Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Candy Bowl, CHOMP Gators Sign, Drinking Jenga (White Elephant Gifts)

This Christmas, I was lucky enough to be a part of THREE white elephant gift exchanges. I have to say, this can be a very exciting game and I admit it is one of my favorites, though I always feel awkward having the gift that never gets traded.

For our school White Elephant Exchange, I made one of my previously-made (shock! horror!) candy dishes. This time, to make it more Christmas-y, I made a 
Christmas Candy Dish 
by painting the candy dish red and tying a green ribbon (removable) around it. That way, they could take of the green ribbon and just have a red candy dish that can last all year.
To see how I made this Candy Dish the first time, view my post from May 2012.
These are really easy to make and I think they're so cute!

Ok... now to the part where I admit my selfish reasons for choosing to do this gift.
You see... I'm getting married soon.
Well, like in a year. 
And I enjoy crafting.
So, you can imagine, I'm finding all these ADORABLE crafts to do for my wedding.
The problem is, right now we're planning on 120 guests.
Which means some of the crafts I'm doing, like the favors, require me to do the same craft 120 TIMES!
So for the favors, I need altoid tins.
120 ALTOID TINS!
Well, it wasn't until I needed these that I realized the following:
1. Nobody eats altoids.
2. If anyone DOES eat altoids, they rarely finish the whole box.
3. Altoids aren't that easy to find (Wal-Mart doesn't sell them!)
4. Altoids aren't that cheap.
5. Buying empty Altoid boxes on Ebay is more expensive than buying them with the Altoids in them!

So, my plan for the project was to fill the candy bowl with Altoids and add a punny saying (I've realized that coming up with puns is a pre-requisite to being a teacher).
I chose 'Hope your holiday season is full of merri-MINT!' (that way it wasn't too specific to a holiday, depending on who received the gift).
I then filled it with almost 6 tins of Altoids!!! And there we go, a gift for them and a gift for me!


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The next white elephant gift exchange we had was between friends. I may have suggested this. This was also the party where I made all that yummy food I talked about a few posts back.
So we had a friendly pot-luck white elephant gift exchange Christmas party.
I was going to add in ugly sweater in there, but I thought it was too much.
One of my friends told me I was like Pepper, the annoying friend on Modern Family who throws ridiculously themed parties.

Anyways, our constraints for this gift exchange were that it had to be under $20.
Are you ready for this??? I ACTUALLY BOUGHT A GIFT!
This was at the point where I had been crafting for weeks and I was, well, over it.
Drained out.
Void of creativity.
I found a puzzle of the Gator Stadium at Target for like $12. Many of the friends like the Gators, so this was perfect. With $8 left to spend I looked and I looked.
Finally, I found an off-brand Jenga set for $7 called 'Tumbling blocks'.

I knew JUST what to do, and the creativity struck.

DRINKING JENGA!
Now I have to say this was not originally my idea... there is a game out there that is drinking jenga, but it wasn't at Target and I can guarantee it was NOT $7.
So, I bought the blank Jenga set, and wrote my own drinking rules on there.
The way to play is that every time you take out a piece, you have to do what the piece says.
A lot of the pieces were based on the rules of 'Ring of Fire', where it's like 'Take one drink' 'Give one drink' 'Girls drink' 'Guys drink' 'Make a rule', but some of them got really fun. My favorite was one where one person had to sit on another person's lap for a turn.
When I ran out of my own ideas, I found this list online of all kinds of drinking jenga rules.

We played the game later that night and it was super fun!
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The last white elephant gift exchange was with Fiance's family on New Year's Eve. The whole family was there, including both sisters and their boyfriends. Again, the majority of this group were Gator fans, so I had a chance to make this AWESOME 
Gator Chomp Sign
 I'd been wanting to make forever.  It's inspired by this picture on tumbler, so I had to figure out how to do it myself.
Not too hard.
I found the letters for $4 each at Michaels, so right there I already hit the $20 mark for the gift.
I also bought blue and orange acrylic paint and a hand saw (I don't know what kind... it's the shape of a U with a saw across the top), as well as the orange ribbon.
I already had laquer, white dot paint, and a staple-gun on hand.

The problem was, I wanted to do this all without fiance seeing because he was a part of the exchange.

First, I had to saw the bite mark out of the P. Wow... Sawing is hard work! I purchased the saw, but didn't have a clamp or anything, so I was using my hand as a clamp while holding it down on the kitchen counter, my roommate sitting by in agony saying 'This does NOT seem like a good idea...'.

But, I successfully sawed out the P, and I still have all my fingers.

Next, I spray painted the letters blue and orange with leftover spray paint I had in the garage. I knew I didn't have enough to completely cover them, but I figured it would give them a nice base coat and would use up the little bit of spray paint I had left in the cans.

After that, I hand painted the letters with acrylic paint and let them dry. I think they needed 2 or 3 coats each. I then sprayed them with laquer. I finish everything with laquer... I love it.

Then, in the middle of the night with everyone asleep upstairs, I used a staple gun to staple the letters together. I kept most of my staples on the back, but I did have to put a few on the front to keep it together. I definitely needed a lot more staples than I used, but I was trying to keep it cute.
To hide the staples, I just put a little bit of orange or blue paint over the staple.

I also stapled on the ribbon to the back.

The last thing I did was add little white dots around the letters with white puffy paint.

I think I was way more excited about this gift than any other, and fiance's parents ended up getting it, which was pretty perfect as UF alums and Gator fans.

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