Jack-o-Laterns, unsmashed and freshly sliced in to, still line the porches of your homes and not a holiday bow or bauble is in sight (because sadly, my Nana is no longer living), but yet I am about to crack open the can on the holidays. Don’t worry, you don’t have to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid or Kwanzaa. You can play no matter what season you are using as an excuse to flex your VISA muscles. Truthfully, I grew up with Christmas sans religion, but with a very healthy dose of family focused fun and gift-giving and Aodhan’s holiday experience is pretty much on a similar course.
Now, we don’t ‘do’ Santa, nor do we carve up a turkey (or a tofurkey, for that matter), and our plans for a tree this year would make Charlie Brown feel sorry for us. But, we do spend the holiday break listening to zoey deschanel sing christmas carols and I secretly LOVE to open a present or two (but thanks to my misanthropic approach to life I can only enjoy opening a gift in the bathroom, in the dark, with no one looking at me). Since my crafting obsession properly exploded with the creation of Aodhan’s birth quilt, I have tried to make more holiday gifts than I buy, but I always set a little money aside for some good quality gifts.
And that is where it all comes together! I am dedicating the next three weeks, because you have to plan ahead with DIY gifties, to my Holiday Extravaganza.
Ready?! There are two parts:
1. Loads of homemade gift tutorials from me and my family. These are for you to steal, make and share. Got it? Good!
2. For that precious cash that you steal away for this time of the year, I will be reviewing some gifts that will be featured in The Natural Parents Network’s Holiday Gift Guide. I will be giving away a gift from each of these amazing designers/retailers/creators. Does it get any better? ummmm, no.
Like us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the giveaways and tutorials! I don’t want any of you to miss a thing. And don’t be stingy, share these posts with your friends, they like to make things too!
My first tutorial-treat is a gift that I gave Aodhan last year for his Christmas Eve Gift. There is a long history here and I am darn well sharing. One Christmas Eve when I was about 7, my mom and dad let me open a gift on Christmas Eve. My dad has since denied the existence of this EVER happening, despite me asking every. single. year. to be allowed to open a gift on Christmas Eve (yes, I am that annoying). So, when my own kiddo popped out of my body, the first thing I did, after making sure he was breathing and happy, was promise him that he will always be able to open a gift on Christmas Eve. Last year, it was this set of monkeys.
They are dead simple and so bloody cute. They also serve a few purposes. You can do the classic 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed or 5 Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree. But, you can also use these 5 monkey dudes for some ol’ fashioned imaginary play. Plus, once you master the monkey, you can create a whole amazon rain forest.
1. craft felt in brown and cream (you can find loads of vegan craft felt)
2. embroidery floss in brown
3. embroidery needle
4. fabric marker, or sharpie (not required)
5. scrap paper for making a template
6. scissors (I suggest not using your fabric scissors to cut the paper)
7. sewing machine (really not necessary, but if you were going to make a batch of these it might be handy?)
Use the scrap paper and draw around your pointer finger. Make it a perfect arch, don’t stick directly to your finger’s shape.
Also, on the scrap paper you need to draw a rounded oval for the muzzles, a figure-8 type shape for the eyes, and a half-circle for the ears. Cut these out.
You need to cut 10 half-circles out of the cream for the ears
You need 5 figure-8 shapes cut out from the cream for the eyes
You need to cut 5 ovals out of the cream for the ears
You need to cut 10 finger shapes out of the brown for the monkey’s bodies
When you get to the spot where the ears should be, insert them and make sure to get a couple of stitches through the ears so they stay put. Sew all the way around the monkey and you are done!
Repeat 4 more times and all of your little monkeys are done.
You could always use some re-purposed cereal boxes to make a little bed for your jumping monkeys or pull out the green felt to make a crocodile.
Ok lovelies, I better see your glorious eyeballs hanging around the blog this month, because I am not sharing all this good stuff for my health. I want to hear from you and connect with you about your own holiday traditions. Hope you love all the fun.
I am also submitting this post to The Natural Parents Network Handmade Holidays. Be sure to check out the round up during the week of November 5th.