I have a big problem buying stuff for people who already have everything… especially when I know they probably won’t want whatever I could find on sale at the mall or at the department store. I’d much rather spend less money, but more time, making homemade gifts for family members and close friends.
Aside from the usual baked goodies, I try to come up with unique, homemade gift ideas each year, and I often try to somehow incorporate photos into the gifts.
For example, HERE is a picture of sister dolls I made for my sister back in 2004.
HERE, you can see some personalized ornaments I made from photos awhile back.
This year, I experimented with paper sculpture. I made a paper sculpture of my mom’s house for her that I thought turned out pretty well. I can’t post it here because I’m afraid she might peek.
I also took a photo of my sister, distorted it in Photoshop, making it into three shades of colors, and then transferred that, through creative cutting and 3D gluing (I used glue dots that make the layers stand out) to different shades of earth-toned paper. I was pretty happy with how that turned out. You can see what I did here:
(I trust her not to peek!)
Another idea I came up with this year (which I don’t have time to try until next year) is to make life-sized, personalized dolls from colored felt and batting (stuffing). You can insert heavy wire (from the local hardware store) into the limbs before sewing them up so they’ll be bendable. If you get fabric that you can print on, you can put a real face on the doll from a photo. An example of printing a face onto material is at the first link above.
If your family has a really good sense of humor, you could make the dolls anatomically correct. Heh…
I also purchased build-your-own snow globes. I’m taking photos our of children and, in each photo, they will look like they’re holding their breath, and have been for quite awhile, and will appear to be swimming. I’ll cut their bodies out of the photos, laminate them, and put them in the snow globes, with the snow, of course.
THIS is where I found the snow globes.
I found some cute frames shaped like ferris wheels. A photo goes in each “seat” in the ferris wheel, front and back. Richard’s idea was to take front and back photos of the children so, when the ferris wheel turns around, after you see the front of a child, you then see the back of them. Silly, I know, but cute. HERE is the frame. Darn, they’re out of stock. I found them at Target so check there if you’re interested. They were on sale and on display at the end of a rack.
Each year, I turn photos of Richard’s step-Grandma’s grandchildren (try saying that five times really fast) into a cute 3-D winter scene for her. I purchase a shadow box, make a winter background with construction paper, and then place photos on 3D Scrapbooking stickers.
For example, I could make one of her grandsons skating with these 3-D sticker SKATES while juggling THESE Christmas Presents. THESE trees might be in the background, behind a light blue, construction paper skating pond. I might put the cut-out photo of the other grandson up in the sky, riding THIS REINDEER.
If this idea appeals to you, visit your local craft store. Most of them have hundreds to thousands of these 3-D scrapbook stickers to choose from. You can definitely find some that will appeal to anyone with any interest.
I’d love to get some ideas from you about unique, inexpensive gifts you’ve created for loved ones! I’ll share your hints and stories right here next week.
Happy holidays, everybody!!
P.S. If you’re interested in reborning and personalizing a baby doll (making an ordinary doll look like a real, breathing infant), see my book, How to Reborn a Doll in a Day HERE. It’s fully illustrated with lots of color photos and available for instant download.