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For the fifth day of A Gift a Day, I made a necklace, bracelet, and matching earrings for Winter.

This is the same design that I used for Liberty's birthday necklace, which you can see in pink here.


Necklace, Bracelet, and Earrings


 

Supplies:

earring hooks (I bought these at Walmart last year, 42 in a package for $2)

earring findings (I bought these at Walmart last year, 100 in a package, for $2. There are two different kinds inside; I used some for the necklace)

beads (the green beads came from Michael's; the silver beads are garage sale beads but you should be able to find something similar)

chain with clasp (I purchased this last year from Etsy from this shop. You'll get the best price if you buy a package of 10. I've bought several wonderful items from that shop for gift making).

elastic bead cording (I found this at Michael's)

 

Tools:

needle-nosed pliers

wire cutters

scissors

A word about tools: Your husband may already have these tools in his tool box; mine does. He doesn't mind me borrowing the pliers, but for some reason he minds when I borrow his wire cutters. I bought myself a pair of wire cutters for $1 at a garage sale in October 2012. Garage sales are great places to find tools for very little.

 
 
 
The earrings are made by simply putting the beads on the head pin-looking finding. Thread the earring hook onto the finding as well, and bend it with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
 


Use a pair of wire cutters to cut the extra wire piece off. Use the needle-nosed pliers to close the wire loop that you've just made, and you're done. It is that fast. (I made several pairs of earrings last year this way that you can see here). 
 
 
 
The necklace is made in essentially the same way. I could have used wire, but I chose to use earring findings to connect the beads. I used the ones that have a loop at one end.
 
 
 
I then lined up the center piece with the chain, and cut a small center section from the chain with wire cutters. I connected the ends to the chain by linking the wire through and closing it with the needle-nosed pliers.
 
 
 
The bracelet was made just like the bracelets that I made earlier this week.

 

Time:


It took me exactly one hour to make all three of these.

Cost:

$5.50 for everything. I bought everything except for the green beads and the elastic last year. I purchased the green beads 40% off months ago at Michael's.

 
Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?
 
 
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For the fourth day of A Gift a Day, I made felt Matryoshka doll (nesting dolls) puppet for Ivory. My other children have seen me making these, and all of them think they are really neat (even my 8-year-old son!) so I think these could be made for any age.

These turned out to be a lot more time-consuming of a gift than I had planned. Had I left them just as they were in the pattern, I probably would have completed them in 2 hours. Instead, I spent about 6 hours researching pictures of real nesting dolls, picking my favorites, and designing the embroidery. I tried a few things that didn't quite work which meant time tearing them out and trying again.

And then I spent many, many more hours embroidering them.

In the end, though, I think it was worth it.

If I wanted to make these again, I would be able to significantly cut down my time, because I could copy the embroidery design that I did on these. If you like my embroidery, you can copy it too!




Matryoshka Doll Felt Finger Puppets

Supplies:

wool felt (search on Etsy for suppliers)
embroidery thread in colors to match what you choose
white pearl cotton in size 8 (optional, you could use white embroidery thread instead, which is also less expensive. I bought mine at Joann's with a 40% off coupon).
free pdf pattern

Tools:

scissors
sewing needle with a large eye for embroidery

Time:

Actual cutting, sewing and embroidery time: about 14 hours. If you don't do the extra embroidery like I did, 3 hours (allowing time for a few mistakes).




A few notes on the embroidery:


All colored stitching was done with 2 strands of embroidery thread. All white stitching was done with one strand of size 8 pearl cotton. If using white embroidery thread, I would use two strands.

The tops of eyes/eyelashes and mouth were worked in backstitch.

The flowers are lazy daisy stitch, except for the blue flowers, which are just straight stitches.

All lines were worked in stem stitch/backstitch.

For the French knots, I wrapped the thread twice, except for the eyes, which I wrapped three times.

For the leaves on the thistle, I sewed them using the leaf stitch. The stems were sewn using the backstitch.



If you're new to embroidering, don't be afraid! Check out my embroidery links here on my website for more information.

Cost:

These used very little felt and thread. If you don't already have felt and thread, you'll need to spend more to have these supplies. I bought supplies last to make felt paper dolls, so no out of pocket for this year. Calculating the actual amount of felt and thread used, these cost less than $1 for all three.


 
Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?
 
 
 
This post is linked to Funky Junk Interiors, Inspiration Monday, Wow us Wednesdays, We Did It Wednesdays,
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A Gift a Day 2013: Day Three: Bead Bracelets

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For the third day of A Gift a Day, I made simple bracelets.


