12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas: Day 7 – 9

I am almost there! ¬†This next set of projects took a lot less time, say 2 to 3 hours instead of 8 to 10 ūüėČ

Day 7:  Sharpie mugs

Josh and I have the privilege of meeting with two small groups. ¬†What’s particularly great about these groups is neither was started as a couples small group.

I have been meeting with the same group of girls for 3 1/2 years.  A year ago one got married, four months ago another got married, and three and a half months ago the third left to study in New York for a semester.  So, with just three of us we decided to double our numbers by adding the guys while Mary was gone.  I originally made these mugs for the gift exchange we were to do last Thursday but, because of a flu bug, our Christmas party was postponed and now I only need one gift to exchange since Josh is gone this week.

The other group we fondly call “couples and pizza” even though we have been¬†meeting as a small group for a few months and haven’t been back for pizza in a while. ¬†Again, a few years ago, not too long after Josh and I got married we started going out for pizza at this great local place called The Squire with our friends Kyle and Amelia. ¬†After a few months of just us we invited another wife that shared a class, Screenwriting, with Ami and I and before long we grew into a 10 “member” group. ¬†Amelia and Kyle moved away for a year but came back just in time as we transitioned into doing a Wiser Together small group study put together by Willow Creek Community Church. ¬†I’ve loved where the study has taken us as a group and really brought us together as a community doing life together and spiritually shepherding one another. ¬†Even though I miss looking forward to pizza I really love how studying every week together has made us a family.

Side note: ¬†for those of you not in a small group… I SERIOUSLY recommend it! ¬†It is good for the growth of the heart, soul, and mind in so many ways. ¬†AND, if you are thinking of starting a small group or joining a small group I wholeheartedly recommend Wiser Together as a great launching point for a group. ¬†Really builds a strong foundation for the group by getting to the nitty-gritty and establishing trust.

Anyway, it is for this second group that I am now contributing the Christmas mugs for our gift exchange tomorrow. ¬†So, group, spoiler alert! ¬†If any of you are reading you know what one of the gifts is. ¬†BUT you don’t know how I’m wrapping it ūüėČ

I can say I came up with this idea on my own. ¬†At least the colorful Sharpie and mugs bit of it. ¬†My friend Megan a couple of weeks previous had told me how she was making creative plates by simply writing in black Sharpie on them. ¬†So when I was pondering what $10 gift I could give that was a little more fun the mug idea came to me. ¬†So I went to IKEA and picked up a couple of their standard white mugs, IKEA 365+,¬†for about $6 – don’t worry I have another little something with the gift to make is $10, I am no cheap skate ūüėČ ¬†At home I have a plethora of colored Sharpie markers so I selected the appropriate color for each of the words I had selected to write and silver for some snowflakes I wanted to draw on the mugs as well. ¬†My word choices coincided with the words I’ve been holding at the front of my brain this December as I’m working through my projects and really working to keep my focus on Christ and the main things He stands for: ¬†peace, hope, love, and joy. ¬†Megan was over working on some cards so together we decided that deep blue was for peace (like the calming ocean waves), green was for hope (like the hope of growth in spring), red for love (of course), and light blue was for joy (red, orange, yellow, and pink would have been fitting too but red was already taken, orange isn’t really Christmas-like,¬†the yellow wouldn’t show and I don’t particularly like pink).

What I loved about this project was how nice and easy it was, that I was able to spruce up my gift giving on a budget and in a personal way, and that I could also give the gift of the reminders of those four important words.


Supplies needed:

  • at least one mug (IKEA 365+ for $3/ea)
  • Sharpie/s – colors of your choice
  • oven

Your steps:

  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. draw on your mug (if you make mistakes you can rub it off with a little, good ‘ol fashioned, spit)
  3. put in oven for 30 minutes
  4. the end

Day 8:  Calhoun Christmas Card 2012

Every year, except for our first married Christmas, Josh and I have sent out Christmas cards. ¬†After the first year of receiving a little pile of Christmas cards for our fridge I swore I would contribute to our friends fridges in the years to come. ¬†Just one of those things I didn’t think about as a brand new homemaker ūüėČ ¬†I LOVE Christmas cards. ¬†I love making them. ¬†I love getting them. ¬†What’s not to like really, you get the most adorable picture of the ones you love to keep in your house until the next year when you get to put up a new one. ¬†I’m thinking that I will start saving them in this easy, make-shift binder idea I have for when my fridge fills up too much.

