Saturday, July 27, 2013

Christmas In July???

Yup, that’s right, Christmas in July!  I have no idea who started that phrase, I think it was the fabric industry who introduced it when requests for fabric and crafts, by their creative customers, began in mid summer for supplies necessary to begin making Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Anyway… I have been away from my blogs for several months creating all kinds of projects with no time to blog about all of them.  I am finally ready to start again by sharing some Christmas crafting gift and party ideas with you that you can use to get a jump start on your early holiday prep while you still have time before the crazy holiday season begins in a couple of months. If you are anything like me you have the very best intentions during the season to get all kinds of projects started and completed in time, but things pile up and those projects sit on your work table until you pack them up for the next year.  So… this year we will do better by getting out our supplies, unfinished projects and glue guns and get to work!  To get you started I am going to share a couple of fun and easy projects that will not only get you excited to get to work but help you recycle some of those household items which usually end up in the landfill.  Let’s get going!!!!

Up first is the quickest project you will ever make with the biggest impact when given to someone as a gift.  For several months I collected empty toilet paper tubes and put them aside to use on several projects.  When I was ready I pulled out some sparkly scrap Christmas wrap I purchased at Target and cut it to size to fit the tubes.  I used double sided Scotch brand tape to attach the paper to the ends and rolled the paper onto the tube, just that easy.  Instead of giving everyone the plastic gift cards I went to the bank and got a wad of single bills, rolled them up and put them in each tube.  I cut clear cellophane wrap a couple of inches longer then each end of the tube and tied it with curly ribbon.  All done and ready to give!!! The money tubes were a huge hit and I highly recommend you give it a try next time you want to give cash or a small gift.  You could also use any kind of paper or fabric and make them for every occasion, what fun! This project kept the scrap paper and empty paper tubes out of the trash and the landfill, a wonderful way to re-use and re-purpose, give it a try.

Next up are the coffee can gift tins.  My husband is addicted to the instant Mocha Coffee we buy in 4lb. coffee tins at the local big box store (Costco); when he threw them away in the recycle bin I thought it was a shame to throw those away and began collecting them with no idea what I was going to do with all those tins.  At that point my confused hubby thought I was in the beginning stages of hoarding with all the coffee cans, toilet paper tubes and glass jars of every size and shape!!!  I really don’t blame him; when it did not take long for me to come up with several ideas for each item he calmed down, poor guy!   I decided to cover the coffee cans the same way I did with the toilet paper tubes minus the clear wrap, although I could have done that too.  I was originally going to decorate the lids as well but they were just the right gold color to go with the paper I was using to cover them with.  I just simply popped a gold bow on top added a gift tag and I was done.  You are probably wondering what could possibly go in the cans?  Pretty much anything soft, like stuffed toys, a soft scarf, gloves, t-shirts, etc… I actually decided to shake things up a bit and put the gift cards in them and add some heavier packs of candies chosen especially for each person.  I had them lightly rattle their cans and guess what was in there, it was so much fun; no one guessed it right; they were totally delighted to receive their gift cards and favorite candies in a whole new kind of package. Everyone took their tins home with ideas of using them again. You have to give this one a try; it is so exciting to give unique gifts no one is expecting wrapped in a whole new way.  Go for it!

Now for the glass jars I was collecting right along with the coffee tins and toilet paper tubes.  There were a ton of ideas for using glass jars and containers ALL over Pinterest so it did not take me long to come up with my own version for another gift.  Gift jars made the most sense at the time since I was trying to pull off Christmas gifts for eleven of us on a very tight budget. (Actually only the adults got the handmade packaging and gifts since the kids all got toys.)  Oh… did I mention we were having a Holiday Dessert Party and I also needed gifts for all our guests?!? Yikes!!! Here is what I did…

I used large empty pickle jars and Kerr self sealing wide mouth Mason Jars with lids, extra large.  I gave everything a good sterilization before getting down to my project.  I took off all the lids, separated them out and set them up to be spray painted a rich deep red.  Once they were dry I painted each of them with white polka dots to give them a festive look.  I was in such a hurry to finish them I forgot to give each lid a light sanding before painting them, I should have also given them a quick coat of finish spray to make them dishwasher proof.  Another lesson learned. Once the lids were dry for several days I filled the jars with a mix of holiday candy and other assorted goodies.  Each jar was tied with a white satin ribbon and a Christmas card; all done and ready for gift giving. 

Shopping suggestions for glass jars:  Always shop your pantry and recycle bin first.  I keep all large glass jars and any glass bottles with an interesting design or shape; they go into a plastic bin for future use. If you need a large volume of glass jars all at one time it is best to buy the Kerr canning jars just after canning season is over, you can get some really great deals on them and save yourself a ton of money. Yard sales, flea markets, estate sales and thrift stores are also wonderful places to pick them up at bargain prices.

This blog post is getting really long so I am going to break Christmas In July into two posts instead of one.  Thanks for letting me share some early holiday season projects with you today.  I hope you are feeling a bit inspired to get a jump start on some of those gifts and decorations. Stay tuned for a few more projects in a day or so.
See you soon.


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