A Handmade Gift Exchange

This year we had another handmade gift exchange with my side of the family, and it was AWESOME! It is so cool to see everyone’s creativity flowing, and to see the different talents that everyone has. I will let these images speak for themselves, with just a small sampling of what was exchanged this year between kids and adults.

Handmade Doll Handmade Gift
Vintage look doll.

Handmade Painting Handmade Gift
Butterfly paintings.

Handmade
Spice Mixes and ornament.

Handmade
Slingshot. This gift was fun to make! The post office worker gave us the long elastics, and the shoe repair shop owner gave us the leather for the pouch. My husband made the rest from some pine board that we had in the garage, by whittling it down and sanding it. It was really fun to see how much our nephew loved it – he was shooting felt play food all over the house in the days following!

Handmade Purse Handmade Gift
Crocheted purse.

Handmade
Knitted Legwarmers.

Handmade BBQ Kit Handmade Gift
BBQ Grilling Kit.

Handmade Batman Cape Handmade Gift
Batman Cape and Mask.

We had such a variety of gifts! Others included a custom welded bike rack attachment, a tin of Christmas cookies, hair clips, soaps and lip gloss, an apron, a child’s denim tool belt, and more!

The other thing I love about handmade gifts is that because you’re putting time and love into them, you are more likely to have a thoughtful gift that has so much meaning to the person on the receiving end. We are all just loving our handmade gifts, and I would encourage you to think outside the box and consider doing a handmade gift exchange as well next year!

My Living Room Makeover.

We moved into our century old home 5 1/2 years ago, two and a half weeks before I birthed our second daughter in our new house. That was a busy couple of weeks! Our house was very clean when we moved in, but it needed a LOT of updating and I wanted our living room and dining room to be painted right away. In hindsight, I should have just lived with it for a while so that I got a feel for the room. The carpet was in good shape, and we weren’t prepared to put down new flooring if what was underneath was terrible so we opted to keep it in. We painted one wall a deep red, and the rest a neutral tan. Once the painting was done, the living room was clean and nice to be in, but it didn’t ever really feel like our living room. With the brown trim, the beige carpet, beige walls, and beige couch, I began to feel like I was in a sea of beige – I needed some color!!! I also realized that with the porch in front, although the room has lots of windows it doesn’t actually get a lot of natural light coming in. So after 5 1/2 years I finally got a clear vision for what I wanted the living room to look like, and this summer I worked away at it and wanted to share the finished product with you!

Here are the before shots of the very formal looking living room:

living room before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

living room before left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

living room before right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew right away that I wanted to change up the heavy curtains for a light roman blind, and that I wanted to paint out the trim white – this made such a huge difference! I also decided to paint the walls a creamy ivory. The room feels so much bigger AND I said goodbye to all that beige. I can’t forget the floor – I finally pulled up that carpet and the original wood floor is in fairly good shape.

Here are the after pictures:

living room after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s SO much brighter!

living room barnboard mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our brother in law made us this amazing barnboard mirror.

living room pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We featured our own colorful art on the walls – this really personalized the space.

living room coffee table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I refinished the coffee table that we received as a wedding gift in a beautiful bright green and distressed it – this really added a punch of color to the space!

We love the finished product! It’s bright and fun, and it feels so comfortable to be in. I feel like it is a reflection of our creative personalities, and I finally feel like it’s my own living room that I’m sitting in. And that’s our living room makeover.