Last Minute Homemade Holiday Gifts

I interviewed my pal, Kathy Murillo, the Crafty Chica for some holiday homemade gift ideas…here is what she had to say!

Evette: The holidays are at our doorstep and I know we are feeling a little strapped this season. What is your suggestion for making the most of the season without spending a ton of cash?

Kathy: I would say, take each person that you want to make a gift for and think about what they like. And maybe do a little window shopping for items that fit them. But instead of buying those items, try to come up with ideas of how you can make your own version using everyday items. The most important thing is to consider the recipient and make a gift that matches their personality, that way they will appreciate it and your time and money won’t be wasted.

Evette: Can you share with us your 2 favorite holiday gift projects?

Kathy: Sure! I actually did a little round up called 50 Gifts to Make That Look Like You Bought Them”. LINK:

These are project where you can find the foundations at a thrift store and still have the end result looks like you spent big bucks! Here are two easy ones!

1. Swirly Yarn Lampshade: You can do this with any kind of yarn or smooth lampshade. The effect is so artsy and cool!

Supplies: Yarn, white craft glue, lampshade, scissors

Directions: Work one section at a time on the lampshade. Coat a circle shape with the glue and snip a 15-inch piece of yarn. Lay it on the glue in a swirl pattern. Continue all over the lampshade. Trim the edges by going around and around.

2. Ribbon-trimmed Frame: This is a great way to get rid of all that extra ribbon or trim you have!


1 11×14” frame with a flat base and 5×7” mat

Assorted trims and ribbons, at least 1 yard of each

White craft glue


Directions: Separate the frame, setting aside the backing and glass. Take the mat and using flat ribbons, lay them down in various patterns until you like what you see. Start from the center and work your way out. Work one side at a time, and add a thin line of glue. Set the ribbon down on the glue, and run your fingers over it so it lays flat. Continue adding the ribbon and trims all around the mat. Add ribbon around the outer border as well. Set aside to dry. Repeat the process for the outer frame. Let dry and then add your picture and reassemble the frame.

Evette: When did you start crafting?

Kathy: I’ve always been super crafty growing up – even though I got “C”’s in craft class in high school! But by the time I turned 21, I knew I loved to make things and I wanted to find a way to make a living from it. So I pushed myself to learn all aspects of the business – from design to marketing to the therapy and empowering part of it too!

Evette: Why do you do it?

Kathy: It feels so empowering to create something that is fine-tuned to my style. It’s a way to really celebrate the things I love because I can make them the focal points of my projects.

What do you think is cool about crafting?

Kathy: So many things! For one – you don’t have to have a lot of money. Sure, there are many fancy products on the market, but it all comes down to old school pens, scissors, fabric, glue, glitter, wood, cardboard, etc. Crafting allows people to take their mind off of stressful topics and just cut loose and make something fun. There is no better therapy than brushing wet paint on raw wood. It’s so meditative!

Evette: What inspires your work?

Kathy: I’m all about the happy. I love to layer my work with bright colors, lots of varnish, trimmed in glitter. I also love cultural theme, good karma-like messages, and empowering reasons to make something – like shrine boxes themed around goals you want to reach, or family history.

Evette: Where do you work?

Kathy: I work from home (Phoenix, AZ) as a new product developer for Duncan Enterprises (based in Fresno). I design all kinds of Crafty Chica products. I also write a weekly craft column for Gannett News Service, author books and teach workshops all over the country. I made my dream of doing crafts for a living come true! I always tell people, they can do whatever they want as long as they stick with it and follow up on all the resources!

Evette: Have you modified your space in anyway to make working easier?

Kathy: My husband and I converted our living room into an enclosed workshop. That way everything is always set up and ready to go. We have a DVD library I call “crafty cinema” – movies that have crafts in them! I also have a stereo system where I play a lot of reggae.

Evette: Tool(s) you can’t live without?

Kathy: Pinking shears, hot glue gun, my Dremel, craft knife, my sewing machine, paint brushes. Oh, the list goeson!

Evette: How do you organize and find your materials?

Kathy: I have one shelving unit that is all bottles and jars separated by glues, paints, varnishes and glitters. I have another wall unit that is all clear show boxes with wood pieces, trims, small toys, rubber stamps, etc. One area is all clear boxes filled with fabrics. Another area is jewelry boxes stocked with jewelry findings and beads. Where I sit to work, I have a Lazy Susan of things I use a lot – brushes, paints, glues, a Dremel, glitters. I love to spin it around to choose my tools! I have a big roll of brown paper that I cover my table with. I put a new sheet every week, I love the feeling of starting fresh!

Evette: Anywhere I can direct people to learn more about what you do?

Kathy: Sure they can visit my web site –!

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray