Posts tagged ‘handmade’

2016, December 9

What do You gift writers?

2016 is nearly over and I’d like to thank every single one of my readers for making it such an amazing one, and my bloggy friends who have filled it with so much awesome blogging, flash fiction, poems and even essays to read, each week!

Here’s wishing you all an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

tea-book-gift

As for my blog post’s title? I wrote this back in 2011 for FFDO, but wanted to share here on my own blog now since that website closed.

This is the season of gift giving, and more often than not, we end up with gifts we like, but which aren’t too related to our field. When I give a gift I like to really think about what the person would enjoy and use. Shopping for writers is rather easy, in my opinion, as we all have access to the basics.

While I do not personally have the one formula you could use to determine what each of your fellow scribbler and avid reader family members or friends would like to receive, I have put together a short list of things which could tickle their fancy.

  1. Gift baskets. I know what you’re thinking. Gift baskets come in all shapes and sizes, but not one shop or website carries one named “Writer’s gift basket”; right? They don’t, or at least not the ones I looked through around here as research for this article. So why did I include this here? Because, you can make it yourself!
    Grab a pretty basket and fill it up with: pens and pencils, pencil cases, bookmarks, journals, stapler & staples, ink (either for a pen or for a printer), notepads, erasers, post-it notes in any or all shapes and sizes, stationery, note books (maybe something fancier, like a leather note book), day planners, diaries, bookplates, writing-themed magnets (magnetic scrabble fridge tiles), a book light, memory sticks, and chocolate. Every writer loves chocolate.
  2. Books. Kind of obvious, yes. But every writer I know has a never-ending wishlist. Many have books on the craft of writing, technical books, collections of writing prompts or all those wonderful novels and poetry out there which they would love to own, yet simply can’t afford or feel that they shouldn’t indulge.
    See if they are willing to share the wishlist (or they might have one online on Goodreads, Amazon, or BookDepository so you can check it without them even suspecting what you are up to).
  3. I’d like to include Literary Magazines, either Single issues or Subscriptions under this category, too. This is a luxury most poetry or short story writers would appreciate as it’s always nice to hold a magazine in hand while reading rather than the average e-mail subscriptions.
  4. Amazon Prime might be a good idea as well. I think if there weren’t the added benefits like free same-day or two-day delivery, unlimited streaming for movies and series, hundreds of playlists and unlimited photo storage, the single reason a writer would choose Amazon Prime is: borrowing one book per month with no due date from the collection of over 800,000 books of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library!
  5. Other Software or Updates. In this very tech-y day an age, most writers use a laptop for writing, on a daily basis. The key software for these writers is a word-processing software. Most PC users use Microsoft Office-based Word, however there are other ones out there as well, like Scrivener or White Smoke.
    If you’re feeling fancy, ask if they’d like to switch from their free blogging platform to their own self-hosted domain. They’re not as expensive as eight years ago when I first started blogging.
  6. An editor. Let me rephrase that since editors might not let you tie a pretty red bow around their neck and agree to sit pretty under the Christmas tree: An editing session. Are the writers in your life in need of a second opinion? Are they letting their masterpiece collect dust on a shelf, or putting off writing/sending out query letters because it needs more editing? An editing session could help them out big time.
  7. A creative writing class, workshops or conferences. Either in “real-life” or online, many writers would like to further perfect their craft. Have they got fear of writing, issues with time management, or are in need of fresh creative energy to move out of a rut? There are several websites you can check out, and in case you can not decide on your own, include the writer in the decision making process. They are the ones who best know what they need.
  8. Customized items. Great for stocking fillers. In this area of gifts, there are many things you can customize, like jewelry: cufflinks, pins and badges, pendants, bracelets engraved with their favorite (short) quote, earrings;
    clothing: T-shirst, neck ties, hats, scarves;
    and even kitchen items: mugs, serving trays, bowls, wine bottles, etc. And you can never go wrong with writing-themed Christmas tree ornaments!
  9. High end pens. Quill pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens. These are good choices for every writer of course, but especially for pen-enthusiasts.
  10. Book ends. They seem underrated, but I think they are worth keeping in mind because they not only keep books from falling off not-yet-filled-up shelves, they allow for building a bookshelf anywhere – on a windowsill, a desk, etc. They also come in all shapes and sizes and are customisable to your writer’s dreams.
  11. Time to write. This can be as simple as arranging play-dates, taking the kids to a movie one day per week, going to visit the grandparents without your spouse on a weekend, taking over some of the chores or cooking dinner yourself so your writer will have a bit of time to themselves, to clear their head from the everyday worries and write without interruptions.
  12. A place to write. If you are in the mood to make over a room in your house, how about giving your writer a cozy space to read and write in? A door to shut would be ideal, but even simply rearranging a shared space to make room for a bookshelf, a comfy chair, or a desk will go a long way. Build them a book lover’s Christmas Tree!
  13. A writer’s retreat or travel for research. If you can afford it, check out a few places close by and send your writer on a short writing retreat. Or if they have a trip coming up, offer to extend it by a few days. Send them on a short trip for research, if for example, they are city-bound yet writing about a beach setting.
    A weekend away from a noisy house, in a cute little bed and breakfast is guaranteed to make their year!

