Five

Christmas Countdown : 5 Days

With less than a week to go until Christmas, it's time to break out the DIY gift ideas. Handmade gifts are actually frequently the best kind of gifts. They are one of a kind and made specially with the recipient in mind. What says "I love you" more than a personalized gift? And no one does DIY (in my opinion) better than Geneva Vanderzeil of a Pair & a Spare.

Here are links to some of her most giftable projects like a tulle skirt for your little sister, an embroidered trip map for your travel buddy, a hardware clutch for your BFF, a vintage style frame for your brother, and hanging baskets for mom. For more inspiration you can check out all Vanderzeil's projects here.

However, if you are really strapped for time or cash there is one DIY project you're bound to already have the supplies for. Thought up by my brilliant sister Liz, these tampon ornaments are sure to be the hit of the day. Or at least they were for us. I don't recommend making these for your man friends, but your lady friends and family will find them just as charming as we did. All you need is a box of tampons, felt, embroidery thread or yarn, googly eyes, a sharpie, glue, and scissors. 

Just loop the pull and attach it to the top of the tampon with glue, along with embroidery thread for the hair. Next add on the eyes (which you can obviously do with a sharpie if you don't have googly eyes), mouth, and other extras like glasses. If you really want to get fancy you can add clothes like my sister did in the wedding ornament version she made for her and her husband. If I remember correctly the mini wedding dress came off a 3D card and the tux is made of construction paper. Lastly, write the names of the recipients on the back in either a colored sharpie or glitter paint if you have it. And voila! A one of a kind ornament sure to at least give your friends a good laugh.

see more DIY gift ideas on Lady Gray here, here, and here.

Eight

Christmas Countdown : 8 Days

No holiday party is complete without cookies and cocktails. In fact, I'd venture to say no day is complete without cookies and cocktails, but we'll stick to the holidays for now. Every family has their go to holiday recipes, whether they are banana bread for the neighbors or chili cheese dip for Christmas Eve. Below are some of my favorite cookie/cocktail recipes, and a few new ones to try out!

NOTES:
To achieve the red/white painted effect on the peppermint macarons, drip red food coloring down the side of the pastry bag before filling
The orange coconut cookie and gingerbread recipes were taken from cookbooks. All other recipes are linked to their source through the image.

DIY : Fendi Fur Monster

This time of year places like Bergdorf Goodman, Moda Operandi, and Neiman Marcus are all having amazing sales. What could be better than 70% off Marc Jacobs or Valentino? Unfortunately, for some of us those incredible discounts still aren't enough. Instead we must look for versions inspired by the real deal, or in this case make our very own designer inspired pieces.

The Fendi Fur Monster. The most whimsical $900 you'll ever spend. At least that's one way of putting it. But for those of us with more practical spending plans, it is an awful lot of money for a furry keychain, no matter how cute. So I set out to make my own!

You'll need:
faux fur key chain (like this or this)
felt
2 rhinestones
crafting glue, whichever kind you prefer
scissors
optional - faux fur strips for accents like eyebrows

I also ended up using a needle and thread and a black sharpie to finish the eyes.

Start out by drawing out a few example faces to decide which monster you like best. Once you have a design picked out, start playing with different color combinations. Once you come across a style you like, use the craft glue to set it in place. It's best if you let the glue dry between each application of felt. 

Now, I struggled to find rhinestones for my monster so instead I just used white felt and black thread. I sewed the eyes on from the middle of the white circle to create a pupil, which I then augmented with a black sharpie. I plan to keep my eye out for some rhinestones, but he still looks pretty cute without them.

Once you have the face all set, it is time to glue it to your keychain! Brush the fur out from a central location, making sure the chain is still pulling from the top. Then apply the glue to the back of the felt face and press it firmly onto the faux fur. Wait for the glue to dry thoroughly before placing on your favorite bag and showing off your new monster buddy.

image via Instagram

image via Instagram