Holiday Gift Guide

The Christmas season is upon us once again and so ensues the hectic shopping experience and the dash to find the perfect presents for friends and family. I will admit that I am not the best at coming up with gift ideas so I sometimes shamelessly ask my friends and family what they want; but not this year! I tried to brainstorm early and compiled a list of inexpensive gift ideas for your friends, family and any white elephant gift exchange you find yourself in.

For gift inspiration for friends I thought of things I would like to have for myself then got on Pinterest and clicked on the ‘Gifts’ drop down menu at the top of the page and searched for gifts in my price range. A mere 3 hours later and I had this holiday gift guide:

  1. Envelope clutch–The perfect holiday bag that will transition into New Years. Plus, the clutch can often double as an iPad or e-reader case. Trendy yet practical. This one from H&M is only $12.95.
  2. Monogrammed bangle–What is more personal than monogrammed jewelry? This bangle bracelet from Etsy is simple and classic and will be a sure hit with friends. Etsy has a ton of other great personalized jewelry items too. This bracelet is $32.
  3. Instagram magnets–Now your favorite photos can be displayed outside of your Instagram account. Sticky gram will print and send you the photos of your choosing, but hurry! The last day for Christmas shipping is December 9th. These magnets are $14.99 for 9.
  4. Style coffee table books–It is never too early to start an impressive collection of coffee table books. So if you have stylish friends with a penchant for high fashion then maybe a memoir like Grace Coddington’s is the perfect gift. It’s $20 at Barnes & Noble. Other honorable mentions are: Gospel According to Coco Chanel and The Little Black Book of Style. 
  5. Unique iPhone case–Society 6 is a website that offers a huge variety of unique cases and skins not found in stores. You can also pick out stationary, canvases and throw pillows to match the case you choose. This case would make a great gift for a girlfriend and its $35.

Holiday gifts for friends

Now for white elephant gift ideas. Since there is typically a strict budget in place for these exchanges I suggest finding inexpensive and humorous stocking stuffers or making your own gift for people to fight over in the exchange. Here are some ideas:

  1. Holiday sock-covered wine–Buy a cheap pair of socks, preferably holiday themed, and use them to cover a bottle of wine. Wrap one around the bottle and use the other to tie around the bottle neck.
  2. Manicure set–Fill a mason jar with nail polish, cotton balls, a small bottle of nail polish remover and a nail file. Let’s hope a woman gets this in the exchange.
  3. Hot chocolate kit–Fill a mason jar with hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and peppermint sticks for one lucky person to enjoy. Garnish the jar with a ribbon and you have a nice, inexpensive treat.
  4. Chalkboard paint coffee mug–Buy a small bottle of chalkboard paint and a plain white coffee mug and paint the bottom portion of the mug so whoever gets it can personalize it with their own designs. Fill the mug with candy and watch people fight over this unique creation.
  5. Gloves filled with winter essentials–Buy a pair of gloves or mittens from the dollar store and fill with various items to get someone through the winter season like, lip balm, lotion, hand sanitizer and tissues. Practical yet creative!

For the above Christmas gift ideas and more DIY projects visit my “Holi-daze” Pinterest board to get your creative juices flowing. Do you have an inexpensive holiday gift guide of your own? What DIY projects are you planning to tackle this season? Share in the comments.

Happy Holidays!

–Ky

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DIY Washer Necklace

Statement necklaces have been a rising trend for a couple of years now but they can be expensive so with some Pinterest inspiration I found a creation that is not only inexpensive, but also original. This washer necklace is easy to construct and can be varied if you plan on making them for friends or family. The majority of the items needed to create this necklace I found in my Dad’s toolbox but to purchase them would still be inexpensive.

You will need the following materials:

  • Metal washers in a variety of sizes
  • Flexible steel wire (24 gauge preferred)
  • Embroidery thread in colors of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon

Firstly, start to heat up your hot glue gun and lay out the washers into the formation of your choosing. To make a real statement, use large washers (approximately 2” in diameter) surrounded by smaller ones. Once you have an idea of how you want the final product to look, you can start to wrap each washer in embroidery thread. Secure the end of the thread on the back of the washer with a dab of hot glue then start to wrap the thread around the washer continuously until it is completely covered. Make sure the thread is tight and there are no gaps.

