Handmade Gifts (2012-13 Roundup)

2013 Roundup of Handmade Gifts | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s that time of year again! I love this time of the year. I’m already working on a Christmas gift list in my phone and have even (crazy) crossed two names off.

One of my favorite traditions each holiday season is to share a handful of homemade gift ideas. I thought I’d kick things off with a roundup of gifts from last year (and some maybe even from 2012) to get the inspiration juices flowing.

Homemade Kahlua: a white russian is the drink of choice for me during the holiday season and this recipe is one I highly recommend. Needs a few weeks to build flavor so now’s the time to order bottles and ingredients.
Chalkboard Mugs: chalkboard on everything was a hit last season, happy to say that I think the trend is here to stay a while!
Ombre Rattan Placemats: wrapped with a big burlap bow these are neat for the hostess with the mostest.
$6 Slate Cheeseboard: a home improvement store tile takes on new life with legs and a shiny border.
Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil: a homemade treat for the chef.
Lavender & Lemon Sea SaltI really enjoy cooking with flavored salts so this was probably one of my favorite gifts to make for friends.
Marble Cheeseboard: similar to above but so classic and beautiful. Equally inexpensive.
Fort Kit: diy gift bag possibilities are endless. This fort kit includes everything that every preschool-aged boy needs for one awesome living room hideout.
Painted (& Sharpie) Baked Mugs
a gift that’s a lot of fun for kids to participate in. But they’re not dishwasher safe (I learned the hard way, tear)
French 75 Cocktail Kit: one example of how personable a diy drink kit (infused-alcohol and simple syrup included) can be.
Stationery Kit: I use my return address stamp almost every day, here’s a kit built around staying in touch.
Felt Town Rollup: a kit for kids that includes a cute, flat felt town and miniature wooden cars for playing on the go.
Homemade Vanilla Extract: we gave a mini bottle of this to each of our friends last year, I still have a few in my pantry! Downloadable label included.
Cupcake Kit: a collection of sprinkles, beautiful cupcake liners and wax candles make for a fun, girly cupcake decorating kit.

I have a few new projects to share next week – and then a whole mini series until Christmas. A curious question: are you a homemade gift maker or does that all sound stressful/do you love to shop instead?

PS here’s a cocktail that would be great to build a ‘kit’ around, and these relaxing salt tea bath soaks are perfect for the new momma. 

Wardrobe Style Board: Keeping it Fall Casual

Wardrobe Style Board: Fall Finds | Dolman Sweater, Black Cotton Leggings, Black & White Plaid Scarf, Ballet Flats, Cognac Leather Backpack, Gold Statement Necklace, Turquoise Ring | PepperDesignBlog.com

plaid infinity scarf | black cotton leggings | dolman sweater | turquoise ring
feathered pendant | leather rucksack backpack | black ballet flat (similar high/low)

As the weather turns cooler, there’s something about leggings and oversized sweaters that suddenly becomes incredibly appealing. I especially appreciate this combination while pregnant thanks to super stretchy elastic waistlines and generous amounts of sweater fabric for my belly to swim in :). I have been waiting for seven months for leggings + sweater weather, even junior is turning flips! Speaking of leggings, I’ve just ordered my first pair of maternity Storq leggings that I hear so much about. I was a little bummed about their customer service and their return policy, but I’m looking forward to road testing on this humungo stomach of mine.

I love the plaid scarf in the above roundup most. It looks cozy and inviting, and like an accessory that you could stay bundled up in all day long. When it comes to jewelry and comfort, there’s something equally awesome about a single statement necklace – the sort of piece you can throw on and forget about, but one that makes you feel a bit more pulled together.

It was in the 60s today in San Diego (yesterday I just shared that it was in the 80s last week – it’s been all over the place!), and 60s in general around here = fall crisp weather. Hope you are enjoying a beautiful day wherever you are!

PS More fall finds, giant bauble necklace roundup and a favorite $10 vintage wooden hat rack.

Kid’s Craft: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Thanksgiving Place Cards

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

Part of my Thursday routine with Liv and Taylor this school year has been to co-host a ‘co-op preschool’ with four of my girlfriends and their kids. We swap who will lead each Thursday and this talented lady set up a curriculum based around arts and sciences.


Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

This last Thursday was my turn to lead an art lesson and I’ve been meaning to try out milk art for a while. It’s really rather a simple process but because of the unconventional art style, such a big hit with kids. I tied our lesson all together with a nature walk, a discussion on why leaves change color, and a scavenger hunt to find ‘inspiration’ for our craft project. Then we came back to the house to create.

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

Considering that milk is such a staple in our home (the girls love milk to a crazy degree, especially T), I thought that this project would be an ideal one for our collaboration with Got Milk and on sharing creative ways to incorporate milk (beyond a big cold glass of it) into the everyday. Milk keeps these girls strong and it’s one of the few consistents in our daily lives that I know I can rely on for a balanced diet (Liv is a great eater, T is a little more difficult, but without resolve she’ll walk up to the fridge and ask for ‘malk’ several times a day).

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

Using milk as the base and food coloring as the dye, milk becomes kid-friendly marbling on a grand scale (like, cookie sheet grand scale). This is such a great project whether you have 30 minutes or a couple of hours – Liv has already asked to recreate it multiple times.

Back to that Thursday morning lesson… we started our day off with a little nature walk around the neighborhood. As a group, we observed the tall trees and the fallen autumn leaves along the sidewalk (though they were a little scarce – did I mention it was in the 80s? crazy.)

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

We do have a row of maples that change color with the season and that’s where we found most of our treasures. How I adore those three trees! We talked about why trees are important for our environment, why they change colors as the days get shorter and what role ‘chlorophyll’ and ‘photosynthesis’ play.

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

The scavenger hunt side of our nature walk meant finding beautiful fall leaf inspiration. There were a few red and yellow leaves, but mostly brown!

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

Leaves in hand, we laid them out on our craft paper-covered table (they sell awesome rolls of brown paper at home improvement stores for so cheap) so that everyone could observe their shape and colors as we continued.

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

Then using pre-made templates, the kids traced leaves onto watercolor paper (key that it’s watercolor paper) and cut out their drawings. Older children might want to sketch their own leaf shapes by observing what they’ve found in nature. …

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