Thursday, January 22, 2015

7 DIY Christmas Gifts 2014

So, I haven't posted here for a while, but wanted to share the 2014 handmade gifts. I had my hands a bit more full this year with two small adventurers who are always on-the-go, but this is what happened...

1. Necklace with "rainndrop pendant
 The pendant held a small excerpt from notes found in my grandmother's Bible.
"God will Bless your socks off" 

2. A dozen paper roses created from pages of an old hymnal.
I learned how to make the paper roses from tutorials on Pinterest, of course.
The vase began its usefulness in this house as an oatmeal container.

 3. The puffs containers I couldn't make myself throw away became containers for 
Chocolate Covered Snowman Arms (and I'll admit, they kinda make me want to giggle). 

4. Footprints in the Sand. 
Another project I've seen on Pinterest, and I was able to add a print from each of my babies. 
My mom was kind enough to go to the beach while she was in Florida and bring back some sand for me. Such a chore. :)

5. Paxton helped with this one. He was drawing a picture of a giraffe for his Aunt Amy. After getting frustrated, "This isn't right!" We determined that it was an abstract work of art... and turned it into rainndrop pendant for Aunt Amy too. :)

7. A book safe for my spy-loving, book reading nephew

There were several other projects that didn't get finished or photographed, such as "x-rays" to add to Paxton's doctor supplies. I made a few of them, but I can always revisit that idea when the new wears off some of his other Christmas presents! Other than that, I made lots and lots... and lots of roses for ornaments I sold through my Etsy shop. Don't forget to check it out!

Feel free to share your own DIY Christmas gift ideas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Homemade, Crafty Christmas

Homemade Christmas Gifts for 2013!

Since I've been on maternity leave this holiday season, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to snuggle my boys and get some crafting going! Huge post here....

1. Bird's Nest Pendant

 (inspired by Pinterest)

2. Handmade monogram stamp and note cards
(above and below) Handmade monogram stamp and note cards. The monogram stamp was made from an eraser (a technique I used in undergrad and recently saw again on pinterest). The cards are each unique; sewn and stamped. 

3. Dinosaur Tail

4. Balloon Ornament
Balloon Ornament:
Includes handcrafted clay balloons with thread strings, suspended by clear fishing line.
In the bottom are matching pink sequins

5. Eggshell Pendant
A design I plan to list in my Etsy shop soon! This pendant is made from a red solo cup and crushed eggshells. One person's trash is another person's treasure!

6. Keep Looking! Game
Inspired by the popular "Find It!" games

7. Photo Wreath
I'd seen a similar idea on Pinterest, using small photo frames. This wreath was made from a pool noodle, brown paper (originally packing material from other gifts and supplies I'd ordered for Christmas!), printed photos, and outdoor mod podge.

8. Fleece swirl scarf 
Another Pinterest idea! Made two of these :)

9. Seaside Wreath
Made from a pool noodle wrapped with twine and decorated with sand dollars, seashells, and a starfish

10. Super Hero Capes!

11. Survival Kit
Makeup bag filled with items that may come in handy!
Includes: First aid kit (30 Sheer Adhesive Bandages, 3 Clear Adhesive Bandages, 3 Fabric Adhesive Bandages, 2 Non-Adherent Pads, 3 Alcohol Pads), Sewing kit (Needle Threader, Needle Compact, Tape Measure, Straight Pins, Assorted Buttons, 5 Assorted Spools of Thread, Thimble, Scissors, Safety Pins), Nail kit (Nail Clippers, Nail File, Emery Board, Cuticle Scissors), 15 hair elastics, 12 snap clasp barrettes, Travel toothbrush and toothpaste, Dental floss, 2 combs, Krazy glue, Carmex lip balm, 12-in-1 screwdriver set, Travel size acetaminophen, Ink pen, Post-it note pad, 50 sheet notebook, 2 tampons, 2 feminine pads, Multipurpose Pocket Survival Tool (can opener, knife edge, screwdriver, ruler, cap opener, 4 position wrench, butterfly wrench, saw blade, etc.)

12. Tour of England and Ireland bracelet 
Portions of map printed and set in bracelet bezels, then painted with mod podge
(mixed with a small amount of instant coffee for an aged effect), topped with dimensional mod podge. 

