I had just given Dylan a bath earlier tonight and dressed him in his pajamas and I set him down for one minute while I got into my sweatpants and he barfed an enormous Lake Eerie of creamed corn all over himself.

I got him cleaned up and ready for bed — he’d been spending the better part of an hour yawning and rubbing his eyes — and as soon as I got him situated in his crib with the lights off and the white noise machine on he started screaming. And screaming. I went in, I came out, I went in. He finally quieted but I am watching him on the monitor and he’s got that gritchy sort of unrestful look to him that tells me there will be more screaming to come, OH YES THERE WILL.

This, after an entire night of going in every two hours to see what in HELL his problem was, even bringing him to bed with me at one point (where he thrashed, howled, and kicked me like a jackrabbit); after a full day of being unable to put him down without loud complaints. I’m tired and cranky and this isn’t the entry I planned on writing but, well, here is the open text document, here is what my fingers are typing.

We had good moments today — a stroller-walk around the neighborhood, a leisurely browse through a church holiday bazaar — but man, it’s hard doing this by myself. It’s unexpectedly hard not to have a chattering toddler nearby, as chaotic and frustrating as that can be; it’s hard not having JB around. I’m lonely and there’s no one to complain to.

Well, except you. Aren’t you lucky?

So! Let’s talk about something cheery, okay? I need some ideas for homemade type holiday gifts that even craft-deficient dumbasses like myself can handle. Any suggestions?

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Swistle
13 years ago

Baby Barf in a Baggie.

Kristi
13 years ago

Isn’t it amazing what a distraction those older kids can be for the younger ones?! Most of the time I actually find it more difficult to have 1 than 2 – because at least they distract each other, or cancel each other out, or something.

Try the FamilyFun Mag website – familyfun.com(?) Lots of crafty stuff. Or you could do brownies or soup layered (dry ingreds) in a jar w/recipe, etc. Hell, I don’t know. I can’t BELIEVE I have to think about Christmas already – AGAIN!

Sarah Lena
13 years ago

I don’t know where I saw it, but someone recommended taking seasonal artwork your child brought home in the past year and scanning it to have a calendar printed with them. (i.e. the handprint turkey is November, the Statue of Liberty with your baby’s face plastered on it is July).

Of course, if you’re like me, you totally trashed that junk the minute it came in the door, so you scramble to get 12 REALLY CUTE art projects in a weekend to make this feat possible.

Elizabeth
13 years ago

I second familyfun.com

Lots of great, easy ideas. The magazine is also well done but every month I would get it and feel like a failure because I would never do the activities with my kids!

Michelle
Michelle
13 years ago

My dad has forbidden me from spending any money on him for his birthday or Christmas because of the state of the economy (and his tendency to FREAK OUT over money). So…I’m going to print out some old photos (of his parents) that I have and send those to him for his birthday and I’m making him a mix CD for Christmas. My mom got so excited about the mix CD that she’ll be getting one as well and then I figured I might as well throw some others on that list. Title: Songs That Make Me Think of You. Cheesy? Yes indeedy. But inexpensive and thoughtful.

Kari
Kari
13 years ago

Ok, I suggest you try Knifty Knitters, specifically the round red loom. It is what some of the knitters at my work are calling “cheating knitting”, but it is UBER SIMPLE, very neat since counting stitches is not needed, and you can whip out a scarf in a few days or less, depending on the time alloted to it. Good luck! :]

Jolie
13 years ago

Are you talking about the Great Lakes Lake Erie? ‘Cause SO not trying to be annoying, but it’s one E.

Kari
Kari
13 years ago

Oh, and did I mention that EVERYONE is begging, whining at me to make them scarves now? I say HA to those that say I’m cheating! :}~

ashley
13 years ago

Do photo albums. Grandparents always bitch that they want photos of their beautiful grandbabies, so upload a bunch of pics to Costco’s site and have several of each printed. Shove in a pretty album and decorate with a pretty bow. Voila! Bam. Christmas.

