I think we can all agree that the Holidays tend to present unexpected and often stressful situations, precisely when it is least convenient. AmIright? Just when you think you have things under control and your holiday shopping finished, several of your amazing neighbors bring fresh baked holiday treats with a side of holiday cheer and leave you scrambling for something you can give in return so you don’t look like a modern day Ebeneezer Scrooge. This month’s Michael’s Makers Challenge is all about the Holiday Hacks you can tackle to relieve some of the stress and so you won’t be caught upstream without a paddle. Each of us is going to tackle one such Holiday Hack that will leave you prepped and ready for anything this stressful season might throw your way. Today I am sharing three easy Hostess Gifts you can make in a jiff, and that will also work perfectly for those unexpected carolers who show up at your door. Does anyone even do that anymore? Maybe it’s not a thing… no clue! So clear yourself an hour or so and knock out a several of each thing and you won’t have to worry about showing up to your next holiday party empty handed. Assembly line this, folks… And you can head over to The Glue String to see a whole range of Holiday Hacks from the other A-Mazing Makers that will have you wrapping odd things and gifting like a champ in no time!
First on our list is a cute organic ring dish or small catch-all. I made this one with a constellation pattern for the birth sign of the person this is for, but if you want to keep it less specific you can rim the edges and leave it at that or add a cute yet more general design to the center.
Start by warming up your clay. Once it feels pliable and easy to work with, roll it into a ball and then roll it out flat into an oval shape that is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Don’t worry about the shape since an oddity will lend to the organic nature of this dish later.
Gently lift the edges of your disk, forming a nice lip all the way around. Give your lip a slightly irregular shape by lifting some edges more than others and help it take on a natural form. Smooth the edges so that they look intentional and smooth the flat portion of your dish as well. Make sure there are no air bubbles or markings that you won’t love later. This is supposed to look organic, but not childlike, so use your fingertips and gently refine your work.
When it looks amazing, bake in the oven on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 275 degrees.
Once your dish has cooled, use your metallic painter to add a little glitz to the edges. If you want to add a design in the center, wait until the rim has dried so that you don’t smear anything. That’s it, 20 minutes and most of that is for baking so you can make several of these at once and knock out quite a few people! Who doesn’t like a cute jewelry dish or fancy spot to set their keys?
There are a number of ways you can decorate a vase or candle holder, one of which is to use a similar painter as for the ring dish and bake it to make it permanent. For those of you who don’t want to hand draw a pattern on your vessel, this is a fabulous way to make a permanent decorative design on a simple piece of glass.
Embossing Ink in an ink pad and a fancy stamp are really all you need for this, but if you want to glitz things up even more… add a sprinkle of glittery embossing powder and give your design a bit of sparkle and dimension.
I chose to do a confetti or champagne bubbles type of pattern and my stamp set happened to have the perfect couple of bubble stamps so this made the process extremely easy. Simply stamp out your design using your ink pad and stamp all the way around your vessel. Since the ink has a slow drying time, you can wipe clean and begin again if it isn’t perfect.
Lay down a sheet or two of paper and while the ink is still a bit wet, sprinkle the glittery embossing powder over your stamped design. Shake off the excess and use your paper to pour it back into your powder jar.
Let your ink and powder set up a bit and then use a dry brush to remove any powder that remains where you don’t want it to. Using your heat gun, heat your design making sure to keep it moving in a circular pattern. You will see the embossing powder melt a bit and when you have heated your design all the way around, let it cool completely before handling. Add some stems or branches of something beautiful, or add a candle and delight your host with something that will bring holiday cheer to her table or home.
Cute tea towels and napkins are one of those things that people would love to have, and somehow never seem to buy. If you are someone who loves to bring a bottle of wine or fancy olive oil for your host, a quick and cute tea towel as gift wrap adds an extra layer of goodness to your gift!
I grabbed several bandana blanks in the tee-shirt, tote bag and fabric decorating aisle along with a Painter with a large chisel tip so my designs would be faster to create. If you want a more detailed or delicate pattern, choose a tip that caters to that.
I used the folds in the bandana to create a grid in a wide line. Go over your lines in any areas that aren’t well inked. Begin adding the angled lines using the finer tip of the chisel point. Go slow so that you can be sure you don’t mess up your pattern and be sure you always start at a line and end at a line. That doesn’t mean the larger grid lines necessarily, so if you want to stop in the middle of your grid square, just add a line heading in an alternate direction to finish it off.
Continue adding angled lines in varying angles and lengths. Then go back and widen a few of the angled lines to the same thickness as your grid lines. When you like your design, let it dry for a few minutes and then heat set with a household iron to make it permanent. The tea towel can now be washed and dryed as you typically might, and your bottle of wine has a fancy presentation that looks amazing even before it’s unwrapped.