Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Something special, just for you...

I know a few of you who may read this, read our article that was in the paper a few weeks ago. If you didn't, you can read it here. We were very honored to have had the opportunity to share our family's Christmas celebrations with others.

It has opened up many conversations for my husband, and myself. And I have had quite a few people ask me about our gift-giving process. They want to know how we exchanged gifts that aren't brand new, that are handmade, or what toys we hand down that aren't trash and most of all, how the recipient feels about their gift.
So I thought I'd give you some visuals here, and you may just consider trying a few of them out for birthdays this year, or for Christmas next year!

You can find tutorials for these here, and I must say I was amazed at how easy they were, and how lovely they turned out. A friend of mine made one for my niece's birthday back in October. I can remember watching as Raven pulled out this little roll of fabric, and I thought, wow, how beautiful is that? Then she opened it up and I saw all the crayons tucked in so neatly, and I was in awe. There is just something about pretty fabric, an elegant ribbon, and crayons that scream princess to me! So, I made one for my neighbor's little girl, and my best friend's two daughters. No need to wrap them, they are just simply beautiful on their own.

Now, what do you do when your 11 yr old nephew loves electronics, Transformers, video games, and super heroes, and you can't just go out and buy him any of those things? Well, I kept asking Ethan to be thinking about what he would like to do for his cousin, and it wasn't until we were in the fabric store picking up a few things, that he came up with an answer. Well, kind of an answer...he had seen some Transformer fabric. So, I made him a Transformer pillowcase and a marble bag. The marbles were just over a $1 at Hobby Lobby. Ethan also gave him an action figure that he always plays with when he is at our house. Needless to say, Mikey thanked me for the other gifts, but when he pulled out that little man, his reaction was sincerely appreciative. "Ethan, you are giving this to me?" Priceless.

Now, for my sister's, my mom, my close friends, and my oldest niece, this made a great gift. A key chain debit card/license holder. I also made two and put them in coffee cups for gifts to use at an exchanging game we play at my in-laws. The women were fighting over them!

It is quite possible that these were two of my favorite projects. My niece Raven is on the left, and my daughter Emma is on the right. I bought two cotton long sleeved T's at Belk for $6.59 each. Then I went to the fabric store and bought a corduroy material for the bottom. Made a front panel and a back panel, sewed it on, and wha-lah! With the extra material I made their small purses with sequence initials. Emma was completely surprised, she thought I had only made one for Raven!

Christmas Eve morning, Ethan and Emma worked on cards to take to the neighbors along with their cookies. This is Ethan's. It has the angel announcing Christ's birth, and the crosses are to represent the reason Christ came. Awesome.

What mawmaw and pawpaw wouldn't want to write down all their appointments on a calendar full of the faces they love to see? For $15 at Wal-Mart's photo center online, you can upload pictures and personalize a fabulous calendar. This has become the gift all of our parents and grandparents look forward to every year. Not homemade, but definitely personal.

Sawyer is my nephew who will be 3 in March. He loves to work with real tools and real bolts! He also loves to shoot his bow and arrow. So, my husband cut out two deer from cardboard and made him these targets. Then he made this wooden bolt contraption for Sawyer to learn lefty loosey righty tighty! Fantastic!

Now, I wasn't just this big giver this year! I received some pretty amazing gifts, too. My sister Indy's family made me fabulous earrings out of buttons. My sister Tarah's family made me a huge basket full of homemade detergents for the laundry and dishwasher. Ethan received a marshmallow shooter. Emma received a coupon to redeem for finger knitting lessons with Raven along with a loop and loom kit. They both got cool boxes full of homemade bath soaps and bath toys, and we all got lots of smiles as we watched our recipients open their gifts!

Hope this helps give you some ideas for your gifts this coming year!


  1. amazing! great job, jamie. looks like you had just as much fun giving as receiving. you're inspiring to so many around you, my friend.

  2. I didn't see this until after the Holidays. :( But, I am so using the crayon thing and the key chain for birthday gifts or Christmas gifts next year! So cute.

  3. Trena, don't feel bad girl, I didn't get this typed til after the Holidays! Gina, I must say I am enjoying the journey I'm on these days. God's grace is just too good...

  4. Amazing gift ideas! For Christmas, I made my niece and nephew tote bags and then filled it with activity books, crayons, and such. They really loved it. I'll definitely be making some of these!

  5. Jamie, thanks so much for sharing this. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the linked newspaper article. What a beautiful testimony to share with the world.