The thread colors you choose are where you can get real creative. You could choose to go for a monochromatic look or create an ombre piece with different shades of the same color. I chose a palette of teals and corals for my necklace. Once you have covered all of the washers it is time to connect them into the formation you planned with the steel wire. The 24 gauge wire is easily flexible so you can use your hands to wrap the wire from one washer to the next by looping it through the holes in the washer. Encircle with wire around the connection you made between each washer to make it tighter then secure with pliers so the end doesn’t poke out. Repeat the process until the formation is complete. You can either leave the wires exposed for a more industrial look or choose to wrap more embroidery thread around the exposed wires and secure with hot glue. I chose the latter so to create more contrast with my color palette.

The final step is to loop ribbon through the washers on the end of the necklace to create the straps. Cut the ribbon to the desired length and voila! This necklace cost roughly $5. You can find entire packets of embroidery thread for only a couple of dollars and it always helps to raid your Dad’s toolbox. Found items are ideal for creating a necklace like this. If you are looking for more DIY necklace ideas check out my previous creation here.

The final product!

This washer necklace can be found on my “I Spy a DIY” Pinterest board among other great craft ideas. Is there a great DIY statement necklace you have created lately that was inexpensive? Share in the comments or post a link to your own Pinterest board.

Happy crafting!

–Ky

Anthropologie Copycat Necklace

I mentioned in my last post that I frequented the local bead store this weekend. This place is a crafter’s heaven! Beads & Things is owned and operated by an amusing, free-spirited couple that keep you entertained and make you feel at home while you sit and craft. I spent 3 hours there on Saturday creating a version of a necklace I have been coveting for quite some time. Anthropologie sold a necklace awhile back that was just calling my name, almost convincing me to shell out 60 bucks for the thing. Fortunately, my frugalness kicked in assuring myself, “You can make that!” So I did. (My own version, at least.)

A crafter’s paradise

Here is the Anthropologie version:

A mismatched beaded necklace, unapologetic in its cuteness

To make my own version I needed the following:

  • An assortment of mismatched beads
  • 22-gauge flex wire (or a thiner soft flex wire for the lightweight beads)
  • Crimps
  • Head pins
  • A toggle clasp if you make a shorter necklace
  • A pair of rounded, needle-nose pliers
  • A pair of flat pliers
  • A wire cutter or scissors

Since I chose heavier beads for part of the necklace I needed a larger gauge wire to secure and link the beads (or as the owner and my beading coach tells me, it keeps the necklace strong so you can still “throw down” in it…needless to say she is awesome). To do this, create a loop with the help of the needle-nose pliers then wrap the wire around the base of the loop to secure it. Cut the wire when you are done wrapping then pinch with the flat pliers so the end doesn’t poke out. Thread the wire through the loop and attach the next bead. Repeat the process so that the loops are linked between each bead. You may only need to do this for the beads you want to be less-flexible and more secure.

This is what extreme focus looks like. Lay out your necklace on a measurement board to plan out how long you want it to be. Mine is long enough that I didn’t need a toggle clasp.

For my black, square bead (or any bead you use that is see-through and you don’t want the wires to show) use head pins, they are straight wires with a bud at the end that allows it to hold itself in place on the bead. Create a loop with the remainder of your wire head pin then thread your flex wire through the loop and create another loop so you can attach to your next set of beads.

Use soft flex wire for the lightweight beads and ones that have small holes for threading. In this case I used the soft flex wire for the round wooden beads and the green sea glass beads. This kept them flexible so the necklace doesn’t appear stiff while I’m wearing it. Loop the wire at the end of the sequence of beads and secure with crimps at the base of the loop by threading the crimp on then pressing it flat with the flat pliers.

Almost done…

To complete the necklace I created more loops with the 22-gauge flex wire to add the chain at the top of the necklace. I spent a total of $26 on all the beads and supplies; a kinder amount to my bank account than Anthropologie’s pricey piece. And the finished product is….

More DIY projects to come for my fellow cheapskates. Happy Crafting!
–Ky