Thursday, January 3, 2013

Homemade Family Christmas


I'm a week behind in my tradition of posting all our homemade Christmas gifts. Last week I was in Mexico, and the past several days have been spent recuperating from the Christmas season. Isn't it funny how we run around so much we wear ourselves out? I've been enjoying having a fresh schedule with no obligations. It's been a very laid back few days. I've been able to sleep in till 9am and I'm almost embarrassed to admit I haven't been getting out of my pj's until lunchtime. Almost. It's been wonderful!

I'll jump right in! We'll first take a look at the Christmas ornaments I made this year. I have the tradition every year of finding a perfect ornament that represents the hobbies and interests of each of my kids. When they are grown they will be allowed to take all these ornaments with them for their own tree. That's at least 18 ornaments! A good start for a collection. All of the homemade ones they make in school and other places will be saved for my collection.


I had a difficult time finding a board game ornament for Zech. I stalked a few EBay auctions and eventually decided to make it myself. The prices were too high and I was able to make the ornament for free. Paper mache and paint is cheap, and you typically have the supplies on hand! For the glue paste I use a ratio of 1:4, flour to water. For this small project I measured 1/4 cup flour to 1 cup water. It made so much paste I looked for more things to make! If you're wondering, the playing pieces are tiny craft pom poms. I coated them in the paste and left them to dry on the paper mache game. Once they were dry, I painted them different colors.


I wanted to make something special for the kids in my Club2190 class at church. Over the past few months we've worked on several different Bible verses. I came up with these cute little Bible ornaments. I made 4 different verses and gave them out randomly. I made all of them out of the leftover glue paste and some cereal boxes. I printed out the Bible verse on white paper and positioned it where I wanted it for my final paper layer. Once it was dry, I carefully painted around the verses.

During this Christmas season most of my focus was on Mexico and the gifts I would be bringing there. I didn't have much opportunity to make a lot of my gifts like I usually do. In fact, I had purchased supplies to make gifts for my friends, but ended up not having enough time. I'll be saving those to make for birthdays now!


I only was able to make each of my kids one thing. For my boys I put together marshmallow guns! They were a huge hit! I also made the marshmallow guns for all the older boys that we gave gifts to in Mexico. (None of them had seen anything like it before!) I was surprised on Christmas morning that my daughter wished for a gun too. I figured it was a boy thing.

To make the gun you need 1/2" pvc pipe. 1 - T fitting, 2 - 90 degree elbows, 1 - cap, 12 inch pvc pipe. I had my husband cut the 12 inch piece into two 3-inch sections, and three 2-inch sections. It should be pretty explanatory how I put it together from the picture. Since I was making one for each of my boys I wanted them to be able to tell them apart. I painted the middle connecting pieces to add a little color and for them to easily recognize which gun was theirs.


For Ariel I made her a planket, not to be confused with a snuggie. You probably can't see very well from the picture, but the pillow and blanket are actually sewn together. It's made more for travel purposes. I wanted her to have something special to take on the airplane, but it also can be used for a long car ride. If she was sitting up you could see it looks a lot like a bib. The pillow is sewn on the bottom corners with the middle left open for her head to fit through. This totally eliminates the problem of the blanket falling down. It also is a very convenient pillow case that can hold the blanket after you roll it up. This is not an original idea to me; I found the tutorial here at The Crafter's File Box.

That pretty much ends the creativity by me, but wait, it's still not over. We have my entire family Christmas to go through. Each year my extended family draws names at Thanksgiving and we make homemade gifts for each other. (Secret Santa's)


Zechariah drew his daddy's name. He was so excited to make this picture for Titus. We found a coloring page online, and printed it out on card stock. Instead of painting it with a paintbrush, we dipped the eraser of a pencil in paint and filled the picture with circles. It's kind of like using a stamp. It was very easy for him and the result is a professional looking painting. Zech couldn't wait for his daddy to open the gift!!


Ariel drew Zechariah's name. She made a paper mache ba-bomb from Mario. We used a large lid for the top, along with a piece of jute rope for the fuse. The body is a balloon, and the feet were first made out of play dough. Ariel had her first experience with paper mache here and I think she did a great job with it!


Titus drew Ariel's name and made her a wooden penny flyer. Unfortunately it is missing so I don't have good picture to share with you. I hope to soon change that! This gift was perfect for Ariel. Lately she has been making all kinds of paper airplanes and designing them after different birds.


Gabriel drew Mikaela's name and made a very stylish jean pocket purse. The funny thing, the pair of jeans we chose to make the purse out of was an old pair of Ariel's jeans that in fact were a hand-me-down from Kaela. How appropriate! We all had a good laugh that she could carry around a purse that used to hold her butt and her cousin's butt! I had suggested these pockets to Gabriel because I thought the design was really cool.


To make the purse, Gabe first cut the pocket off of the jeans and embellished it with some gems. Then he sewed on some purple ribbon to each pocket for the handles. The last step is to sew around the edges right sides together and then flip it back out. Simple and cute!


I love it! Mikaela had my name and made me this mug. She drew pictures on the outside representing each person in my family. I am the camera, Gabe has a notebook, Ariel is the bird, Zech is a DS, and Titus has the computer. I can't wait to have my cup of tea in it!


I drew my sister's name. I already shared how I made her Bananagrams earlier this week.



My mother drew Gabriel's name and wrote him this French Fry Factor story. It's an encouraging story about our Pastor and a time when he stepped out in faith. God honored that and did an amazing thing because of it. The book is started for Gabe so he can add his own "French fry" stories of God's miracles to the pages. If you know Gabe, he spends all his free time writing stories!


My brother had my mom's name and made her this wall hanging. It's been a theme verse for her for a long time. If you can't read the picture it says, "For this you have been called, For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps."


I don't have pictures of the last two gifts. My sister drew my dad's name and is still currently working on his gift. My dad made a website for my brother to post his videos at that he puts together. I'll have to find out what the address is for it and share it with you! My brother is very talented when it comes to putting a video together and adding special effects!

I received one of the nicest Christmas gifts this year. It wasn't bought at a store and you could almost call it homemade. One of my friends who moved away several years ago came back for a visit. I hadn't seen her in over 2 years! This was such a wonderful gift to me that I couldn't put a price on it. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her, but the few hours I got were a huge treasure for me.

There are people who drift in and out of our lives. Life is always changing and we have to change with it. Every once in a while God blesses us with a friend who time means nothing to. They are the ones who you can pick right up where you left off as if no time has passed at all. It is those friends who are hand-picked by God!
I love you, Jaime! You made my Christmas so much brighter!

Jaime, Rachael, Amanda, Stefanie

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