Handmade Gifts - Olivia

This year for Christmas each of our children are receiving something handmade by Mom and then also their gifts from their siblings are either handmade or something they can use to be creative. Since the handmade items are all pretty simple to do, I thought I'd share them.

So next up is Olivia's gifts. Warning: Nellie if you are reading this, stop! Finley might be getting some of these too! :-)

Gift from Mom: Touch Book
So the touch book idea was taken from this great post...awesome photos & tutorial that really got me thinking about how I wanted to approach the book. First step...get a great watercolor notebook. The best one I could find was bigger (9x12"-ish) and had 12 pages. So that meant I needed 6 textures (you cut a window in one page and sandwich your texture between the window and the next page). I spent a lot of time quizzing my family & friends...in person and on Twitter...but once I had the textures settled, assembling the book itself wasn't too bad!

This is the book cover. I spray-mounted gift wrap over the notebook cover and then attached my "title page" the same way. I decided it was most likely to stay together this way...fingers crossed!


And this is a view of the 6 interior pages. The texture windows are 6" square, so there is plenty of room to touch!
The materials are as follows:
crinkly - cellophane that is bunched up (I taped it from behind to fold on itself a bit before I glued the watercolor pages together)
bumpy - paper with an embossed star/dot pattern
soft - felt
rough - sandpaper
shiny - aluminum foil (in hindsight this might not have been the best choice...we'll see how it holds up)
smooth - foam sheet (you could really use anything for this one, but I had purchased the foam thinking it could be "squishy" too if needed)


Overall I'm happy with how it came out. There are things (I'm not going to name them though) that I don't like and would do differently if I made the book again, but given that it's going to an 8-month-old...I think it is just fine!

Gift from Jack & EJ: Sensory Bottles
Jack REALLY wanted to make something for Olivia, but seriously (as I've said before), she's a tough one to shop for! I started thinking about things that EJ loved when she was a baby and one thing that came to mind was a noodle shaker bottle that she played with like crazy at Joel & Angie's house until we made her one for our house. Then I saw this tutorial for magic bottles (at the same blog as the one above actually) and it was settled.

First we made the magic bottles and let me just tell you...it takes a lot of stuff in that bottle to make the magic!


Here's Jack sorting confetti...we bought a "birthday pack" for some of the shapes but wanted to get rid of the cakes and hats.


And here is Jack testing out our finished product (our pics are not the best...click here for the photos from the tutorial).

Some tips we found in our creative process:
-definitely put a couple drops (but just one or two) of food coloring into the water. you don't want it too dark, but that color made a big difference
-if you put in the drops of oil, be sure that your items won't clump up because of it...we ended up washing out and starting again without the oil because of this
-likewise, check to see if your glitter will work in water...ours got clumpy and stuck to the confetti and ribbon as soon as it got wet (so we started again...again)
-do not forget to glue the cap closed!


Next we moved on to the noodle shaker bottle...very simple and easy. But of course I wanted to make it somewhat crafty, so we decided to dye the noodles. There are a bunch of different sites with instructions on this (this is one good one), but basically you put some noodles (we did about 30 at once) in a gallon Ziploc bag with 1 T of white vinegar and food coloring (we used about 20 drops depending on the color). Zip it closed, shake it up, and knead the color around if needed. Then open the top and let it sit open for a couple hours (or overnight) until the noodles are dry. If you think about it shake them up (so the same noodles aren't sitting in the liquid at the bottom) whenever you walk by them. Nothing to it!


Once they were dry, Jack counted 10 of each color into the bottle to "make a rainbow." He was really pleased with himself until I told him they would get mixed up once Olivia shakes the bottle. I think it will still look cool though.


So these are the finished products. You might notice that we also put a band of gift wrap around them. That was basically because we could not remove the "sticky" from where the label was around the bottled water. And yes, Matt drank a lot of flavored water in one week because I liked the shape of these bottles! :-) I used plain colored paper on some other bottles and I think that could be fun too as you could personalize the band of paper with the child's name.


Just one more reminder before you get started...don't forget to glue the caps on!
tracie @ {tsj} photography said...

i love that you give them such special gifts & such special memories!!

you're a good mommy! ;)

lisa said...

OK, here it is! You ought to be a teacher or something artsy, cause you got lots of good ideas! And yes, I agree, you are a good mommy!

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