Over the span of my crafty existence, I have made quite a few projects that make great little gifts. Since Christmas is approaching, I thought I would gather some of my favorites together to inspire your holiday gift giving. As it happens, all of these projects are Jewelry related and of course, they are all simple!
First up is the fastest and easiest project: some fabric rosette earrings. A pair of these earrings can be made in 15 minutes or less. There is little to no sewing involved and all you need is scrap fabric, felt, and earring findings. As a side note, clip-on earrings can make awesome handmade gifts because trying to find cute ones to purchase is difficult. Trust me. I know.
Next up, a lovely clay bowl to catch all your loved ones trinkets. This project is so simple. It uses air dry clay and a very basic potter's technique so older kids could do it all by themselves! What mom or grandma wouldn't love a handmade masterpiece? A word to the wise: the clay takes up to 4 days to completely dry before you can paint it, so plan ahead.
Now, we cannot forget the gorgeous and ever versatile flower pin. Fabric flowers are used for all sorts of projects, but for me, the fabric flower pin tops them all for versatility. The giver can choose from a wide variety of flowers and fabrics. The recipient can pin it on anything from a lapel, to a scarf, to a bag. The possibilities are endless.
Last of all, making paper jewelry is inexpensive and easy. Earrings, pendants, pins--you can make almost anything out of paper. Paper jewelry can make especially appropriate gifts for book lovers. Using book pages from favorite novels or quotes from favorite author's makes your gift even more meaningful.
I have wanted another clock for a while now, but since we don't really need a new clock I have been waiting for the right one to smack me in the face. I have perused the clock section at the thrift store many times in the hopes of finding a gem, but I have been disappointed. Unsurprisingly, the clocks at the thrift store are the clocks everyone wants to get rid of: cheap, plastic, and small. Miraculously though, my luck turned. I found this sucker just waiting to be picked up for $6!
This clock is approximately 18 inches in diameter with a real metal housing! One of the clock hands was droopy and obviously not functioning, but since a quartz clock mechanism costs less than $10, I figured it was still a steal. I took it home and began my work.
Since the clock movement is fairly easy/ inexpensive to replace, I determined to tear it apart and I really tore it apart. I dismantled the entire mechanism to see if I could get it working again. The hands were off. The gear box was open. Little white plastic gears and a tiny magnet rolled around my table. That's right. I said "tiny magnet." Did you know that a magnetic field, powered by a dinky AA battery is what keeps a quartz clock ticking? I was completely fascinated. Best $6 purchase EVER. Can you tell I am a complete nerd?
I found this you tube video invaluable as I tinkered. Without it, I was lost. With it, my little beauty started ticking marvelously. Turns out, a quartz clock movement is fairly straightforward and hard to ruin. Love those crazy gears.
Next, I decided to give my clock a face lift…hah! Get it? Face lift? (Crickets chirping) I really am a nerd. Moving on.
I wasn't crazy about the clock face. It was gray and dingy and roman numerals are not for me. While I loved the "Families are Forever" message, I just wanted a plain jane clock like this. So, using this image from the graphics fairy, I made my own clock face.
What do you think?
This clock face was done by hand using the graphics fairy image as a guide. I won't bore you with all the gory details, but I traced the original image onto parchment paper with a pencil, then transferred it to a white piece of card stock by rubbing. Then I filled everything in by hand with black pen and marker. This clock face doesn't have that printed precision look. It is not exact, but I think I like it more this way. It's got character.
Now don't you wish you had a thrift store clock you could tear apart?
Alright people, I won't deny it. I am PROUD of this one. I wanted a fall wreath that would complement and add beauty to my new green door and I came, saw, and conquered all of wreathdom! Is it not a beauty?
I love wreaths in all their many forms, but this time around I wanted a wreath made from natural materials that was simple and elegant. I thought of using leaves, pine cones, nuts, and branches, but then I remembered a wreath in a Martha Stewart Living magazine made from corn husks. I had never made a corn husk wreath before and the idea appealed to me. The color of the husks would pop against the green door and they are a natural, rustic, harvest-time material. Perfect.
Naturally, I turned to Martha for advice and found this beautiful wreath tutorial. I adore Martha's version, but I wanted something a little different, all my own. I have a wreath of branches above my bed like this. (Of course mine is the bare bones version, sans halloween stuff, but I got mine at Joann's with a %40 off coupon too! Circus Berry and I must be kindred spirits, but I digress.) I love the swirly, circular pattern of the branches. I decided I wanted to mimic that shape and feeling, but with corn husks. Let the games begin.
Step 1: Assemble straw wreath form, corn husks, and glue gun. I used straw because I truly wanted an all-natural, biodegradable wreath and let's face it, straw is cheap. Corn husks can be purchased in the Latin foods section of the grocery store. My package cost about $3.50 and in the end I only used half of it. Tamales anyone?
Step 2: Get your dunking station ready. Line up corn husks, a vessel with water, and paper towels. In order to wrap your wreath form, you will need to dip the brittle husks in water to soak for a few minutes.
Step 3: Next, pat the husks dry and begin wrapping and gluing them around your wreath. This really doesn't take long, but use plenty of glue. Try not to burn yourself like I did.
Step 4: When your wreath is fully wrapped allow it to dry and behold your work. It is pretty awesome just like that. As the husks dry, you may notice some wrinkling and other changes in texture, which I love, but it is going to get covered up. Sad.
Step 5: Begin gluing corn husks with the point angled out, pinwheel style. This time, since you aren't trying to bend the husks, you don't need to soak them in water. Then keep gluing the husks, overlapping them slightly.
Step 6: Around and around you go with the husks until you like it. I ended up using about three layers of husks. For the first layer, I left the husks as is. For the second and third layer, I began tearing the husks into thinner strips. You can see the difference between the width of the husks in pictures 5 and 6 above. Finish with ribbon if desired.
That's it. Six simple steps and some time. It's a repetitive process, gluing corn husks over and over, but it goes pretty fast and is relatively painless. That is, if you manage not to burn yourself with the glue gun.