DIY Christmas Gifts


For the past several years, we have done a gift exchange with Brett’s immediate family.  Usually over Thanksgiving someone puts everyone’s name in a bowl and we pass it around to pick the lucky person to buy a gift for. Since there is 8 of us, it saves us all quite a penny to only buy for 2 people.

So this year as the bowl is being passed, Brett’s mom, Carol, yells from the kitchen, “We should do DIY gifts this year!”   I immediately, responded, “Yes!” I was up for something different, plus I was thinking that depending on the idea it could be more cost effective, which would be a blessing to our slim Christmas budget.

We later all agreed, or more likely the girls agreed and we made the boys comply :), and off to my dusty Pinterest board I went to search for a meaningful gift idea.  (I rarely use Pinterest. I do have an account and some pins, but I’m quite old school and use that ancient tool on my browser called Bookmarks. 😉 )

Brett picked Jamie, his sister-in-law, and I had chosen Carol.  We threw out some ideas, and as we began to search on Pinterest, I found an awesome DIY gift for Jamie, and Brett found the perfect gift for his mom. So we switched!

Off to the stores we went to buy the materials. To make a long story short, Brett changed his initial idea because in his words, “Everyone else this year is doing the SAME gift idea because there are no 3.25″ wooden blocks anywhere!!!!”  He drove around several stores, I called some stores, and everyone was out of these blocks!  The phrase was even spoken by both of us at one point throughout the process, “We are never doing DIY gifts AGAIN!”

Here is what Brett made for his mom:

He started by painting two sides of 2-inch blocks.


Quickly sanded the edges of the blocks.


He printed 4 – 8×8 pictures on our printer at home.

Marked 2-inch segments and cut into 16 squares


Then used Mod Podge to glue each picture on a block. Let dry.


Sanded the corners again.





IMG_0560 IMG_0561For Jamie, I found the following clock to purchase on Pinterest and thought, I could make that! And so I did!

I bought 2 different faces. The one on top was an actual clock face while the bottom was a wooden square I found really cheap at Walmart. However, I was a little nervous because the wood was very thin and I would need to drill a hole for the actual clock hands.

IMG_0535I had Brett drill a hole in the middle and tested to ensure the motor fit. It worked!

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I painted both sides, choosing this blue because it was Jamie’s wedding color.

IMG_0543 IMG_0540

Brett worked his Photoshop magic and printed the music beats.

(Jamie is an elementary music teacher!)


 I then shaded the back of the paper with chalk…


And traced the notes onto the board, leaving a chalk outline!

IMG_0551 IMG_0552

Filled in the notes with a black Sharpie.


There was some chalk dust that I wiped away with a damp paper towel.


Screwed in the clock hands and motor and placed on a table top easel!


 By the end, we were pretty excited to give our gifts!!!  Once the gift exchange began, we quickly found out that Carol had Brett and Jamie had me! How fun!

Carol took Brett’s theater t-shirts from high school and made pillows!! Brett LOVES them!


And Jamie knew what a stressed Momma of 2 needed: homemade bath snow and a Disney music collection CD, which one song is performed by Jamie herself!


Even though it took some time, I thought that all the gifts were more meaningful than the usual scarf or sweater or DVD. Will we do DIY gifts next year?!  I guess we’ll have to wait and see!


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