Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade holiday embellishments ...

gift tags by Nelley Kelley

... 'tis the season for trying your hand at some homemade gifts and embellishments.  Each year I try to create all of my own gift tags, holiday cards and homemade gifts.  There is a satisfying feeling knowing that you can craft many of the things that you see in the stores especially paper items like cards, tags and wrapping paper.  It takes only a little time to gather your supplies and then you're off!  I love it when friends and family look forward to the wrappings each year and then repurpose them as bookmarks, framed prints, trinkets or their own gift toppers - It becomes a little gift to me!

Holiday Gift Tags by Nelley Kelley

I've printed out holiday sayings on lovely water color paper.  I've cut them out in a banner shape and then folded the top of the banner for a finished look.  Next, I punched a hole in the top and finished it with a tiny red grommet.  Lastly, string a little silver thread through the top and tie it on to your gift or slide it into a book gift as an added little something.

...more Nelley Kelley tags

Some of my tags are scaled down versions of my artwork.  Here I've reduced the size of my art and printed it on fine art water color paper.  Punch a hole in the top, add a grommet and thread with silver string.  Think about taking your children's artwork and scanning it into your computer.  Make all your holiday tags out of their artwork.  People will be delighted.

Clay tags by Nelley Kelley

My clay tags are so simple but are probably the most beautiful little tags that I've made.  These can adorn a special little package or can be given as ornaments.  Either way - they will not be thrown out.  I guarantee that they will be saved over the years.  This is a wonderful project to do with your children and isn't limited to the holidays.

cookie cutters

Grab some of your cookie cutters.  The size of the finished tag is totally up to you.

air drying clay

You want to use white air drying clay (not clay that has to be baked in an oven).  Roll out your clay to about 1/8inch thickness.

clay cut outs

Cut out your clay in the shape you like.  Use a tooth pick to put a hole at the top of your cut out so that you can string them up later.  While the clay is still wet, you can press different objects in them or leave them as is.  

printed clay tags

I stamped my clay tags with holiday words and tied on little bells to make them more festive.

clay button tag

Here I pressed a button into the clay for a sweet little gift tag.  Your imagination is your only limit here so have fun.  The clay needs to air dry for a day.  I found that your tags will look best if you turn them over from time to time when they are drying.  You can smooth out the edges with sandpaper but I kind of like the roughened edges because it seems more organic.

Chalkboard gift tags by Nelley Kelley

I used some chalkboard paint to dress up some balsam wood heart shapes that I had leftover from my ornament project.  A quick slick of chalkboad paint, some wire and a little jingle bell and you've got a sweet little ornament, gift tag or place setting (thread a ribbon through and tie around a napkin and you've got a little take home gift for everyone).  

Chalkboard hearts by Nelley Kelley

Jam Jar by Terrain at Styers

While I've got my chalkboard paint out I thought I would try my hand at dip-dying some inexpensive pottery.  I'm using this jam jar that I bought at as my inspiration.  It's lovely don't you think?  I bet we can pull off something just like it at a fraction of the cost and it would be homemade.

Plain white milk bottle

Plain white jam jar

I had these inexpensive white porcelain pieces at home and thought we could turn these into something a bit more special.  I filled a plastic paint bucket with chalkboard paint and then dipped the bottle and jam jar in half way.  I held them over the bucket so the excess would drip off and then I turned them upside down on a piece of paper and let them dry.

my milk bottle chalkboard

My chalkboard jam jar

Look how great these turned out!  I just love them.  They are not perfect but that does't matter.  The character comes from the little imperfections.  Can't you see the milk bottle being put out with Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve?  How about your homemade jam in the jam jar being served with some yummy toast on Christmas morning.  Now these would be sweet little gifts to give.

Winter Wishes

I hope this inspires you to create some of your own little gifts.  You don't have to be super artistic to create any of these things and you don't really need to go out and buy a lot of supplies - many of them you have right at home.  Wishing you a happy December.

see you soon,