Tag Archives: gift

DIY clothespin gifts 


This is overly simple, but Pen Elaine painted a bunch of clothespins that we used for Mother’s Day gifts this year. I was thinking they would make great teacher gifts, as well. I use clothespins all the time and love using the ones that my sister painted for me several years back. The ones that are simply painted, without anything glue or stuck on, really hold up the best and are useful for all purposes, so even though this may seem like too easy of a gift, they could always be paired up with a bag of chips and salsa or something like that!

The way we tackled these was one side at a time, clipped around the edge of a paper plate that held the paint choices in the middle. After completing one side of all the clothespins, they were left to dry by being clipped onto a second paper plate. Once one side was dry, we brought them back to the “paint plate” and clipped them with the unpainted side facing up. Ta-Da!

I forgot to take a pic of our finished product before they were gifted…but they ended up with swirly mixed paint finishes, as is currently the favorite painting technique of Pen Elaine 😉



Spring Grandma Gifts



With Mother’s Day around the corner and several grandma birthdays coming up, I like to start getting some craft gifts done ahead of time. Plus, I had seen these wooden birdhouses for sale, probably at Hobby Lobby, and had been saving them for a fun painting project for Pen Elaine. Pen Elaine loves to paint, and she loves to make things for the people she loves.

To help make these birdhouses end up with a more “finished” look, I gave them a base coat covering the whole thing before handing them over for Pen Elaine to decorate – I chose green because I knew Pen Elaine would want to paint with PINK. When it was her turn, she wore an old tshirt and her craft smock, since craft/acrylic paint does NOT wash out of clothes. (I also tied her hair back nice and secure to avoid that extra mess.)

Pen Elaine got to pick two paint colors and then go to town. We squirted the paint into paper bowls/plates and gave her a paint brush, and she painted however she saw fit. My Honey supervised this project, ready with baby wipes and a camera. Pen Elaine let him know if she needed more paint and when she had finished her masterpieces. She was very serious about painting her birdhouses and let me know which one was for “Grandma” and which one was for “Gigi.” We kept it simple, but now I’m imagining the possibilities for adding the little fake birds or moss that you find in the floral section of the craft store…






Dance Party



So, if you can’t tell from the photo, Pen Elaine was having the time of her life. It had been too long since our last dance party, and I had forgotten what a great activity this is for filling some time, especially that twilight time right before my Honey gets home when I’m too tired to come up with anything to do if I haven’t made a plan…Plus, music is the language of the heart…or something like that, but, really, music brings out creativity in small children and brings out the light in their hearts in a special way. They know what to do, and that’s a magic moment for a toddler. Plus, it gets them moving, which builds physical skills and grace by encouraging them to move to a rhythm and move all sorts of body parts, especially when stretching in new ways is involved. For even more skill-building, pulling out some sort of maracas or drums or whistles, etc. can encourage not only musical skills but the rhythm of language and harmony of sounds. (Ask Kindermusik if you don’t believe me 🙂

We pulled out her new little ribbon dancer wristlets, put on an old hand-me-down toddler cd of classic favorites, and had a dance party. She got these ribbon dancers from her Grandma and Papa for her birthday, and they are perfect for this age! About 6 months ago, I made a Homemade ribbon dancer that I wrote up a tutorial for, but she wasn’t as into it at 1 and 1/2 as she is now…who knows. Anyway, the new ribbon dancers inspired our dance party, and I had forgotten how funny it can be to see your mommy dance and do lots of twirls and stretches yourself, at 2-years-old. If you’re tired of an old cd, I enjoy Pandora’s “family folk songs” radio, and “toddler radio” is always a hit. We are looking forward to getting a copy of Seeds family music and giving it a try because I’ve heard good things – it teaches Scripture through their songs aimed at young kids.

DIY Wedding Gift



Here’s part of my wedding gift from last weekend – I think it turned out so cute! I love the little 2″ x 2″ cross-stitch sets (they come with everything you need, including fabric and thread!) you can buy at any craft store (or even Walmart if it’s one with a fabric/craft section). They are so sweet but are not so overwhelming that you never finish them – they can be done during your favorite tv shows in a week or two, or over a long road trip. Well, I thought this little chapel one was perfect for a wedding gift; I just added the couple’s name and wedding date to make it so precious and personal. Then, I bought a 2.5″ X 3″ photo frame to finish it out (from Hobby Lobby).


Babies are for Lovers…and showering with Love!



20130208-141502.jpg I love baby showers! Now, with Pinterest, throwing a shower or party of any kind makes me go crazy with planning, but I can never stick to one theme. So, when it came to throwing a baby shower for my best friend since middle school, I let myself go crazy. After all, I had been planning this shower since we were in college, and more seriously since she got married six years ago…





    • The baby’s nursery has a hot air balloon theme, so I wanted to hang one over one of the tables. After trial and error, my Honey helped me by modge-podging my fabric to a normal balloon, then using twine to wrap around it and tie it to a little basket.
    • For the front door, I copied something from one of my own baby showers by hanging a white, baby girl dress like a wreath, classy, vintage, simple, and sweet.
    • I loved the look of a paper doll clothes garland I had seen on Pinterest, so I just added old paper doilies as background and clothespinned them up to a strand of twine. (I printed the paper doll clothes from free online printables onto cardstock and cut them out carefully.)
    • For the entry table, I had a sort of sign-in activity, but I added a “clothesline” of more paper doll clothes, as well as a photo of the expectant couple.
    • I also displayed some maternity photos on the food table.