Bead Bracelets

Supplies:

beads

clear elastic cording (I purchased the smallest diameter cording; it comes on a small reel abouthe size of a ribbon reel)

Tools:

your own two hands

scissors

Ruler and measuring tape (if you don't have a measuring tape you can use a piece of string or even cut paper, measure the recipient's wrist, and then measure the string or paper).

Time:

The total time for one bracelet is 3-5 minutes.

Today I made three bracelets.

 
I measured all of the girls' wrists. I added a couple of inches in length to the piece of elastic that I cut. I knotted one end, leaving enough to tie the finished bracelet closed (about an inch). I then strung the beads on by hand. I added a few more beads so that the bracelet wouldn't be too tight, making it about 1/2" - 3/4" (1.5 - 2.0 cm)  longer than the person's wrist measurement. After that, I tied the end of the bracelet to the knotted end.

Cost:

The cost will vary depending on the beads you use and the price you pay. I bought new beads for all of these bracelets and new elastic cording. The cording should allow me to make many bracelets in the future as well.

I bought the beads on sale for 50% off at Michael's. All of these beads are currently available. Some strings were longer than others. I will keep any leftover beads to use in other projects. These cost me $1.60 to $3.10 each, depending on the beads.

 
 
Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?
 
 
 
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A Gift a Day 2013: Day Two: Apron

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For the second day of A Gift a Day, I made an apron for Cyrus in his favorite color. He loves to cook, and he is learning how to make new things in kitchen all the time.


Apron

Supplies:

1 yard of cotton duck fabric

thread

Tools:

scissors
sewing machine

Time:

The total time for one apron is about 3 hours, including cutting out the fabric and sewing it.

Today I made one apron.


There are a lot of free apron patterns that you can use to make aprons (such as these 40) and lots of fabric choices. I chose cotton duck because it is heavy and last longer than thinner aprons. I didn't use a pattern; instead, I copied an apron that I already had. I simply laid down my existing apron, and traced around it, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance around the apron.

It will be a big large on him, but because it is a heavy-weight apron, it should last him several years, during which time he will probably become taller than I am.

Cost:

$3.39. I ordered the fabric last year on Black Friday from Fabric.com. I ordered it with other fabric and since my order was over $35, shipping was free. The fabric was on sale plus I received an additional 15% off my order as part of the Black Friday special.

 
Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?
 
 
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A Gift a Day 2013: Day One: Bow Barrettes

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For the first day of A Gift a Day, I chose to make bow barrettes. Most of these are for Ivory. The flowered ribbon one in the back of the second photo will go to Wren and one of the pink ribbon barrettes will go to Elsa.





Bow Barrettes

 

Supplies:



Ribbons

40 and/or 50 mm snap clip barrettes (I bought mine here); for a young toddler you can buy 40 mm barrettes

alligator pinch clips (do a search on Etsy under supplies for bulk sellers)

felt (you can use wool or acrylic felt; I used wool felt; check Etsy sellers for this as well)

thread

Fray check or clear nail polish (optional)

Tools:

scissors
sewing needle


 
For the felt bows, I followed the instructions here. The I simply  slid the back section of the barrette through the center part of the back side of the bow.
 

For the ribbon barrettes, I tied a bow with ribbon and trimmed the ends on the diagonal to slow fraying. If you desire, you can put fray check or clear mail polish on each end to stop tit from fraying at all.

I then sewed a few stitched by hand through the knot on the backside, and then sewed it on to the barrettes.


Time:


The total time for one felt barrette is 6 to 10 minutes.

The total time for one ribbon barrette is 5 to 10 minutes.

Today I made 11 barrettes.

 

Cost:


The felt barrettes made with wool felt cost $0.23 each, and the ribbon barrettes will vary, depending on the ribbon, but will be around $0.15 to $.20 each.

I bought barrettes in bulk on Etsy for .08 to .10 per barrette last year  in packs of 100, so I have plenty leftover for birthdays and Christmases to come, as well as for gifts for my children's friends.

If you use purchased wool felt ($2.00 a sheet), your cost will be higher than if you use acrylic felt bought on sale (.20 a sheet). Each barrette used 1/16 of a sheet when I cut the pieces 1/2" wide.

Ribbon costs will vary; I bought most these on 50% off sales at Joann's over many years when they were sold by the spool, and some cost more than others. The flowered ribbon was one from my grandmother and the pink satin ribbon I have had for many years. The next time I want to buy ribbon, though, I will order online from here. Notice the first time customer discount as well. If they don't have what I need I'll check this place that I found, too (they have velvet ribbons!). You don't need a long piece of ribbon, so you can use some ribbon that you may have received on a package. If it needs ironing, just iron it before tying it into a bow.

I already had all of the materials on hand, so this year these didn't cost me any money out of pocket.


