e have about a month left before Christmas and I am willing to bet half of you aren’t done with your shopping yet. Or maybe even all cos y’all clicked this link to begin with. What do you do when you’re all out of time but can’t bring yourself to buy a generic mug or gift card? Go DIY, of course! Nothing spells special better than a crafty little present from crafty little you.
But wait! Before you run off gathering twigs and shiny pebbles for your fun little project, keep in mind that although it’s the thought that counts, sometimes, getting a half hearted, sloppy handmade Christmas card sucks more than not getting one at all. Put a little love into it, because it shows!
Unless you are some sort of McGyver or super skilled artisan, plan out your projects wisely and allot ample time for repairing mistakes or even doing the whole thing over. Rushing will just add to the stress and stress exponentially increases the chance for freak accidents and stupid mistakes (and I speak from experience!)
And just because I have a hangover from putting up my tree last night and I am still in this Christmas-y vibe, I’ve taken out the guesswork and compiled 8 ideas for totally doable, absolutely fun, and quirky DIY gifts to celebrate Baby Jesus.  
Last year I had an abundance of large canning jars and was thinking of what to fill them with. I mixed up all the dry ingredients for my super awesome pancakes plus a bonus handful of chocolate chips into said jars, and made cute labels with instructions–but forgot to give them out. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts? At least now you know that all the dry ingredients mixed together and sitting on a shelf for months will still make something awesome.
How to do it: Fill jars with dry ingredients for something easy to prepare like brownies or chocolate chip cookies. You can even layer ingredients for a nicer effect. Label with your cute and perhaps even pun-ny greeting along with instructions. This makes a thoughtful gift for families or friends with kids who love playing in the kitchen.
Since mason jars are all the rage these days, why not upcycle old jars collecting under your sink into something cute and functional? Spray paint jars and coat with clear gloss when dry and give them out as coffee and sugar containers to your coffee junkie friends. Paint ’em with special translucent glass paint and add a tea light candle for a cute lamp, or even just paint on recipient’s initials for a more personalized touch.  
For the ultimate cheapskate to give to someone really close to: Make vouchers out of cardstock or construction paper for recipient to redeem when in need of a car wash, baby sitter, dog walker, massage, home cooked dinner, laundry, lap dance (woops let’s stop there), whatever. Of course all to be fulfilled by you, duh. Please put a little more effort into designing vouchers since you know, it basically is free.  
More stuff to fill in jars! Make a cellulite busting coffee scrub with 1 part sugar and 1 part coffee grounds and moisten with a little olive oil till it looks somewhat like damp sand. You can even add a few drops of vanilla essence for an extra delicious bath treat. Don’t forget to make a cute label and gift tag to go with it. Remember, packaging is everything. Nobody will think you just asked Starbucks for used grounds and “borrowed” sugar and olive oil from your mom’s pantry if it looks nice.  
Easily transform plain ceramic tiles or even wood into lovely coasters with just photo paper, pvc glue, and clear coat varnish. Print the best shots from your friend’s Instagram feed slightly smaller than your tile. Cut out and round the corners a bit, stick on to tile with glue. Coat the top with some little watered-down glue a couple times and finish by sealing with clear coat varnish to make it waterproof. Make it look professional by attaching adhesive felt pads on the underside to keep coaster from sliding. I can sense a big “awwwww!” with this one.  
Plants seem to be the in thing nowadays. Brighten someone’s room or office cubicle with a little patch of green with this simple gift. Make a terrarium out of an upside down mason jar (man, the hipsters were right, you really can use them for everything!) and tiny plants, or assemble a few small pots of herbs for someone who loves to cook, or a make a mini garden of succulents inside an old Altoid tin for your badass friend. Visit your local nursery for plants and vendors will be more than willing to help you out regarding which ones to use and how to care for them.  
I love alphabet magnets. I think I love them more than my kids do. But somehow as I grew older, and ironically, when my kids were old enough to actually appreciate them, I hated the way they looked. The OC in me hated that when I’d try to spell a word, some were green, one was hot pink, and another orange one in an odd position. This is perfect for folks like me who have way too much chaos in their lives for another set of ROYGBIV anything.
Spray regular alphabet magnets with three to four light coats of metallic spray paint. Make sure you let them dry real well in between coats or else you’ll end up with a sticky mess. Yes, that insight is still from experience. Put them all in none other than this uber-versatile mason jar and present to your favorite logophile.  
Another cool thing at the moment is turning anything and everything into chalkboards. So much so that chalkboard paint is now marketed for crafty DIY folk and comes in an array of colors. But the truly crafty and hipster scoff at the store bought varieties and make their own version through a super secret recipe I’m willing to share with you cos you know, it’s the season of giving.
So there, mix 2Tbs grout for every cup of flat latex paint till smooth and paint away! Make anything from picture frames to place mats and pair gift with a set of homemade chalk. You’re welcome!  

Chesca Roces Brillantes

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