101 Things (I Love About You)

Everyone likes to hear that they are loved. This past Yule, I decided to surprise my husband with this simple and inexpensive gift.

I began with 51 circles punched out of cardstock. I then used a 1/16th hole punch to punch holes by which to string them together. When everything was attached, I sat down and wrote 101 things which I love about my husband.

It didn’t cost me anything, as I had all of the supplies on hand. However, my husband was deeply touched that I had taken the time to write down so many reasons why I love him.

Invisibility Cloaks

A great addition to any Harry Potter fan’s dress up trunk is an invisibility cloak. One of the deathly hallows, the invisibility cloak, by definition, renders the wearer invisible – a handy thing to have when battling evil forces, sneaking around Hogwarts, or playing make believe.

Traditionally, my children have grabbed whatever was handy to use as an invisibility cloak – blankets or play silks have been the most popular items. However, they have a distinct disadvantage in that they are opague, leaving the wearer essentially blind and bumping into things. When stealth is your objective, muttering “Ouch!” is contradictive.

I had a couple of 5 yd. pieces of sheer fabric in our declutter pile aournd the time that I was thinking of easy gifts my 4 year old might like to make for his siblings. When I asked him if he would lik eto make invisibility cloaks, he eyes lit up and giggles erupted. All he had to do was cut each piece in half, and we were suddenly the proud owners of four insivibility cloaks.

The kids were all thrilled to receive them. It is understood that if someone is wearing one, no one else can see that person. It gets rather comical when someone wearing an invisbility cloak begins speaking and none of the other people can see him or her. The cloaks have received quite a bit of use to date and are proving to be a popular dress up item for the older (by which I mean ages 8+) kids who come over.

Egyptian Treasure Boxes

My 9 year old worked hard this Fall, helping a neighbor clear out tree limbs from a tree that had needed trimmed. When we realized the neighbor didn’t want the limbs anymore, he asked if he could have them for a project. He wanted to make some tree blocks for his brother and sisters for the holidays. We carefully looked over the limbs for the best ones and neatly stacked them up against the house so that we could cut them the next evening.

The next day we got home after a field trip and realized that the electric company, who had been trimming trees along electrical wires, had seen our neatly stacked limbs and apparently decided to dispose of them for us. Carefully laid plans for a young buy’s gift for his siblings were quickly waylaid. A friend offered a couple of logs, and we once again planned to make some tree blocks to go with our standard unit blocks. When I tried to help him cut them, we quickly realized that our saw was not appropriate for the size logs we had. Once again, he needed a new gift idea.

As Yule approached and we were running out of time for him to make something, we took a trip to the store. Looking around, he found some small and inexpensive wooden boxes that were perfet for treasure boxes. He picked out a different color of paint for each person and painted them at home. Then he used a black sharpie marker to write each of their names in Egyptian heiroglyphics. These were well received. All of the kids have stashed little treasures away in them. My four year old even listed his treasure box as one of his favorite gifts.

stick horse…

Every little child who loves horses needs a stick horse. When I was a small child, my stick horse was an old broom handle my grandfather found in his garage, complete with the hole and leather throng still attached from where it used to hang on the wall. Stick horses have gotten a bit more complicated since then. In fact, I was hard-pressed to find a commercially made one that wasn’t electronic. There are a few, but if you want a basic stick horse, you really have to look these days.

Luckily, my penchant for homemade gifts led me to this stick horse pattern. I have to recommend it. The pattern is cute and customizable. Unlike many patterns, this one uses a T shape for the portion of the dowel rod in the head. I love that. It makes the stick horse much more durable. My younger son is receiving this for his third birthday and I have plans to make more as gifts. I even have plans to alter the pattern already for some other little people in my life.