Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Homemade gifts: Army Men Necklace

Posted: December 14, 2011 by emphelan in Crafts, Gifts, Kids, wearables

First, a bag o’ army men.

Bag oh Army men

Of course you need to play with them a bit. MAN DOWN!


Now we need to remove their pedestals. Don’t be tempted to just snap them off, you will take their poor little toes with it. I used a pair of wire cutters, then filed down any points.

Next heat up a needle and stab him in the head with it.

Needle in the head

Not only are you making something cool but you get to relive your tortured toy youth. Ah memories. . . Fun!!

Don’t allow the needle to cool off in there too much, you will have a hard time getting it out. Next you will need a piece of wire, folding it to create a hook to hang the army man from. This too will need to be heated up before torturing your toy. Shove the wire into his head and allow it to cool.

You can stop here and add leather or chain. But I just happened to have a can of Aluminum spray enamel

*insert evil laugh here*

Spray one side of your army man, dry, flip and repeat. Be sure to get his crotch and the top of his head.


They make great ornaments as well.


Patchwork Jeans

Posted: May 9, 2011 by emphelan in Crafts, Gifts, I Can't Sew Club, Kids, wearables
Tags: , ,

We all seem to know that one hippy child in our lives. The one that would love a good pair of patched jeans. However I don’t have one of those kids in my life right now, instead I have a goth or two.

Now this gift is great for that teen that still loves coloring and carries around a Care bear lunch box. The Goth thing hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years.

First you need a pair of men’s jeans. Doesn’t matter if it is going to a girl, actually this present is best suited for a girl.

You need yarn, needles, and odd and ends.

Throw the jeans down and get creative.

Remember I can’t sew.

The first patch here isn’t finished. I need to fix the hair. But it is a decapitated doll, carrying her own head by the hair.

Obviously a Vampire Bunny. Bunnicula LIVES!

And a nice Jester to finish it out.

Creativity is key.

More than likely they won’t wear them, but end up on their wall as a conversation started. I have made similar jeans in the past, for myself (when I was a wee one) and as gifts to friends. They seem to go over rather well. Some where gorier looking than others. It just depends on who it is going to.

Got a creative gift idea? We would love to see it. Email us at and we will be happy to publish it here. (your post stay your property)

A few Mother’s Day Ideas

Posted: May 6, 2011 by emphelan in Crafts, Gifts, Kids

Bread or cake in a jar

bread jar

Bake you bread or cakes in your pint canning jars, and store them in your cool dark cellar.

Use you favorite cake or bread recipe, pour it into the PINT sized wide mouth jar, 1/2 way full, and bake with the lids off at 325 for 40-45 minutes. While those are baking bring a saucepan of water to a boil and carefully add jar lids.

Remove pan from heat and keep hot until ready to use. Remove jars from oven one at a time keeping remaining jars in oven. Make sure jar rims are clean. Place lids on jars and screw rings on tightly. Jars will seal as they cool. Cakes will slide right out when ready to serve. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 2 weeks. Sealed jars may be stored with other canned food or placed in a freezer. A properly sealed quick bread will stay fresh for up to one year. The cake is safe to eat as long as the jar remains vacuum-sealed and free from mold. Keep at a storage temperature under 70F If you are concerned about the safety of storing your cakes, an alternative is to store them in the freezer.


From TXmarina44

tissue jar

“Stained glass” Jar

Here’s an idea for a quick, inexpensive, and easy craft that you can make for just about any holiday. I remember making one of these for my mom for Mother’s day over 35 years ago (and I still have it–it has survived moves that some of my china didn’t). Just coordinate colors for the theme (Halloween, Christmas), or use the recipient’s favorite colors (mine would be in shades of purple, but since my kids aren’t old enough to read this yet, I’m SOL for a good while). If you start this right now (kidding, somewhat), it should be ready for gift-giving the day after tomorrow (for those of you needing a little something for Mother’s Day).

You will need:

clean glass jars

tissue paper (recycle from gifts)

liquid glue (glue sticks will not work for the final coating)

misc add-ons (glitter, stars, stickers, foam letters, dismantled jewelry)

small paint brushes (these may not survive this project without stickiness)

newspaper or other protective material for your work surface

The basics:

Protect work area and clothing of participants (I use daddy’s old shirts)

Tear up tissue paper into 1/2″ pieces.

Thin out glue with water. You can use the lids of the jars you’ve chosen.

Brush glue onto the jar, adhere tissue. Overlap the edges. When it’s completely covered, allow it to dry. Then, paint a final, sealing layer over the entire tissued surface. Any embellishments can be added after the final drying.

If you use baby jars (and now I’m really glad I didn’t give away that batch I cleaned out a week or so ago), they should be the perfect size for candle or LED tealights. The jelly jar I’d given my mom has put in years of service as my favorite pencil-holder.

