Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Baby’s Firsts Book with Lifestyle Crafts


I’m over on the Lifestyle Crafts blog sharing a couple of tips: how to make a stub book and how to make a leather enclosure!


I made the above stub book, and I’m so excited to gift it to a new mom. I designed custom plates for this project, but the artwork could be used for any number of things. I definitely plan on using my new plates for cards and envelopes, which I’ll be sure to share.


That being said, I’m offering the above artwork (graphics ganged up for a custom plate and separated for other projects) to you for free, well sort of. The artwork is free for personal use, if you simply follow my blog. You can follow this blog’s RSS (google reader is dying so choose something else), email, facebook, twitter, etc. See the left sidebar, then you can click the button below to download the artwork. If you’d like to license the artwork commercially, email me through the contact form above.

Yes, I’m bribing you to stick around.



Click here to read more about how to make your own Baby’s Firsts book.

Handmade Christmas 2012


Like most years, I like to make as many Christmas gifts as possible. This year was much better than last. It’s been quite a bit less stressful this year than last (we were still settling into our last digs), but I tried to keep things as simple as possible.

For the kiddos, I adopted Gabrielle’s philosophy on gift giving. I didn’t make anything for them this year.

On my side of the family, we were in charge of giving to my younger sister and her husband. They’ll be heading up here from Tuscan to celebrate Christmas and pick up their new puppy. So I thought I would make something appropriate for that. I lettered their names in frames (they can easily swap those out for photos), cut out an ampersand and made a leather collar for the new dog, Reese. I made a little tag with her name on it, but couldn’t get it to attach to the buckle (hands too raw). Hopefully they can do that.

The ampersand is really hard to photograph, it’s clear 1/4 inch acrylic, but I love it. I actually made two so I can keep one and give the other away. (selfish much?)

On Chris’s side, I’m in charge of giving to my brother-in-law Steven and Chris was in charge of giving to my sister-in-law Rebecca. Steven just got his wallet stolen and absolutely loves bow ties so I made him a leather wallet (it’s really thin!) and a leather bow tie out of the same leather I used for the wallet. I tried to tie the bow tie and didn’t have much luck making it look good, but I’m terrible at tying fabric ones, I’m hoping he can get this one to look good. That was a bit of a gamble. He has also played a lot of guitar lately, so I got him Chris’s favorite guitar tuner.

Rebecca is a great sewer. She’s made some really beautiful quilts and clothes. Chris is a bit clueless in this arena so I took care of the present for him. This was fun. I made her an acrylic ruler and got her an etsy gift card.

What would I have done for the holidays without access to a laser cutter?! I want one all my own so badly.

How are your holidays wrapping up? What things have you made? Are you surprising anyone this year with something big? I hope all of you have a fantastic Christmas!

Handmade: Rudolf the Red-Nosed Moose


My nephew’s birthday party was over the weekend and I forgot to take Penelope shopping with me to see if she had any ideas for presents for Ayden. Instead, just before his party, Penelope told me that she wanted to give him a moose. Not sure where that one came from, but I figured we could both work on making a stuffed moose together.

Penelope and I whipped up this stuffed moose out of some very fuzzy (and messy-to-cut) fleece minky stuff in about 20 minutes. I drew out a pattern, she helped me cut and we sewed and stuffed.

The gift was a big win! I need to get Penelope more involved in sewing and making presents with me. We had a great time collaborating together. It’s so fun that she’s at that age now where I can start teaching her how to sew and craft!


How-To: Wrap Odd-Shaped Gifts


In keeping with my “keep it simple” approach to Penelope’s birthday, I decorated the kitchen very sparsely. I hung the banner I made the birthday banner for Penelope’s first birthday, added a white tablecloth to the table and wrapped her gifts in white butcher paper.

The thing about kids’ toys: they never come in a simple box. They’re always in an annoying blister pack or odd-shaped rectangle. That was certainly the case with the gifts we gave her this year. I was just in such a hurry to get her gifts wrapped before she wandered into my bedroom, somehow I channeled my inner short cook and came up with a really simple and fast way to wrap her awkward-shaped gifts.

I’m not sure about you, but I figured I’d share this technique in case it would come in handy for any of you. I think the gifts turned out quite nicely, considering their shape and the simple paper used. Click the link below for the whole tutorial (and video!).


Party in A Box by Katie

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Until I get my studio set up at our new place, I’ll be posting mostly thrifty finds, ideas & guest posts. If you’re interested in guest posting here, please email submissions (photos at least 500px wide) to melissa at melissaesplin dot com.

Hello ISLY readers! This is Katie from hello truelove. A big thank you to Melissa for having me on her blog today! A friend of mine is having a baby soon and I am very sad that I won’t be able to have a baby shower for her here in NYC. You see, she used to live on the East Coast but she is a West Coast girl these days. One of our mutual friends is headed out to see her in a couple of weeks and I thought it’d be fun to send her a mini-baby shower in a box. Now, in my opinion, a party in a box must contain:

a) Something frivolous and decorative

b) Something sweet (or at least something to munch on!)

c) Gifts, of course!

So, I broke out some trusty tools and went to work.

My first idea was for a little safety pin banner. I printed and cut out the letters and used double-sided tape to stick them on my punched hearts.

Then I punched two holes in each heart and used the safety pins to connect the hearts.

Last, I tied some ribbon on either side so it’ll be easy to hang when she starts the party;)

As for the gifts, I wanted to get her some practical stuff…

and some things that were too cute to resist.

You didn’t think I was going to send something without proper NYC love, did you?

I managed to find an old map and punch some hearts out of that too:) Since my friend was kind enough to volunteer to carry the gift on the plane I kept the wrapping simple.

Have you ever sent a party in a box? Since I’m not from New York there are lots of people I love who are far away. I only wish I had started the tradition sooner! A party in a box seems like the perfect way to send cheer to family and friends if you can’t be with them during the holidays!

I love this idea, Katie!  Thanks for sharing! Be sure to check out Katie’s blog Hello True Love & shop Hello True Love Paper Goods.

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