Christmas Crafting

Happy Christmas everyone! It’s crazy to have Christmas day here and gone already and twenty-twelve is just days away! But thank God for giving us all a reason to celebrate, give gifts, and enjoy family!

Both of my sisters-in-law and I decided to exchange homemade items, which I really enjoyed making!

I first made hand soap using THIS recipe that I found on Pinterest. It was super super easy and inexpensive to make.

My friend and neighbor, Sarah, helped.

We started by grating a bar of choice soap; I chose a green tea lemon scented soap that I found at World Market.

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We then placed the slivers of soap in a pot of 1 gallon (or 4 quarts) of water and 2 tbls pure glycerin to dissolve.

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After the soap was completely dissolved I just waited a number of hours for it to thicken. When I went back to it, this is what I found:

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Kinda goopy – so I added some water and used a hand mixer to whip it up a bit (thanks Sarah! Maybe someday I’ll invest in a hand mixer – until then, it’s my workout.) It was then ready to be put into containers. (the full recipe and instructions for this project can be found HERE.)

I procrastinated for quite some time to find a dispenser I wanted to use. Hobby Lobby had empty clear plastic bottles with pump attached, but they were about $2.50/ea. and even with a 40% off coupon, I wanted to use something more substantial; glass preferably. So I decided to use mason jars, which I found at our local Hy-Vee. (thankfully a ‘Ball’ plant is in Ames so canning jars are readily available!)

Now the trick was finding individually sold pumps! Nearly every website I found required a minimum of 100 pumps be purchased. The recipe makes a lot of soap, but not quite that much. I finally found a website called FactoryDirectCraft.com where i was able to order the number of pumps needed and they were here just in time for assembly!

The next trick was figuring out how to put a pump sized hole in the top if the jar. Some things are better delegated to other people who have skills that you do not YET have. In this case (and in most cases), Tad. :) He knew just what to do and had all the lids drilled in no time.

This is the step drill bit he used and the just right sized hole it created:

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Because the pumps we purchased didn’t raise very high off the surface of the lid, we drilled the hole near the edge so fingers could actually fit under the pump. Tad thought we could have found a piece of acrylic to raise the pump slightly, but we were running out of time, and made do.

I originally made an attempt to Super Glue the pumps to the lids, but it very unfortunately did not work well at all! So I went with good ole mod podge. (Again, Tad with his good ideas said I should have used an epoxy, but again, I was out of time and the mod podge was doing the trick.)

This is the final product!

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I enjoy crafting fun easy inexpensive gifts!

The second project was specifically for Tad’s sister. I was checking out her pinterest boards when I found this ‘letter wreath’ idea (originally from this Etsy seller) and made a go of it.

I purchased two compact cardboard letters from hobby lobby and glued them together before beginning to wrap the many (MANY) layers of twine. I stared by hot gluing pieces to the ends to avoid any extra complicated wrapping.

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The angles and curve of the ‘G’ were the trickiest and required the occasional hot gluing to keep things in place, but over all it was a mindless task I enjoyed doing while listening, quietly (the OCS -office/craftroom/studio- is just across the hall from a napping babe!) to some holiday tunes.

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Now it was time for some simple and sweet embellishments. I had a couple of extra felt flowers from the winter wreath I had made earlier in the month:

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And I thought, why waste?! These are perfect! So I glued them down and pinned a ribbon on the back for hanging and the letter wreath was complete. Easy!

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And lastly, I love a good theme when wrapping! I don’t have images from last Christmas, but all the packages were inspired by THIS. This year we went with simple black and white with a spritz of purple here and there. I had originally wanted to do everything stripes (my latest fetish), however, I ran into these two papers and called it done.

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That’s all of the Asayplacey Christmas crafting for now. Photos of the celebration up next! … Well, maybe a post or two about how LL jumped from three to FIVE toofers over night!

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