Because My Homemade Christmas 2013 Rocked!

It’s Throwback Thursday, why not publish that post that didn’t get published last year?  I realize it is nearly half-way through November, of 2014, and this post was nearly ready to go last year.  That won’t stop me from showing off all the things I made by hand for my family and friends.

DIY Homemade Christmas Gifts | Simply D Constsructed

That, and I couldn’t publish this post until all recipients received their gifts.  Spoiling is no fun.  Plus, once we were coming down from that holiday high, I did not want to look at another mason jar or gift wrapped in pretty paper for at least 11 months.

This was such a fun and crafty holiday for me.  Though I don’t think I saw my table remain clear for longer than the amount of time it took to eat dinner. There were a few times I thought “lets just save Mom the heartache of cleaning it off, and eat dinner on the floor everyone.”  I KID.  That will be the Mom of the Year award write-up for sure.  

I was so busy and obsessed with this huge project of mine before the holidays kicked off, that I would not be surprised if one of the kids happened to take a picture of the craziness that took over our dining room. “…and here is a picture, showing the reason why we all ate dinner on the floor, criss-cross applesauce for roughly a month.  By the way, here is your mason jar, Mrs. Smith.”  Ha-ha!

1.  I used a “Handmade” vinyl stencil (clearance aisle, Michael’s!) with sticky backing that is also reusable, and I sponge-painted it with a light blue acrylic paint.  I labeled several jars and fell in love with how they looked. 

2.  One of the fillers for those jars was homemade hot chocolate mix. I love using mason jars, because they’re so versatile. 

3.  Another craft I picked up quickly (not that I was good, but I really enjoyed it that much) was sewing.  I wanted to make tissue covers, to put a whole box of tissues, sans box, inside and it would be soft like a pillow.  Nothing is more annoying than having a box of tissue getting tossed around in a vehicle, so that was where my head was when I made these Holiday pattern-inspired tissue “pillow cases.”

4.  These little burlap-looking cloth sacks were purchased on Oriental Trading by my best friend.  I bought the gazillion leftover  bags from her and thought “I will use these!”  I turned them into little favor baggies for my daughter’s class party.  At first I just wanted to throw in some candy and call it a day, but that spark of inspiration turned into a willful flame of creativity.  I took some card stock (one patterned, one plain) and two different sized punches plus a hole punch and made cute labels.  

5.  This is how I ended up packaging everything for my family.  It surprisingly fit pretty well.

6.  One idea I came up with for the hot chocolate was to stuff huge marshmallows into the tops before sealing them.  I am a perfectionist and it would truly hurt my heart to think that the layers would shift en route and look a mess by the time my family and friends received their boxes.  Not totally sure if it worked, but I tried!

7.  I really love the way candy bark looks, with all of the pretty colored candies one can use.  I decided to make a holiday-colored bark and used pretzel balls again. (sweet and salty and delicious!)  I made a pan and filled a couple of jars with the bark.  Then I decided to dress up the jars with patterned cardstock cut to fit right on top of the lid but under the ring.

8.  Marshmallows probably would not help the flavor of this gift, though I don’t think I want to test my theory.  These little jars were filled with homemade taco seasoning – the same kind I use at home.  I think I did the layering the hard way, even though I multiplied the recipe (doubled or quadrupled, I like even numbers) It was hard to tell if I’d have room for another round of spices so there was definitely room at the top of the jar when I closed it.  I suppose taco seasoning does not have to look pretty.

9.  Another sewing adventure here, these were little rice pads.  I bought some cheap hand towels from Walmart and sewed them shut save for a small corner.  I added rice with just enough space to easily sew that last corner shut.  You’re supposed to heat the pad in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, to get it nice and warm.  Then you put it on any sore parts of your body.  I heard back from one of my sisters, saying that it really worked.  Anyway, I wrapped each pad in cute paper and some raffia, some topped with paper poinsettias – totally a last minute decorative decision (those are the best, aren’t they?)  

I hope you enjoyed my Throwback Thursday’s tour through last year’s round of gift-giving.  And maybe enjoyed a laugh or two.  All in all, I think my family and friends appreciated the effort and thoughtfulness that went into this themed gift idea. Maybe this should become a tradition.  Good thing I invested in a longer dining room table, huh?

Do you ever create a theme for gift-giving? 

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