Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homemade Christmas 2012

I promised to show the gifts that my family made for each other this year, so here they are!

For my brother and sister-in-law we made them a chess set out of nuts and bolts. I originally wanted to make this for Jon, but then realized that he would have 10 times more fun designing it and putting it together than if I made it and gave it to him. 

We did have a fun time making this. I saw the general idea in a magazine a few months ago but I didn't like how they had done their figures. So, Jon got his creative juices flowing and we dug through the hardware section to find all the pieces. We used some nuts and bolts that I didn't even know existed! 

Just in case you ever want to try to make it.... the pawns are all 1 inch bolts with one nut on the bottom, the rooks are 1 inch bolts with two nuts on top, the knights are 2 inch bolts with wing nuts for heads, the bishops are 2 inch bolts with round nuts on top, the King is 3 inch bolt with a nut on bottom and a nut and a crown nut (yes, that is what they are called) on top, and the Queen is a round bold with a wing nut underneath it and a nut on the bottom. We super glued them together and glued washers on the bottom of the larger pieces to make them more stable. 

The board we cut from a piece of plastic in our garage (actually, one of those mats that you put under your computer chair to help it roll) and then Jon carved the lines and squares out with his angle grinder. It turned out pretty cool... if I do say so myself. 

Asher made Abraham a tension rod puppet theater.

I found this old curtain at the thrift store for $3 and it is just the perfect color and material for a theater curtain. (Until I found this though, I was just going to use sheets). Asher  cut it to the right size and then helped me sew (he pushed the sewing machine pedal) pockets for the shower curtain rods to go through and voila! Took us about 30 minutes.

Asher also made Abe a few hand puppets and we found some others that were fairly cheap and put together a good collection for him.  Abe is a little young to use the puppets, but he loves watching his brother and sister put on shows for him, and he likes hiding under the curtain and playing peek-a-boo. Actually, that is probably what he thinks it is... a giant peek-a- boo game!

Rose made me a pin cushion. With the help of her dad she designed it, hand sewed it, and stuffed it. It has been confused for a real orange several times already.  I really needed this. All my sewing pins use to be in a shallow container that always ended up spilling on the ground. I am sure everyone's feet were thrilled about this gift too!

I sewed and knitted Rose some doll clothes for the baby doll that she got for Christmas. I really loved how the knitted clothes turned out. They just seem decadently fancy for a baby doll. I used a bamboo yarn and this pattern for the sweater and this one for the dress.

I also found a little doll wardrobe for $5 and fixed it up and painted it (it was hot green and yellow) for Rose to put her baby clothes in. Abe spent most of Christmas morning opening and closing the doors, much to chagrin of his sister.

Abe made Jon a handprint calender for his office.

Abe was quite the trooper for this. He enjoyed it at first, but by the time we got to the end he'd had it. Which was too bad, because by the end I finally got the hang of how to get the best handprints. Because let me tell you, getting a 1 year-old to make a good handprint is much much harder than it appears on all those cute grandparent gifts you see... just saying.

I got the template for the calender here.

Jon made Asher a roundhouse for his train set. I will admit that I was very impressed by his amazing woodworking skills. Turns out that making wood curve is harder than it appears.  We got Abe some of his own trains for Christmas (because Asher wouldn't share his) and it was cute to see them play together, or at least attempt to!  

And that is it.

Yeah for Christmas!


  1. Those are GREAT!! and so very cute!! Good job on all of them. I am glad you had a fun-filled Christmas with homemade gifts!

  2. My goodness, those gifts are super-dooper fantastic! :o I could only wish my handicraft skills were half as good. Is it wrong that I am so inspired to start on *this* year's Christmas gifts now?? :D Particular admiration for your husband's woodwork skills - that must have taken some amount of effort to get the train lines correct. But everyone turned out a fab job and I am truly impressed. Thanks for finally showing us the photos - I've been ever so curious, since you hinted about them...