THE ARTISTIC LIFE – Living the creative life in everything we do

Posts tagged ‘handmade gift’

Painting Baby Gift Idea

I was just reminded, as I went to a toddler twin birthday party, about the idea of painting small pictures for infants or toddlers. At our friends’ house, they decorated the twin toddlers’ room with the two little bright paintings I created 2 years ago as baby shower gifts. These paintings can be relatively easy to make, even for those who don’t normally paint. Most people enjoy a handmade creative gift, and I think, particularly, when it can become a keepsake for their little ones.

The design can be up to your imagination, but here I provide pictures of the ones I created. Small canvases can be purchased at any art supply store, and even most craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I liked the looks of these little 8″x8″ canvases, which I bought gallery-wrapped, so that they wouldn’t require frames.

Draw a preliminary design first; choose a topic, font, and colors. For infants and young children, simple designs and patterns work best. There’s no need to be Michelangelo for this. A simple design like a ladybug or butterfly works great, especially for little girls. Once the design has been decided, it’s time to start painting! With these small canvases and simple designs, it does not take that long to paint. Solid, bright colors to emphasize the simple design work best. I find it is also nice to include the child’s name on each painting, in a fun childlike font, to further personalize the artwork. Since we are using gallery-wrapped canvases, paint the sides of the canvas in a matching color, or by extending the background color to the sides.

Allow at least a couple weeks to dry (if using oil paints; acrylics dry much more quickly). You may add a simple picture hanger or wire to the back with picture screws. Make sure you take a photograph of your masterpiece, to keep a record of your artwork. Maybe you will want to make more paintings for the future babies in your life!

Herbal Vinegar Holiday Gift Idea

While I’m on a roll with creating Christmas gifts for my family and friends, I’ll talk about the herbal vinegars I’ve recently prepared. I actually got this idea from my mom, when I received a similar gift from her a couple years ago.

I have had several lovely dark glass bottles left over from the imported olive oil we buy from a beautiful agriturismo we stayed at in Tuscany, Italy. I didn’t want to waste these attractive bottles, so decided to recycle them to store herbal vinegar to give as gifts.

If you grow your own herbs, that is a plus, but “fresh” herbs from the supermarket will work also, as long as they are still on the stem. If something else was previously in your glass bottles, make sure you soak and air dry the bottles thoroughly. Insert several herb twigs in each bottle. I used basil, dill, and thyme, but other herbs such as rosemary and chives would be great also. Various types of vinegar can be used. I used apple cider vinegar, because my neighborhood grocery store sold large containers of this. Other vinegars, such as red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and even plain old white vinegar could work. It is up to you to create your own unique combination of vinegar and herbs.

The vinegars should be stored for a few weeks before giving them out, to allow for the herb flavor to be infused in the vinegar. You may also create handwritten or computer designed tags with a brief description to tie around each bottle, so your recipients know what is in them. Also, it is a nice finishing touch to buy pourers for each bottle, so that your friends can elegantly drizzle some vinegar on their salads or other culinary creations. A simple yet tasteful gift!

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