ATTENTION FAMILY MEMBERS!! It is advised - unless you want to spoil the suprise please do not view this blog until after Christmas!!! Even though I have not mentioned the specific family members that each gift on here is for...these gifts are for family members and I do not want your surprise to be ruined!!

FOR ANYONE ELSE: The reason why I have put up this blog is to share my ideas for fun, simple, cheap, easy handmade Christmas gifts. If you are still needing Christmas ideas hopefully you will find some here!

Please let me know what you think and let me know if you found these ideas helpful!! I love to receive comments on my blogs and I love to know when I given useful ideas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Photograph Candleholders

(note: all pictures will be at the bottom of the posts…Family members – you have fair warning right now – do not read any further – it will ruin your surprise!)

Can you tell by now there is a theme to my gifts this year?  I had both grandmas specifically tell me they wanted pictures this year for gifts.  I decided to get creative about it…it’s a lot funner than just giving them prints and frames!!

This idea is sort of my own.  I saw in a photo book the idea of printing pictures on regular copy paper and wrapping around a votive holder to create a neat illuminating effect.  I thought to myself a way to make this permanent using modge podge.

I got a couple of glass vases/candleholders at Wal-Mart.  These were a pretty good size and were heavy glass (but still were pretty cheap) and I picked up a container of modge podge.

I came home and figured out what size picture would work best on each side.  I then went into my photo editing software and sized and cropped my pictures.  When I was setting up to print it (on normal copy paper) I decreased the intensity (you could also probably just decrease the saturation as well) so that the pictures were semi-opaque so that the flame would sort of glow through them.

I then cut them out and applied the modge podge to the back of the picture and then attached it to the outside of the candle holder (coating the entire candle holder).  I then applied a thin coat of modge podge on top.  I let it dry for about 20 minutes and then applied another coat.  I ended up putting about 6 or 7 coats on top.

I put a tealight in my candle holders just because I like how the tealights are in the little metal things and the wax won’t melt to the inside of the holder.  You could put votives in the holders as well.

Once again I was very pleased with the end product!!

Photograph Jewelry

(note: all pictures will be at the bottom of the posts…Family members – you have fair warning right now – do not read any further – it will ruin your surprise!)

I will admit – this project is a bit tedious…but I believe the end is worth it. I originally found the idea here but I could not find the self adhesive frames mentioned in the project so I had to come up with my own idea :-)

I did find at Hobby Lobby picture frame charms.  They were about $3 for a pack of 4 charms.  Since I have really not ever made any jewelry I decided to purchase the charm bracelets they had that were already assembled…all you have to do is add the charms.  I also bought some spray clear acrylic to help seal the pictures.

Of course I learned some very important lessons from this project.  First off, if you are going to make your pictures the very small size that is needed for the charms (the square charm pictures were 3/8” x 3/8”) then you need to up the resolution of your picture before decreasing your size.  I changed the resolution to 500 pixels per inch.  This will keep your pictures still crisp and clear when you decrease the size.  I learned that a high resolution is just as important for decreasing the size of the picture as it is for increasing the size.

Another hint on the pictures…I transformed mine into a sepia tint (I thought it would look nice) and increased the saturation a bit.

I also found it easier instead of trying to thread the picture through the back prongs of the charm to just leave that piece of cardboard they have in there inserted and then cut the picture small enough to fit through the front side of the frame.  Use tacky glue to glue the picture to the cardboard.  (if you are going to use the spray acrylic then you can’t use the piece of plastic that is suppose to go on top of the picture anyways…the acrylic will make it bubble up real bad (trust me – I know from experience!!)

Once the picture is glued in place then spray it with acrylic…let it dry for a while and then spray it again…repeat this for several coats (the more coats the better protected the photo will be).

Then simply attach the charms to the bracelets!  Very cute!  I know this present will be a hit!!  In fact I made one for myself as well :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Photo Clock

(note: all pictures will be at the bottom of the posts…Family members – you have fair warning right now – do not read any further – it will ruin your surprise!)

This was another project I found on the Martha Stewart site (she really does have some good ideas).  You can click here to see this project on her site.

I found clocks at Wal-Mart for less than $4 -  (they were $3.97 each I think).  They had photo frame clocks for about $20 but I think these turned out just as cute or cuter…

All I did was find some cute pictures of the kids’ faces.  I put them in photoshop (you could probably use any photo editing software) cropped out the faces, resized them to fit on the clock and then made them black and white (b/c I thought they would look better).

