Monday, December 5, 2011

Rose Anderson on the 5th Day of Christmas

First off, let me say thanks for having me today Tonya. :)

When thinking up something fun for this blog post, I thought everyone could use a few cool-looking homemade and inexpensive Christmas gift ideas this year. I’ve always made gifts for family and friends. Over the years some have been tasty treats, but most have been lasting. I love repurposing. I’ve made mittens from felted wool sweater sleeves, and earrings and bracelets out of old silver teaspoon handles. I’ve sewn large roomy tote bags and sofa pillows from vintage dresses with fabulous fabric. You never know where the next fun idea will come from. If you have a terrific gift idea, drop me a line, I’d love to hear about it.

I’m going to give a few of my best without pictures. Hopefully, I’ll describe the details well enough you’re able to follow along. If you’re stuck, email me and I’ll talk you through ~ roseanderson4858(at)yahoo(dot)com

The Secret Book ~ This book innocently sits on the shelf with the rest of your library, but when you turn a few pages, you’ll discover this crumby old book is actually a secret compartment. It’s a box made out of a book and the cover is the lid.

* You’ll need a thick old and boring looking book. Try a thrift store or the library a free or an inexpensive discard.

* Modpodge and applicator (foam or bristle brush)

* An Exacto knife or box cutter blade.

* A sheet of foil or waxed paper

Flip open the book and go at least ten pages in. Mark the page by tucking your sheet of foil or waxed paper inside and close the book. This is what you should see – ten loose pages and a protective sheet of foil or waxed paper. The rest of the pages will be the box. Now apply a liberal coating of Modpodge to the edge below those ten pages. Put something heavy on top, smooth any blobs with the brush or foam applicator and wait about an hour for it to dry.

The book will be stiff now except for those few loose pages at the front of the book. Determine the size of the compartment your book will have within its pages. Trace out a smaller rectangle and carefully use the Exacto blade or box cutter to cut out as many pages as you’re able to at one time. Keep on going until you almost reach the back cover. Once you have a nice deep center cut away, paint on the Modpodge to seal the raw edges just like you did to the outside. Using the scrap pages you’ve cut out, paste these over the raw edges inside with more Modpodge for a nice finished look. Leave your book open to dry. And there you go -- a very cool looking, infinitely useful, gift. :)

Repurposed Stationary Set ~ I started this project by buying a sustainably grown bamboo pen for my daughter (offebay). Then, using two sizes of opened and flattened envelopes as templates, I made crazy envelopes out of full page magazine ads and Patagonia catalog pages. I fine line of regular old Elmers glue sealed my new envelopes. I could have used a glue stick but having had glue stick projects come unglued before, I opted for the sure thing. I bought a recycled paper writing tablet and made a custom cover for it from a very nice picture I found online of the recycle symbol as the top of a stylized tree. I also found a Save a Tree/ Reuse Paper self-inking stamp. I bundled up the envelopes in two stacks and put it all into a cigar box that I covered with cancellation marks from all over the world. It was one of my more fun projects that looked like it came from one of those fancy and pricey catalogs.

Ransom Note Refrigerator Magnets ~ I cut large alphabet letters from cereal boxes, glossy sales papers and magazines, and stuck them on peel and stick magnet sheets but it’s also a great way to use up those freebie ad magnets and magnetic calendars (just carefully peel away the text or picture to get to the sticky base underneath. Tip: arrange them this way and that to save space. After a coating of matte finish Modpodge dries, cut them out. I followed the number and count of Scrabble letters and added questions marks and exclamation points for emphasis. They came out really nice and got a lot of laughs.

Snowmen vs. Santas Checker Set ~ A friend of mine drinks different types of beer and saves bottle caps of all colors and brands for me. A few years ago I thought up a twist on an old standard game – checkers. You’ll need:

* 24 bottle caps. Be sure they’re not bent.

* 1 bottle of clear Diamond Glaze (check your craft store) or two or three bottles of cheap clear nail polish

* 12 pictures of Santas and 12 pictures of Snowmen thought really it could be anything as long as there are 12 of one and 12 of the other. I cut mine from a catalog with vintage pictures but you could also check the dollar store for inexpensive holiday greeting cards. It’s possible to cut the small circles (bottle cap size) by hand by tracing a quarter. Or buy yourself a nice quarter-sized hole punch. I eventually did that. Much easier and super fast.

* Glue

Once you’ve assembled your supplies, dab a dot of glue inside the bottle cap and carefully center the picture inside. Smooth out any bubbles and lumps. Allow to dry then slowly fill the bottle cap with Diamond Glaze or nail polish. I found simple checkerboards at my local dollar store and used those to go with my games. You can easily make your own. A search online will give you the exact count of squares needed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun little projects. :) Happy Holidays!

Hello, I’m Rose Anderson, the author of scorching romances Dreamscape and Hermes Online. You can find me just about anywhere these days. Here are several of my links. I’d love if you’d stop and check out my books or just say hi. :) My blog: My page at my publisher's site: Siren-Bookstrand_RoseAnderson My book trailers: MusesWritingTablet Yes I tweet, let's be friends! @roseanderson_ (notice the _ at the end) And we can be friends here too! Google+ Circles (I'm not on Facebook)


  1. Thanks again for having me Tonya! Folks, just in case you've tried my links and can't get there, email me at roseandrson4858(at)yahoo(dot)com and I'll send you one that will.
    Happy Holidays!

  2. Hi Rose and Tonya. Rose, I love your secret compartment book. I'm a miniaturist and love teeny little things. Your Snowmen/Santa checkers set sounds adorable.

    Dreamscape and Hermes Online are spectacular books, very sensual and beautifully written.


  3. Thanks Jane! I've gotta get you out here one of these days. You'll love the boxes on my walls. Bring a feather duster. LOL

  4. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with your upcoming release!

  5. Thanks again, Rose, for being part of my Christmas Celebration :)

  6. fab ideas . I embroider at least one set of christmas pillowcases to give away to someone every year this year i went big and did a lap quilt

  7. Hi Tonya and Rose; loved the post! So many kewl ideas ---especially the book. Im going to try it. Sigh; I'll probably make a mess ---but it should be fun trying! (grin)

    Wishing you both HAPPY HOLIDAY HUGS, Kari Thomas,

  8. Hi Tonya and Rose. Loved the post today. I have made the book before. It can get messy, but oh so much fun.

    Another thing I did was make book bags/totes out of old jeans. I received one from someone who bought it at a craft fair and said to myself "I can do this."
    I get told jeans from friends who have worn them out and cut them off right below the crotch area. I pull out the seams and then sew a bottom seam. I use part of the legs to make the handles.

    I am NOT a good seamstress and this was so easy to do. I figured out how to do it by looking at the one I have. So now you have a bag with 4 or 5 pockets on the outside and a large pouch inside. They make great Christmas gifts.


    reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

  9. I like the secret book storage idea, very clever.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com