How about you? Would you be happy to receive any of the above listed? How do you shop for the writers (and readers) in your life? Any ideas I could steal?

~~~

As a disclaimer, the above listed are things I use and love, or I would love to receive.

I have personally worked with Karen Schindler in the past, and she has edited my work in such a way that she kept my voice throughout the stories; sometimes sending them back with edits that I didn’t even notice at first were not my own writing. I highly recommend Karen’s services.

In April 2012, I took Milli Thornton’s Ace Your 10K Day online class. She has several classes to choose from, her insight for the issues I had were more than helpful as they were easily applicable; and overall, Milli was a pleasure to work with.

If you’re crafty, a while back I made myself some classy handmade bookmarks, and cute corner bookmarksa writer’s clock, pretty calligraphy ornaments and a travelogue and built a Booklover’s Christmas Tree! With a little imagination, they can easily be transformed to your own needs and even crafted with your children to gift to the writer in their life.

Happy gift giving!

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2016, November 4

Fall in a jar

So, last year around Halloween, I bought some pasta. But not just any kind of pasta, Halloween-themed pasta! It is in three different colors and they’re shaped like pumpkins, spiders and bats. So very cute!

I’ve only tried cooking them once, and albeit still cute after done, they are so awful-tasting I had to throw them away.
I kept the left over pasta in the bag though, figuring I might try to use it for some kind of DIY project. And that day has come!

It’s a bit difficult to decorate the apartment with a way-too-curious and mischievous kitty underfoot, so for Christmas two years ago, I made a jar ornament (I’ll write about that one in December.) And it was perfect – no kitty attack whatsoever!
Two days ago, I remembered that little DIY project when rescuing the chestnut and acorn bowl from falling off the shelf due to curious paws, and decided to try the same for a fall-themed decoration. Here’s how I did it.

fall-in-a-jar page-fall-in-a-jar

Fall in a jar

jar with a lid, to your liking in size
Halloween-themed pasta
chestnuts
acorns
tea candle
crafting paper

Wash your jar out well, and remove any labels from its side. Mine was a huge pickle jar which I wrapped in a wet towel to soften the labels, then ran it under the tap and used a kitchen brush to rub the labels and adhesive off.
Let it dry thoroughly.

Add the pasta as a first layer, then place the chestnuts and acorns on top. Place the tea candle in the middle. I love that you can even burn the candle if you want, and then put it out by screwing the lid on.

Screw on the jar’s lid.
Mine wasn’t a single color, so I cut out and glued on a round piece of crafting paper to cover up the pickle brand’s name on the jar lid. It just so happens that it’s a Halloween poem, so it adds even more to the Fall feel of the decoration.

Place your jar on a side table or where ever you like, and enjoy the Fall decor.

PS: of course, you can skip adding pasta or any of the above mentioned and use what ever Fall things you have laying around. The possibilities are endless.

Happy crafting ;)

2013, September 16

11 easy, homemade gifts for Chefs

Having a Chef for a boyfriend is nice.
However, it is a bit hard to give them gifts when one best likes giving handmade/homemade ones.

There are so many ideas out there which require serious “props”, that I thought I’d first share here the easy ideas I’ve come across, tried and was successful with.

 

page chef crafts

Crafts for your chef:

  1. Cookery-inspired fridge magnets
  2. Or some wine cork fridge magnets
  3. An interesting, highly practical spice-shelf
  4. Baby-apron for a bottle of something you gift them

 

page chef gifts you cook

More along the lines of you cooking:

  1. House delivery of an Estrella’s Love Pizza 
  2. If they like coffee, a bottle of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  3. A bottle of Orange Syrup

 

page chef gifts he cooks

So your chef can do some cooking (with):

  1. Gift in a jar, Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. A baby-jar of Mumbai Spice
  3. Or maybe some French Spiced Salt
  4. For flavoring dishes, a jar of Red Peppers Paste

 

PS: When I have access to materials for more elaborate gifts, I’ll write another summary post like this one.

2012, May 9

Personalized Clocks – My Writer’s Clock

There is so much creative possibility while building your own clock from a kit, I can’t believe it took me so long to finish this thing. It now decorates my wall quite nicely! ;)

page writers clock

Personalized Clock

clock kit = clock base + movements + hands
paint
napkins or transfer paper
glue
marker

First paint your clock base with a base color of your choice.

Use the decoupage technique to add desired motifs. (I went with a seasonal theme using a variety of different motifs specific for each season.) Then make markings, write numbers, etc. for the clock dial.

(I personally went with a toned down “Writer’s Clock” theme, adding Write, Revise, Submit, Re-Write, Publish, etc. while giving the seasonal look center stage.)

Finish it off by assembling the clock and hang where ever desired.

Happy crafting! Tic-Toc Tic-Toc ;)

2012, March 7

Slice of Diaper Cake, anyone?

