Looking for a unique, inexpensive and super thoughtful Mother’s Day gift? Look no further! Make her therMOMeters!
They are pretzel rods dipped in white candy melt with a drizzled red line and drizzled black hash marks. They were so easy to make! Literally took a total of an hour to make over 60 of these! The hardest part was finding 60 intact pretzel rods! I used 3 squeeze bottles (like for ketchup and mustard) to make these. I filled one bottle with the white candy melt discs. Popped the plastic bottle in the microwave for 60 seconds. Then I squeezed the bottle and put it back in for 25 seconds. Although I filled the bottle to the top with the candy melts, once they melted down, it was about 1/2 full. I just put more candy melts inside and gave it another two times in the microwave at 25-30 second increments squeezing the bottle between cycles. Make sure the white candy melt goes all the way to the top! Do not put on the lid. Lay out wax paper. Dip the pretzel rods straight down into the bottle. Gently swirl the rod in a circular motion over the bottle opening to allow the excess candy melt to drip back down. Lay flat on the wax paper. Repeat until all rods are dipped. I had to refill the plastic squeeze bottle one time with candy melt discs and put it back in the microwave. Toward the end, I would dip the rod and gently squeeze the bottle (don’t squeeze so tight that you are touching the rod inside) and the candy melt would come up the rod and cover it. Repeat the same steps in melting the red and black candy melts in their own bottles. Squeeze a dollop of red (to create the bulb) and pull down the length of the white. Repeat until all rods have red bulb/lines (be sure the white is fully set before squeezing on the red). Once the red is fully set, squeeze black hash marks in even increments up the rod). These were so easy to make and so cute.
Here’s the tag above that you can download and paste into a Word document. Just right click over the picture and choose something like “save as” and save it to your computer. Tie the tag with a ribbon around the rim of the mason jar for the cutest Mother’s Day gift ever!
So Spencer has really settled into preschool. He loves it and is learning so much. It is 3 days a week but only for a few hours. I hate to waste gas going back and forth so I just hang out in the little town his preschool is in. Unfortunately for our bank account, there is a Dollar Tree store just around the corner from his preschool. Everything is just $1.00! So with $10 or $20 bucks you feel like you went on a massive shopping spree! I literally go in there everyday Spencer is in school. So much so that the other day an employee was trying to find fake eyelashes for a customer who wanted it for Halloween…I was in the next aisle and yelled out where they were located in the store, hahaha! When I checked out last Friday, the cashier literally said, “See you on Monday” hahahahaha! She is so right! Last week I spotted these gold, glittery, filigree maple leaves. I am a sucker for anything that sparkles! Then I saw the spool of sheer gold wire ribbon…9 feet of it on one spool! Then the deep purple and orange flowers. Then the plastic green gourd and jewel-crusted, plastic orange gourd. I felt a new fall wreath was coming on! $7.00 later I had the makings of an awesome wreath! I hopped on over to Walmart and picked up a straw wreath for $2.97. With my magic glue gun, I created our new $10.00 Fall Wreath in under half an hour! Be sure to visit your local dollar store, there are treasures to be found within! Happy Crafting!
I’ve blogged before how I live life a little different. I do stop and smell the roses everyday. I appreciate the priceless things in life like love and friendship. My family and my friends are my sanctuary. In them I find peace. Peace with being diagnosed with PH. In them I also find hope. Hope for the future no matter how short or long mine may be. I am a very thankful person. I let go of anger as fast as it comes. I tell those who are important to me that I love them ALL the time. I say it because I mean it. Am I this way because of my death sentence diagnosis? No. I really don’t believe that. I have always been a passionate person, if anything, PH has made me even more passionate. I am passionate about living versus just existing. There is a huge difference.
So when birthdays, special occasions or the holidays come around, I don’t run to the nearest mall or megastore looking for perfect gifts. The truth is that we are on a fixed income thanks to my PH. So what I believe my family and friends deserve are things I can’t afford to buy them. So instead, I always try to make something for those I love dearly. I pour all my love into the things I create and I am giving a piece of me when I make something for someone. This past football season, I made large 4×4 wood blocks for each senior that on each side had a different photo of them in action on the field. You can check out how I made the large photo cubes HERE. The kids loved them and they turned out so great. Then it hit me! I can scale back the size and create personalized photo ornaments! This post has written directions but the post with the large 4×4 photo cubes has detailed photos to go with the written directions. I pretty much followed the same steps other than I inserted eyelet screws into these smaller photo block versions to create a hanger.
The hard part was gathering memorable photos of my friends and family. Thankfully social websites make this part less daunting. I visited my family’s and friends’ Facebook pages and found 5 special pictures of theirs that I knew were important to them. For the 6th side of the block (the top), I found a wintery background picture (just type “winter wallpaper” in the Google image search bar and you will find tons of graphic backgrounds to choose from). I used a cute snowman picture and added text that said “Our Sweet Snowbabies 2012” or “Our Sweet Grand Snowbabies 2012” or I just put their name with the year on it. I used a photo editing software to crop down the photos into perfect squares.
