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Los Angeles, CA, United States
I'm Julia! I sew and design fabric and go on food adventures!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Last Minute" Party and Gift Ideas

I don't know about you, but once posts in the blogosphere start having titles with "last minute" in them, I begin to get a little bit nervous...

But this year, after learning from last year, I came armed for the holidays with a few easy gifts to whip up at the last minute for both the men and women in my life, as well as a few fun party ideas.

For Him:


Bottle Cap Magnets: For the beer fan.

I live in a house with four young adult "dudes", so it stands to reason that at any given time, there are a lot of beer bottle caps laying around, which inspired this project. 


All it takes is some of your favorite bottle caps, craft foam, magnets, and E6000.
~ To get nice bottle caps, either use twist-off caps, or open them slowly with the flat kind of opener.
~ Glue your magnets to the craft foam, then glue the foam to your bottle caps. (If your magnets are thicker than your caps, then just glue the magnet straight to the cap)
~That's it! I made a simple pouch to put them in. This project could be made more cutesy with craft bottle caps that you can find at large craft stores.

Webbing Belt: For the Fashionable Male.

This project takes about five minutes, and is so satisfying! And it can be personalized easily (this pictured belt is actually for me! The man in my life is getting one with skulls)
~ Purchase webbing and a buckle to match (make sure that the buckle is size-appropriate for the webbing you choose) I got this webbing and buckle at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco
~ If your webbing is made of a synthetic material, you can melt the edge of the webbing with a lighter to finish the seams. If you use cotton webbing, finish the edges with fray-check or clear nail polish. 
~ Sew the webbing to the buckle with a heavy denim needle (size 16 or 18)
~ You're done! In terms of how much webbing to buy, a yard and a half is about right for huskier men. You can always buy more and then cut it down (remember to finish the edges!) if you need to.

For Her:


Tote Bag With Pocket: For on-the-go moms or busy students.

I made up this pattern with a simple concept, but The Purl Bee has a great 20 minute tote tutorial as well.

~ Purchase 1/2 - 3/4 of a yard of a cotton or cotton/linen canvas. This one is from Echino and I got it from Harts Fabric.
~ Also purchase 3-3 1/2 yards of cotton webbing. The webbing is also from Harts.
~ Cut two pieces of fabric about 24" x 18", and one about 18" x 6" for the pocket (these dimensions can be tweaked based on the proportions you want)
~ Press tops of tote and pocket over 1/2", then again 1 1/2". Stitch hems down, then pin pocket to front side of tote, making sure to center it on the bottom.
~ We're going to make French Seams! WRONG sides together, stitch side and bottom seams with a 1/4" seam allowance. (making sure to get the pocket in there).  Trim these seams a bit if needed.
~ Then flip inside out with RIGHT sides together, and stitch around the side and bottom seams with a 1/2" seam allowance, making sure to enclose all raw edges.
~ Now stitch ends of webbing together making one big loop. Pin to your bag making sure that it goes down and under each side of your tote evenly and encases raw sides of your pocket.
~ Stitch all the way down and around each side of the webbing making sure to catch the edges of your pocket (the webbing should frame the pocket on the sides).
* If you want, you can be done here, or you can flip up the points of the bottom of your tote and stitch to make a flat bottom!

Pearl and Wire Bird's Nest Pendant: For the Jewelry Lover

This project is so fun and easy! I used this tutorial Sarah Ortega, and learned a few things along the way.
*Memory wire is easy to find ad craft stores, but do NOT use memory wire. Go to a real bead shop and purchase a nice malleable wire, it will make your life easier. I used gold-filled wire, for the pictured pendant. I paid a little bit more for it, but I only needed a yard, and the final product was so much nicer than when I used other wires.
* Make sure that your pearls have large enough holes! This seems obvious, but it could ruin your day if you don't double check.
* Using round-nose pliers also works better because they won't leave marks in your wire.

~ String 3-4 pearls onto your wire and arrange in a circle
~ Secure your circle by looping the start of your wire onto the wire immediately after your last pearl.
~ Start winding and winding around your cluster of pearls in imperfect circles until your nest is the right density, then loop remaining wire around nest to secure.
~ Attach to a jump ring and then to a chain. Voila!

For Your Last Minute Party:

Dressing up Dollar Store Cups:

I am a college student, and am on a college student budget. So for my holiday party I shopped for supplies at the Target dollar section (where I found this awesome glitter tree decoration), and the Dollar Tree. Unfortunately the Dollar Tree was out of X-mas themed cups, so I bought black cups and red and green tissue paper. Cut small strips of tissue paper, layer, twist into bows and hot-glue your festive bow-ties to your cups. How fancy!

Glitter Snowflake Bobby Pin Party Favors:

I took some glitter snowflake table scatter (Again, from Target's dollar section) and E6000'd (can I verb that?) them to some thick bobby pins. These not only make cute favors, but are fun last-minute gifts as well

Whether you're feeling the pressure, or are as cool as a cucumber this holiday season, I hope this has given you some good gift ideas as it gets closer to the holidays!


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