13. Goodies to supplement gifts! :)

Potato soup mix (recipe from:
Brownie in a mug mixes
Oatmeal, craisin, dark chocolate chip cookies, placed in cans
(formula cans that had expired, used a pampered chef can opener to open the bottoms and empty, then put the cookies in a treat bag in the cans and resealed, then covered)
people chow/mud buddies/whatever other name you call it,
and a rice krispie treat... i mean... cornflake treat wreath...
didn't get pics of the sugar cookie truffles, red velvet cake bites, oreo balls....
did my jeans just get tighter typing that???

 14. Fireworks ornament
In memory of the baby my parents lost on the fourth of July in 1976

15. Herbed rice neck wrap
This was a really quick one, nothing fancy, but I love these! It's made with just a rectangle of fleece fabric, filled with a mixture of rice, lavender, mint, and cloves (to be heated with a cup of water in the microwave to prevent the rice from drying out... great kept in the freezer too). So easy but so relaxing. 

15. Magnetic Makeup Board
Inspired by pinterest

16. Rainndrop Pendants 
(not showing the actual ones though because they've not yet been received! hehe!)

17. Flowers for Carys
I know, it's odd to find a cemetery arrangement in a post about handmade Christmas gifts... but she's my baby girl, and it's hard to find anything that looks Christmasy for a child's grave. So, I found some pretty, soft greenery at Hobby Lobby and used the same ornaments I used before. This time, though, I put the ornaments on shish kabob sticks and covered them with floral tape. Instead of floral Styrofoam, I used a small section of pool noodle and the rest went for one of the wreaths above. Pool noodles have tons of potential!

I know I'm missing at least one gift, but it hasn't been given yet, and if I post it, it will be obvious whose gift it is. :) But anyway... may you feel inspired to go forth and create!!

Happy Crafting!

Don't I have a cute little dinosaur??

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rainndrops On Roses: On Etsy

     A while back, I had an idea for a pendant design that would let me wear a picture of my babies. I've tried a few different methods and materials, but seem to have found a combination that seems sturdy. I wear my pendant nearly every day and love it. 

I also love that I frequently receive comments on how unique and pretty it is, because it sometimes opens the door for me to share a little bit about our story and my babies. 

After having several complete strangers compliment my necklace, I decided it was time to go ahead and start the Etsy shop I've talked about starting (for years). 

Rainndrop Pendant

So, the shop is now open and can be found at: 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

6 DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

I thought it might be fun to do another post with (DIY) Christmas gift ideas.

  1. Soup, Can Do!
    I found a recipe for 8 Can Taco Soup from the blog High Heels & Grills, which actually prompted this post:  It's made with... yes... you guessed it... 8 cans of ingredients. When I stumbled across the recipe, I thought it would make a great gift basket type gift for a college student or someone in a similar position. Arrange those 8 cans in a microwavable bowl (or even a crock pot/mini crock pot if you'd like!), add some pretty wrapping and ribbon.... presto, cute gift idea and a new recipe for the cookbook.
  2. Knot a Big Deal...
    Here's a cool crochet or knotted scarf idea I saw at  that I'm really wanting to try now. I'm tempted to try doing it with thin strips of those old t-shirts I have saved back for just such a project...
  3. It's a Wrap!
    I've made heated neckwraps for several people over the years. They can be so nice when you just want to relax, if your neck/shoulders are sore, or if you have a headache. To make mine, I've used inexpensive fleece blankets for my fabric, but you could also use an old tshirt , a hand towel, or other fabric on-hand for material. A quick search pulled up this how-to article for someone else's method.
  4. Scrub-a-dub-dub
    Another have-made-and-like project that doesn't have to be expensive is a hand/body scrub that leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.
    You need:
    Epsom Salt
    Baby Oil
    Essential Oils (I've also used mint extract, but lavender essential oil is probably my favorite for this!)
    Just mix together until you get the consistency you want (should be pretty thick) and pour/scoop into a pretty glass jar. NOTE: I just recently saw decorative glass jars with a seal at dollar tree, and have also recycled baby food jars and other small, cute jars for this project. In fact, you could probably find epsom salt, baby oil, and mint extract all at your local dollar tree! Just remember to be careful if you use the scrub in the tub because baby oil WILL make your tub slick. :) Be safe, scrub happy!
  5. Door Dinner is a-jar
    There are lots and lots of meal-in-a-jar recipes out there. You can find some from Chef Tess or just do a quick search on google or pinterest. You can also make your own by layering dry ingredients of your favorite recipes (or my favorite brownie recipe that I have already shared a couple of times here before).
  6. Hot Chocolate...Truffles.
    Need I say more? I came across this recipe for hot chocolate truffle balls to drop in milk and make hot chocolate. They sound incredible... gotta try them!!

