Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Take a Break: August Holiday Gifts to Start Now-2014 Edition

It’s the first Wednesday of August, so once again it’s five DIY gifts you can make now for the holiday season. At the end of the post are links to the DIYS from previous years.

Infinity Scarf: With all the T-shirts lying around at this time of year, grab an Xlarge and some scissors. Cut off the hem. Next cut below the armholes, or if there is a large print on the front, just below the design. Now stretch and stretch until you have a nifty Infinity scarf in less than 5 minutes 

Another approach is to use fabric and sew one. This is a good tutorial on making an infinity scarf.  You can make the scares out of a variety of styles of fabric and in various lengths, so don’t feel limited by the size and type of material used in this video. You can make them out of polar fleece, wool, jersey, flannel,  knit fabrics or whatever strikes your fancy. Have an old pair of pajama bottoms handy? Check out how to make an infinity scarf from them.  

Knife Block or Strip: For the person who has lots of knives, this is wonderful idea that takes little time and is inexpensive.  I have knife strips in my kitchen, which I love. For the wood workers, check out how to make Rainbow Wood Magnetic Knife Strip.  

Fire Starters: I’ve made these for the last several years and my friends with wood stoves, fire pits, and fireplaces love them.There are lots of ways to do this, but this is my preferred method as it is inexpensive to make, looks great, and is quick to do.
• Collect old candle fragments-or purchase cheap ones from the Dollar Store.
• Collect pine cones and let dry for a few days so they open up and will crumble a bit when you crush them. Pick up pine needles, small berries or other small woodsie items.
• Purchase a tube of cotton pads from the Dollar Store. These will be in the cosmetic section as they are used for removing make up.
• Use a double boiler method to melt the wax. Be sure to use a dedicated pot. If you have Scentsy warmer that will also work.
• Lay out wax paper and scatter it with pieces of pine cone, needles, flexes of bark, dried berries, herb pieces etc.
• Immerse the pad into the melted max for a few seconds until it is covered in wax and remove with tweezers or another tool. Lay on the prepared wax paper. Flip it over so both sides are evenly coated and then set aside to dry and cool.
• When cool, place as many as you want into a cellophane bag, along with a note that explains that these are fire starters.

If you come across small pine cones, you can always make pine cone fire starters,  which will look very attractive in a gift box.

Flavored Syrups: This is a good time to test out which syrups you like so that when it’s closer to the holiday season, you can make a batch or two to go along with someone’s favorite coffee, ice cream or even a box of pancake mix. It’s also a good time to check out tag sales and thrift stores for interesting bottles to hold the syrup.

The basic recipe is 1 cup water and 1 cup water, heated and stirred until the sugar is melted. If you have old Candy Canes try 1 cup water and 12 standard size candy canes. Place in a pot and bring to a boil stirring constantly. DIY Flavored Syrups 

Book with Activities: This may be more appropriate for the child on your gift list, but depending on the book and the adult, you may come up with some clever ideas. Start by picking a book that you think the person will like. Go through it and come up with ideas they can do when they are reading a particular chapter.

I’ve been working on this for a family in my community. One of our local grandmothers wrote a book about her life on a farm in the 1940s and 50s. So along with the book, I’m including cookie cutters and the author’s sugar cookie recipe. Since hot chocolate was something the one room school house teacher would make during the harsh days of winter, I’m including instant hot chocolate mix that I make myself. All of the items are set in a mixing bowl from that era.

Vacation is a good time for “junkin’ and yard sales. Never know what treasurers you’ll find.

Take Fives from Previous Years
• 2010: Candles; Eyeglass case and bookmarks; fabric flower brooch 

• 2011: Environmentally friendly cleaning products; Cookie Cutter Fudge; Balloon Candle Holders; Popsicle Bracelets; Frame a game Board 

• 2012: Make a variety of items using the sun including sun stencils and art work 

 2013: From fruitcakes to fabric covered canvas 

Not interested in today’s activity? Check out the Take a Break Pinterest for lots of ideas. 

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