 
Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?
 
 
 
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A Gift a Day 2013: The List

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This post contains affiliate links.


After several requests to post the list of gifts that I'll be making (like I did last year), I've decided to go ahead and post one.

First, though, I want to talk about a few gifts that I'm giving that aren't handmade.

I found several things at garage sales this year. I went two days to neighborhood garage sales this year; one day in April and one day in October. I found several great things that I will be giving to my children for gifts.

I also have a few things that were given to us by people who were decluttering (a leather moccasin sewing kit, which will go to the child who will fit it then--most likely Liberty, and a spy kit, which is for Ezrom), and some American girl books that were passed down to us.

I found a lot of books ($0.25 and $0.50 each). Most will be shared by all of the children so I gave them to them right away (and some went to Ivory for her birthday) but others have been saved for specific children for Christmas.

I found a game for my 3-year-old ($1), a necklace ($0.50), a bracelet ($0.10), two scarves ($1 for both), a 1500-piece puzzle with dragons on it (perfect for my 10-year-old) ($3), some vintage handkerchiefs ($0.25 each), some American Girl cards and stickers ($0.50), a few small tools ($0.25 each) and a small tool box ($3) which I am thinking of painting black with the same paint I used on my garden bench.

If there's something that you cannot make, try looking for it used, whether on Craig's List, at garage sales, at thrift shops, or online. This may make the gifts possible that your children really want that you cannot make.

Also, look for the sales. Right now Michael's has bead 50% off. If you're planning on making jewelry, this would be an ideal time to buy some beads. The least expensive strings are $3.99 full price, so for $2, you could get enough beads to make several pairs of earrings for people (your mom, coworkers, daughters, etc.) or you could get some to make a bracelet. I purchased a few new beads and some clear beading elastic to make gifts this year.

Black Friday sales on fabric, embroidery thread, jewelry supplies, and interfacing are ways to keep the cost of your homemade gifts down. Here are my suggestions from last year.

Also, don't forget Etsy for craft supplies! I've found many things there for very little. This year, I have been saving some money I earned from online surveys over the last month and a half ($15) so that I can order supplies on Etsy. Some will be used this year and some can be used in years to come.

I am also giving a few new gifts. I used my Amazon credit that I have earned from this site to purchase a few items during the year. From Amazon, I ordered this doll for my 5-year-old (I have seen it fluctuate in price by as much as $20, so when I saw it go back down I ordered it; it is at the lowest price again now), these green Lego building plates for my 5-year-old and 7-year-old,
this Lego book and this MP3 player for my 8-year-old,  this knitting book for my 11-year-old, and these Greek-style blocks for my 11-year-old (whose birthday is near Christmas).

My boys are each getting a dragon figurine from my mom's store (when she let me have my pick of things when she retired this year).

I also purchased this watercolor palette with a 50% off coupon at Michael's and a pad of the least expensive watercolor paper that they had for Winter's birthday.

I purchased a coloring book and a puzzle from the dollar store, and a lip balm for Wren.


I won't be buying anything else other than the supplies from Etsy to make gifts. All other supplies will be things I already have on hand.

I'm including everything that I am hoping to make for the children on this list, including larger projects that cannot be done during one day. With that said, here is what I am hoping to get made this month:


Winter (who will turn 12 before Christmas, so this includes birthday and Christmas gifts)

green necklace and matching earrings
charm necklace
decorated bobby pins
church dress
possibly another dress
bracelet and matching earrings
library bag
faux leather barrettes
faux leather headband
green scarf
slip
turquoise bracelet

Cyrus (10)

purple apron
library bag
pajamas
bookmarks

Ezrom (8)

black apron
pajamas
bookmarks

Liberty (7)

pink scarf
slip
bookmarks
headband
bracelet

Wren (5)

felt doll house
slip
pink doll dress
pillow
headbands
purple bracelet
skirt

Elsa (3)

slip
embroidered pillow
felt doll house
doll dress
Eiffel tower purse
bow barrettes
headband
red bracelet
slippers

Ivory (1 1/2)

doll dress
finger puppets
bow barrettes
slip
flannel pajamas




This list is subject to change. I might add some things and I might subtract some things, depending on the time that I have.

It usually takes me all of November and all of December to get the presents done. I don't want it to take that long this year. My goal is to see what I can get done in November and hopefully be done then. That might mean eliminating some gifts from the list. If I'm nowhere close I might keep sewing into December.

I want to do some more cookie making with the children in December. Also, the week before Christmas will be the time when those 700 bulbs that are in my refrigerator are ready to be planted. I expect that will take several weeks to get all of those in.

Now to start getting some things made today!

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