Thursday, January 19, 2017

What Do You Have in Your Hand? {Making Gifts for Babies}

For a quick update - my no-spend challenge is going well with no extra expenditures this past week. We still have plenty of food to eat (like way more than plenty but I did do some baking today so that there was something quick and easy to eat no just wheat berries and meat in the freezer :-) ) and it has been a great time to get the fridge all cleaned out and use up somethings that can sometimes get ignored for a while like Beef Tongue. That was on the menu for supper tonight. It tastes good but it isn't terribly fun to prepare so I tend to put it off. But this month I am on a mission to clean out clutter and to use up things that might go to waste and stuff like that so I made it and we ate it. 

   We have had some births and birthdays lately and so along with my plan of doing handmade gifts this year we made some presents for those occasions. We had a pretty fun time doing it too and they were great opportunities to work together as a family.

  Our big project last week was a rocking horse for my nephew Ephraim's 1st birthday. I have always thought that rocking horses were kind of fun (and they just look so old fashioned - which I like too) and when I was browsing at the library I happened across a book on making rocking horses and I thought - Now that would be fun to make for Ephraim. So I brought it home. The book actually told how to make these super fancy, hand carved in detail horses which would take a LOOOOONG time to make so we didn't follow those patterns. But still it had got me thinking.

   So, I asked the men in the family if they thought they could help me make a rocking horse. Ken said "No, we're not that talented" (Woodworking is not really his specialty though he has very successfully made quite a few things but it is a slow process and not one he truly enjoys - his talents lie in other areas) but Jonathan was willing to help me give it a go.
  I found the wood from our stash up in the attic of the detached garage. Jonathan and I looked at pictures on Pinterest and decided on a design and then Megan and I went to work at drawing out the pattern on the wood. That was Wednesday night after church. The birthday party was Friday evening so we needed to get busy. I am working to learn not to procrastinate but it is still a long process I think with my learning.

   On Thursday morning Jonathan cut out all the pieces (while I taught music lessons), he got to skip some of his other school work for this special "shop class". On Thursday afternoon Megan and I sanded the pieces (while he was off to Robotics) and I commissioned Aaron to carve a handle. As soon as we got the pieces sanded I stained them.

  After Jonathan got home on Thursday evening we went to work to put them together starting at about 9 pm. I thought it would take maybe 45 minutes. Ken helped us find all the tools and screws we needed and gave advice but still we were up working on it until around 11:30 pm.

The next morning I went to work at getting it varnished.

 After 2 coats of that were dry (thank-fully we had some varnish that dried nice and fast) Megan and I filled in the screw holes with putty.
 Mara had some leather that she made ears from. Megan painted the eyes. I had to fill in around the handle with some foam and felt so that the handle fit snugly.
 I set Aaron to work at cutting yarn for the mane.
 Then I braided a long piece and glued it all together.
 Next to glue it all in place. We love being able to use a hot glue gun for projects that get done quickly.
 It is coming together! Mara made and attached a tail.

 It is ready to ride. I was nervous about it but both Aaron and Megan tried it out and it held up fine.
 It works! Yeah! We were able to make it completely from things we already had on hand. Another Yeah!
 Ephraim is still kind of little for it and wasn't sure about it but hopefully it will be a very fun thing for him to have as he gets a little older.

Another gift we made very recently was this little outfit for a new little guy at church (it is big for him yet but I wanted it that way). The shirt was made using some guidelines from this post. The pants tutorial is from here.
 This outfit below was one I made as a gift a this past summer but I realized I never blogged about it so I thought I would share it here too. It also was one I made using things that I already had on hand.
Making homemade gifts can be time consuming but it is also fun and I find it rewarding. Not all projects take a super long time. Both of the outfits only took around an hour to make. The rocking horse however was a longer project. Just for interest sake we calculated man hours that went into it and it was around 14. But it was a learning process as well. Sewing is something I have done for a long time and am confident at - wood working not so much. But the more we do anything the faster we get.

How have you made do with what you had "in your hand" this week?

Do you have any favorite gifts to make for babies?


Mrs. Chrissy T said...


So adorable!!!!

SpicingUpIdaho said...

You are just one amazing talented gal! Love that you created the rocking horse with your family, and all the work that it took to make it! Loved the pictures seeing each member of your family helping. And I loved the cute little outfits you made too! I find little boy things harder to sew than girls. Hugs to you today dear friend :)

Abbi said...

Thank you ladies!


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