No place like home

Lets talk about home made gifts (HMG).

You would think that since my whole MO is about being home made, I would be pro-HMG.  

I kind of hate them.

Because in general, they suck.

I'm talking generalities here.  If you make some sort of fantastic home made gift, then you are in the minority of HMG givers, and please feel free to give me a HMG.

Have you even got a horrible sweater knitted with a bunny on the front?  Or a hat with kitten ears?

I haven't actually ever got a gift like that, but I can imagine how I would awkwardly smile and pretend I liked it.  Those are my nightmares of HMG's.

BTW- you can totally tell when I don't like something.  My "fake happy" face is somewhat less than convincing- or so I've been told.

Anyway, a good friend was making homemade dish towels with an embroidered flower on them this year as Christmas gifts and they were AMAZING.  

Then, another friend made us a wonderful sign made out of wine corks which was super cool.

These gifts pretty much were the most thoughtful HMG's ever.  They changed my whole opinion from sucky to mostly non-sucky.

It actually inspired me to make a HMG of my own.  A (hopefully) non-sucky one.
My friend Ashley (my drama bestie) posted a Christmas list on her blog and one of her wishes was this really cool print from Etsy.

Buy yours at the Etsy shop
I thought I would be all sneaky and make her something similar and send it to her for a surprise Christmas present.  So I set out to make it and failed miserably.


Apparently I should put photoshop on my list of things to get better at in 2012.

So, I decided instead of trying to replicate the print, I would put my own twist on it- which always ends up better anyway right?

Since Ashley has actually had 3 homes, I thought I would make a "there's no place like home" gift for her and send some holiday love from Washington to Alaska.

Since she has lived and loved California, Washington and now Alaska, I thought I would include all 3 of these places into my HMG.

I started by grabbing some Google images of state outlines and pasting them into a word document.
I printed this out onto black card stock.

The printing was easy, but the cutting out was very NOT easy.  I tried to print the outlines in color, black, grey... but nothing really showed up on the black very well, which made cutting out the intricate lines EXTREMELY difficult.
I actually cut it out while also shinning a flashlight directly onto the paper to make me see the faint outlines.  Please try to form a mental picture of me holding the cardstock and flashlight in one hand and the scissors in the other.  Now you will understand why I didn't get a picture of this step- but boy I wish I had.

Once I got the states cut out, they looked great.  I looked for a good backing for the black cardstock and guess what I choose...


Of course.

Every craft through 2013 will include burlap because a. Its the best fabric ever and b. I have roughly 7.2 million yards of it taking up all the space in my craft room.

I pulled out a frame from my closet full of random things that I got at a garage sale for $1 and it was the perfect size to fit all the sates.  

I decided that the black and burlap needed a bit of a pop, so I spray painted the frame red.  It looks a little bit like ruby slippers- get it?  There's no place like home.....ruby slippers.

Did I mention the Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. 

It is.

I also added a shimmery ivory card stock mat around the outside edges, and then cut out little banners that said "home" and placed them on the cities that she has lived.
To spruce up the banners, I used red nail polish to paint little hearts on them, and then since I was already into the nail polish bin, I finished them off with some sparkly gold polish.

Every good HMG needs a little sparkle right?


So once everything had dried, I framed it all up and then shipped it to Alaska.

It doesn't suck.  If I do say so myself.