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

Posts tagged ‘homemade 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!

Cork Wreath Christmas Gift

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If you are even a little bit crafty (no need to be Martha Stewart) and a wine drinker (or even a bottled Belgian Beer drinker), you have the ingredients to make a nice Christmas gift for your wine lover friends or family. I am currently working on my 3rd wine cork wreath.

If you drink wine and wonder what to do with all of those corks, here’s an idea. Gather a number of corks (one can probably make a wreath out of about 75 corks, although the more the merrier). For us, it usually takes about a year to collect this amount. You want to try to use the real corks and not the plastic ones that are becoming more common. Even if you go out to a restaurant and share a bottle of wine with dinner, stash the cork in your purse. Nobody will mind.

Materials list:

– wreath base. I like straw but these are getting harder to find. Styrofoam will work too. I prefer the light green styrofoam, as they look less tacky than the bright white foam when little gaps peak through the corks.

– ivy leaves/grape leaves. The artifical leaves they produce now are more tasteful than they used to be. I use this as a base for the corks.

– 75-150 corks (not plastic)

– wooden toothpicks

– glue gun/glue sticks

– wide ribbon or fabric that can be tied into a big bow (red, burgundy, purple, gold make good accent colors for the wine wreath)

– green wire, floral tape or floral pins

1. Wrap the string of ivy or grape leaves decoratively around your wreath base. You probably just want to use a thin covering, to allow plenty of openings into the wreath base with the toothpicks later on. You can use green wire, floral tape, or the floral pins to attach the string of leaves to your base.

2. Break each toothpick in half. Use the sharp pointy end of each half to insert into the middle of the length of each cork.

3. Place hot glue around where the toothpick is inserted into the cork and a little bit on the length of the toothpick.

4. Insert each toothpick into a spot on the wreath base, making sure there is adequate glue for the cork to be permanently fastened to the base. Vary the direction and spacing of each cork so that the overall look of the wreath is appealing.

5. Continue this process until there are no unsightly gaps left on the wreath and double-check that there are no loose corks.

6. Clean up any “strings” of glue on the wreath.

7. Use the ribbon or fabric to create a large bow on either the top or the bottom of the wreath.

8. Create a hanger on the top of the back of the wreath out of the wire, tape, or pins.

And there you go…an easy peasy, but impressive homemade holiday gift!

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