I want to close out my Homemade Christmas blogs with three final projects. Again, for those of you that didn’t read Part 1 (but with that handy link, there’s really no excuse 😉 ), I will post links to the projects I found surfing around on the interwebs, and elaborate on the difficulty of acquiring materials and actually completing a project (yay for actually doing one of the crafts you’ve pinned on your Pinterest!). I will be giving these final projects a scoring based on my completely arbitrary scale of easy/affordable/worth-it homemade gifts.
- Constellation Jars
In my last post, I gave a teaser for what I’d be covering in this second part to my Dreaming of a Homemade Christmas blog. In it, I ambitiously, perhaps arrogantly claimed constellation jars, are “totally as cool as they sound.” Guess what, folks? They were so not as cool as they sounded. Don’t get me wrong, awesome idea, end result was neat (I wouldn’t say awe-inspiring): A cool gift for a younger kid that they can use like a nightlight, and it’s even vaguely educational if you go all out and make a companion chart of the constellations you use. The author of the article didn’t do the constellations accurately because of the limited space, and I followed her example. You want to do the recognizable constellations, and of course, not all the cool ones are in the same slice of sky at any given time.
This project didn’t require too many materials but a lot of work. I got the disposable roasting pans from walmart for $4. You need an awl, which I found at Hobby Lobby for under $2. I used the same tall jars I used for my peppermint hot cocoa mix, and these lights, the ones the author of the article recommeneded, fit fine in them. You’ll need three AAA batteries for each one of the lights.
Supplies aside, this project was time-consuming. First, you have to cut the foil to size. No big deal, until you realize phsyics are against you and cutting a perfectly shaped piece of foil for a cylindrical object is next to impossible. Next, you gotta post up at your laptop or computer and draw the constellations onto the side of the foil that will not be facing out. Tip: Draw them mirrored from what you’re seeing, because when you face them out, lo and behold, they are opposite…*grumbles about first attempt*. Punching the constellations into the foil was a workout I don’t want to repeat. For me, I didn’t like the way the constellations looked without linking them as the author did in the picture (she actually left hers as standalone stars, the constelation stars bigger (?) than the regular stars around and within the constellatins). So I connected the dots on mine. I like the way it looks more. This project ended up being a 6/10 for me. A lot of work and some worthwhile payoff. My 7 year old nephew seems mildly interested in his.
- Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub
This was probably the easiest homemade gift I made this year. So simple, so few items required (the cute botanical stickers and twine are optional), and so easy to do. The hardest part of this project was juicing the lemons; I got one of them old fashioned juicers that you hold the lemon half on top of and turn. But other than that, just mix the sugar, oil, and lemon juice and bam, you’re done. I used coconut oil because it’s good for your skin and makes your hands super soft. I also used a few drops of citrus essential oils leftover from my soap project, just to kick the olfactory gears into work. Prettying the jars up was the best part, and they were the best looking project in the end. No special tips for the lemon sugar hand scrub! That’s always a good sign in crafting. I give this endeavor 10/10.
- Almond Coconut [dark chocolate] Bark.
This was the only project I did not find surfing Pinterest. I found nutritionist Stephanie Eusebi’s website while looking for clean-eating recipes. She has tons of recipes that actually look enticing, for being “gluten-free, guilt-free” eating. You think I’m kidding? Go browse her treats.
This recipe yeilded a lot less than I thought it would. However, I ended up making 10 miniature packages of it from the measurements Eusebi designates. I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate bars, raw almonds (chopped by boyfriend again), and at first I got organic coconut flakes, which were extremely dry and small, not at all like the monster coconut flakes she uses. So I mixed the organic with some sweetened, non-organic ones. 🙂 My boyfriend concocted a double boiler from a sauce pan and a metal bowl setting in the top for me to melt all my chocolates. We mixed in most of the goodies (with copious testing in between, to make sure the ratio was right), poured it out onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and sprinkled the rest of the almond and coconut goodies on top. Tip: Gently press down the almond and coconut you top the bark with, so they stick. Also, freeze it for easier, less messy handling while pacakging.
Note that I used Eusebi’s picture for the end result, as mine did not come out quite so picturesque. However, they were the one other item I gave away at Christmas–aside from my jam–that I immediately heard positive feedback on. I broke the bark into little peices for tasteful (ha) portions. I wrapped them in cellophane and then tied that shit with a bow! This endeavor is a 9/10; there was a lot of chopping involved (which I didn’t do).
I hope my list of homemade gifts helped (or will help), and that everyone had a good Christmas. Now, onto the new year!