I use Costco for photo developing and am happy, however, you have to ensure that you unclick the box that says you want “auto correction”. You edit, like me, so you don’t want them fussing around with your pictures.

Jen - Mom of 4
Jen - Mom of 4
13 years ago

I’ve decided to do pumpkin bread for everyone this year. The bonus is that I can make it now and freeze those suckers until xmas!

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

My grandma used to send tins of homemade Christmas-themed cookies (a variety from shortbreads to chocolate-coconut clusters) and those were the best gifts ever.

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

Meant to add…

Wicked people used to send fruitcake.

Carmen
13 years ago

Oh I feel for you. Barfy kids make for looong days and nights.

I use iPhoto to make calendars for grandparents and great-grandma. The quality is amazing. I use photos that I didn’t put on Flickr so they haven’t seen them before. Zero craftiness required.

Or, I saw this in Martha Stewart’s holiday issue: http://www.marthastewart.com/good-thing/no-knit-scarf

jenB
13 years ago

Homemade bath salts. Bath Epsom salts in bulk at pharmacy/druggist, get inexpensive canisters from TJ Max, or Target or something, buy a bottle of one or two essential oils, rosewood and lavender, or caldendula. Mix salts and a few droplets of oil in a huge ass bowl, fill up canisters, voila. Make nice labels. Add one cup of love. ha.

Jenn D
13 years ago

Oh, I vote with JenB. Bath Salts are SO easy to make, and you can even make them all sorts of unnatural colours with a drop or two of food colouring. Also, little packages of spiced hot chocolate with mini marshmallows are easy and fun to make.

As for the barf…I feel you sister. We ended up in the hospital in the spring with a dehydrated baby, only to return home to a barfing 3 year old. May 2008 was a complete write off.

Swistle
13 years ago

Have it stamped PERISHABLE, I’d say. Or PERISHED, if they’ve got it.

You know what makes EVERYTHING look good? Gold paint. I get some each year at *cough*Walmart*cough* for, like, 88c or $1.88 or something, and I get some gold fabric ribbon, and I let the kids paint stuff and I hot-glue gold ribbon loops to it, and even stuff like WALNUTS looks all professional when it’s gold and has a loop of gold ribbon on it. (Er, for ornaments. Perhaps that noun would be useful in this comment.)

Valria
13 years ago

Linda I’m sorry about the barfy baby. NO FUN. (not that I would know first hand but still NO FUN)

Here is a great project for you because I know you and Riley bake banana muffins. Its creative and easy and fun.

Get Wide Mouth Pint canning jars. Make Banana Bread batter, fill the jars half full of batter wipe all the excess off the top of the jar where the seal will need to be and bake the bread in the oven (in the jars). Remove and put the lid and band on the jars. The heat will seal them. Once they cool, check to be sure they are sealed by pressing on the lids. Put a bow on the top and you are good to go. They will last about a year stored.

Homemade goodness in a really cool package.

Jenn Perryman
13 years ago

My favorite easy-but-cool gift/craft for people: Custom etched drinking glasses. You’ll need a set of plain glasses, a roll of contact paper, an x-acto knife, a small, inexpensive paint brush and a bottle of glass etching fluid (hobby stores.) On a computer, print out a stencil for whatever you want to etch (dingbats, letters in different fonts both work well…) Trace the image you printed onto the contact paper, then peel the contact paper from the backing and adhere to the glass as smoothly and straight as possible (no bubbles.) With an x-acto, cut the lines from the trace and remove the contact paper where you wish the etched area to be. Then following the directions on the etching fluid (it’s acid- careful!) use the paintbrush to cover the areas. Rinse with water, remove the contact paper from the rest of the glass, and dry.

Sonia
Sonia
13 years ago

1)Take photo.
2)Print photo.
3)Buy frame at Target.
4)Insert photo in frame.
5)Wrap in festive paper.
DONE! ;) That’s the extent of my holiday craftiness!

Melissa
13 years ago

I feel for ya Hon, my son is going through the same thing right now. Hang in there…chocolate helps with the nervous breakdowns.

