Saturday, December 10, 2011

Being crafty.

I usually have grand ideas about homemade Christmas gifts.  Then I end up lazy/out of time/poor (because let’s face it, it can be pretty expensive to buy craft supplies depending on what you’re doing).  This year, I am ahead of the game.  There are some people that are just hard to buy for.  It’s not because they’re picky, but because I just am not sure they type of gifts they really enjoy.  I love to surprise people with Christmas gifts, and often asking them what they want ruins the surprise (note: everyone should create an Amazon wishlist so you can be surprised AND get what you want).  Instead of racking my brain over what to buy these people, I knew they would appreciate homemade goods. As far as pricing, Michael’s always has amazing coupons so I figured I could manage.   I know none of my family reads this blog, so I don’t think I’ll ruin any surprises. 

Crocheted scarves.

I re-taught myself how to crochet last summer.  D will tell you better than anyone that I am notorious for taking up a hobby and then dropping it a month later (ahem…gardening).  I did the same with crocheting.  I hate that about myself, and I’m realizing I really need goals to work towards to keep myself at things (running is a prime example).  Anyhow, I picked up crocheting again in October.  Once I started figuring out where I was making big mistakes, I gained more confidence.  Since my sisters still live in Georgia, I wanted to give them something extra special on top of their purchased gifts. 

 [Scarf for MPK]

It actually hasn’t taken all that long to do this scarf.  I can’t necessarily work on it while watching TV because it takes a decent amount of attention and I have to count stitches still.  MPK's favorite color is purple, so I hope she'll enjoy the multicolored scarf.  I used the shimmery pink for MGK to match the gift I bought her. 

These projects have been so fun, and I hope in the long run my sisters appreciate the work and effort put into a homemade gift. 

Homemade soy candles.

After seeing this idea a few times on Pinterest, I decided to try it.  I always figured candle making would be a pricey endeavor with all the materials needed.  It turns out to not be too bad (especially with a Michael’s coupon).  I bought a 4 pound box of soy wax flakes for $22 but had a 50% off coupon!  $11 total!  Michael’s was out of pitchers, but I scored the wicks and lavender scent for $7.  I hit up one thrift store and got some mugs, tea cups, and even a small mason jar for $8.  

[Melting the wax down]   

While the process of making the candles takes a bit, it's actually really easy.  I ended up buying a large can of pineapple juice and utilizing the can as my pouring pitcher.  I started by using the tutorial on Ruffled blog for making candles.  This gave me a basic idea of what to do.  For more detailed, step-by-step instructions, I used this website.  The wax melts down a lot, even after filling the can completely.  The most time consuming part is heating and cooling the wax to the correct temperatures.  Since the can of wax only filled a few cups/mugs at a time, I had to heat up a decent amount of wax.

  [Approximately two pounds of wax filled all the mugs pictured...not the jar

[Lavender scented soy candle]

I decided not to dye the wax since I was putting it in mugs, so I only made scented candles.  I'm going to try my hand at filling Terrapin Beer barrel glasses (essentially mason jar glasses) with green candles for gifts today.

Pumpkin Butter.

I wanted people to have something a little more than a candle that will get stuck on a table and forgotten about two days after Christmas.  I was so happy to find a recipe via Pinterest for Skinny Crockpot Pumpkin Butter!  What?!  I can throw all ingredients in the crockpot on the weekend and then jar them?  That’s a gift!  And it’s healthy! The most expensive ingredient is the maple syrup, but I think a double batch should make a good portion of pumpkin butter.  Since the website recommends eating the pumpkin butter within two to three weeks, I'm not going to make it until next weekend before we head back to Athens.  I'll update with the results.

Are you crafting any gifts this year to save some money?


Danielle said...

I love the idea of putting candles in mugs! So cute!

Tara @ Dashing in Pearls said...

Love the candle idea. I'm making scarves for both of J's sisters, a friend in CO, and a friend here... cheap! But cute!


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