Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 18

We hosted my family here for our Christmas Get-Together. Everyone in my family (with the exception of my younger sister) was here for a day filled with gifts, food, fun, laughter, smiles, reading, coloring, singing, and even some performances - a monologue by Pun'kin Natashia as the innkeeper on the first Christmas Eve, Christmas carols by the twins and Natashia, and a skit to Room For A Little One featuring Aunt Melissa & Uncle Robbie with all the nieces & nephews! It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful that my family traveled from three cities scattered across the state so we could all be together.

Now that the gifts have been opened, I'll share the other two sets of handmade gifts that I created this year. (You can see my Cookies-In-A-Jar gifts here.) I have to admit that I was a little nervous about the gifts - this is the first year EVER that I have made my Christmas gifts! My family is very talented and over the years I have received numerous handmade gifts (quilts, pillow cases, pajamas, spices, ornaments, etc), but this time I was on the giving end.

First, I created altered CD Christmas ornaments. I made one of these for the Ladies Ornament Exchange and one each for Natashia, Paige, Laurie and Andrew (plus one for our Santa tree!). I shared a sneak peek of my supplies back in October while I was working on these gifts. I used a circular text path and digital pager from Jessica Sprague and added a photo of my favorite Santa figurine to create the front circle. Then I  printed circles of the same digital paper to cover the back of the CDs. I stamped the back and cut letters to personalize the ornaments.

While Andrew is still too young to really get the concept of a personalized ornament, I think the girls all liked theirs. Natashia was quick to be sure they were all wrapped back up carefully so they wouldn't get damaged in all the excitement of opening gifts.

The other set of gifts I made were personalized altered clipboards for all the adults in the family. This project took a couple of weeks, but I was very pleased with the results. First, I chose papers for each clipboard, which was one of the most difficult steps as I tried to personalize the color and theme for each person. Once I had all the papers chosen and cut to size, I adhered them to the clipboards. This process was made much easier because Robbie took the clips off the boards.

I then inked the edges of the clipboards and left them to dry overnight. The next step was to add modge podge over the papers and edges. I did one side of the clipboards and let them dry completely, then coated the other side and the edges. [If When I make these again, I will probably paint the clipboards before adhering the paper as the ink made quite a mess when I added the modge podge.] Once they were completely dry, Robbie re-attached the clips and I began to decorate each one. 

Daddy's clipboard is covered in musical paper and notes. All my life, Daddy has sang and played the guitar at church. He has sang with church choirs and played with the worship team and most often performs solos of Southern gospel or contemporary worship songs. The one thing I missed most about church when I no longer lived close to my parents was seeing Daddy on the platform playing the guitar and hearing him sing some of my favorite songs. Daddy really liked the musical notes papers on his clipboard.

Mama is a sewer and quilter. When we were little, she sewed clothes for me and my sisters (which I think we didn't fully appreciate at the time!). My house if filled with wonderful things she's made over the years - crocheted afghans, quilts for every bed in the house, pillowcases, dust ruffles, and stuffed bunnies. I'm dreaming of the day she feels the urge to take a break from quilting (her current pursuit) and will make me some new dresses. She always chooses wonderful materials for the items she makes, so I chose papers that reminded me of pretty material for her clipboard. Mama said she is going to use her clipboard to hold quilt patterns for the projects she's working on now.

My sister is also a whiz with the sewing machine and makes quilts that will rival any you've ever seen. I have a beautiful quilt that she made on display in our front room and my favorite pajamas were her handiwork several years ago. I wanted her quilt to resemble a happy patchwork quilt and chose to use six different papers. She seemed to really like it and immediately knew where she was going to hang it in her sewing room so she could clip up the pattern for the different quilt blocks she makes.

My brother-in-law has always worked in construction and several years ago transitioned into an office position within the industry involved with more planning and drafting. (Ok, I know that's pretty vague, but I'm not totally sure about all his job duties!) He's also a good carpenter and handyman, so I wanted his clipboard to be one that he could use at work if he wanted to or that would look great and be useful hanging above a workbench. He's not really one to say much, but the photos of him opening the gift and showing it to my sister indicate that he liked it.

For my nephew, the Houston Astros fan, I used the Astros colors and some neat bottle top letters. He told me he was very impressed with the gift as he had not seen anything like it and they were all personalized (yes, I almost cried at such a wonderful compliment from a 23-year-old!). His office space at his house is always decorated in a sports theme, so he especially liked the fact that this was one office supply that could be left out and would look good.

My 21-year-old niece has recently begun a new office job and is working her way through college to obtain an accounting degree. Her favorite color is green, and I wanted her clipboard to be pretty, something she could enjoy even on days when her office job might get boring or overly busy, something that would bring a smile to her face. She was the first to comment when everyone was opening their gifts and was really excited about the clipboard. She also said, "I guess I'm getting old now, I'm all excited about a clipboard." LOL (It's been a bit of a transition for me to add her to the adult gift list, so I'm so happy that she liked her gift.)

Robbie and I received some wonderful gifts, which I'll share with you tomorrow since this post is already fairly long!


  1. Melissa, the care and attention to the little details you have put into these is just amazing! It's a wonderful gift to have a family who love handmade presents. I think they are the very best kind.

  2. Melissa - the clip boards are beautiful! I have such an awful time with Mod Podge that I am always in awe of anyone who can actually make the stuff doe what it is supposed to!

  3. This sounds like such a wonderful time together, and I love your gifts - they're so special and personal :-) And I must try your cookies in a jar recipe some time, I made some choc chip variety to gift to a couple of people this year and they seem to have turned out well so now I'm hooked!

  4. The clipboards are fab Melissa, it sounds like a wonderful day :)


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!