The first couple years I used VistaPrint for our Christmas cards. ¬†What’s nice about them is they are SUPER cheap and there are designs for you to choose from right there. ¬†But this year I started designing cards myself for my photography clients so I decided I should do the same for Josh and I. ¬†Ironically, for ours, I actually purchased a design template from Etsy¬†and customized¬†it to fit us and my printing needs then I got it printed through my lab.

What I liked about this project was choosing a fun design and the intent of a simple gift to everyone Josh and I hold dear. ¬†I personally value the Christmas cards that share the year’s story so I can get properly up to speed with friends, even if I gave talked to them. ¬†I love getting to hear highlights and lowlights of the past year in this simple, straight-forward way so I always make a point to do so on our cards. ¬†Kudos to Grandma Joyce because it was the Christmas card I received from her and Grandpa that prompted the personal message idea.

For this year’s message I also wrote a poem, but here’s all of what we are sharing on our cards that I’m popping in the mail today:

Christmas card back design

Christmas card back design – for better viewing of the text ūüėČ

Christmas card front

Christmas card front

Christmas Card Back - to Grandma Lu ;)

Christmas Card Back – to Grandma Lu ūüėČ

Supplies needed:

  • a professional photo lab or a professional photographer to go through or maybe you can come up with another brilliant idea/solution
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • a postcard design template (I got mine from Etsy from the frankandfrida¬†shop,¬†Prescott Blue- 5×7 Holiday Card)

Your steps:

  1. purchase your design
  2. customize
  3. write your holiday message – please ūüėČ
  4. send to the printer
  5. they arrive at your doorstep
  6. address and send!

Day 9:  Christmas book

So I have been in need of a final project since the conception of the idea to do this whole 12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas thing. ¬†All along I’ve had 10 solid ideas with 11 and 12 fluctuating in and out. ¬†I had a circulation of three handmade gifts that I was flirting with posting but, in the end, only chose to include the mugs (Day 7, above). ¬†So that still left me with one day that I was unsure what to do with. ¬†I thought I might make a yarn wreath, split my snowflake making into a couple of days, or make some more ornaments (sparkles or stars) but I didn’t¬†particularly¬†love those ideas because I already had a wreath and didn’t have a place for another one, splitting snowflake making is lame, and after my crayon ornaments, pine cone ornaments¬†(Day 2), and¬†origami¬†star tree garland¬†(Day 1)¬†I had a full tree. ¬†Then, a couple of days ago, I was doing some blog research when I came upon a “Christmas book” idea. ¬†Since I am starting this on mine and Josh’s fourth Christmas I filled in the first few years from memory and got us caught up to this year. ¬†All I have left for this year is to list our 2012 favorite 2012 Christmas memories and favorite 2012 Christmas gifts.

What I liked about this project was having a place to keep track of our yearly Christmas card, I could make use of a cool and Christmas-like¬†journal my mom gave us a year or so ago, and I could keep a log of major year happenings mixed in with Christmas anecdotes like favorite gifts and Christmas events (Christmas with who and what we did). ¬†Then, I can pack it up with our Christmas stuff at the end of the season so it can come out naturally for another round next year ūüôā







I think after this Christmas I am going to have Josh write in it because his handwriting is much prettier. ¬†This is what I get for not thinking to utilize his penmanship when he’s in town! ūüėČ

Supplies needed:

  • a journal or unlined book of sorts
  • a pen or pencil
  • a personal Christmas card

Your steps:

  1. purchase a journal (there are nice leather books like mine sold at Target I know)
  2. paste in your Christmas card
  3. get to writing (I recommend Christmas destinations, favorite Christmas memory, and favorite Christmas gift/s)
  4. at the end of the season pack it up with your Christmas decorations

This week’s posts to come…

Wednesday, December 19… ¬†Wednesday Words: an inside look at recording Citizen Way

Thursday, December 20… ¬†12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas: Day 10 – 12

Friday, December 21… 12 Days of Handmade and Homemade Christmas: ¬†a summary

Off for the holidays… THEN, to bring in the new year, a photo a day (covering the last two weeks of December with all the Christmas happenings).