Anna
13 years ago

Oh, yeah. My husband just got back from a trip with our 4 year old, leaving me with the 18 month old. His return was delayed a couple of days and I was sure I would DIE. I thought it would be a vacation for me. Ummm, NO; it was hellish. Sorry, no help: I turned to Noggin On Demand and mid-priced California Reds, and I don’t even feel guilty.

Leslie
Leslie
13 years ago

The one area in which I out-cook Martha Stewart is that I use homemade vanilla. You won’t believe how much better it makes baked goods taste. So easy! Such a fantastic gift! Buy some tall empty bottles with lids or corks — a lot of stores sell them with homemade vinegars in mind.

Then get some good quality vanilla beans — fat and plump — and slit them all the way down the length. Pop one or two in a bottle (use your judgment; one is fine for a typical 6 or 8 oz. bottle. Fill the bottle with a decent brandy (I use Christian Brothers) and cork/seal.

Make it as early as you can so the seeping can begin; it keeps forever, basically, especially if it has a screw lid. You can add a fancy label or a fabric square around the lid to dress it up.

It’s a good thing.

Ashley
13 years ago

I think you should make bar soap and stamp something like “hint” or “for your ass crack” on the top. But maybe that wouldn’t go over so well…you could just make pretty soap all the same, it’s super easy.

velocibadgergirl
13 years ago

I’m making super easy ornaments this year.

Step 1: pick out pretty fabric, wash it, and dry it without fabric softener

Step 2: iron double sided fusible interfacing to back side of fabric

Step 3: use cookie cutter to trace xmas shape onto interfacing paper (I’m using a tree)

Step 4: cut out shapes

Step 5: peel off paper, iron shapes onto felt

Step 6: cut around shapes, leaving a small border of felt

Step 7: stitch or glue ribbon loop onto back

Voila!

I did steps 1 – 3 of about 35 ornaments in about two hours the other day, and I probably could’ve finished them all if I just kept working for another hour.

Jennifer
Jennifer
13 years ago

My holiday gifts revolve around “consumables” because long ago my family decided no one wants more stuff. This year thanks to Mir’s “Want not” website, I heard about these fantastic steel-cut oats, and just ordered 8 tins of the suckers from Amazon. The tins are pretty (silver/gold lettering) and I’m going to make nice printed recipe cards to go along with each tin – describing how to make different flavors of oatmeal as well as a list of toppings to add. Maybe I’ll get all health-nut as well and include a description of how oats are oh so good for you. To inspire my gift-recipients to really eat them.

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

You’ve probably already discovered this (I’m always about six months to a year behind) but the Hewlitt Packerd website has a bunch of cool stuff you can do with pictures. I’ve already made a few calendars and people seem to love them.
http://www.hp.com/#Explore
I hope the barfing is done by now.

Cara
13 years ago

I was going to suggest the cakes in a jar, too. I made a bunch last year – any ‘quick’ bread or cake will do, so I made cranberry orange bread and also chocolate cake – and they were a huge hit. You could personalize them to the individual easily. I found the instructions on Angry Chicken’s website… Here: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2007/12/cake-in-a-jar-s.html I didn’t do all the pretty labels, just fabric over the lid and tie it off with a ribbon.

kristylynne
kristylynne
13 years ago

Sorry about your rough night(s). I bet the poor boy’s tummy hurts, if he’s doing all that barfing. Hope it passes SOON.

As for crafty, I am not. But last year for Christmas I gave family some photo books and calendars I made through Costco.com (same tool as Snapfish I believe, but cheaper) and everyone loved them.

Joy
Joy
13 years ago

We made homemade notecards from the kids to the grandparents. I bought blank cards and let them color & paint them. I wrote Card By… and the year on the back. I tied them with ribbon too. My husband made an iMovie of the kids pictures set to music for the grandparents too.

In the past I made these cool marble magnets I saw on NotMartha.org. http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/marblemagnets/

Jess
Jess
13 years ago

So sorry about the baby barf…what a naasty weekend….