I printed the pictures and cut out the faces.  I then popped off  the top cover of the clock and put the pics on the clock (using scrapbooking glue dots on the back of the pictures).  I put the cover back on and that was it!!  So easy!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


(note: all pictures will be at the bottom of the posts…Family members – you have fair warning right now – do not read any further – it will ruin your surprise!)

I found the idea for this scarf here.  Of course Martha used a bulky yarn that cannot be found at any normal craft store (I went to Hobby Lobby) but I found that this work with just a normal bulky yarn (I used a homespun yarn) and just add more strands to each group.  (a 6 oz skein will make 2 scarfs!!). 

What I did for each scarf was cut 24 pieces that were 140” in length (to produce an approx 84 in scarf).  Group the pieces into 4 groups of 6 pieces. Tie two bunches together with a square knot (leaving about 6 inches of fringe at the top) .  Do the same thing with the other two bunches.

Now Martha said to pin both knots to a piece of foam board…I tried that and my pins kept coming out.  What I did was pin them to the rug on my living room floor.  They stayed in place and I had plenty of room to keep moving back and keep the scarf stretched out.

Once you got your knots pinned down side by side knot the two inner bunches together, leaving about 1 in from the existing knots.  Then knot the two left bunches together, and then the two right bunches together.  Then repeat starting with the two inner bunches.  Keep doing this until you have about 6 inches of fringe at the end (note – I found that my bunches did get uneven so I did it until my shortest one had about 6 inches left and then cut the rest).

Note – I found that since your bunches are so incredibly long, especially at the beginning, that it helped a lot to gather a big section of the bottom of the bunch and tie a slip knot.  That way it decreased the amount you were having to tie and made things go a lot faster.  Then you can undo your slip knot and move it down as needed.

It took me about 45 minutes to make one scarf. I think these would look adorable in chenille yarn, suede yarn, or velvet yarn.  Someone even mentioned on the comments on the Martha Stewart site that it would be cool to do it with strips of fleece.  I think that would be really cool!

OH – and Seth did help some with this gift. I let him use his tape measure and let it out for 140 inches (he had to find the 140 inches mark on the tape measurer) so we could know how long to cut each piece of yarn…he was so proud to be able to do this to help Mommy!  If you have older kids they could easily do this project themselves!!

This picture really does not do the scarf justice.  It really did turn out a lot cuter than it looks in the picture.

Picture Tote Bags

(note: all pictures will be at the bottom of the posts…Family members – you have fair warning right now – do not read any further – it will ruin your surprise!)

This was my first gift to do!!  I liked it so much that I am going to be making one for myself and have for another family member that I originally had not planned on for this gift. 

This gift is super super easy to make.  I got the idea here

I got the tote bags from Wal-Mart for very cheap (only like a couple of dollars a bag).  I set my photo to sepia tone and made a mirror image of it (so that when you iron it on it will be faced the right way…so printing software has the capability or you can do it in almost any photo editing software).  I printed the picture out on photo transfer paper and ironed it on.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for doing the transfer.

I found when I finished the transfer that the edges were still peeling up and I did not want them to peel off so I used some ribbon and some tacky craft glue and glued the ribbon around the edge of the print, sealing the edges.  I then made a bow from the same ribbon and glued to the top of the tote bag.  I really feel like the ribbon trimmed really finished the bag nicely!

I was very pleased with the results.  So much, like I said at the beginning, that I am going to make one for myself and for another family member.

Introduction to Blog

Hey everyone!!  I hope first off if you are family members that you, at this time, PLEASE close this blog and PLEASE do not come back to this blog until after Christmas.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise!!  This blog is not for you.  The posts this blog is talking about are for you…but this blog is NOT FOR YOU!!

For everyone else – welcome to the first year edition of Watson Handmade Christmas!!!  I love handmade Christmases, especially when I can find fun, easy, cheap (but memorable) gifts to make!!

The reason why I made this blog is so that I can share my ideas that I have found in hopes that you will find some ideas so that you too can have a handmade Christmas!!!  I really think too much emphasis is put on how much we spend at Christmas…who gets the most expensive gift.  I do not think that is what Christmas should be about!  Christmas is all about giving (we are celebrating the birth of our Saviour – who gave his LIFE for us).  Christmas should be about creating and sharing memories!  Having a handmade Christmas helps accomplish that!

Some of these gifts my children have helped me with…some of them they haven’t (mainly due to their young age).  I will do my best to give clear instructions.  Most of these ideas I have found from other websites and I will give credit where credit is due!

And I love comments!!  So please please please let me know what you think and if you found any of these ideas useful.  Please feel free to share links to these blog posts!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!!