Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Holidays

This has been a whirlwind of a winter break.  I am heading back early this year (I'm actually sitting in the airport right now!) to start an internship, so we tried to cram quite a bit of holiday into the two weeks I was home.  My brother and I did last minute shopping and checked out the local giant Christmas tree....

On Christmas Eve, we went down to Balboa Island to walk around and enjoy the lights.  It was really beautiful, and so crowded!

And finally, we cooked our traditional Christmas feast.  And yes, it was amazing.  Great job, Dad!

Happy Holidays, everyone!  What did you do with your family?

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY Bookish Christmas Presents

Let's be honest; there's always a couple of people that we forget about while Christmas shopping.  While I can't go back in time and remind you to pick something up, I can give you some easy DIY ideas that are particularly good for the bookish people in your life.

Idea #1: Bookmarks

Everyone at one point in their childhood cut up a bunch of paper and "made" them into bookmarks.  I know I did; I added scribbles, stickers, and wandered around my neighborhood trying to sell them for a quarter each!

You can do the same for family and friends this Christmas season.  You can decorate a scrap of cardstock festively like I did in (1), or add a drawing, photograph, or quote to make it more personalized.  Or if you want to get a little more fancy, try taking a small piece of ribbon and gluing a button or jewel at the end.  It's a really simple DIY, but it dresses the ribbon up nicely and is really easy to personalize.

For a more fancy bookmark, take an 4" x 3" piece of paper.  Fold it diagonally as though you are making it into a square.  I then drew a fox face because I was using orange paper, but you can customize the animal to go with the color of your paper.  Once you've sketched in the face, color it in with pencils and/or markers and try it out in your book.  It should look something like this:

This is a bit of a different kind of bookmark, with a tab on the side of the book instead of the top. To make this more personal, pick an animal or drawing that is going to mean something to whoever you're gifting this to.

Idea #2: Quote Sheets

These quote sheets are my favorite gift this season, and I gave a bunch of these out for graduation presents.

All you need for these quote sheets is paper or card stock, pencils, and markers.  Oh, and some quotes!  I think it makes an especially cool gift if you pick a quote from your friend's favorite book, author, movie, or a quote that some how applies to them.  The actual process is quite easy: sketch out your quote, outline the letters, and then start decorating!

You can decorate these any way you like, and again it's fun to use colors or designs that are specific to whoever will be receiving this gift.  And that's it!  If you decide to use card stock, you can give the sheets just like this as a little poster, but you can also elevate the gift slightly by putting it in a cool frame.

I've done three sample designs for those of you who aren't so artistically inclined, which you can download and print here.

Idea #3: Book Bag

Again, this gift is super easy to personalize.  All you need is a blank canvas bag, which you can find at any crafts store and either some Sharpies or fabric paint.  You can really put anything on the bag: a random drawing, a quote, etc.  You could even print a photograph onto an iron-on paper and do that instead.  However, since this is a book-themed DIY post, I will be doing a design featuring some of my favorite books.

First I sketched it out and then added a bit of decorative color.  Tadaa, so easy!

So I hope you guys enjoyed these really easy, basic DIY Christmas gifts.  I wanted to make sure to do something that could be done at the last minute, with minimal supplies or skills needed.  If you do make any of these, I would love to see pictures!  Please Tweet them to me @littlespider9, or tag me on Instagram @littlespider.

Happy holidays and happy creating!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The End of the Semester in Instagrams

Hello, all!  Creative post title, I know.  I apologize for my sudden disappearance the last couple of weeks, but I honestly can say I have never had a more challenging finals-season in my 3.5 years of undergraduate studies.  Seriously, this semester was brutal beyond belief.  It involved many 10-12 pages essays... well as a lot of time spent huddled in odd corners of the library, fighting for the few plugs available and the critical sources for said papers.  I really was beginning to feel like a hermit.  Thankfully, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I was able to take a bit of a break.  My dad came to town, and together we did some exploring...

... and some cooking.

This past week was not only our official exam week, but also graduation.  So between frantically writing papers and attending grad-events for my friends, I just managed to squeeze in some DIY graduation gifting.

Now I am finally home for a 2.5 week break.  I am sleeping through the night, reading what I want, eating what I want, and overall feeling incredibly grateful for evening this short period of rest and for the fact that my family prefers to keep our holiday celebrations fairly low-key.

Speaking of which, I better finish wrapping presents.  I hope your last couple of weeks have been less stressful than mine!