Handmade Christmas 2014: Personalized Initial Pendants

As of this moment, nearly a week before Thanksgiving, I am proud to say I am well over halfway done my Christmas gift shopping.

I also have a lot of gifts made and at least most of the way ready to go. What a good feeling!

Today’s handmade gift idea is one I just did for my 3 nieces as well as my daughter. All are between the ages of 6 and 9.

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Each pendant has their first initial, along with a little charm that contains a pearl and their birthstone.

Though I have a lot of experience making jewelry, this is one style I have not done yet, so I have a learning curve to go through.

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For starters, I picked up a package of these pendant backs and clear fronts at Michael’s.

I typed out each girl’s initial in a couple different fonts, using a fairly large font size. I had to experiment with several before getting one that I thought looked just right for the round pendants they were to go on.

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I then cut out a margin around each letter and glued the flat side of the clear topper, pressing it down onto the paper so the letter was centered. I used a clear tacky glue that’s supposed to be multi-surface, but I’m not sure what the best kind would be. It looks a little foggy while still wet (like pictured above), but clears up once dry. After it feels pretty dry, trim the paper to the edge of the circle so nothing is sticking out. Then use the same glue to bond the back and front together.

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I added a jumpring to the top of the pendant, then strung it on a necklace cord.

I also beaded a crystal with each girl’s birthstone color along with a faux pearl onto a headpin. Then I used pliers to make a little loop to attach it to the cord or the jumpring as well. One could also do this onto a necklace chain of whatever quality you choose.

Overall I liked how these turned out and would love to experiment more with this style of jewelry.

Made with love and hopefully a hit at Christmas!

Handmade Christmas 2014: Glittered Lightbulb Ornaments

Well, here I go again with the colored glitter. Lots of it.

This time around I used up some old style light bulbs that we had kicking around in the garage and gave them a completely new look.

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Add some twine and a little charm and the result is a pretty, repurposed Christmas ornament.

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As you can see, I did them in a variety of brilliant colors.

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The process for these is fairly straightforward and you don’t need a ton of supplies either.

To make one of these pretties, first dig up an old style light bulb, either one that burnt out or one you don’t plan on using.

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I used a sponge brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the bulb.

While it was still wet, I held it over a plain piece of paper and shook glitter over the whole thing. It takes a LOT of glitter to cover one of these. After a minute or so, shake off the excess onto the paper, then funnel it back into the glitter container. I allowed my bulb to completely dry on a piece of paper towel while I glittered others.

To finish, cut maybe 12″ of twine or jute, tie a loop in the middle (to hang ornament), and wrap around the top of the bulb. Hot glue a thin layer as you go. As I did this, I placed a charm so it kind of hung down the front a little.

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I had bought a pack of charms that look like old keys, but you could use whatever.

Overall a semi-quick and simple little project. Very easy to make a bunch at a time as well, which you know I love!

Not sure which one is my favorite yet, but I think they turned out kind of adorable.

Fall 2014 in Pictures

If I could choose a brief description of this fall, I would say it was “busy but beautiful.”

Here are a few pictures I have chosen that show a little of what we’ve been up to:

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I’ll start with my absolute favorite one. This I snapped with my phone camera one evening a couple weeks ago. I had a crazy day and took a little walk right near sunset. The sight of this literally stopped me in my tracks. I just had to capture the Stop sign in the foreground with the beautiful sky in the back. I felt more than a nudge from my Creator telling me, “Rachel, you just need to stop right now and worship me.” So I did.

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A lot of my time has been taken up with leading our school’s PTO. Though I had a couple of years in as Secretary, this was my first year as President with a completely new group of officers. Our one and only fundraiser for the year is a Race for Education, which we do in early October. To say I put a lot of time and effort into this is an understatement. But it is worth it.

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Our theme was “Wild Safari,” so our group had a lot of fun with making it all themed out for the kids. It was an awesome day!

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My poor husband dressed up as a gorilla and stayed in this costume most of that day. The kids loved it and enjoyed chasing him around.

I’m told he must really, really love me for doing that. He does.Thankfully.

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Our family has been really into hiking whenever the opportunity presents itself. We have had a number of gorgeous weekends to take advantage of and lots of pretty trails within reasonable driving distance. This is just a little snapshot of the kids checking out something on one of the trails.

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A shot of my husband sitting atop a huge rock at the end of one of those trails overlooking the Susquehanna River. It is named “House Rock,” due to the fact that it’s huge.

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My daughter is in her second year of violin, which she is pretty into. This is my sweet girl serenading us one evening.

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Not a very good picture, but this is my oldest son flipping acorn pancakes. Yup, you read that right. Acorn pancakes–as in, made from acorn flour. We took it upon ourselves to experiment with making acorn flour. A long process, but it turns out good! Next fall I would like to do more when the acorns first start dropping. We have a bit left that I put in the freezer to use in another recipe.

Well, that’s all folks. A brief snapshot into just some of what has been shaking around here. Like I said, busy but beautiful. I have LOTS to be thankful for!