We went to a christening in February. I’m not too keen on being in a room filled with too many people, or a family get-together of any sort, but what got me excited about this obligatory-attendance-thingy was that: I got to (finally!) make a diaper cake!

I saw diaper cakes all over the internet before and made a mental note about assembling one myself… except there was never a reason to, no one that close to me had a baby so that I could surprise them with it.

Jumping at the opportunity, here’s what I ended up with (and a tutorial for how to make your own).

page diaper cake

Diaper Cake 

a pack of 30 or more diapers (best to buy bigger sized ones, unless you know for sure how much the baby weighs)
pretty, decorative ribbons
gifts you’d like to include (clothes, toys, baby’s room decorations, fridge magnets, baby bottle, shoes, etc.)
something to place the cake on (I used a round plate mat)
rubber bands
marshmallow skewers

One by one roll up the diapers tightly and secure them with 1-2 rubber bands. After you’re finished with the whole diaper pack, you can start the cake assembling.

Place some of the gifts you’re giving into the middle of the cake “platter” and then start placing the rolled-up diapers around the gifts in a circle. Secure with a rubber band so they won’t move anymore. Fill up the base tier with the rest of the gifts.

Build the second tier by placing the rolled-up diapers next to each other in a circle and secure them with a rubber band.

Build the top tier and measure it against the second tier so it’s a perfect fit and will look nice and proportionate once the cake is assembled.

If you have any left-over diapers, add them inside the bottom tier next to the gifts.

Place the second tier on top of the bottom tier. Stick 2-3 marshmallow skewers in between the diapers so they don’t show, but so they secure the tiers together. Repeat with the top tier.

Tie the decorative ribbons around each tier to cover the rubber bands, further secure them and make your diaper cake look all pretty.

Optionally place extra gifts on the tiers before packaging.

Happy cake making ;)

2011, December 14

Homemade Gifts {in a Jar} part 2

Last week, I told you all about my gift in a jar Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Chef.

Now, for the seamstress in my life, I decided to make a sewing-kit jar. Here’s how I did it.

page sewing kit gift in a jar

Sewing-kit jar

Fill the jar of your choice, with different things a seamstress would appreciate (I chose beads, embroidery thread, yarn, buttons, chalk, pins and needles, etc.)

I really liked the idea of the pincushion lid, but knew my grandmother wouldn’t really want to keep the jar, so I decided to make one of these really cute Tuna Can Pincushions I’ve had my mind on ever since my friend Patsey posted her tutorial.

After I finished both the jar and pincushion, I stuck the tuna can pincushion onto the lid with a simple double adhesive tape so it would stay on there until/during Christmas gift giving and then come off easily.

Happy crafting everyone :)

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2011, December 7

Homemade Gifts {in a Jar} part 1

Sometime last week, I stumbled upon Myra’s blog post, 12 Homemade Gifts In A Jar and I was floored. I instantly fell in love with all of these ideas, and since I’d personally love to receive something like this, I decided to make some gifts in jars myself.

The first one I made is a gift to the Chef in my life who doesn’t really like the precision of measuring ingredients for baking. I figured this would be the perfect St.Nick’s Day gift – and I was right, he loved it ;)

page cookies gift in a jar

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Homemade gift in a jar

(I used my own adapted version of this Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.)

Layer the ingredients in a large enough mason jar, starting with the necessary dry ingredients like sugar, flour (+ baking soda and salt mixed into it), cocoa and only then add your additional dry ingredients like chocolate chips, hazelnuts, Rahat Locoum (Turkish Delight), granola, cereals, raisins, etc.

Screw the lid on the jar, and cover with a circle of fabric or a paper doily, held down with a rubber band. Cover the rubber band with yarn or ribbon and tie a bow. For additional beauty, tie a cinnamon or vanilla bar into the bow. (I did that just before gifting the jar.)

Print out a gift tag-type paper with the recipe, or simply glue further directions onto the jar like I did, mentioning what else needs to be added, at what temperature the cookies need baking and for how long.

* I personally added a bunch of extra ingredients the original recipe didn’t include, so I upped the quantity of eggs and butter needed. Make sure you do the same if you need to.

Come to think about it, I’ve actually given gifts in a jar before, in the form of homemade beauty products. I think my Beauty the natural way recipes (Face Mask, Bath Salts, Exfoliating Body Scrub, Body Balm, Facial Scrub, etc.) are perfect for the ladies in your family so flip through the pages and feel free to prepare any of those. I’m sure they will be greatly appreciated.

Hope you all like these ideas, and check back next Wednesday for part 2 :)

 

PS: there are a ton of gifts in a jar ideas out there on the web, you’re bound to come across the perfect one for your loved ones.

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