Crafting Time – Part 2

More of the craftiness we had going on here when the girls were a bit younger (pre-teen to early teens). They still craft now, at 14 + 17, but their crafts have definately become more elaborate (read “EXPENSIVE”).

dsc_9156aOne day we had walked all the way down to the beach, and had decided to collect all kinds of rocks while we were there to paint and glue. The critters turned out pretty cool, but I think we should have used better glue than the hot glue sticks as the weight of the rocks was too heavy for some to stay together. We added magnets to the back and had them on our fridge.

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dsc_91541A few times we sat with a pad of paper and designed all sorts of silly clothes. Come to think of it, those times were all in ferry lineups… But it was fun! And some designs were completely off-the-wall. This is one of A’s sheets from when she was very young.

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dsc_9166aWe had these magnets on our fridge for ages. We had pressed tiny flowers, glued colored tissue and the flower to the back of a clear “rock” and added a magnet. Beautiful! I think our last one just recently broke (the magnet-to-tissue bond isn’t great if you pick up the magnets many times over).

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dsc_9164aShrinky Dinks! The girls and I did these ages ago – can’t remember what in the world we did with them… This past Christmas Tt drew a bunch of mini B/W pictures and we shrunk them and made earrings for all the girl sisters + cousins. They were actually a big hit!
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dsc_9162These cute little felt mittens on a ribbon adorned all our Christmas gifts one year. We wrote “to” and “from”‘s on the back of each mitten. Of course, they coordinated with our wrapping paper and Christmas tree theme ;-).

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dsc_9165We (meaning the girls, really) painted these bird houses, although I’m not sure why – we’ve never bought bird food… They so suit each girls personality – A is colorful and bright, B is thoughtful and precise. We have them outside now, which I hate to do for the potential wear and tear!

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More to follow! We have not yet even BEGUN to craft… Mwuahhahaha.

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Gift Ideas – Girls 12-16 part 2

A few more ideas since last post! I know we can all use ’em this time of year. ‘Tis the season, afterall.
(Note I have NOT included things like iPods, laptops, personal Nintendo’s or DVD players – we generally just don’t give gifts that HELP teenage girls tune us more than they already may… having their own cell phones is about all we can bear!)

1. Night on the town. A few times we’ve given the gift of TIME together! Awww! Ya, I’m not sure they’d really favor this over money, but… We’ve given tickets to a post-Christmas show, which naturally includes getting all dressed up, having a fancy dinner, etc. It can get pricey, but it’s been fun. Once or twice aunts and grandmas joined in for an “all girl” night out.

2. Camera. Not that every kid needs all their own expensive toys, but digital cameras aren’t as pricey as they once were. Teenage girls LOVE to take photos of each other (or themselves) and paste them on their Facebook. Even B, generally camera-shy, takes her camera to parties and such.

3. Sporting Goods. Any teenage girl that plays sports, can use an extra nice sporty something or other. Whether an extra nice pair of volleyball shorts found online, an extra nice ski jacket or a fancy baseball bag. Even if they can just use it for practice, girls always like adding a bit of style. The girls both love volleyball, so one year we bought both of them a beach net to share.

4. Clothes? Now, I generally DON’T recommend buying teenage girls clothes. BUT, if there’s a specific thing in an exact size that they’ve actually tried on, go for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t risk it – try a Mall Gift Card instead. I don’t know how many clothes those girls have NOT worn because it wasn’t quite the right color, or didn’t fit exactly right, or it wasn’t cool enough… *sigh*. (Although, see earlier blog about getting “staples” – every gal needs a plain old white collared shirt). I’m sure this won’t be a problem w/ teenage boys down the road!

5. Kitcheny things… I asked the girls what their favorite gifts have been, and would you guess it – Kitcheny things were in abundance! Even though some were “family gifts”, they loved the Ice Cream maker, the KitchenAid (wait for your own wedding, kid), the Whip Creamer and we even have a torch for creme brulees.

6. Magazines. Both girls have their own interests, and could benefit from individual magazine subscriptions. And who doesn’t like MAIL addressed to them once in awhile??

