a crafty christmas

I’m of the school of thought that homemade gifts are often a million times more special than the ones we buy. I’m also doing my very best to be frugal for Christmas this year, so we all decided to get a little crafty this season. This Christmas will be spent with my parents, my sister, Nikki, and her husband, Adam, my little sister, Kristina and her boyfriend, Josh, my brother-in-law’s sister, Rachel, and her friend, Carlos and, of course, Ryan. That’s a heck of a lot of people (and gifts)…the most ever.


We do a gift exchange each year where we choose a name from a hat, and that person gets a big gift.  Everybody else gets a gift of a $25 max, so I decided to mix things up this year and make some gifts that might mean just a little bit more.


Rachel recently moved to Boston for a year-long orthopedic fellowship after a year in Los Angeles, and she misses it so much. I knew I wanted to make her something that would remind her of her home and keep it in her heart until she goes back next year. I found a little inspiration on Pinterest & made this:



Guys, this was super easy, fast and really affordable, and I’m it’s the kind of gift that a person can look at for a little happy reminder all year ’round. I spent a grand total of $19.33 on her gift, and I’m legit pondering making one for myself…except there is no one state that I really consider my home! Sheesh.



To make one of your own, all you need is a picture frame – I think an 8×10 would be best to make sure you can really see the state – matting for the frame, mod podge, glitter, glue (a hot glue gun, glue dots or a stick would be better than the liquid glue I used), a sponge brush, hair spray, white or colored card stock and scrapbook heart stickers.


I printed an outline of California, then I cut it out and traced it upside down on card stock…this is so the lines you trace won’t show up. Once I cut the state out of the card stock, I brushed it with a thin layer of mod podge and then doused it heavily in glitter. I did this in a deep baking dish to attempt to stop the spread of glitter, which is honestly the herpes of craft supplies. Let the glitter and mod podge and glitter dry for ten minutes, then shake off the excess. If it needs another coat, repeat the mod podge/glitter step again. Once it’s completely coated and dry, spray it lightly with hairspray to fully adhere the glitter to the state.


After that, glue the back of the state and place it neatly on a second piece of card stock behind the matting in the frame. Adhere a heart sticker in the city or locale of your choice, then tighten up the frame and voila! Seriously, it’s super easy and despite the fact that glitter is the bane of my existence, I’m really happy with how it turned out.


Do you guys ever do crafty gifts? I can’t wait to do a few more and, hopefully, share better pictures 😉