Customizing a gift for your favorite hostess is a a nice way to show you appreciate her. Make it easy by taking store-bought items and tweaking them, or start from scratch, and make something handmade. Here are some great ideas that can be done rather quickly, and won’t break your budget.
An amaryllis is a great gift even for those who don’t have a green thumb. You can find them everywhere this time of year in a kit that has everything: bulb, soil and plastic container; just add water. All that’s needed is a place near a window. If planted early enough, it may even bloom by Christmas.
Trowel or spoon
Fancy container or flower pot
When giving an amaryllis as a gift, I like to dress up the container a little. I found this great glass cylinder at a discount department store for under $5. The plastic pot is slightly too big, so the top sticks out a little.
To cover up this little imperfection, just wrap a ribbon around the container and secure with some double-sided tape.
Tie a nice bow around the whole thing for an instant gift.
The bulb may not be impressive in the beginning, but once the plant grows and blooms, it’s really spectacular.
With all the holiday parties this time of year, a new serving tray can come in handy. To make it extra special, add a monogram to personalize this project.
Decorative paper (like scrap booking paper)
Inkjet or laser printer
Gloss or semi-gloss decoupage glue or acrylic gel medium
I found this wooden tray inexpensively in the clearance section. It had a fall-theme, but it was painted green, so I decided I didn’t need to paint it. I couldn’t get the sunflower decal off, so I decided to cover over it. To determine how much paper needed, measure the flat bottom.
One sheet of paper didn’t quite cover the bottom, so cutting the paper into strips and alternating them as stripes made the paper seams look intentional. Tip: before gluing anything down, it’s good to cut out all the design elements in case you want to make last minute changes.
To make to monogram, choose a blocky, easy to cut out font (I used Fancy Pants), make the letter about 4″ big, print the letter, and cut with a craft knife and/or scissors.
Flip the letter over and trace on the back of the paper you will be using to monogram the tray. You’ll want to trace the letter backwards, so it comes out the right way when the paper is flipped over.
Lay out the entire design to make sure it looks just as you want it to.
Carefully remove all the cut piece from the tray, and start to glue everything down. Start by gluing the back of the paper.
Once everything is in place add a layer of glue to the front, and let dry.
Add at least one more coat to protect the design from spills, and to make the tray easy to clean. It’s best to use a gloss or semi-gloss because a matte finish won’t clean up as easily, and might stain over time.
Holly Berry Napkin Rings
Felt is one of my favorite materials to work with because it comes in so many great colors, it’s inexpensive, you don’t need to hem it, and it has such a cheerful, fuzzy look. These napkin rings are so easy to make they’re a great project to do with kids.
Green and white felt
Cardstock (or paper)
Needle and thread
Green embroidery thread and tapestry needle
Draw a holly leaf on a piece of cardstock, and cut out. Use this as a template. Trace the leaf on the back of the green felt. Each napkin ring needs three leaves.
Stitch a vein down the center of the leaf using green embroidery thread and a tapestry needle.
Pin three leaves together.
Sew three red pompoms together in a pyramid shape. Use the excess thread to sew them to the leaves.
Cut strips of white felt 1″ wide and about 5″ long.
Sew ends together in a loop.
Sew the holly berries to the loop, and use with your favorite napkins.
If you want to monogram the napkins to match the tray, print out a smaller version of the same letter and cut (I like to cut a few since they can get gummed up when doing multiple monograms). Use fabric paint, or a fabric pastel.
Cover with a piece of paper and iron to set.
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