Then I went to Michaels to find 2×2 wood blocks. They were selling them for $1.29 each! Highway robbery! The hubby took me to Lowes and got a 36 inch 2 x 2 railing banister, eyelet screws (to make the hanging ribbon) and sand paper. He cut a few by hand using a hacksaw and then my dear friend, Rhonda, had her dad cut up the rest. First off, let me tell you, those hardware megastores get away with murder! There is no such thing as a 2 x 2 or 4 x 4. Everything is always at least 1/2 an inch smaller than stated! If the wood is not 2 x 2 then just say that! Sheesh! it’s a good thing those mega hardware stores are geared toward mostly men because if enough women were aware of their cheating ways, there would be a major ruckus! Us women don’t do well with false advertising, lol! After choosing all the photos, I added them to a Word document. I scaled down the size of each picture to 1.5 x 1.5 size. I was able to get several photos onto one sheet of paper. I saved them to a memory stick and took them to the FedEx Kinkos to print them in color using their laser printers. I know from experience that photos printed from my deskjet printer at home doesn’t work well with Mod Podge. The ink runs, smears and ruins the photo. I had the photos printed on plain old copy paper because again from experience, I know it works best to have thin paper when Mod Podging (is that a word? LOL).
Steve sanded down the edges and the freshly cut sides to make them as smooth as possible. Steve then used the black spray paint left over from making the senior photo blocks and spray painted all the 1.5 x 1.5 blocks black. Following the same technique I used for the 4 x 4 blocks (which again were really 3.5 x 3.5 blocks, lol), I cut down the photos just slightly smaller. Each side was slightly different so I laid the block on the photo, traced around it and cut just slightly inside of the square. The black creates a frame around the photos giving it a really cool effect. I applied Mod Podge to the wood block and using an old expired credit card, I smoothed the picture on to the wood block side. I repeated this for all the sides and for all the different blocks I made. I then applied two layers of Mod Podge (glossy) over each photo all the way to the edges of the block (allowing the 1st layer to fully dry before adding the 2nd layer). I hand screwed on the eyelet screws (using the pointed scissor ends inserted into the eye to do the last few tight turns). I then attached a color coordinating ribbon. They turned out so freaking cute!
I decided to go back in time and make one of Spencer for every year we have been blessed to have him. I used a different winter graphic design for every year and always added “Spencer” and the coordinating year to the image on the top of the wood block. I also made sure all words were toward the top or bottom and not in the middle where the eyelet screw would be screwed in. I will continue to make one every year for Spencer choosing 5 photos of importance for that year. When he turns 18, he will have 18 keepsake ornaments! I made one for our oldest son using special photos of him from the past year. There are very few photos in general of Steve & I together. Mostly because I am usually the one taking pictures. I found 5 photos of us taken some time in the past 17 years we have been together. Then on the top block I put “Steve & Kathy” toward the top of the block and “In love since 1995” toward the bottom of the block. I loved how these turned out and am so thankful that I was able to create a gift that is worthy enough to be given to those I love.
These would make for great “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ornaments using 5 baby pictures of that year. Or a fantastic wedding gift using wedding photos. For one of my friends, I used some of her daughter’s senior school pictures. For another friend, I used photos from a loved vacation she had taken with her daughter to London. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! So get those creative juices flowing! It would be so awesome to have just a tree only decorated in little mirrors and photo blocks! Make some of just specific family members and some of specific vacations! Oh, this will be a future project for sure, a photo cube tree covered in wonderful memories! Because I had black spray paint, ribbon and Mod Podge on hand, the 20+ ornaments cost less than $10 to make. Again, that doesn’t matter, these cutie patooties are priceless gifts made with tons and tons of love!
I have seen several versions of this craft project around the internet. I couldn’t wait to make this with Spencer! It is just a super cute way to create a keepsake of your child’s precious hand print!
All you need to create this cutie are some glass balls (I used frosted blue balls I purchased from Hobby Lobby for around $2.50 on sale), white acrylic paint (purchased from Michaels for .69 cents), a foam brush and different colored permanent markers.
First, pour a small amount of paint onto a styrofoam plate. Generously paint your child’s hand with white paint all the way to the finger tips. Spencer just laughed and laughed saying it tickled and was cold.
Before placing the ornament in his precious hand, I first showed him what to do. I placed an ornament in my palm and slowly wrapped my fingers up and around the ornament. I told him to “hug the ornament with your fingers”. I then showed him how to open his hand back up pulling his fingers off the ornament slowly. Once he understood, I laid the ornament in the palm of his hand and said, “hug it!” Spencer did exactly as he was told and shrieked in delight when he saw his big white hand print! We repeated these steps for the other 5 ornaments. Once done, I secured the ornaments (see below) and helped Spencer wash off all of the paint.
I strung the balls onto a dowel rod. I taped the hanger piece to the dowel rod so the ornaments wouldn’t slide and move up and down the dowel rod. I then suspended the ornaments between 2 TV trays and allowed them to fully dry for a couple of hours.
With Spencer’s help, we used permanent markers to decorate his hand prints turning them into snowmen. First I drew the eyes (black marker), mouth (black marker), buttons (black marker), nose (orang marker) and stick arms (fine point brown marker). Then I let Spencer choose the colors for each hat with matching scarf for each of the 5 snowmen. I gave him the choice of earmuffs, a ball cap, top hat or Santa hat. He picked the color, then picked which type of hat and I drew them all on as he delightfully watched.
Don’t forget to turn the ornament over and write your child’s name and the year it was created. Spencer loved this craft project as much as me! Spencer is mighty proud of his little Keepsake Hand Ornaments! A perfect way to turn your child’s hand print into a keepsake item that I’m sure his or her grandparents would love to get as a Christmas present!