  • Since this was a baby GIRL shower, I wanted to have a girly craft, so I was inspired by a picture off Pinterest (sorry, not a working link, but I’ve included photo on right) to make Baby Girl some headbands and flower bows! I practiced making a few ahead of time and took step-by-step pictures, so I could use “picstitch” app to turn those photos into a how-to that I printed as 4 x 6 prints and clipped up on the craft table. p.s.I’ve also included my own little princess modeling a few creations. This was enjoyed by the younger crowd at the shower. They let loose their girly creativity!
  • My arrival activity, instead of a sign-in book, was a free printable I found that edited to make “Prayers for Baby.” Everyone loved taking the time to think through their answers, and my guest of honor laughed and “awwed” through their answers.
  • My one shower game was a Name that Celebrity Baby Photo – I made a powerpoint slideshow of baby photos I found online, and showed it on the television (computer hooked to tv) for all to try their best. It was pretty funny – some ladies thought Brad Pitt’s baby photo looked like John Candy, or at least someone who grew up to be unattractive, for sure. I found the photos through sites via google, here’s one example.


20130208-141530.jpg     20130208-141451.jpg



1. Punch was done by another guest, thankfully, but it was deliciously Pink! I also had a drink dispenser of water.

2. My cupcakes were Petite Flower/girly vintage – I used a strawberry cake mix box but added some extra ingredients to make it taste like the bakery, then I used store-bought strawberry shortcake icing, and dunked them upside down in a bowl of edible pink pearls; I topped them off with a flower sticker stuck on the end of a toothpick inserted through the middle. Easy and precious!

3. I set out a cutesy container of edible pearls (sixlets) that I found at the craft store, cake decor aisle, with an “eat me” sign.

4. I wanted some fruit, so I set out a bowl of mixed, seasonal fruit, and I baked up some “mini fruit pizza” that were really just sugar cookie bases, cool whip/cream cheese mixture, and fruit on top. Recipe link here and on pic below.

5. For something savory-ish and fancy, I made brie bites that were amazing, because how can you go wrong with pastry shell? These were so delicious that I ate most of the leftovers myself…this was a simple recipe, mostly cutting up pastry shell, which is easiest after you’ve stuck the thawed shell back in the freezer a few minutes so it’s not so doughy/sticky. I used cherry jam with the brie, and you just put a slice of brie with a dollop of jam between squares of pastry.

6. Convenient for making ahead of time, I made cranberry-feta pinweels that just had to be sliced on the day.

20130208-141700.jpg          20130208-141727.jpg         20130208-141712.jpg


Mommy & Me Class Series: I love you Valentine

Mommy & Me Class Series: I love you Valentine

Well, a rainy day led our craft class this week to be low-key and less crafty, but much more chatty and laugh-y…we got to talk about our favorite moms-of-preschoolers-things, e.g. hormones, pregnancy, nursing, picking up toys, and some other super secret stuff.

Nevertheless, we did prepare one craft for our preschoolers this week: a Valentine card using their handprints and perfect for a Daddy Valentines card. I had seen a picture of this and thought it was such a sweet way to use a handprint. Plus, this handprint is paint-mess free!

*Just fyi, I did Step 1 in class, ahead of time, then I did Step 2 before her nap and the rest of it after her nap. I also had paper and crayons close by for when she got bored during slow parts of this process.

  1. Cut fabric square to fit your card size, we used an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of cardstock and random fabric scraps from around my house.
  2. Trace child’s handprint onto fabric (or this could all be done with paper), and cut it out carefully
  3. Let your toddler glue the big piece of fabric to the paper.
  4. Fold card paper in half, to be like a card. Then, let toddler glue hand print cutout to front of card, leaving third and fourth fingers free of glue, since they’ll be folded down to make the “I love you” sign language.
  5. Now, put small dots of glue at the tip of the third and fourth fingers and fold them down to make the “sign.”
  6. I finished ours off with a personal note/translation 🙂


Handprint in Stitches

Handprint in Stitches


Having a kid around makes gift giving so much easier for parents and grandparents! The only problem is that when I figure out something to make for family members, I end up wanting one for myself, too…This year, I wanted to document handprints and footprints, but to make it into something more like art. I love the sweetness of needlepoint, so for gift project number one, I made a handprint in stitches.

1. I traced Pen Elaine’s hand (Quickly) with crayon on paper.

2. I found fabric scraps around my house, then traced her handprint using a pen/sharpie onto the fabric. If your fabric is not see-through enough for this to work, just cut out the paper handprint to trace on top of the fabric.

3. Finally, I used running stitches on the non-marked side of the fabric to create the needlepoint handprint! *Remember to let the side with the tracing to be on the back; just keep checking the backside as you are stitching to make sure you are staying on course. Below is a picture of the back of my project.



For smaller, more easily-mailed gifts, I also made some footprint and thumbprint art! I was inspired by some Pinterest finds. Then I punched a hole, strung through some twine, and mailed my sentimental ornaments to Pen Elaine’s great-grandparents.