Handmade Gifts - Jack

Gift from EJ & Olivia: Art Supplies from IKEA
Jack's sibling gifts were honestly just some things I picked up on my last trip to IKEA that I knew he would like. The first are these shapes

and these beads that you put on the prongs of the shapes and then iron somehow (we'll have to actually read the directions first) to make them fuse together into art shapes.

He also got this stand

and a roll of paper to keep handy on his art table. I think he'll have a lot of fun with both!

Gift from Mom: Checkers Set
It's finally completed! I went down to the wire but had it completed just as Christmas Eve began (so photos were taken at 2am, so please ignore the bad lighting/color). While I normally at least start from a tutorial, I did this one on my own (well of course I bugged my friends and mom with a million questions along the way, but mostly I did it myself).

I started by borrowing a checker board from my friend Leslie and measuring all the pieces out. I cut a 16" square piece of wool felt to be the base and then cut 1.75" squares from yellow and light blue art felt for the checker squares. I laid out all the pieces (semi-eyeballed it and semi-using a ruler) and then put a small dot of glue in the center of each one to keep it's place. It's hard to see in the photos, but I then took a corresponding color of embroidery thread (2 strands) and did a straight stitch around the border of each checker square to complete the "board."

I added another piece of the dark blue wool felt as a backing (second time was a charm on cutting that piece to size) and stitched along the edges to hold the two pieces together (3 strands of the yellow embroidery floss). Not one thing about this checker board is perfect and I kind of like that! I am by no means a great embroiderer and the glue dot only kept things so straight, but I hope Jack will love the imperfections too.

I searched everywhere for an idea on what to use for the checkers themselves...everything from crafting clay pieces to buying plastic ones came into my head, but nothing seemed easy or right. Leslie suggested looking for wood discs at a craft store, so I checked that out and guess what? They actually sell plain wood checkers there in bags of 8...I needed 24 checkers, they were a bag short! Luckily I was actually shopping early, so had time to run back to get more after coffee with my bestie (the cool craft store is in my hometown not my current town darn it!). I painted them with acrylic paint until they were opaque (3 coats for blue, 4 for the yellow) and then finished with a single coat of matte mod podge to seal them. I used one of our extra advent calendar bags and freezer paper stenciled a crown motif on it. Of course this time around I had my fancy new precision cutter (which I LOVE!) and thought I totally knew what I was doing...until I went to iron the stencil on to the bag and realized I had used parchment paper instead (with no shiny side to stick). Do over!

I am SO excited to give Jack this gift. Last weekend we were all at Target and there were some games on an endcap on sale for $2. We bought a bunch to donate and one was checkers. Jack just about had a heart attack and was literally begging for one for himself (and he knew he had the $2 to spend himself too, so it was hard to say no). See the whole reason I got this idea was that he played with and loved his old checkers set (which was actually my old checkers set from Grandma's house) so much that the board ripped in half. Hopefully this one will be more durable but just as loved!

When it comes right down to it, my kids really like the simple things in life. Like for instance...a big box! Hours and hours of entertainment...and lots of fun to watch!

Anonymous said...

I think your checkerboard came out beautifully. What a precious gift for Jack and I'm sure he will never part with it. Yes, large boxes, oatmeal containers, kettle lids and large spoons will entertain kids for hours. That $30 toy will soon be sitting alone forever.

lisa said...

my kids loved the bead things you ironed on. they made some cool stuff.

merry christmas heather, hoping you and your family have a blessed one!

the checker board gift is great! :)

Amy Schaal said...

Heather, it is beautiful and so meaningful. I am sure he will LOVE it.

Aimee Larsen said...

Hey, this is Aimee from over at HomeSpun-Threads. I wanted to respond to the question about the "rubber ball". I have found that the cheapest glue works best. I'd never tried it with the name brands until recently and I think the washable Elmers is the worst about forming the chemical bond too rapidly. My suggest is to use 1 tsp of borax at a time and to be patient because it does take a long time for it to come together properly. I hope that helps. Good luck. We've had our fair share of bad batches. ; )

Hubby Zeus said...

thanks for your long hours and late nights making hand crafted gifts for everyone! Your thoughtfulness into each gift is impressive and something I could never attain at your level but I'll gladly take partial credit!

Unknown said...

Love the checkerboard! Very cute.

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