What ideas do you all have?? Please share!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Christmas is around the corner...

I've been looking forward to the Christmas season this year and looking for inspiration. I just wanted to put a quick post out there to help share some ideas.

First, I want to share an article I wrote for  
The post is about "Avoiding the 'Last-Minuter' Approach."

It seems like everywhere I look these days, there are heavy debates, discouraging stories, and depressing news. Does anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it all?? I wanted to make sure I kept this post lighthearted. So, I have a question for you all…
Are you an early-starter, after-Thanksgivinger, or last minuter?
I’m an early-starter. My Christmas shopping began months ago, just a little at a time. I’d like to share my 4 top reasons for my early-starter approach to Christmas shopping.
1. It’s easier on the budget. One of the most common sources of arguments in a marriage is money. While it’s possible that some of you readers may not need to worry about how much you spend on Christmas presents, most of us do. It’s easier to budget a little each month than it is to wait until the last minute and try to pull together the extra money (but if you don’t do your shopping early, you can still begin saving a little each month for Christmas!). Besides, last minute purchases often cost much more than planned ones!
2. It allows me to spend more time thinking of gifts that will (hopefully) really fit the recipients, rather than just buying something “good enough” to meet the gift-giving requirement of the season. WHY do you really buy gifts for Christmas, anyway? If you wait until the last minute and just try to get it in, it can be easy to forget the purpose! We are celebrating the gift of Love to earth in the form of a sweet baby named Jesus who grew up to save the world!
3. It’s less stressful than putting it off. The holiday stress of planning and errands can easily put a lot of stress on a marriage and family relationships. Starting early and spreading it out can reduce stress potential.
4. I just enjoy it! I love Christmas, and I enjoy looking for or making gifts for other people. Starting early lets me have time to do that, and can be a welcome distraction when I’m needing one. It’s refreshing to think about others when I’m stressed!
To go a step further, I’d like to discuss some Christmas gifting/shopping ideas!
1. When shopping online, always check out for coupon codes. I once saved about $100 on an order of therapy toys for work!
2. Check out … they have a new sale each day (but I guess the website address kinda tells you that, right?)
3. Mix up the dry ingredients for the BEST brownie recipe I’ve ever tried and gift it to your neighbors with the recipe!
4. Search for fun, new DIY Christmas ideas.
5. Start a tradition to buy or make an ornament for family members each year.
6. If you’re crafty, check out for lots of creative ideas!
7. Make an audio book cd with free stories from
8. Make ice candles! It’s fun and they’re pretty.
9. The Canvas People usually have a free 8×10 photo canvas (pay s/h only) or discount on larger sizes (I’ve purchased 2 from them and have been very pleased).
10. Try starting a hand-made only tradition or $10 limit on gift exchanges with family/friends. My family and I decided on hand-made gifts only some years and really enjoyed it. It encourages creativity and can help with the budget (see #s 4, 6, 7, 8…).

What ideas do you all have for reducing holiday stress on your marriage and family this year??

Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at"

The second link I'd like to share is to another blog I just stumbled upon to discover some good stocking stuffer ideas:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Mace: The Board Game

He and his dad have told the stories of Super Mace and Rook the Wonder Dog for years now. So, for his birthday, I decided to make him a board game of their adventures.

First, I designed a game board and box cover in photoshop, using pics of his face, his brother, and his dog to create the characters. The super hero body came from HeroMachine.

Then, I had it printed as a large poster from Vista Print (and cut it apart).

I had this game sitting in the closet for a long time. Still in the shrink-wrap. So, I decided to repurpose it.

After marking the line, I cut the poster in half and then glued it to the board. 

I have to admit... it truly only takes a little bit of glue... my first attempt had bubbles and then I accidentally tore it... so I ended up having to order it again. Big oops, right?

but I think the second attempt worked pretty well!

The Dr. Evil Kitty Face Attack Cards and Immunity Cards

(my "real" camera's battery died, so the cell phone had to work on a couple)

I was able to use part of the original poster to cover the logo on the back of the game board,
then I sprayed the back with a clear spray to cover some of the messy glue spots I
had left behind in my original struggles haha

Happy Birthday, to my adorable nephew! Can't wait to see how he likes it!