Tag Archive: gifts


Christmas isn’t allowed to be over yet. I am hanging on to the holiday season for at least a few more days. Not taking down my decorations, exchanging a few last presents, and continuing to write blog posts about the holidays. Everyone will just have to deal, because I am sad that Christmas is another year away again, and it’s all cold and I have a cold too. Haha.

Anyway, I wanted to share my gingerbread house. I made it from a kit, but it’s a twist on the standard design, and I had a lot of fun decorating it one night. It turned out so cute that I have yet to eat it, but it will probably be stale once I try it anyway.

Gingerbread House

Along similar lines, I made cinnamon ornaments. A friend in high school (10 years ago!) gave me one she’d made, and I loved it and still have it, and it still smells great. So I wanted to do something similar.

The formula is basically:

  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup applesauce

And I added some ground cloves and a bit of glue as well to help keep them together and for a bit of a mix of scents. Then mix and knead the dough for a while. Roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time and use holiday shaped cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and put them onto a cookie sheet. I added the scraps from each batch to the next round of dough to get as many as possible out of it. I didn’t have any drinking straws to make holes, so I just used toothpicks to hollow out spots, which worked pretty well.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I put them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours, but some started to crack and warp, so most of the time they just air dried in my kitchen. It took about 2-3 days for them to fully dry and harden. And finally, I added ribbon to make them ornamental.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I attached most of them as accessories to gifts, kept a couple, and brought in a few for my coworkers in the office on Christmas Eve.

Tissue Paper Photo Coasters

I’ve already been buying/making/planning for Christmas gifts for a month or two now. My grandparents love anything with photos of their grandchildren, so when I saw an idea for photo coasters from Lee Lala, I thought it was perfect. I ended up combining it with ideas from two girls being crafty, as well. And heck, everyone else in the craft blog community is doing it, so why shouldn’t I? (Just don’t tell my grandparents until Christmas!)

Cute Black and White Photo Coasters

My supplies were:

  • Digital pictures edited to black and white
  • White tissue paper
  • Ceramic or sandstone tiles (I couldn’t find sandstone even though I liked that idea, so I got some super cheap ceramic tiles from Home Depot that were like 10-20 cents apiece)
  • Printer (Many tutorials say to only use a laser printer, but I used an inkjet and just made sure to print in black ink/grayscale ONLY, not the color combination that creates black, so that the colors wouldn’t get all weird.)
  • Mod Podge and foam brush
  • Spray sealant
  • Black felt
  • Hot glue
  • O Magazine (or other easy-cleanup work surface… I had this free copy from years ago to use 🙂 )

The first two steps using the tissue paper are the hardest, because tissue paper is so fragile. First, I printed out each photo on tissue paper in a size to match my 4″ish by 4″ish inch tile. It had to be carefully taped to a sheet of cardstock so it wouldn’t get all bunched up in the printer.

Tissue Paper Photo Coasters

Next, I applied a thin layer of mod podge with the foam brush and quickly but carefully placed the photo on top. There will be wrinkles, as is the nature of tissue paper, but do your best to smooth them out very carefully so the paper doesn’t tear. The wrinkles aren’t as obvious once the coasters are done, but they still help give the photos a worn, unique look.

Tissue Paper Photo Coasters

Then, apply a thin layer of mod podge on top

Tissue Paper Photo Coasters

And let dry for at least fifteen minutes, then add another coat. Wait an hour or two more, and add a coat of spray sealant to help make them waterproof.

Sealing Photo Coasters

Once that dries after a few hours, the main part of the coaster done, so you just need to glue on the felt.

I measured the tiles (since they aren’t exactly 4×4) and cut the felt to the same size, one piece for each coaster.

Measuring Felt

Then, I placed hot glue on each coaster, one side at a time, and stuck on the felt before it dried.

Gluing Felt to CoastersGluing Felt Onto Photo Coasters

Add some ribbon, and you have cute personalized coasters!

Cute Black and White Photo Coasters

For an easier version, you could just use regular paper or photo paper since it doesn’t wrinkle, or just use scrapbook paper for cute ones if you don’t want to put your glass on someone’s face. I know a lot of people have done this, and for some reason I decided to go with the harder-to-work-with tissue paper. But these coasters have character. 😉