I got it into my head that I wanted to get secret decoder rings for Dash and two of his best friends. I got the simplest model (a straight letters-to-numbers cipher) from 14th Place Trading Co.
Of course, once I got the rings into my head, I had to make a whole production out of it. I added some UV spy pens (the ink is invisible until lighted with the little UV bulb in the pens) along with extra batteries, some silicone cord necklaces (because I wasn't sure if the rings would fit), and Moleskine notebooks.
How to package the kits was making me completely insane. I wanted to put them into faux books, but the finished ones cost a lot (A LOT) and I didn't have the time to decorate the plain papier mache ones you can find at craft stores.
I had just about given up and settled on packing everything in a gift baggie & calling it good when I saw these boxes at Cost Plus. The Universe is my favorite enabler. I picked up three, designed the inside covers and we were ready for spy action.
I also made a couple of these sweet mermaids (free pattern at that link!) for two sweet little girls. My favorite part is the starfish boobies. Of course it is.
Speaking of stuffed stuff, I also made this insane toile tattooed dude for one of my favorite little men. If you look closely you'll notice that the characters in the toile are actually skeletons.
Because hell yeah they are.
I also embellished a t-shirt with an appliqued mustache, because we like to coordinate with our swag in the Engel house.
And last but not least, for one of my very favorite 5-year-old humans, the fairy-loving Miss Samantha, I made a wand. I had already bought her a fairy-making kit, but I wanted to add a little handmade something as well.
I made it out of a lovely white cotton fabric that was already embellished with little flowers. All I did, after sewing up the star and stuffing it, was lightly dry-brush the fabric with some glittery pink paint. The stick came off an old 4th of July flag, and was painted with the same glittery paint. Once everything was painted and dry, I sewed on the ribbons and hot-glued the star onto the stick. Is it bragging to note that Miss Samantha spied the wand the moment she came over for Solstice and hoped out loud that it might maybe, possibly be for her? It was at that moment that I melted into a pile of skin and happiness and have yet to recover completely.
(Not pictured, but I thought I might mention a few other hand made items that seemed to be a hit with their recipients in case you were looking for ideas: copies of The Penderwicks and Goblin Secrets--both National Book Award winners--along with customized book plates for the incredibly smart & well-read 9-year-old Miss Lucy; hand-sewn American Doll dresses, pajamas with bunny slippers and crocheted doll blankets for our beloved Sky (9) and Autumn (5); and for the two-year-old twins, footy jams and crocheted blankets for both).