Archive for the ‘homemade holiday gifts’ Category

Happy May Day!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

 

Although you might not stroll down the street wishing passerby’s a happy May Day, today is indeed a very interesting holiday! Beginning in pre-Christian eras, May 1st was acknowledged as the first day of Summer while Feburary 1st was the first day of Spring. In pagan tradition, the day was spent doing a dance around the May pole and crowning a ‘Queen of May’.  In Catholic tradition, May was observed as Mary’s month and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

While beginning in Europe, May Day was observed in the United States until around the time of the Cold War by leaving “May Baskets” on neighbors doorsteps.  May Baskets were baskets of flowers and treats which the neighbor would drop on another neighbors doorstep, trying to hide before they came to the door. If the recipient caught the May Basket giver, it was tradition to kiss!

Today it would seem highly unusual to chase after your neighbor with puckered lips after they dropped off a basket of flowers on your doorstep, but it’s always good to acknowledge holidays of yore.  A great and modern way to celebrate May Day is to drop off a bouquet on a friends doorstep – they’ll appreciate it and hopefully carryout the tradition! If not May Day, celebrate the real first month of Spring by filling your home with fresh flowers.

 

Make Your Own Gifts This Christmas Season

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Sometimes it is more satisfying to give a gift that was crafted with your own hands rather than buying a manufactured item and trying to add a personal touch. You can create a few simple gifts that will be sure to impress with just a few supplies and a little of your time. You can even find some of the items suggested in your own home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Embellished Candles

Embellishing plain pillar candles can make a wonderful personalized gift this Christmas season. Grab a cookie tray and line with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spread a thin layer of glue on the tray. Gently roll the candle in the glue until fully covered. Transfer to another foil-lined cookie sheet or plate and sprinkle glitter over the candle, making sure that all of the glue is hidden. Gently shake off the excess glitter and place the candle upright to dry. Once the glue has dried, you can then adorn the candle with beads, ribbon, evergreen twigs, birch bark or even some pressed poinsettia petals, adhered with glue. Wrap a ribbon around the circumference of the candle and nest in a matching gift box and you are sure to impress your special someone with a beautiful customized gift. You can also keep some of these candles for yourself. Place some poinsettia petals in the bottom of a hurricane glass and set the candle on top, or place some fresh greens on your tabletop and nestle the candle in the middle.

Pressing Flowers and Leaves

Pressed flowers have a delicate and beautiful appearance and can be used for a variety of crafts. All kinds of flowers can be used, as long as they are easy to flatten. Pressed flowers look elegant under glass in a frame, or scattered along a table runner. They also smell wonderful placed in a bowl as potpourri or posted on the bulletin board in your office.

*Make sure the flowers and leaves are dry and free of blemishes.
*Trim the stems close to the base.
*Place the flowers face down in a book.
*Place a rock or other heavy item on the top of the book and leave undisturbed for one week.
*Carefully open the book and gently remove the flower.

Pressed Flower Coasters

Send the gift of a customized set of coasters or keep them for yourself and dazzle your guests when you slip a poinsettia encased in glass under their wine glass. Any pressed flower or leaf works, but for the holiday season, a set of poinsettia coasters will look nice laid out on your coffee table.

Materials:

*Glass squares (2 for each coaster).
*Pressed flowers or leaves of your choice.
*Tweezers.
*Non-water-based clear-drying craft glue.
*Toothpick or small paintbrush.
*Binder clips.
*1/4-inch-wide silvered-copper-foil tape.
*Scissors.
*Pencil or ice pop stick.

Have a glazier cut 1/8-inch-thick glass into 3 1/2-inch squares, and sand the edges. Clean the glass plates and make sure to handle the glass on the edges, so as not to leave smudge marks. Dab a small amount of glue on the flower or leaf with a toothpick or paintbrush and position the flower or leaf on one of the plates of glass using your tweezer. Allow the glue to dry before placing the second plate of glass on top. Place the second plate of glass over the first one, align the two plates and clamp together with a couple binder clips. Place the end of the foil tape along an edge of the glass, and wrap the tape around the entire perimeter of the two glass plates. Overlap the ends slightly, then snip the tape with scissors. For a tight seal, rub the tape thoroughly until the edge is smooth, using the side of a pencil or ice pop stick as a burnishing tool. Never place your coasters in a dishwasher, or submerge in water.

Glitter Branches

Add a little shimmer to your winter bouquets with these sparkling glitter branches. Place just one, or many, depending on the size of your bouquet into your arrangement.

Brush a thin layer of white glue onto a branch found in your backyard or on a fake one purchased from a craft store. Sprinkle glitter until all of the branch is covered and gently shake off the excess. Carefully place on a set of newspapers and let it dry thoroughly.

Fireplace Sachets

Send the scent of Christmas on a journey throughout the house. Fill a 12-inch square piece of brown paper with dried orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary and pine cones. Tie together with some twine and drop into your fireplace. As the pouch burns, the scents will be released.