Homemade Christmas gift ideas

I’ve enjoyed giving homemade gifts since I was a kid. My gifts now are a lot more sophisticated than they were back then (beads on a measure of yarn, tied at the ends to create a necklace). I’m not into baubles, which makes a lot of craft books for homemade gifts not very helpful to me. I prefer gifts that entertain, and I work with a low budget. Some that I’ve made in recent years are as follows:

– Audiobooks using a program called Audacity, which can be downloaded for free. It’s extra fun if you stick in music and sound effects. (Here’s a picture of the four I made last year).


Homemade Audiobooks– Christmas Gift


– Comics. Now, mine are drawn, but I have siblings that have done sprite comics before. Those might be considered less daunting. All I really need is paper, sheet protectors, and a binder or folder

– Stories that I wrote. The easiest thing for me to do is write parodies or fairy tale retellings. I also created an amusing nonfiction piece for my roommate on the occasion of her engagement– to tell the story of her courtship through my eyes. It was fun, I stuck in lots of photos and clipart to give it a kind of scrapbook-y feel.




– Calendars with my artwork (photos can work too). I get them printed through an online store called Zazzle. I had a friend draw an illustration of me as a My Little Pony and send it to me in Desktop Wallpaper format, so there are more uses for artwork than calendars.

– Videos. Good for entertaining, informing, or recording.

Thats generally what I do. Other ideas that might work are: recipes, cookie mixes, letters of appreciation, candles, quilts, costumes, and cards. I make cards and valentines the way some people make Facebook memes, so they’re usually fun and funny.


Tangled Valentine


Or they can be sweet.


Father's Day


You can make baubles out of… well, just about anything with a little creativity, but my family usually uses beads or polymer clay.

There’s a lot of sewing projects you can do out of old T-shirts (some you don’t even need to sew, you just need a pair of scissors) that you can look up online.

Conversation jars would be simple enough to make, especially if you have the right sense of humor (personally, I think the concept of a conversation jar is a little appalling, like people aren’t capable of holding conversation without help, but it could be a nice… I don’t know, party game sort of activity).


Have other ideas? Leave a comment.

New Image: Pact

I should have posted this days ago. I finished it days ago. Here’s what I said about it on Facebook:

This is my late Talk Like a Pirate Day tribute. There might be a better version of this coming when I stop being mad at the scanner. These are two characters my sister and I created when we were kids, Avion and Tara. Avion was the former captain of the Sea Stallion, but (due to circumstances yet to be determined) has become a ghost (I tried to make him slightly transparent in the image) who must haunt the new captain of his ship– which happens to be Tara.

I developed a fondness for pirates when I was seven, after watching Pirates of Penzance. I didn’t have a clue what was going on, but I loved it. The Pirate King had a place in my heart long before Jack Sparrow. Then just throw Muppet Treasure Island into the mix, and my view of the lot has been completely… theatricized. That’s how I like it.

I am almost satisfied with how this picture turned out.



It’s got a different sort of feel to it. I think it’s the pallet that does it. And the sky, perhaps. It’s a boring sky. A pale sky. And yet, that’s what I was trying to go for. All in all, I think it works, I just think it would work better if I had other stuff going on. But never mind. I think it was worth producing.


Other news: I got my rejection letter for my Creative Writing final project. I never wanted to submit the thing in the first place, so I’m not broken by the rejection.

Moreover, I’ve started yet another writing project. This time, however, I have a good friend eager to see my progress, so I might possibly keep up with it until the finish. In the meantime, I’m also cutting fabric squares for a service project that my church is doing in collaboration with other churches. I’m glad I get to feel useful and apart of something bigger than myself and my own creations.

So, it’s been a while

I don’t like leaving a blog too long unposted.

It’ll still be about another two weeks before I’m home again in Ohio. A fair amount has happened between now and my last post.

As I recall, the last time I wrote it was to lament that my professor made us submit one of our works for publication as part of our final grade. Well, I did. I think I hated it more after sending it in. I am, nonetheless, not displeased with being forced into that experience. I think I’ll have a lot of fun when my rejection letter arrives. I’ve never gotten a rejection letter before. I think it’ll be quite amusing, since I had to have my arm twisted to submitting the silly thing anyway. Hopefully, I’ll also get my writing portfolio in the mail, so I get to read my teacher’s comments on the last of the works I turned in. It’s a painful sort of pleasure, reading the comments. I look forward to it.


