Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Picture Perfect

With the crashing state of the economy budgeting out gifts is now more important than ever. When buying for someone close to you pictures are an easy and thoughtful solution to this. Selecting the perfect picture frame for someone’s style is only half the battle. Choosing the perfect picture is what really counts.  Pick something that you did together and then match the frame to the picture. If the gift is for someone younger or even someone who just graduated a scrape book is another great alternative that won’t break your bank but will show tremendous time and effort. For my 18th birthday my mother made me a scrape book that included pages from my friends and sections from her journal as I was growing up and to this day it means the world to me and I hope to one day do the same for my daughter. 

    Byzantine Sterling Silver Necklace

    Dan: Are you looking to give someone a perfect jewelry gift this coming holiday season?  You will be able to find a lot of great artisan jewelry here!  From artisan communities in Peru, this sterling silver jewelry is extremely unique.  Most jewelry that you can buy when shopping around is mass produced in a factory.  No hard work is put into the production of that jewelry, but when buying a Peruvian product you know that these are prized works of art.

    Also, the person you give this jewelry to will know it is unique.  The Byzantine sterling silver .950 chain is intricately handcrafted and cannot be replicated by most hands.  It is truly a unique design and a unique piece of jewelry.  Please, give someone a real jewelry gift this holiday season.

    Grace: Wow that is an astonishing peice of art.  To know that you can wear something as beautiful as that is amazing.  The Byzantine design on the chain is so intricate and difficult to create, only Peruvian artisan hands could have made such a great necklace.  This is a perfect example of what handcrafted jewelry is about.

    Brilliant Links Sterling Silver Necklace

    Dan: Are you looking for the perfect, elegant, and simple silver jewelry for this coming holiday season?  I know that most everyone’s budgets are going to be tighter than usual and that is why you have to go to this site.  If you do not want to sacrifice any quality for those you want to treat, then go for some silver jewelry necklaces.

    The brilliant links silver .950 necklace does not sacrifice quality and is purely brilliant.  Whoever you give this necklace to this coming holiday season, they are going to truly appreciate its beauty and the detailed handcrafted work that has been put into it.  Hailing from artisan communities in Peru, this necklace will be noticed by all who look at it.  It has an elegant uniqueness that no Tiffany’s or mass produced jeweler can bring you.

    Grace: What I love about this necklace is its versatility; it can be worn on a daily basis and on a nice evening out.  Even though I have a lot of jewelry that can be worn in the evening, it looks a little strange for everyday wear, and same goes for my more casual jewelry.  As beautiful as this jewelry is, it takes up a lot of unnecessary space in my jewelry box, especially for something that can only be worn on one type of occassion.  If you want to give a gift that is beautiful and has multiple purposes, this necklace is a great idea.

    The Gift of Memories

    Dan: When I am here at school I will admit that I become home sick a good amount of the time towards the end of the semester.  A gift that I would really love to receive would be a mutli-photo picture frame of everything that makes me who I am from home.  Without any pictures or anything it is really hard sometimes to keep my head up when I am becoming swamped (like right now).  From class to extra-curricular activities and figuring out my summer junior year is becoming a bit hard to handle sometimes.

    I would love a really memorable gift.  So if you know someone who is located at a home away from home you should really consider giving a gift from the heart.  Not all gifts have to be the newest and latest game or jewelry, but simply somthing meaningful.

    Grace: I also think a memorable gift is a great idea, but I especially love the wall collage Dan recommended.  Multiple picture frames scattered around can look messy and I always manage to knock them over and stuff them somewhere where no one can see them.  A wall collage is a great way to display pictures and will make your room looks more organized.  It’s also a great gift for a new homeowner, or even your family members.

    A Gift and a Tip

    Dan: If you play guitar (any type of guitar) or a variety of other wooden stringed instruments then this post pertains to you!  I have been playing guitar since I was in the fifth grade and every year one of my cherished babies has to go to the guitar doctor to get a fix up.  There are many reasons for why a guitar becomes unplayable (change of seasons and wood warping, friends touching it without your permission, gauges of being too heavy, etc.) but there is one that most people do not know about.  How do you store your instrument?

    For years I had my guitars hanging on vertical wall holders or standing on a vertical floor stand.  BAD!  The best way to keep your instrument is lying horizontally on its back as it places the least amount of strain on the neck.  Therefore, a great helpful gift recommendation for the musically inclined is a unique horizontal instrument stand.  This gift can be creative, make it from scratch!  The effort shows that you care for the person and will also provide you space saving storage and a better quality product.  There are horizontal guitar holders that you can find on sale, yet they may not be exactly what you are looking for.  SO PLEASE, musicians, listen to me and start storing you instruments horizontally flat instead of upright, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars of repair fees over the years.

    Grace: I really love this gift idea, not only because it protects your instruments, but it’s also a nice way to show off your guitar collection.  Unlike with the violin, many people who play guitar happen to own more than one of the instrument, so this is a great way to keep the instrument in good condition and to show them off.  This is also a great follow-up gift if you gave someone a guitar or guitar lessons as their last gift.  It will not only encourage them to keep playing, but it also makes sure their guitar lasts them long enough.  There’s nothing more discouraging than having to play with a broken instrument.

    Make Your Own Doll

    Grace: Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved DIY kits.  My favorite gifts were the ones where I could make things to stick on the windows or make my own stuffed animals.  I love the idea of inspiring a child’s creativity and encouraging them to try new things, which is why I love this DIY Yoyo Doll Kit.

