Christmas 2013: Homemade Gift Roundup

HomemadeGift3I have a longstanding habit of “over doing it” on Christmas. It’s never enough to simply get one single gift for a person. As you can imagine, this often results in me scraping for pennies, time, and sanity leading up to Christmas. You would think that after 26 years I would learn my lesson… you would think.

Since we got married in September (and proceeded to take a 10 day honeymoon to Hawaii), my bank account isn’t as fluffy as it normally is this time of year. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect time to test my ability to exercise self control and NOT buy 42 gifts per person on my list. Making 42 gifts per person is much cheaper. 😉

Every year I make a couple homemade gifts for friends and family, but this year, with my self control exercises and all, I decided to make a couple more than normal.


1. Slouchy beanies for two of my friends. This pattern is super simple and quick! I liked that it’s an easy one to modify. I shortened the length, added pompoms, and played with alternating colors.


2. Boot cuffs for my sister and mom. Seems like all the cool girls are wearing boot cuffs these days. I can’t tell if it’s going to be a short lived fad or something that sticks around for awhile, but regardless I figure we better keep those legs in style! This pattern is another super quick and easy one.


3. A giant pompom beanie for my nephew. I forgot to take a picture of this before I wrapped it all up… hence the weird cutout picture. ha. I’m kind of loving pompoms these days. While this pattern is super cute and simple (with a step-by-step picture tutorial!!), I think I made it a hair too small for him (get it? get it? hair too small?? because it’s a beanie… and it goes over hair… HAHA. ugh)… Oh well. Now I have an excuse to make another one!


4. Hand painted dino ornament. Cute, right?!! I really like to give my family ornaments with their gifts. Not everyone gets one every year, but there’s always bound to be at least 3 or 4 people who get them taped to their presents. I want to make a tradition of giving my nephew an ornament every year. So far I’m two for two! I kind of just winged this hand made gift. You can find a similar tutorial here.

Truth be told, there should be fifth and sixth gifts on this list but I didn’t finish the crochet blanket for my sister. And I totally failed to take pictures of the (super adorable) reindeer ornaments I painted at Painted Plate.

Accomplishment is a good feeling.


A weekend full of firsts

This past week has been your typical busy holiday week. Between work, social events, Christmas shopping, and general adult life tasks (such as grocery shopping – ugh), I feel like I’ve been on the go-go-go! All things considered, this past weekend was an especially fun weekend, though. It was full of first-time experiences!

On Saturday, some friends from work and I got up way too early for a Saturday morning to run an Ugly Sweater themed 5k. I’ve never ran any distance longer than 2 miles before, so I’m pretty proud of myself for signing up to do this 5k “dash”. I finished in 40 minutes… a good first start, I’d say. I’m looking forward to signing up for another fun run in the spring or summer! 

ImageAfter the fun run, we headed back home to attend a local matinee performance of The Nutcracker. We have another friend from work who’s daughter had two major parts in it. I know everyone has their feelings about ballet and musicals and whatnot, but I had never been to The Nutcracker before so it was really exciting for me! Plus, knowing someone in the performance made it even more exciting. It’s like rooting for your home team!

ImageAfter the amazing Nutcracker performance, my husband and I went to dinner with is parents at a local restaurant that we’ve been wanting to try for years. If you’re ever in the Olympia area, you’ve got to check out Gardner’s. It’s a fabulous little seafood and pasta place. Well worth your time and money!

And the last “first” I have to share is that I finally took a stab at making homemade marshmallows. As a kid, it never occurred to me that you could actually get marshmallows from anywhere other than the store. Realizing now that not only can you make them at home, but you can make them any flavor you want, is fantastic! I used a recipe from this really neat book written by the folks at Bi-Rite Creamery. I made mine orange flavored to accompany a candied cranberry homemade ice cream. 🙂


Phew! As you can imagine, I’m feeling quite accomplished after my epic weekend of firsts. What are some things you’ve tried for the first time recently?