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Emma Olson is Co-Editor for Chicago for Miss A. She is a Midwestern native and a Chicago newcomer. She loves city living, walking, running, biking, animals, and reading. A self-proclaimed nerd, she tends towards books that feature dragons, magic, and intrigue. Preferably all three. Emma loves to travel and one day would like to live overseas. She brings her own special energy, verve, and scintillating wit to her writing as well as her life. Emma loves exploring the city in all capacities and is thrilled to be living in such a vibrant part of the world. If you have a Chicago charity or cultural event, restaurant, boutique, spa, or salon you would like covered on Miss A, please contact Emma at emma.olson@askmissa.com.

Getting Crafty For The Holidays: Seven Do-It-Yourself Gifts

As Christmas and Hanukkah approach with ever increasing swiftness, holiday shopping is reaching its peak. However, in this poor economic clime gift-giving can be added stress on the family budget. That being said, why not consider home-made gifts this year? Sure they can be a little time consuming but with the right idea and materials do-it-yourself presents can be charming, thoughtful, and as appreciated as a “Black Swan” on DVD. Let’s look at seven great DIY ideas for this holiday season:

Scrabble Tile Pendants (Photo Credit: spraygraphic.com)

1. Scrabble Tile Pendants: Give the gift of style! Even crafters with no experience in jewelry making can conquer this fun project. Dust off your Scrabble game and divest it of a few letter tiles, pick up some scrapbook paper, old photos, magazine pictures, etc., and get started!

2. Coasters:Provide a set of personalized coasters to a friend or family this year. This is an easy but lovely gift for DIY beginners. It allows incredible wiggle room for individual tastes and has great opportunity for creativity. Scrapbook paper allows for plenty of design choices but pictures can also be used for a more personal touch. (I have plans to create a set of Harry Potter themed coasters for my younger sister. Slytherin will be heavily featured.)

Light Panels (Photo Credit: apartmenttherapy.com)

3. Light Panel: You will love this so much you will want one for your own home. Products might be a little pricier then some of the other gift ideas but the results are well worth it. Create your own wall art with some canvas, decals, paint, and white lights! Apply your decal/sticker of choice to your canvas, paint over it and let dry. Remove decals and light from behind with white lights. Simple and elegant.

4. Lace Bangles:These bangles make a great gift for your close girl friends. Not only simple to make, you have plenty of freedom in terms of design and you can make dozens at one time. Use lace, paints, ribbons, and accents to start your own line of bracelets.

Hand Scrub (Photo Credit: instructables.com)

5. Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub: Now that Chicago winter has officially made it’s appearance, hats and gloves are not enough protection from the fierce lake-front winds. Battle dry skin with a lemon-fresh scrub.

6. Flavored Vodka: While some of these gifts might be appropriate for daughters and nieces, save your personal brand of flavored vodka for ladies’ night. Leave two weeks (just in time for New Year’s Eve!) to distill the flavors, bottle in any way you choose and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!

7. Magnet Board:Colorful, fun, and useful, a home-made magnet board has a place in every home. Personalize the designs to your heart’s content and have at it!

Magnet Boards (Photo Credit: cinnaberry-suite.blogspot.com)

There you have it! Seven gift ideas for loved ones that won’t break the bank. Head to your local craft store and get crafting!

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