Guest Blogger: Jocie of One Project Closer: The Better Half – Christmas Crafts

The guest blogger today is a fellow Creative Blogger Collective member that I had recently met!  Her name is Jocie and she has volunteered to guest blog here at Plucky’s Second Thought!  Please give her a warm welcome and enjoy her post!  :)

Thanks so much for having me here at your super fun blog, Jess! If you haven’t heard of us over at One Project Closer, we’re two couples and best friends who share, not just about our everyday DIY adventures, but also follow pro contractors to provide our readers with the best and most detailed how-to guides out there. One Project Closer is geared towards the hard-core home improvement folks, providing great info on stuff like laying your own hard wood floors, building a deck, and repairing cracked concrete.

While OPC has been around for 5 years now, we created The Better Half about 6 month ago. The Better Half is just like it sounds – better! lol. I (Jocie) write about crafts, decor, and DIY, and occasionally show off cute pix of my two daughters. Kim, the other Better Half, works 24/7 to provide up-date Home Depot coupons and Lowe’s discounts!

Here’s my fam – Ethan, Jocie (me), Izzie, and Lucy. We live in Baltimore and love us some Ravens!

Christmas Crafts

Christmas Crafts

Every year I try to come up with thoughtful homemade gifts for family and neighbors. Not all have been too successful, but I wanted to share with you some of my faves.

1. Candy Cane Infused Vodka

Christmas Crafts

This is probably the quickest and easiest idea, but slightly more expensive because of the cost of the vodka. All you have to do is put a bunch of candy canes in vodka, seal, shake, and wait a few days! Amazing!

2. Home-made Hot Chocolate

Christmas Crafts

This homemade hot chocolate goes great with the Candy cane vodka (1 ounce of vodka per cup of cocoa) or can be given with a bottle of Bailey’s. I used Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food network (shown below) because I thought the cayenne pepper added a unique twist.

3. Home Made Cookies or Cookie Dough

Christmas Crafts

Last year I made cookies and bread and gave them to neighbors. This year, while perusing Pinterest, I saw a tip to make your own cookie dough ahead of time, roll in plastic wrap, and freeze. What a great idea rather than using store-bought refrigerated dough! Last year, I made Reindeer Peanut butter, Chocolate Mint, and Sugar cookie pinwheel cookies…any suggestions on what I should make this year?

4. Reindeer Beer, aka Rein-beer

Christmas Crafts

So easy and a great guy gift! Buy your favorite beer, add pipe cleaners, eyes, a red pom pom and DONE! Thanks to Interior Design Musings via Pinterest for the idea!

5. Hand-Made Bottle Opener

Christmas Crafts

Ethan, the hubby, wrote a post on making a rugged bottle opener and it was very impressive. This is probably one of the more difficult gifts to make and includes more than just your hot glue gun, but it is by far my favorite guy gift! Check out his post for detailed instructions to make your own.

6. Homemade Sock Monkey

Christmas Crafts

I have made bunches of Sock Monkeys over the last year and they have been a hit at the holidays and at baby showers. It is a little more time-consuming than other gift ideas, but is cheap! One sock monkey cost about $3 – 4, mainly depending on the cost of the socks.

7. Framed Earring Holder

Christmas Crafts

My cousin made one of these and it is super cute! You can use varying size, color, and type of ornamentation for the frame depending on the recipient. This also does not require power tools, just wire cutters to cut the chicken wire.

8. Chalkboard or Etched Wine Glass

Christmas Crafts

Last year, I made chalkboard wine glasses and this year I etched some. I really love the etched ones, but both are adorable ways to personalize your gifts. For a complete how-to, check out my post on etching wine glasses.

Christmas Crafts

9. Homemade Cribbage Board

Christmas Crafts

This is another one Ethan made as his woodworking skills have progressed. We both love games and this would make an amazing and thoughtful gift! To make your own Check out our cribbage board tutorial.

10. Oven-baked Clay Ornaments

Christmas Crafts

Oven-baked ornaments and gifts tags are a way to personalize and dress up your presents for your loved ones. We made them this year and it was fun for the little kids too! I bought White oven-bake clay at Walmart for about $6 for a good-sized amount and have made oodles of them!

What are your favorite homemade holiday gifts?

For more fun projects and crafts, visit me at The Better Half! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Hope to see you soon!

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