7. Bags. Purses. Clutches. I know it’s still a “style” preference, but really, what gal doesn’t need at least 20 different bags in her closet? There’s the “going-out-purse”, the “shopping-with-friends” bag, the “grab-and-go” wallet, the “courier-catch-all”, in basic black, chocolate brown, red, white… ohhhh, I need a new bag…

8. Personalized gifts. Well, there isn’t a lot you can MAKE a teenager that they’ll truly appreciate, but a few of our relatives seem to do a great job. Gramma once gave each a “mock magazine cover” with their picture playing their favorite sport, all framed; an Uncle once gave a packet of a fashion magazine, mall card and a “glamoured up” photo for each of the girls. With photoshop, ANYTHING is possible nowadays!

9. A Holiday. Ok, so not many people have such a budget as to give airplane tickets as a Cmas gift (uh, never would happen), but if you’re planning to go away soon anyhow, Christmas might be a good time to spring the surprise! Include a copy of an airline ticket with a travel book (geared to kids, with lots of photos), a really cute travel tag, perhaps a nice piece of luggage, a language book, some foreign currency, etc – get creative!

10. Memory Book. I keep scrapbooks, but I haven’t given a personally put together book just for an individual gift highlighting, say, their high school years, or their elementary school friendships. Lots of great websites do this now such as Shutterfly.

Not sure I can possibly think of ANOTHER 10 – please add any ideas you might have as comments!

Gift Ideas – Girls 12-16 part 1

It’s nearing Christmas, and for those of you who haven’t yet begun to shop, perhaps this will help.

What can I say? I just love lists. Straightforward, to the point lists.

Over the years the girls have received (and not JUST from me!) some really great gifts. I always like something that’s going to teach them something, or something they’ll (hopefully) treasure, something meaningful. It’s always so tough to get just the right idea, so here are some extra ideas to ponder…

1. Beads (or any craft). We started out with the big chunky “little kid” beads, but ended up with expensive stones – through the last 8 years we continue to make our own necklaces and jewelry to wear, sell and give away. The gift that keeps giving! Also beading books are great gifts for ideas.

2. TV DVD’s. They love to own their favorite TV shows from Top Models to Heroes, to re-watch as the new season starts (or hits a lull) or to share with their friends.

3. Jewelry boxes. And not just the cheesy ones – nice, grownup, stitched leather ones, travel ones, fancy ones.

4. Staples. Every girl needs a. black dress pants,  b. a white dress shirt and c. a decent pair of shoes and d. a coat they can finish it all off with (for concerts, nice dinners out, Christmas, etc). And, at a younger age, they’ll keep growing out of them, so it’s a gift you can give a few times 😉

5. Shopping! What a gift! The girls’ Grampa leaves nothing to chance, and takes them shopping for 2 “items” each (cost per “item” pre-determined!), which he takes and wraps up. It’s a gift they’ll actually wear, and also gives the gift of time together.

6. “Hope Chest” thangs. As the girls have gotten older, I think more of gifts that I can see them using when they have their own house to live in, such as a solid quality quilt, a special blanket, special “grown up” pj’s, expensive housecoat, etc.

7. A Skill in a Box. A few times I’ve created a box of some kind of skill to enjoy teaching/learning with the girls over the coming year. A sewing box, a crafts box, a glass bead making box. Some simple items to get them intrigued or started in learning something new that year.

8. Match ’em up! I have two girls, plus me, so once or twice I’ve given all three of us something matching, making it meaningful. Mostly jewelry does this just right, especially if we can get an engraving. I received an old ring from a passed-away aunt that had 25 stones in it. Next year we plan to have 3 matching rings made, which I’ve asked my eldest daughter to design.

9. All in the family. Last year I made each girl (plus one or two of their close friends) a cookbook with basic cooking guidelines and recipes from every branch of the family. I especially included all their favorite meal things from our day to day dinners. (Kind of goes with Hope Chest things – they can take this with them wherever they go from here).

10. Hot rollers! Amazing, but not every young gal has grown up with hot rollers somewhere in their closet! We’ve had a blast learning to use them on each other and trying to make them super curly to just-right wavy.

That should do it for ideas for this season – perhaps by next season I’ll have thought out / remembered 10 more. Enjoy your shopping!