If I ever figure out how to get my iPhone pics onto Flickr, I promise to show you our results. I’d love to see yours 🙂


Wine Glass planter

wine glass

Have a wine glass with no match, or a candy dish gathering dust? Add a bit of potting soil and some seeds or a plant for an interesting gift.

Pop bottle (or soda) terrarium are a great gift for the ids to make. Simply cut a bottle in half, and dirt, seeds or plant, water and put back together. Have the kids decorate the lower half of the bottle, or add colorful rocks or action figures inside.
pop bottle
You can also punch a few holes around the spout, flip it upside down and insert it into the bottom half, a self watering container.

The garden helper has a few plant suggestions.

Tin can lanterns are another gift mom’s love.
tin can

you will need;

Large tin can, label removed
Nails of different sizes
Small screw-in hook
20-inch wood dowel
Coat hanger
Votive candle

On the outside of the clean, empty can, draw a pattern for the lantern holes.
Fill the can with water and freeze it overnight. When the water is frozen solid, place the can on its side on top of a towel and use the nail tips to hammer in holes of various sizes according to his design. Be sure to make two holes near the top, on opposite sides, for stringing a handle.
Remove any chunks of ice from inside the tin can ( the hammered-in holes will have sharp edges).

Screw the hook into one end of the wood dowel, then string the length of wire through the hook. Wind the ends of the wire through the hanging holes on the can a few times until they are secure.
Use a small bit of melted wax or modeling clay to affix the votive candle to the bottom of the can.

If you have an older more adventurous child, My Upcycled Life has a great tutorial on a very fancy tin can lantern.

Purposeful Jewelry: Wing nuts

Posted: April 11, 2011 by emphelan in Crafts, Gifts, Kids, wearables
Tags: ,

What you need is

16 gauge wire (hot fencing works great)
several wing nuts (depending on size and how big the wrist is)
wire cutters
needle nose pliers
screw driver (Phillips)

I seem to have lost my photos on how to make the rings. If you wire is dirty, use a metal cleaner (lemon juice works sometimes) and clean it up all shinny like. Next start wrapping it around the screwdriver. As tight as possible. Once you get to the end, slide it off, you should have a very tight spring.

Next cut the spring down the middle, making lots of small rings. As most of us do not have the fancy rotatory tools, they will look a little pinched at the cuts.

Next, take a wing nut, and attach 2 rings to one side. Squeezing the rings shut with the pliers. Then add two more rings to those rings, then two more wings, and then another wing nut.


Something like that.

Attach clasps on either end when finished, and Viola!

wing nut braclet

Old Jeans to Cute Accessory!

Posted: April 5, 2011 by hopejoyandfaithfarm in Gifts, White Trash with a Purpose

Old jean pockets created a great little girl gift in the nick of time for me!

This last weekend we received a last minute invitation to a birthday party for a 4 year old girl.  The first problem is we live in a small town with one store that would have gifts appropriate for a little girl.  Their prices are spendy and the selection is small. The closest Dollar Store is 30 minutes away and I was not gonna spend the gas money to travel there to pick up $10 in cheap presents.  I always tell myself when this happens that I need to stock up on “generic” gifts the next time I go out of town, but I never do.

I had read this idea a week or so ago on a Facebook post (see, Facebook is good for something), and it popped into my head as an idea. So, after searching through a few million posts (note to self: Bookmark links that look interesting, it’ll save A LOT of time), I quickly read through the directions and got to work.

I have a huge stash of jeans because for years I have been thinking of making blue jean quilts and blue jean purses (from the top of the jeans). Another project I need to get busy on, but I digress.

I selected a blue jean skirt

Using the seam ripper, I turned the skirt inside out and took off the pockets

Then, before I sewed the pockets together, I added some embellishments. I dug through my button bag and took out some cute, shiny gold buttons. I found a “funky” gold tassel I’d tossed into my odds and ends drawer (I knew there was a reason I save weird things). I sewed them on tightly and finished with some glue from the hot glue gun.

Then, I pinned the pockets together, added some ribbon I had on hand, and using my handy, cheap sewing machine, double-stitched the pocket together. I must say, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I added a package of bubble gum and $4 (1 for each birthday) and wrapped it up in cute (recycled) paper. I wanted to get a picture of the birthday girl with her purse, but there were so many kids there crowded around her that I didn’t even try. One of the little girls “borrowed” it and didn’t want to return it, so I think I’ll make another one, taking the time to “specialize” it even more for her. This created a fun gift at absolutely no cost to me (not counting the bubble gum and birthday money).

So, if you are at a loss for a gift for a lil’ girl, big girl, or even a guy (it’d make a great bullet holder or nail pouch), rip some pockets off some old jeans (or if you use new ones, make sure they are not yours), and get busy stitching!