Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The 2010 Homemade Christmas Objective: Part 4

Wow, it's hard to believe that April is upon us (or darn close to).  This year just seems to be screaming by me so far.  BUT, at least I'm staying on top of my "Home Made Holidays" objective =).  This month I even impressed myself *laugh*.

I'm going to explain this one in stages (partly because trust me this is humorous).  The picture of my first completed project is above.  No, I didn't make this doll from scratch, so don't be too impressed (although I'm super happy that it turned out super well, since I've never done anything "doll" related in my life...nor clothing-making related either).

"Dolly" (the new name my daughter gave her) aka Raggedy Ann was originally a proto-type doll that my husband's grandmother started YEARS ago and then abandoned.  She gave the unfinished dolls (I have another one to do yet) to my mother-in-law, where it subsequently sat in a closet for years.  When my mother-in-law found out that I was having a girl she gave me the two unfinished dolls.  The legs and arms weren't attached yet and the only thing actually done on the dolls was the face work for fine details.  So, I attached the arms and legs to both of the dolls and decided that since I HATED Raggedy Ann's hair when I was a kid (you couldn't really DO anything with it you know?) I was going to be "cool" and give one of them long blond hair.  The only problem was that I had no IDEA how to "craft" doll hair.  So, I looked at a Barbie's head for inspiration and seeing the multitudes of holes decided the best way to do hair was to knot it one piece at a time.  So, I started knotting the hair onto the doll and lost momentum about halfway up the back of her head (note:  Knotting hair is very time consuming and will give you a good callous on your hand...seriously).  And when my daughter claimed the dollie, hair or no, I sort of gladly gave it to her.  Thus the dolls nickname became "Baldy" for the last two years.   I had finally gotten the doll and stuck it into one of my multitudes of craft boxes with projects that I'd get to "one of these days" and ran across it when I was looking for some cool materials for home made stuff.  So, "Baldy" finally became a finished doll.

I am super duper proud of that doll, seriously.  I had no idea how to do doll clothes or how to knot hair or anything and I think she turned out pretty DARN good.  I think Clark's grandmother would be pleased to see at least one of the dolls (so far) finished.  Armina claimed the doll as soon as it was done, so I just gave it to her and figured I'd try to get the other one done by Christmas for her.  They are now great playmates *laugh*.

And the picture above is the other half of my "month of projects".  All the women in my family (at least extended) are now 99% done when it comes to Christmas gifts.  Sweet huh (no, seriously, don't pat me on the back...I still have a lot of men to work through yet and those guys are a LOT harder for me to figure out giftwise).  I had this very awesome idea when I was reading "Body and Soul" magazine (I THINK that's where I saw it) back in December, where they were giving you the price breakdowns of a "Self made spa" that you could buy little bit by little bit throughout the year and give yourself for Christmas.  It was a super cool idea, I thought, to put spa baskets together.  I mean who buys those for themselves?  I figured I'd even make one for myself (and believe it or not it has been SUPER fun doing this too).  The difference, though, was that I wanted to make as much of the spa baskets as I could.  So, I finished the soap last month and then this month I went online and started searching and I found something very cool out.  Not only can you MAKE most spa products in the comfort of your own home, you can do it with materials you have around your house AND you can make them very nice looking too with a photo program, a sachet template (to pour your mixtures into) and an idea for a theme :).

So, what did I make and what did I buy?  Well, if you look at the baskets above the cost breakdowns break down to 2.00 and some change per BASKET!  Seriously.  The only things I have actually bought was a couple of yards of nylon mesh material to make bath poufs, a container of citric acid (to make bath bombs and fizzy bath salts), the soap making materials (which I used the soap dye and the floral soap oil I had already from that to make some of the other things you see), a couple of body tools (massagers and the like) that I got at the used stores new in packages for at most 1.50 per spa "kit" (I was so very pleased =). 

The baskets were free from C&D, the book was free from "Books" with one of their 5.00/1 coupons from the Book of Good deals, and everything else was gifts that I had bought last year as "to give later" types of gifts from clearance sales and the like at different stores (or were things that I had "bought" with giftcards that I had recieved as gifts to use later :).  I made a killing at Wal-Mart a couple of months ago where they were liquidating a whole bunch of their spa stuff for very very cheap.

So, where did I get some of the cool recipes I used for things like bath salts and stuff?  Well, the main site I used is AllFreeCrafts.com.  They even have labels you can print off after you make the products (I manipulated a lot of those to make other labels that worked for my unique gifts, as well as wiping their basic "Sachet" template clean and making it into different things for my own stuff  :).  The Bath Bombs I made I had to google a lot until I found some recipes that worked with my own "my God I'm going to screw this up" feelings in my gut. 

My advice is you make these is to heck with the witch hazel or water to "spritz" the bath bombs with to make them stick together.  Use little sprinkles of olive oil (or any light oil you have) until they stick together.  They'll take longer to dry, but they don't fall apart as easy (I made them both the traditional way and the more "don't screw it up" friendly way) and you don't have to worry about setting off the "fizz" that way.  Also, don't believe the sites that say you can't use extracts instead of essential oils for scenting.  DO make sure you mix your extracts VERY well with a decent amount of oil and let it sit for about five minutes to let some of the alcohol air off (mixing it with a "carrier oil" surrounds the extract with fat and will allow it to "play well" with the citric acid and baking soda without setting off the fizz...I got this inspiration thinking of the episode of "Good Eats" where Alton Brown makes mayonaise...I learned some science!  Alton would be proud ;).

These gift baskets are CHEAP to make, super fun to do and I really think family members will love this!  Remember, even Wal-Mart has super cheap towels for like 1.50 or so, so just line a basket with that, throw in a bath pouf (you don't have to make your own seriously *laugh*) and a loufah or something and they'll LOVE it!  I've still got to make my own body wash to throw into a couple of the baskets (including mine *laugh*) and I found a cool pattern for an eye mask that's super easy to make (and it'll be free for me to create because I have the materials in my house), so that I think will finish it all up for the women (I'm even going to make "mini" kits to send to family back East I think :).

So, there you have it folks.  The next step to home made holidays completed.  Onto the next project!

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