A couple of ideas that I’ve really enjoyed, and I am the LEAST crafty person out there is on photoworks.com you can make photobooks. We do this fro the grandparents once a year and put a bunch of pictures of the grandkids from the past year. We’ve done this 2 years so far and it’s fun to look back at the prior ones already.
Also, have you ever made a knot quilt. SUPER easy, but always looks nice, and hey – who couldn’t use a blanket?
I’ll look for a website and post it after I find it with directions….

Jess
Jess
13 years ago

Here’s one site with directions…I guess it’s called a “Fleece Tie Blanket”
http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-a-Blanket

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

For those folks who need a little present but not a big present: I make a huge batch of sweet spiced nuts and then put them in pint size mason jars (from hardware store or good grocery store) with ribbon and stickers. Buy plain nuts, mix with 1 beaten egg white, sugar, salt and every sweet spice you like. Coat well and spread evenly on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes turning nuts gently every 10 minutes. Makes your house smell AMAZING.

Laura
Laura
13 years ago

Crafty? I can DO crafty. Pardon me while I also push FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s) products as well.

Homemade Journals: Make a 5.5 x 8.5 cover unique to the person you are giving it to. Buy some pretty paper, assemble and take to FedEx Office to coil bind. I do this EVERY year. Sometimes I go ALL out and make tons of inserts for the journal of pictures and song lyrics to randomly place inside the journal.

Custom Stationary: FedEx Office sells holiday greeting cards, however you can have them use the blank cards and have Riley’s artwork on the covers. So basically you can give someone a set of twenty five cards of different pieces of his artwork (or whatever) If you really want to put time and effort into it, design a card with someones initials or find a place they want to travel to and get pictures of that place to put on the cards.

Endless possibilities..

Stephanie
13 years ago

Look up sugar scrub info. It is so easy to make and really cheap. Put it in a pretty jar and make a little hang tab and wahoo done!

I am also making some felt flowers that get attached to hair clips but unless you have three neices under the age of 7 I don’t recommend those as gifts.

Deanna
Deanna
13 years ago

Don’t be afraid to scrapbook *your* way.

1. get a cheapie 4×6 little album
2. pick a theme (or not)- ex: xmas through the years, Halloweens, 2008 etc
3. print photos from your files (scan old photos as needed)
4. You can write directly onto photos or insert paper into photo sleeves every now and then for writings or leave for gift recipient to write in.

My photo xmas project for this year is large collage frames.
1. Find large frames at thriftstore.
2. Wrap cardboard backing in gold wrapping paper (other colors work, too but I have a nice flat gold on hand)
3. Print lots and lots of photos (you can go fancy & crop some into circles or ovals using software). I like to stay on the large side (nothing smaller than 3×5) because mine are for old folks with bad eyesight.
4. Adhere photos in a nice pattern.
5. replace glass, clips etc.
6. Wrap or just wrap the front with a bow (for impressive tear away reveal) to save on paper.

I’ve made these with 3 8×10’s in a row, 12 4″ squares in a grid pattern, free form, themed (all wedding pictures of all the family members), 1 frame for each person, made one for each kid with photos of that kid with each parent, grandparent etc.

Nancy
Nancy
13 years ago

My daughter in law made a mini photo book for me from Walgreens website- if you have Walgreens drugstores there? – she uploaded the pictures of my granddaughter and included some of my son and all of them as a family- it’s a mini book 2×3 inch, bound, and it’s my grandma “bragbook”. I keep it in my purse, every one I show it to just loves it. And best of all, I think it was like $7 or something. I’m hoping for another one with new pictures for Christmas

Kelly
Kelly
13 years ago

Sorry to hear about the barf fest. That blows! Har-Har.

An easy craft/gift: I bought a mirror at the local craft store for $5 (unfinished wood) and some pretty tissue paper and mod podged it. It looks really good and it didn’t take long at all. You could do anything… frames, flower pots, serving tray. I’m not crafty and I thought it was simple.

thejunebug
13 years ago

Poor girl. If I lived closer than 3000 miles away, I’d offer to babysit. :(

How about cookies-in-a-jar? Buy mason jars at your local craft store, fill them with dry ingredients for a cookie recipe of your choice (layered prettily, of course), use photoshop/illustrator to print up some cute labels with instructions & something saying “From Linda, JB, Riley, and Dylan”, tie pretty ribbons around the top, and *poof*. Instant gift.

