already had.
2) again, about .50 for the actual amount of canvas I used from my drop cloth and $0 for paints, stamps and ribbon I already had.
This is one of my favorite gifts to make... such a nice personal gift... and so NOT much money. Love it.

moon pillow...

I found this idea, complete with tutorial, here. My sister gave Sawyer this moon for his bedroom for his birthday and he LOVES it. He's pretty much obsessed with it, always talking about the phases of the moon and has to have it glowing each night when he goes to bed. When I saw the moon pillow on a blog, I knew he had to have it. I didn't put any thing inside but stuffing... no lavender or any good sleepy-time herbs, but it is definitely an idea I'm going to remember for later. I bought all the felt and thread (with tons leftover) for about $8 and had stuffing at home.

simple bedtime journal...

Savannah has, for the past year or so, taken to leaving us notes to find when we check on her before we go to bed. She always has some quip about the day or about what's coming up the next day and she usually has a question for us to answer and wants us to sign it with what time we went to bed. :)
She used random paper or notebooks or even a magnadoodle... whatever was handy. So for her gift, I grabbed a good sized notebook (maybe $3?) and personalized it for her with stickers ($2), attaching a pen (already had). Easy peasy and she loves it. And I love that we'll have a record of all these notes that make me smile in one place.

So my grand total for the kiddos was roughly $40 out of pocket and that covered gifts for 8 kids. Not bad!


Mom said...

I love your gifts and the fact that you made most. It makes them more special for the giver & the receiver.Thanks for taking the time. XOXOXOX

Mom said...

PS .Did you guys thaw out and get back in school today??

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