The Pio’s guide to crafty, homemade holiday gifts

Cara Lowry

Cookie Jars
Karah Kemmerly

Illustration: Alex Bailey

Growing up, my mother made a few of these every year to give out to the relatives. I’m including a cookie recipe, but you can make the jars with dry ingredients for other types of cookies or muffins as well. They’re easy to make, and they look quite festive.

What you’ll need:
-1 mason jar
-1 index card
-1 marker (or a few)
-1 ribbon
-2 cups oats
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup mimi M&Ms
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Things to do:
1. Pour the dry ingredients into the mason jar one by one, creating layers.
2. Write the cookie recipe on an index card. (see below)
3. Decorate the card as desired.
4. Punch a hole in the card and slide the ribbon through the hole.
5. Tie the ribbon-card around the lid of the jar.

Treasure Chest Cookies: The Recipe
(makes 3 to 4 dozen)
-1 jar cookie mix
-1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Slowly add and stir the Treasure Chest Cookie Mix until the mixture is well blended. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass in sugar and use to flatten cookies. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Zany Reindeer Ornaments
Karah Kemmerly

Illustration: Alex Bailey

I made these with my grandmother when I was younger. She was a kindergarten teacher’s aid for most of her life and often used various craft projects to entertain my siblings and cousins and I when we stayed with her. These reindeer would make fun little Secret Santa gifts or quirky decorations to tie on larger packages.

What you’ll need:
-1 candy cane
-1 pipe cleaner
-googly eyes
-glue or hot glue
-1 small piece of red felt or a little red pompom
-ribbon

Things to do:
1. Glue the small piece of felt or pompom to the tip of the curved end of the candycane. This is the reindeer’s nose.
2. Glue the googly eyes to the top of the candy cane.
3. Wrap the pipe cleaner around just above the eyes and twist the ends to make antlers.
4. Tie a piece of ribbon just behind the antlers so that you can tie your reindeer onto a tree branch.

Illustration: Alex Bailey

Teacup Candles
Karah Kemmerly

Make a common gift more interesting by adding a decorative cup.

What you’ll need:
-1 teacup
-candle wax (can be found at craft stores)
-1 candle wick (at least 1 inch taller than the teacup)
-hot glue
-candle scent or dye (if you’d like)

Things to do:
1. Wash the teacup.
2. Hot glue the wick to the bottom of the cup.
3. Melt wax. Add dye or scent if desired.
4. Pour wax into teacup and let it cool.
5. Cut tip of wick to desired length.

Illustration: Alex Bailey

Decoupage Glass Items
Cara Lowry

If you live in Walla Walla where glass isn’t easily recycled, chances are you have lots of empty vessels cluttering your countertops, shelves or even floor space. Lucky for you, a little time, paper and adhesive can turn these old recyclables into decorative gift items! Finished jars make great candleholders or gift boxes; bottles become quirky vases or unique shelf d├ęcor.

What you’ll need:
-1 glass vessel (bottle, jar, etc.)
-Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge (found in most craft stores)
-1 paintbrush (foam brushes work best)
-1 bowl
-water
-paper product of choice (wrapping paper, tissue paper, magazine clippings, newspapers, old calendars, etc.)
-scissors
-ribbon (optional)

Things to do:
1. Wash the vessel, if empty (You can also decoupage an unopened item like a bottle of wine).
2. Prep your workspace (Decoupage gets messy! I recommend putting down a layer of old newspaper or cardboard).
3. Prepare paper scraps (You can cut out specific pictures from magazines, tear paper for a rough edge, crumple tissue paper for an interesting texture: really, anything goes).
4. Mix Elmer’s glue and water in bowl
5. Dip paper scraps in glue-water, adhere them to surface (Or nix the gule-water and apply Mod Podge to paper with foam brush to adhere them to surface).
6. When finished, coat with Mod Podge if desired (Glue-water decoupage creations have a matte finish; a Mod Podge coat will yield a glossy, more water-resistant finish).
7. Air dry
8. Garnish with ribbon if desired

Illustration: Alex Bailey

Scrapbook Cards
Cara Lowry

I’m sure you remember the days when a homemade card consisted of folding a piece of construction paper in half and scribbling on it with a crayon. Today, jazz up your homemade card with some simple scrapbooking techniques!

What you’ll need:
-paper products (cardstock, printer paper, construction paper, magazines, newspaper, wrapping paper, etc.)
-glue stick or double-stick tape
-scissors
-markers, pens or colored pencils
-ribbon, stickers, buttons or any other odds and ends

Things to do:
1. Select a piece of paper or cardstock to serve as the base of your card; fold it in half
2. Cut out pictures, interesting shapes, words, etc.
3. Attach your paper scraps to your card with glue or tape (you can be as elaborate or minimalist as you want)
4. Write, draw, doodle with writing utensils
5. Trim with ribbon, stickers, buttons, etc.

More Quick Homemade Gift Ideas
Karah Kemmerly

1. Knit a hat or a scarf. Help your friends and family stay warm.
2. Use your artistic talents. Framed prints, paintings, drawings, poems or collages make great gifts.
3. Make a mix CD. They’re cheesy, yes, but almost everyone likes music.