Our Favorite Holiday Crafts

Every holiday, the kids and I will make something to decorate the house. I know that one day they will be bigger and won’t think making thumbprint Christmas trees are fun anymore so I plan to cherish these things for as long as I can. After each holiday is over, I carefully pack whatever we made away in a plastic storage bin, and I take it out again the next year to use. It is always a treat to see how far they’ve come and their new abilities!   One of my daughter’s favorite holidays is Halloween. She loves decorating pumpkins. Since we can’t keep the pumpkins we pick at a patch for years to come, every year I purchase a craft pumpkin for her to help me carve or to decorate. Craft pumpkins are great – they look just like the real thing, but they carve much more easily and with a lot less mess! Some years she decorates with her favorite stickers, some years she will use paints or markers, other times she will come up with a design and help me to recreate it on the pumpkin. We have quite the little craft pumpkin patch now!   My son, on the other hand, loves to eat. Thanksgiving is his favorite. Every year, we make two Thanksgiving crafts that he loves. The first one we use as napkin holders. First, we take a walk and look for leaves. Then we cut toilet paper tubes in half and decorate them like turkeys, using the leaves as tail feathers. Then we slide a napkin through the tube end, and tada – turkey napkins! The ones from years prior are helpful if we end up with extra guests, and can act as a centerpiece or place cards. The other project we do as a family. We draw a tree and cut out leaves. Then each person writes on a leaf all the things that they are most thankful for. I pin the trees to our dining room curtains, so we can reread them every year as we share the big meal.   I think my husband’s favorite holiday is Easter. I know he loves decorating eggs with the kids. They have such a great time sitting around the table, pretending to fight over who gets what color and the best stickers. Over the years, I have learned two dozen eggs is just the right amount to prepare. It certainly helps that hardboiled eggs are a favorite snack of my husband’s. Although the eggs aren’t something I can keep, I take a photo of the end result every year. I’ve tried getting him fake eggs instead but what can I say, the man is a traditionalist!   Personally, though, Christmas is my favorite holiday. The kids make me ornaments almost every year at school. They’ve made all kinds of things: pipe cleaner candy canes, gingerbread men made from actual gingerbread, glittery ornaments with their handprints on them. And lots of things with popsicle sticks! I love them all! I date them (if they aren’t already) and take extra care to pack them away safely. Maybe one day when the kids have moved out and decorate trees of their own, I will let them have some of the ornaments they’ve made me over the years. Hopefully that is a long way off, because I can’t think about parting with them – the kids OR the ornaments! Do you have a favorite craft that you do each year? What is it?

Preserving Memories

My crafting club got together last night to plan our next big group craft. We wanted to do something on memory keeping, but everyone had differing opinions on the best way to do so. There’s a method for every skill level, budget, and available time, so there was a lot to discuss. We finally decided on scrapbooking, because it seemed easiest with a group.   Memory keeping is really important. Lots of people take pictures, and that’s a great way to keep memories alive. But once you take the photos, what do you do with them? Most people don’t do much with them. The photos stay on a memory card or in the cloud. Maybe we look at them every once in a while but maybe not. That’s too bad, because there are so many ways you can enjoy those pictures! Here are a couple of our favorites to get your ideas going.   Sure, pictures in a frame are great. But a photo album is a simple way to preserve all the great photographs you took. You can print them out at home, at local stores, or from an online service. There are all different kinds of photo albums out there – from the fancy to the budget-friendly. You can use plastic sleeve pages or those old school archive sticky pages. There are plenty of places online where you can create your own photo book (or have one designed for you) printed and mailed to you. Whatever you choose, it will be worth it! You can make a book that spans generations or just a special trip you don’t want to forget.   Other people like journaling. That can be a great option as well. Some go simple, just jotting down a sentence or two about their day, in a special notebook or a calendar. You might print pictures and include them, use colored ink, or maybe add a little keepsake of the day. There’s plenty of stickers and layouts to help you brighten up your journal, no matter which way you go about it.   Another popular choice is scrapbooking. Again, this is something that can be really complicated – just walk down the scrapbooking aisle at nearly any store and you’ll see what I mean. There are different kits, books, papers, tapes, stickers, printers, embellishments, the list goes on and on. You can go as simple or as in-depth as you want, don’t let those rows and rows of shelves filled with products intimidate you! Some plain paper, your photos and keepsakes, along with some adhesive, is pretty much all you need. Your imagination can take it from there! If you don’t have the patience (or budget) for that, there are digital scrapbooking apps and programs that are a lot of fun to use.   Personally, I think it just comes down to what works for you. How do you preserve the things you never want to forget? Let me know in the comments!

Unique Baby Gifts

The only thing more adorable than babies are baby gifts! I’ve been to a bunch of baby showers, and there is nothing like the oohing and aahing that goes on! Maybe it is the fact that babies are so cute, or maybe it is because regular items are even more adorable when they’re tiny! While personally I think it is always best to get items off the registry so the parents can get the items that they want and need, I do think there’s nothing wrong with adding a personal touch to your gift!   Something parents don’t always think to ask for but always appreciate is a handprint kit. There’s all kinds of kits out there but you can assemble your own, too! If the parents are huge sports fan, get them something that goes with the team or sport – a baseball or soccer ball, for example. You can find a plastic display case at sports memorabilia stores, and washable ink at most craft places. Tada – baby’s first autograph! If mom or dad are big on yardwork or gardening, you can find special plaster mixes to make a handprint lawn paving stone.   Another thing parents rarely get enough of is picture frames. There will be lots of cute pictures of their new little darling, and who thinks to run out and get a bunch of frames? You can find something cute online or in a store. You can also get a simple clear plastic frame. Anything that matches their home décor or the nursey will work great. You can embellish the frame by painting, using decoupage techniques, washi tape, or even scrapbook stickers. A simple handmade touch will make a very simple and useful gift into an item parents would be proud to hang on their wall.   Even if you’re buying something big, like nursery furniture, it is easy to make it special. For a dresser, you can do something like add contact paper in a cute pattern to the inside of the drawers, or you can switch out the knobs to something more fun. If you’re good at sewing, knitting, or crochet, you can make anything from a fitted crib sheet to booties to clothing or a jacket to include with your furniture purchase. It’s really up to you and what you want to contribute!   A good baby gift is practical and cute. Everybody knows that babies need diapers but who wants to unwrap a huge box of them? That’s why diaper cakes came about – Diapers are so much cuter in cake form. So even if you aren’t great with crafts or have many creative ideas, you can always find a special way to present or wrap your gifts.   There are so many cute ideas online. Think about the parent-to-be and the things they are interested in. Or check out the rest of their wishlist to get ideas on their décor and nursery theme. From there, it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with an idea you can be proud of and the parents will cherish.