I’ve been able to work somewhat on my projects during the summer, when my grandparents haven’t invited me to do other things– like seed collecting or weeding. You know, stuff I’m not accustomed to doing. I have been blessed, however, to attend some theatre performances. That’s the sort of thing I wish I could do more often.


My two dear friends marry today. I’ll get to see them next week, and I rather look forward to it. It’ll be the highlight of the whole vacation. Then I shall go home, wonder what to do with my life, and end up working more on those projects.


Do you know, I started another story recently. Yes, another one. It’s a wonder to me that I get anything done in my life at all. I start so many things that I never seem to get to the end of anything. But there are some things I am determined to finish. I have deadlines for these. Christmas. It’s the best deadline. I can make the project into a present, thereby giving the thing at least some sense of importance, and it works out well time-wise, since I have to go back to school shortly afterwards.

For a semester. Then I graduate.


For all of those who wonder what I’m going to do with my life after I graduate, let me tell you right now: I don’t know. I trust that will be clear to me someday, but it isn’t now. So please don’t ask.

I can’t tell you how much people drove me crazy when I graduated high school and they kept asking about my future. After a while, I wished they would ask me what I was doing in the present.

If you asked me what I was doing today, instead of worrying about a future that wasn’t happening yet, I’d say that I’m in the middle of a couple of writing projects that I hoped to mesh into a podcast project, and that I had some video projects going on and hoped to do some artwork after I got home to Ohio. Between now and then I hope to make a friend.


Also, I wonder about the world.


My creative writing class is requiring that we submit our best work from the semester for publication as part of our final.


I have some issues with this.


It almost goes against my principles. I don’t want to submit work for publication unless I think it is worthy of being published, and, quite frankly, none of my work is worthy of being published. I don’t say that out of a sense of modesty; I think my writing is good, but I do have certain standard for the quality of work that should be published and none of my work is going to cut it. I don’t have the gall (and I use the term affectionately) required for submitting work for publication.


Still, I must submit the work in order to get a grade for my final. My “best” work from the semester. How in blue blazes am I supposed to know what my best work is? My poems got better grades than my creative nonfiction, which I like better, and I have not yet received a grade for my two short stories or scene (from the drama unit). I won’t get grades for those before I have to submit something.


I really can’t see myself becoming an independent or published artist, writer, or other creative-type person– making a living off of my craft or what have you. I don’t have the gall. I’d like to share my work, certainly, but the whole money thing makes everything complicated. Especially now, where there are so many people who want to do that. I don’t think I could do it.


Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong, and I certainly don’t mean anything against anyone who is pursuing a career as a self-made, self-published creative-type person– that’s not it at all. I just think I was made of different stuff, and I can’t conceive of doing this for publication or income.


It does make things difficult for me, though. I turn my hobbies into projects, which makes it harder to use them for ‘winding down’ purposes, but I can’t seem to turn them into work with income. I’m almost repelled by the idea. So where does that leave me? Theoretically, I suppose it would leave me with a job, but I’ve been having difficulty with that as well. I just have to be confident that somehow something will work out.

The end is near

Well, it’s almost the end of the semester. I still have some assignments here or there, nothing I’m intensely concerned about. I hope to spend some quality time with my roommates in our last one and a half weeks together.


We’re planning on having a Sharable– that is, a little party where we get together and share excerpts from what we’ve written over the semester. I did this last year, and I enjoy the tradition. I plan on converting the “Sharable” concept into audio form and make a sort of podcast where I get to share my experiences with writing and some of my creative works-in-porgress.


That’s going to be one of my summer projects. Along with some video projects, writing projects, maybe even some art projects. I did a concept sketch yesterday that I kind of liked. I’ve recently came to a decision about my artwork– if I want to keep on doing it, I’ve got to create images that I will enjoy coloring. That generally means focussing on the people, and not creating backgrounds with a lot of empty space. Skies, for instance. Skies, unless done right, usually bore me to death. Trees too might get tedious. That’s the trick then, whatever I draw, it must not be tedious to color, or I’m going to lose interest in artwork and abandon it in favor of other projects. I don’t want that to happen if I an avoid it. I like this concept that I have. When I have time and space, I’ll be able to work on it.



