Mother’s Day Gifts

Remember the birthday necklaces I made in January and posted last week? Well, I decided to make Mother’s Day gifts for my grandmothers that would go along with them. This time, I made bracelets.

I used the same amethyst chips, some silver wire, and some silver chain. I made five beaded links and connected them together with chains. I once again used a magnetic clasp, because it is one of my new favorite materials to use in jewelry.

I also made some Zentangle cards to send with them. I drew the patterns with a Sharpie pen, and then colored them with Prismacolor markers.

DIY Birthday Present: CD With Label and Sleeve

Home-made gifts are always the best, right? I had a flash of brilliance when the four-year-old went on a field trip to the recording studio. (Side note: Where were these awesome field trips when I was in school? Pretty sure we took the same trip to the zoo on the same day every year as our field trips. With the occasional trip to the botanical gardens thrown in every few years.) He was slightly disappointed because he wouldn’t be able to sing “Rainbow Connection” during the class recording session because it was too long. So I made a mental note to revisit that idea for his mom’s birthday.

I got a lucky break when they went out of town on a surprise trip last week and we had four days to record. But even if you don’t have the equipment (or desire) to record the recipient’s favorite songs, you can still make a mix CD. Yes, I said CD. I know you can just email them a playlist, but isn’t it more fun to give a physical gift? That said, you know your own friends and relatives and you know who will just give you a funny look as if they don’t remember how we purchased music before smartphones.

I’ll leave you on your own for the burning of the CD, since every computer and system and program handles that differently. But I don have a few tips to make it even more personal:

1. Make a paper sleeve.

There are all kinds of tutorials for all different kinds of paper sleeves, but I used this one to make a sleeve similar to ones I’ve bought CDs in at the store. That gave me more room to add things like pictures of the kids recording, a track list, “liner notes”, etc. It’s got a space for the CD and a flap that folds over. I used Photoshop to create the case, using the downloads from the tutorial as guidelines. To keep the finished product free of lines, I made the template “layer 1” and just set it to invisible before printing on cardstock, then printed the templates out on plain paper and used them as cutting guides.I also made two of the folded cover, one to be the inside and one to be the outside.

2. Create your own cover art.

I tasked the four-year-old with coloring a picture to be the front of the CD cover, scanned that picture in, then resized it into the outer cover layer. You can also just take a picture and use it the same way.

3. Make a label.

I just grabbed a pack of Memorex CD Labels which have two labels per page, plus jewel case labels and downloaded this Illustrator template which I used in a manner similar to the CD case templates, except I didn’t have to print a copy of the template since it printed directly on the labels.

There you have it: Three easy steps to a one-of-a-kind (or however many you want) birthday gift. Or graduation gift. Or Mother’s Day (which is Sunday!) gift. Or…you get the picture. Have fun with it. Be creative. Especially if you are giving a mom a CD of her children singing her songs. She will love it. And possibly cry.

Quick DIY: Mini Heart Pillows

One would think it would be impossible to forget a holiday that is advertised everywhere for the month and a half leading up to it, but one would be wrong. That is how I found myself desperately making four Valentine’s at 8:00pm Thursday night. At first I attempted to knit some little heart pillows. I found the perfect tutorial and had set about on the knitting, when I looked at the clock, realized it was 9:00pm now, and saw that I was only about a quarter of the way through Valentine #1.

Change of plans, and quick. I don’t have much in the way of craft supplies just lying around. Sure, I could draw up some cards in no time, but these are for little people who are pre-reading and would really rather have something tangible. So I dug through my meager closet stash and found a piece of purple, a piece of yellow, and a large piece of green felt in my “leftovers” basket.

With just the felt, a pair of scissors, some embroidery thread, and a minuscule amount of supplemental yarn to add to the padding, I managed to whip up some cute little love pillows.

Mini Heart Pillow DIY

Materials

  • Colored Craft Felt
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Stuffing (can use fiber fill, left-over fabric/yarn, basically whatever you have on hand to fill the pillow with)

Instructions

  1. Cut two matching heart shapes from the felt. This can either be done with a template you create on paper or, my favorite method, by folding the felt in half while cutting to keep the hearts as close to each other in shape as possible.
  2. Using all six strands of embroidery thread (to make it stand out; use less if you want a more subtle effect), back-stitch the name of the recipient or your desired message onto one of the felt hearts. This tutorial from wikiHow can help if you have never done a back-stitch before. Note- I don’t knot my thread, i just leave a bit hanging at the beginning of my work on the wrong side of the fabric.
  3. Holding both hearts wrong sides together, take all six strands of thread and a running stitch around the edges to hold the pieces together. Be sure to stuff it as you go so you aren’t trying to push a whole pillow’s-worth of stuffing through a tiny hole at the end.
  4. Bring the end of your thread through the middle of the pillow, putting the needle in between the felt pieces at the edge and taking it out the same way at the opposite edge and cut the thread close to the pillow.

And that is it. You have a nice little gift to show your love and appreciation of a loved one in a very short amount of time. I think each of these took me around ten minutes from start to finish. It may take you more or less time depending on how proficient you are at sewing and embroidery, of course.

What kinds of gifts did you give for Valentine’s day?