more elvin’ around – last minute gifts

December 14th, 2008

The elves have been slaving away on handmade Christmas gifts all weekend. Inspired by Sugar City the kids and I made our neighborhood kids soap snowballs with secret centers (in most cases, rubber balls and animal figurines). This is the perfect activity for little helpers as they’ll enjoy running their hands through the soap, and you’ll be impressed just how clean you can get the littles. Mine are coveting all the snowballs. “Mom, I want all the Light’ McQueen ones. Do we have to give them to my friends?” The cool thing is the recipe is so quick – just run a few bars of ivory soap through a grater, mix tablespoon by tablespoon of water until the soap just holds together, form balls and voila! If you want to add surprise centers, we had the best luck simply forming the balls around the goodies. Also, although it sounds smart, don’t attempt this activity on the marble tiled bathroom floor. It was indeed easy to clean up, but the floor got dangerously slippery early on in the process. Also, forgive me if my next few batches of pesto taste sudsy. I soaked all of the Cuisinart parts for hours and used a lot of elbow grease, but that was a lot of soap!

While Sylvie was sleeping, I tried to make life even by whipping up a pair of brown velveteen pants for Will, but I misjudged his size and he now has a great pair of cowboy pants awaiting his 5th or 6th birthday. Bummer. Couldn’t even take a picture it was so sad.

For the more mature neighbors, I made candied citrus peel from our meyer lemons and a few navel oranges using Martha Stewart’s recipe. If you try this, I’d suggest making all meyer lemon. Even the lemon hater in the family loved the meyer lemon peel. The navel orange peel is also addictive, but just not quite as complex and also not quite what I was expecting.

To cap off the weekend, I whipped up two pair of slippers – a pair per boy – out of a sweater Doug accidentally felted and an old yoga mat. Talk about warm and cozy! I used Doug’s flip-flops and Will’s feet as my models. I hand-sewed the tops to the footbeds, then using a hot glue gun, I attached the soles. I didn’t have high expectations for this experiment, but the sweater was particularly thick – with the added spring of the yoga mat bottom, these have the pleasant rebound of a new pair of sneakers. Oh, and as long as your feet are firmly on the ground, you can’t see that they are bottomed in the astro-turf colored green yoga mat. Here are Will’s (sorry for the typical crummy picture… Santa, I want a photographer, please.):

Now the family wants me to sew flames on all their stuff. Need to teach these guys to work a needle!