As you know, I like to take some time near the end of each semester to reflect.


First of all, I became a gateway seminar coordinator. I am assured that I have done an excellent job and that my contributions have been valuable. However, though I was qualified, I was not chosen to be a director for the Inspired Learning and Teaching Gateway Seminar. I’m grateful to have been able to serve in the capacities that I did, and for what I learned from the experience.


I had hoped to find a job so that I could stay here for fall semester (BYU-I has a two-track system, look it up for clarification), but perhaps I was too confident in my ability to get into the few positions I applied to. If I were wise, I would have applied to much more. But I don’t like the idea of getting a job just for the sake of having a job. I want to work somewhere where I could really contribute something, somewhere where my unique skills and talents would be valued. Anyway, I don’t see how I can stay here for the fall and I have no idea what I would do if I went home again. I’m trying not to let it bother me.


Instead, I want to focus on my achievements. For one thing, I made a pretty neat engagement gift for my roommate. I’ve been working on some video projects. I’ve done a number of writing assignments for my various classes, some of which I even like. I’ve served as a Relief Society instructor and gateway seminar coordinator. I’ll be finishing up an 18-20 page paper for one of my classes before Wednesday. My grades have been pretty good. Also, I made pancakes a couple of times this semester. That makes me happy. I missed having pancakes.


Well… that’s it, really. Everything else is sort of… unsure. While I’m on vacation, I intend to write, and maybe work on some art projects. I can finish up those video projects. Maybe I can even compile them in some way, and make them into a gift. I could do another book, like what I made for my roommate’s engagement. I don’t know what organizing subject I would work with though. If any of my writing turns out decent, I could make it into an audiobook and probably give it to one of my siblings as a gift. There’s still the youtube channel idea, but I’m not sure I want to consider the idea before I’m certain my work is of good enough quality, and my Creative Writing class has taught me to have reservations on that matter.

What next?

School will be finished in less than a month. A little over three weeks, actually. That’s not much time at all. In theory, then, I’ll have time to work on some projects. Lately I’ve had a rekindled desire to create something. I am grateful for this semester, because I have been able to create– in my Creative Writing class and in my Basic Writing class. I’m grateful to have that opportunity to get feedback and help from professors.


There are some particular achievements from this school year that I am particularly grateful for and excited about. One is my Heritage Notebook. It was an assignment from my Classical Heritage class, and what it did was help me learn skills that I later applied to creating Adin and Laura’s engagement present. I’m also proud of the video I made about creating. I was able to share it yesterday, and that was a good experience. I very much like the creative nonfiction work I wrote for my creative writing class, and it’s been exciting to work on this piece of fiction as well. I’m also proud of the opinion essay I wrote in my basic writing class.


I can’t help but wonder what else I can do. I’m sure there’s great work still to be done. Could I create a gift for somebody else, like I did with Adin and Laura?


It is still uncertain whether or not I’ll be here next semester. Wish me luck.

Completed Project

I finished the gift I was making for my roommate on the occasion of her engagement. The printer messed up the colors a little bit, but it’s decent. I might be able to see her reaction tonight.

It is strange to be done, especially since I have been planning it for so long. Like any other creative project, finishing this makes me want to do more. I wonder if there are possibilities in this– potential gifts.

At any rate, it was fun to make. I wouldn’t mind exploring more in the future.


Here are some samplers 🙂


Where I might go with these projects

I’ve been considering where I can go with these various creative projects that I’ve been involved with. My friends recommend that I create a Youtube channel for my recorded stories. I suppose in there I can include a little storyboard, and if I can find a way to give people the option of downloading it… I’m not sure how I would do it, but it’s definitely worth looking into.


I also mentioned to my friends about how I would love it if I opened a fanfic contest to see who can create the best written work based off of one of my artworks.


There are possibilities to explore, I’m not very hopeful of making a large profit off of any of them, but I think it is something to shoot for.