Friday, December 14, 2012

20 DIY Christmas Gift Inspirations For Your 2 And 4 Legged Loved Ones

Ok, so here is my promised and announced first DIY Christmas Inspirations post. This one is all about the gifts you can easily make yourself for your loved ones, weather they have two legs or four and a fluffy coat.

Not all of the ideas are my own, but I have tried to make many of them myself and enjoyed the process very much. They are simple, lovely, will warm anyone´s heart, and they are also on the budget. 

For someone like me, who is going through some rough financial times, the upcoming Christmas may sound like a nightmare. "How in the world will I give presents to all those I care about?" is the most common thought that runs through one´s head on a sleepless night. "How will I make my kids happy and express that I care and appreciate others, without giving them at least something little?" 

I honestly believe here are some pretty amazing solutions:

1. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows "Kit"

This is such an easy gift to make. You can add any ingredients you like or can think of. A cinnamon stick tied with a bow as a decoration added, you can make different layers of the ingredients, put it in a decorative jar, a mason jar, or as on the picture, in a cone made of transparent gift wrapping foil.

I would love to get one of those! :)

2. Picture in a Handmade Frame

I apologise for the quality of these photos, I had real trouble shooting them with a bad light, but wanted to have this post finished, so I included at least these.

The point is that you can use your fantasy completely. I personally love these frames made from old wooden boards, that were exposed to the harsh Nordic climate for years. They can be found in ruins of old barns and buildings, old fences, etc. In our area, they are often grown over by moss or liken, and you can find old rusty pieces of nails in them, or holes made by water, wind, nails, or the time itself.

Another frame idea is the following one, when you simply decorate an ordinary, natural wood frame with whatever you have at home and your fantasy can come up with. In my case, it´s of course dog paw prints. It´s kinda like my signature or trademark :-)

3. Peppermint Sugar Scrub

I personally love this idea! Practical, beautiful, Christmasy, decorative - all in one.
For a complete how to and step by step, really easy creation process, go to:

4. Plywood Snowman Drawers/Advent Calendar

Here in Europe, many countries celebrate the St.Nicholas day, as well as hold the tradition of Advent Calendars. For those of you unfamiliar with it, there are chocolates, candy or other goodies stuffed into tiny little boxes, drawers or pockets of an Advent Calendar, from December 1st, the the 24th - the Christmas Eve. 
I got this snowman advent calendar a long time ago and I love it. We use it every year and despite not having children (we have four legged ones), Jachym and I both look forward to each day when we can pull out a chocolate candy or a toffee :) 
If you made the drawers big enough and don´t put the dates on, it can be a great jewelry or other item storage. 

5. Home Made Honey, Lemon & Ginger Tea Jelly

We made these since the end of summer and we can´t imagine to ever be without them ever again! Not only does it taste wonderful, but it is very healthy and everyone in our household, who got the autumn flu and cold had been nursed by this honey, lemon and ginger tea. In the link below, you will find the recipe. We have adjusted it a bit and added powdered cinnamon, not only for the taste, but mainly for it´s healing properties.

Don´t forget to use a nice, decorative jar, tie a bow around the lid, attach a hand written label and voila, you have a great, valuable Christmas gift.

Make at least a few jars for your friends and family, they will love them!

6. Handmade Dog Toys

There is a number of handmade dog toy ideas on the internet. From stuffing a tennis ball into a sock and tying a nod on it, to more sophisticated toys such as these tugging nods. 

These are made from polar fleece. I bought a few fleece blankets on sale and we cut them up into stripes, chose colors and braided them. You can decide weather to make them from three or four stripes. The pattern depends on how many stripes of a certain color you introduce. Tie nods at each end and you can even cut the ends with scissors and make it more fluffy with more parts to chew on.
These tugging toys are fun, dogs love to fetch them, play tug-o-war, or just chew on them. And from two blankets, you´ll be able to make an amount for an entire kennel. Make a couple for your dogs, a few for your friends´s dogs and why not bring the rest to an animal shelter and make a few dog souls happy too.

7. Home Baked Healthy Dog Treats

Couple months ago I was writing an article for Receptar magazine´s special Chrstimas issue and I invented three new recipes for healthy, holistic, natural home made dog (and cat) treats.
These are the Carrots and Parsley version. I have been planning to post the recipes here in the blog, but just never got to doing it. If you´d like the recipe, let me know and I will write a post with all three.

Home made dog treats are a great, healthy and natural alternative to many of the store bought, unhealthy,  chemicals containing treats, often from not verified sources. 
Gift wrap them and attach name tags for the special four legged someone. Give a bunch to your neighbor for their pet, I am sure they´ll appreciate the thoughtful and gift.

You can also put them in a glass jar, I use the large ones from pickles. Put a nice paper over the lid and wrap it with a ribbon, for more festive look. Attach a name tag made of cardboard, cut out in the shape of a bone. 

On picture above is the flex seed and liver version of the cookies.

8. Handmade Tea Bags

I just love this idea. I never got to making it as this year´s Christmas present, but there´s always a next year. So simple, but really cool, useful and cute. A perfect present for the tea lover. And you can either gift wrap it in a transparent foil with some nice ribbons around, or you can find an antique cup, place it in it and then wrap it. 

