Posted at 9:57 pm
There are so many wonderful things about being a kid. No bills. Naps. Sleepovers. Summer camp. Birthdays. Snow angels. Art projects. We’ve all seen a kid sitting in front of a piece of paper, carefully contemplating all the options that Crayola has to offer and enviously oblivious to everything but the task at hand. Completely unintimidated by the possibility that his mother is going to have to label his dinosaur lest anyone confuse it for a green amoeba. There is no failure and the end product is irrelevant as long as he enjoyed the exercise. I miss that. Adulthood is not like that. Your boss will never tell you that despite the fact that your memo is more stream of consciousness and less cogent or rational thought, it’s ok because you seemed to enjoy writing it. Never. So I am all for anything that allows grown ups to exercise a little harmless creativity. Lately I have been experimenting with a few childhood art classics and I will be giving them out like candy…to adults. They are the perfect “unplug” gift.
Thanks to Easy 123 Art, you can now convert any photo into a custom paint-by-number ($). Imagine the possibilities! Just choosing which photo to use is a creative exercise. I used this poppy photo that my sister has always liked as my test case:
And while I am no artist (the genius of paint-by-number), here’s the end result:
I don’t really care whether my sister treasures this forever or “forgets” it in her next apartment move. Making it was the fun part.
I have also discovered that there are coloring books for adults! And according to the Boston Globe they are flying off the shelves. Today I walked up to our local bookstore Brookline Booksmith (featured in the Globe article) to see what all the fuss was about. I walked out with two coloring books and a box of markers determined to give it a go. I even managed to convince my husband to give it a shot, after which followed two relaxing hours of coloring (with a side of beer and wine). Here’s my work from Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest (a New York Times #1 Best-Seller)($):
It’s not perfect and it’s never going to make the fridge (that spot is currently occupied by a masterpiece made just for me by my friend Kristin’s daughter) but that doesn’t matter.
Posted at 5:28 pm
This time of year we make a conscious effort to be grateful. But research suggests that practicing gratitude can have a positive effect on your life and your relationships year round. So, this year, instead of asking everyone to hurriedly say what they are grateful for before they dive into the Thanksgiving turkey, consider giving everyone a Gratitude Journal so that they can each take a moment every day to appreciate all that was good. Include a personalized note or inscription to let each person know all the reasons you’re grateful for him or her.
Here’s one from Red Envelope ($):
I also think you can use a day-planner for this purpose, and here are a few choices from Paper Source ($):
I also love the Moleskin planners, which come in too many colors to count ($):
If you know a real DIY-er, check out this beautiful Grateful Wreath Kit from Paper Source ($). You can handwrite what you’re thankful for on individual leaves!
Posted at 7:41 pm
I know you’re all thinking that it’s crazy early to be thinking about Christmas presents. But it’s not. Especially if you want to do something special. And special is what Custom Cornhole Boards from West Georgia Cornhole are! Perfect for a basement, man cave, backyard or fraternity house. Here’s just a sample of what West Georgia Cornhole can do, but they offer endless customizations so you can get creative ($$$$$):
They also offer these Plain Jane DIY Cornhole Boards. Get the kids to help you decorate them and you’ll have a truly unique gift that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.
Just make sure you get your orders in early so Santa has plenty of time before Christmas!
Posted at 7:51 pm
If you’re hosting the annual Easter Egg Hunt this year, make it easy with this DIY Kit from Piper’s Place. You’ll have your yard (or house) ready for the hunt in no time so all you’ll need to worry about is what yummy treats to put in the eggs! ($$)
Posted at 10:56 am
Just yesterday, as my mother and I were combing through patterns at one of the last remaining needlework shops I know of, I was thinking about all the beautiful cross-stitch, needlepoint and crewel pieces that my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother have made over the years and was lamenting the declining popularity of these arts. Unlike knitting, which can yield a variety of very utilitarian and stylish results, cross-stitch samplers are not what most people want adorning their walls these days. But here’s a great idea for those of us who still appreciate needlework, but want to create something a little more modern and personal.
Haptic Lab has created DIY Quilting Kits that feature maps of major cities. The full kit includes a to-scale map template, all the materials you need to make an ivory quilt and sewing instructions. If you’re feeling more creative though, get the basic kit and you can pick your own fabric, colors, etc. You can opt for a simple design, or something more personal that features places lived, favorite landmarks, etc. Sewing experience is helpful but not required and they are only 36″ x 42″ so this is not a lifetime commitment. Give a kit as a gift or make the quilt yourself to give to a loved one. Here are just a few examples:
New York City ($$-$$$)
If you love the idea of a City Quilt, Haptic Lab also sells their own creations like this Boston Quilt below. They will fit full to king-sized beds and if you ask nicely, they will even embroider a few personal details onto your quilt at no extra cost.
City Quilts ($450)
Posted at 6:38 pm
Girls love to play house. Now they can design their very own play homes with Roominate, a building toy that encourages creativity, inspires imagination, and introduces girls to the basic principles of engineering in a fun, age-appropriate way. Each Roominate Kit comes with all the parts necessary (including a battery pack, circuits, and simple step-by-step instructions) to wire rooms with working lights, a fan, or motorized pulley. Ages 6+ but ideal for ages 8-12. ($$)
Posted at 7:58 pm
Do you know someone with the gift of craft? Well, then this genius idea from a couple of Arkansans might be the perfect gift. It’s essentially a craft of the month club and your friend or loved one will receive a surprise craft each month from Craftistas. They are still currently in beta so they are offering memberships on a first-come basis, but if you don’t get in this month, they will put you on the waiting list for next month.
Posted at 6:32 pm
Cake plates are great gifts. They can be used as a serving piece but can also be decorative (I use mine for plant stands and to display pictures and seasonal items). You can make a one-of-a-kind cake plate in about 2 minutes with a pretty glass and a plate. These items are cheap at most antique stores and flea markets so for less than $20 can pull this one off and give someone something unique. Here are a couple I made, using the glass different ways:
It’s as easy as super-gluing the cups to the plates. (I would not recommend putting them in the dishwasher.)