My in-laws do this every year, except they give homemade cocoa mix.

JennB
13 years ago

Homemade granola, pancake mix or spice rub set. Go to http://www.eatingwell.com and look for it. There is even a downloadable recipe/gift card at that site for you to include with your gift.

Belle
Belle
13 years ago

Ooooh, Dylan and you are certainly having a rough week! Poor little baby.

I was a crafty person for a very long time and now am no longer interested. Well, maybe I am but I just don’t have the time nor the energy. And I don’t even have any small kids hanging around. I vote you forego the craftiness – don’t you have enough to do as it is? No sense stressin’ is all I’m saying! (I am a perfectionist and if I was making something craft, it had better damn well look professional. And that takes time. And energy. See above.)

Heather
13 years ago

Oh my god, I JUST cheap-easy-crafted! Baby-food jar candles. Check it out:

http://bowmannerisms.blogspot.com/2008/11/suck-it-martha.html

Sarah
13 years ago

What about edibles (no, not underwear!)? Shortbread, cheese cookies, jam thumbprints, macaroons (they are INSANELY easy to make and only have, like, 3 ingredients), Mexican hot cocoa kits-in-a-jar, preserves (I just made some quince paste; takes a long time, but is actually very easy), etc. They’re consumable so it’s not more crap cluttering up the giftee’s house/office/basement. You can be green AND crafty! ;)

Erin
13 years ago

Sorry about Dylan & the pukies. That really blows chunks (hee! oh, not funny?)

I just wrote a post asking for craft ideas on Friday morning. I got a some good suggestions including Christmas ornaments, handmade notecards, and Swistle’s gold paint idea.

Tina
Tina
13 years ago

There are so many great ideas in the comments. I am wanting to do as many homemade gifts as possible this year. Here’s a cool site I found of fancy food things you can make: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/giving/fromthekitchen.php

And they have gift tages that give people ideas how to use the items. I’m trying to decide which things my sister and mom are going to get.

Hue
Hue
13 years ago

You could make small bottles of vanilla extract. So much better than that crap you buy at the store and you only need two ingredients! And you can find cute bottles at World Market. Here’s the recipe: http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/007340how_to_make_vanilla_extract.php

Or, you could make homemade bottles of Magic Shell chocolate sauce. You know, the chocolate sauce that gets hard when you pour it over ice cream. That too only takes two ingredients and tastes just like that store-bought stuff, just without the chemical additives:

http://accidentalvegetarian.blogspot.com/2007/07/homemade-magic-shell.html

(I used two cups of chocolate chips per one cup of coconut oil.) The stuff lasts for months.

sooboo
sooboo
13 years ago

Two words. Flip books. You don’t have to be able to draw, you can use stick figures.
http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_a_Flip_Book_Animation

jolie
13 years ago

fair enough! it is eerie….

I have no good craft ideas. my mom always does simple things like buy really cute mugs/baskets from TJ Maxx and fill them with small things like a small holiday towel, candy canes, candles, mints, etc. (Since we have like 35 zillion relations to pass gifts around to.)

Alyson
13 years ago

Homemade hot cocoa mix and home marshmallows. Really, you can make a ton and give it out forever. Then just find cute packaging (see Packaging Specialities for amazing stuff) and some cute holiday cups when Fred Meyers starts discounting them (at least 50% off, and you’re set. (use an egg-free recipe to have marshmallows that last longer).

I’m planning to knit felted tree ornaments for my nieces and nephews this year. This is easy knitting and really, what can be easier than knitting something and then INTENTIONALLY shrinking it in the wash!

Oh shoot! I wish I could adequately describe the little photo album my SIL made a while back with really easily available stuff and pics of your own adorable kids. Perfect for the doting grandparents….