Here is the link for the how to steps:

9. Home Made Apricot & Grapefruit Toffees

Everyone loves to get some sweet goodies under the Christmas tree. I know I do! And when the extra effort of making them and giving them that personal touch is made, they taste even better :)

These are even suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They are healthy, all natural with no sugar or chemicals added. 

You can wrap each separately to avoid sticking of the toffees to each other. You can put them in a similar cone as the marshmallow hot chocolate kit above (gift idea nr.1) or be even more creative and make a box for them from cardboard. Look for my coming post about Christmas gift wrapping ideas.

In the meantime, here is the toffee recipe:

10. Bird Feeder/House

Now, this is my personal favorite. This gift requires a bit more patience, you need tools to make it and a bit of handiness wouldn´t hurt either :) If you´d love to create it but don´t feel like you can do it yourself, you can either modify it to a simpler version, use it as inspiration for something similar or ask a family member or a friend to help you with it.
I love all the little details and it´s all from junk that you´d normally throw away, so it also serves a good purpose of re-cycling!

Let´s see if you could try to do it:

11. Scented Coffee Bean Candle Decor

I must admit, this is an idea for any year round gift, such as house warming, birthday or name day.
I made these for our home at the end of summer once, and the coffee beans, especially once warmed up by the candle, release a wonderful aroma throughout the room.

Find a simple bowl to put it in, fill it, and place a tea candle as shown on the picture. These decorative candles look definitely even better in three, as above.

12. Gift Wrapped Simple Dog Cookies

Simple ingredients, simple way to make them. Using a cookie cutter you can use your imagination and make bones, hearts, stars, flowers, Christmas trees, snowmen, etc. For each dog recipient a little personalized touch :)
After you gift wrap them in the foil, print out or hand paint the name tags and fill the pet´s name. Don´t forget your cat too - make smaller and thinner cookies for her.

For recipe, see one of my previous posts:

13. Homemade Coffee Syrup

Another one of my favorites on my list of "gotta make". I think that this is such a valuable, cool gift idea. Tasty and decorative, just in the right spirit of a heart warming home made present.

Here is how to make them:

14. Lavender Scented Candle Decor

You´ve probably guessed it - I LOVE candles. And I love lavender. A perfect combination of both is in this simple to make present. And it looks and smells gorgeous.
Find a suitable, taller glass, or a used jar, wash it up properly. Glue dried or fresh lavender around and tie it with a simple hemp rope, just like on the picture. Put a white, thicker and taller candle inside. 
This is also a very decorative idea for tables of any celebration.

15. Garden Markers

There are many ways and ideas how to make cute and practical garden markers. This could be a wonderful gift for any gardener in your life, or even for anyone else to decorate the kitchen herbs with.
I selected these two kinds (above and below) as some of the simplest to make. 

16. Tea Bag Cookies

These are SO cute! A box of these will make anyone smile.

Here is the recipe, including how to make the shapes:

17. Tea Bag Wreath

Another perfect gift for the tea lover. Really beautiful and valuable idea.

Here are complete instructions how to create it:

18. Wine Corcks

Very cute and practical gift for the wine drinker. But it can be also used for vinegar or oil bottles, or for homemade syrups, remedies and tinctures. 

In the following link you will find not only how to make these, but even more ideas for gifts made of used wine corcks, such as shower mat or coasters:

19. Hand Painted Ceramics or Porcelain

I made all the items above, in my little art studio. They are a part of my fundraising projects for our sled dog racing team to be able to attend races, but I also often give them as presents to my friends and family and they love them.

I wanted to give you the inspiration to create something of your own by painting it on a glass, china or ceramics. It is actually not that difficult!:)

These are very appreciated presents, are of practical value and are very warm. You can paint espresso cups, mugs, dessert plates, salad bowls or small breakfast cereal bowls, tea pots, aroma lamps, egg holders and a lot more! Just use your fantasy. 

For more inspiration or to purchase one of my hand painted art items, go to:

20. Pre-planned Dates

Absolutely fabulous idea, which doesn´t have to cost you anything, but your imagination, ideas, compassion and time spent planning the date nights and fun times for/with your loved ones.
You can do a pre-paid version, where you actually add tickets, reservations, etc. into each envelope, if you want.

Take the time to sit down, relax and think of a couple or of your spouse, who would love this present. What would they like to do? Where would you like to take them? It could be a great gift for you mom, to whom you keep promising to spend more time with, a dear friend whom you´re looking to reconnect with or your spouse with whom you need to set aside more time just for yourselves. 

Look at your calendar and set aside specific dates. Put these in the plan envelopes. Write a nice note, be a bit creative and use a nice paper, cut out some decorations and decorate the date invitations.
This is such a lovely, thoughtful and heart warming gift!

Here is a link to the original post:

Well, I could go on forever, but time is limited and I gotta also make a few more gifts myself, as the countdown till Christmas is ticking :)

I hope you will find some inspiration among these, maybe an idea for a last minute gift, a project your kids could do, or just a few thoughts for the next year.

Please let me know in comments below, how you like the ideas, or any questions, tips, etc. I´d love to hear from you!
Feel free to share this post with your friends, it would also help a great deal to get my blog more recognized. Thanks a heap!


1 comment:

Mel said...

I wish I had found your blog earlier! I love these ideas, especially coffee syrups and lemon/honey for tea (I drink a LOT of tea). I also love your art, it's gorgeous!