    Most DIY kits I had were actually quite complicated, so although they were fun and I loved the end prodcut, sometimes they were a little frustrating too.  However, this kit doesn’t seem to be too complicated, since all the hard parts (the hands, head, etc) come pre-made.  In addition to being fun, this gift is also ecologically and socially conscious.  Made from old sweaters, this is also a fair trade product , thereby helping developing countries and the environment at the same time.  If you’re looking for a socially conscious gift that’s also fun and cute, I would definitely take a look at this one!

    Dan: This is a great gift idea!  Not only does it make a toy but you can learn along the way.  I was never one for dolls.  When I was in the 7th grade in home economics class, we had a school project in which we had to use sewing machines to make stuffed animal frogs.  Let’s just say I did not have what it takes.  Ended up borrowing a friend’s from a different class, got caught, and had to hand in my leaking bean bag that did not resemble a frog whatsoever.  Therefore, I would also have to agree with you that some of these DIY projects are simply frustrating and not fun at all.

    Painting Kit

    Grace: Even though I’m a math major, I decided this semester that I needed to take something completely different, so I signed up for a painting class.  I used to paint when I was much younger, but I forgot how much fun and how relaxing painting could be.  A great gift idea for someone would be a painting kit.

    I remember getting my first watercolor kit when I was still in elementary school and it was such a fun and creative gift!  I used to paint with it all the time and I even used it in high school for school projects.  The nice thing about watercolor is that they aren’t particularly difficult to clean.  A little bit of paint goes a long way with these, so even though I received my set as a gift when I was younger, I still had plenty of paint years later.

    For someone who is older, I would recommend an oil paint kit as a unique gift.  I love painting with oils because you can go over them and change your painting if you don’t like it, unlike painting with watercolors.  However, the paints themselves and the paint thinner or turpentine used are all toxic, so this isn’t something I would recommend giving to a young child.  Not to mention, oils stain clothes and skin.

    Dan: Unfortunately, I have never been artistically gifted and cannot draw or paint beyond the skill of an elementary school child.  On the other hand, my older sister was/is very into painting and drawing; her artwork is scattered all over our house.  She received a painting kit from parents years ago and she still uses it to this day.  If you really want to express yourself through paint I recommend getting a quality painting kit.  If you know someone artistic or someone who wants to start painting this is a wonderful gift!

    Create Your Own Shoes for a Unique Gift

    Grace: The thing that stresses me out the most about buying gifts is trying to find something unique that is also something the recipient will like.  I have a lot of eclectic friends who are difficult to shop for, and I don’t want to give them something everyone has but it’s so hard to find something they’d like!

    I found this great site that lets you custom design all sorts of things from mousepads to shoes.  I, personally, love the idea of custom designing shoes, and I feel they would make a unique and creative gift.  If you feel you know the recepient well enough, you could design your own creation for them or you could let them design it themself and pay for it.  The site seems to be easy to use, and you can either start from scratch or you can start from a template.  I was worried that it would be difficult to design shoes, but it actually wasn’t too bad!  Also, on the site you can buy other people’s creations as well as sell your own in case you find that designing your own pair of shoes is too difficult and would rather buy someone else’s creation.  Unfortunately, they only seem to have women’s and kid’s shoes, but they do have all sorts of other products that can be designed for men too.

    Dan: I think this is a great gift idea because how many times have you gone to the shoe store and you find absolutely nothing you want to buy?  I recently had get a new pair of sneakers because my soles were falling off my old ones and I had to settle for something that was all right but just not my style.  I think what makes this gift so great is the creative element involved in it.

    Scrapbooks: A Fun Way to Keep Memories

    Grace: As a poor college student, I have a hard time finding gifts for my friends that I think they’d enjoy but won’t leave me broke. The easy way out would be to buy clothing or jewelry, but those gifts can get repetitive and boring.

    As a very hands-on person, I love the idea of giving a scrapbook as a gift. Scrapbooking is a fun and easy activity that anyone can partake in; all it takes is a little time and patience. It is a visual form of story telling that was first practiced in ancient Greece. As more people became literate and no longer had to hire scribes to record their thoughts and memories for them, scrapbooks became more popular. Sometime during 15th century England, scrapbooks started appearing as personal journals where recipes, letters, quotes, and other memorable items were placed. Today, scrapbooks are used mainly to preserve memories.

    For my friend’s 20th birthday, a bunch of my friends and I decided to buy and start a scrapbook for her, and it was a complete success! We started out with a simple scrapbook, nice and affordable, and started 2 pages. In order to give her a little push, we bought her some stickers, glue, glitter, and other fun crafty things, and printed out a bunch of pictures we thought she would enjoy.

    I wasn’t sure if my friend would actually continue scrapbooking, but come finals she’s always sitting in her room cutting paper and pasting pictures. She finds that it’s a great way to relieve stress (and procrastinate). A scrapbook is a great gift for someone who loves arts and crafts and also has the patience and time to actually work on one.

    Dan: I have never personally made a scrapbook of my own, but I have received one as a gift. It was a memory capsule of many of the major moments during my four years in high school. I cherish that present more than any other gift I have ever been given. It is so important to me that it has to come to college with me throughout the year so that when I become over-stressed I can open it up and laugh about good times from the past. I am so happy that you gave this gift recommendation, Grace, because it is a very special one. You beat me to it! :-)