A Handmade Christmas

I’ve been thinking about what I can make or “upcycle” this year for Christmas gifts. I have a huge tote of fabric in my attic, but all of my patterns are now too small for Alyssa. I spent the other night researching and making a list of things I can create for gifts (I could always give soap/candles/etc. to friends/family, but I’m mostly concentrating on Alyssa right now – and my mom and sister-in-law.

First, I was able to print off a free bodice pattern for a jumper (no skirt pattern necessary because it is just a rectangle that is gathered on one end and hemmed on the other) put out by my friend Chautona. It is available here – http://patternpiece.blogspot.com/2009/11/tackling-basic-pull-over-jumper.html I did look at Walmart for horse print fabric because I know I only have a small piece at home.  I found fabric for $2 a yard, so I picked up 2 yards of a horse print and 1 yard of a coordinating solidish print.  I’m going to do the bodice in the green, lined with the horse fabric and then the skirt will be horse.

Pattern: free
Fabric: $5 plus tax
Notions: thread only, already have
Total project cost: $5 plus tax

On my way to work yesterday, I happened upon a yard sale. I stopped and asked if they had any size 10/12 girls clothes and after being told “no”, I got in my car to leave. I glanced up before I drove off and noticed a box full of patterns on one of the tables. I jumped back out and went to investigate. It’s unfortunate that I’m no longer a size 12 myself, because there were OODLES of jumper and simple dress patterns for sizes 8/10/12/14 ladies. I found four patterns that will work for Alyssa and one for rag dolls. Isn’t it interesting that I’d been searching online the night before for “free ragdoll patterns”? I was able to pick up the following patterns for 50 cents each! I won’t need to buy any fabric because of my stash!

I can’t find the fifth pattern online. It’s a New Look for Kids “Easy” 6957 that is for dresses, tops, capris, a purse and headscarf in a peasant style (gathered neckline and sleeves). Super cute!

Cost of each of these projects? 50 cents per pattern! I have the supplies already!

The next idea that is bouncing around in my head is this – http://jameehomemaker.blogspot.com/2010/02/bleach-stenciled-t-shirts.html I was able to find some horse silhoette images that were in vector format and print one out in the appropriate size. I’m going to cut around it and use it as a stencil to create a shirt for Alyssa using this method. How easy and adorable! Since I already have a ton of blank, white t-shirts left from Bloomin’ Stitches, I may dye one of them and use it for this. I may also tie-dye a few because she’s really enjoyed the ones I made a couple of years ago. I already have all of the dye – bought it on clearance at Walmart a year or so ago! Most people probably have a solid colored t-shirt to use for this project laying around or they can be picked up very cheaply at a discount store or thrift store (would work for sweatshirts, too.)

Cost for this project? Pennies for the bleach, paper and ink/toner!

Did you know that you can use plastic labeled as “6” for recycling as shrink film? Neither did I!  I’m fairly certain that my local grocery store uses this type of plastic as a clamshell for cookies, rolls, premade sandwiches, salad bar containers, etc! I’m going to use a sharpie to decorate a piece with another of those horse silhoettes (I think there are a dozen different ones), punch a hole in the top, shrink, and put on a sheer ribbon with some beads on it to be a necklace for Alyssa. For a tutorial on this, visit http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/01/07/how-to-make-shrinky-dinks-with-recycled-6-plastic/

Alternately, I may try this method – http://www.folksy.com/makes/62-Decoupaged-Glass-Pendant to create a horse pendant. Honestly, it would be great to use on many different types of images/paper. I think I may have some of the glass stones that are round. Need to check. I know you can get some kind of randomly shaped ones with random bubbles in them in the aquarium section at the store (because I gave away our aquarium that had them in it! Oh Sarah… are you using them all?) And I know I have a container of Mod Podge in one of my crafting bins.

Cost? Possibly $2-$3 if I have to buy the glass stones.

Have you heard of “fried marbles”? I hadn’t either, but apparently folks have been making them forever. http://www.ehow.com/how_4622373_fried-marble-necklaces.htm

And to use them, I’ve got two tutorials bookmarked…

Wire wrapping : http://www.studioheath.com/tute001.php

And making a grape ornament/suncatcher: http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/grape-cluster-ornament.html Wouldn’t that look lovely with fried marbles?

Cost for the marble projects: $2-5 for marbles. I already have wrapping wire, hot glue, etc. I’ve had Alyssa search for marbles, but she can only come up with 3 so far! LOL

I’m still thinking about the next project. – partly because I’m worried about the effects of heating plastic (although I suppose I could do it outside.) I ran across a tutorial on fusing plastic bags a few days ago and started noticing reusable sandwich bags a couple of weeks ago online. I started wondering about combining the two and came across the following link (because I’m not the only pondering this apparently…)- http://www.chicaandjo.com/2010/02/01/fused-plastic-sandwich-wraps/

I wonder about how well the velcroed style will be for holding things other than sandwiches and also how well it will hold up in a packed lunch (although I really do like that it makes a placemat!) I really prefer this style of bag (like the old fashioned, no ziplocking sandwich bag)- http://angelapea.blogspot.com/2010/01/tuesdays-tutorial-reusable.html

I’m considering using the fused plastic (with food grade plastic on the food-facing side) and making a “tuck over” top style sandwich bag using ONLY the fused plastic (no fabric.) I’m going to play around with this idea and see where it gets me. I also like the idea of serging it with seams facing out. (Yes, these are the types of things I lay awake pondering until 2am many nights… *blush*)

One more thing that I’d like to make, if not this year, then next – paper pinecone ornaments. I recieved one at an ornament swap a couple of years ago and I really love the look – and they are cheap cheap cheap to make! I have tons of paper, just need pins and styrafoam balls… Tutorial here – http://stampingstarlette.blogspot.com/2007/12/pinecone-ornament-tutorial.html

Thank you to all the folks that so willingly share their own ideas to inspire others. I hope this post has inspired you to create some handmade gifts this Christmas – it might save you some money, too!



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