It’s hard to endure a busy week, and then while you’re at it, between a thousand of overwhelming tasks, hear your boyfriend say “Oh, by the way, it’s my niece’s birthday on sunday“.
But as some of you may know, we’re never quite tired of challenges, and we have a thirst for finding creative solutions for just about anything, in almost all circumstances. Yes, even when we’re just about to explode from looking at our already-full tasklist.
The reason why? A goal. Since Christmas, and in the previous years too, we have been thinking very much about the whole concept of gift-giving, and how it’s so often related to purely obsolete consumerism. It’s about showering people with objects. Often objects that aren’t needed, and that are probably made in China, because hey, we got a tiny budget, and we gotta put a smile on this kid’s face, quick. From the “where” to the “how” those objects are made, there are thousands of questions to ask ourselves, but it’s very sad that most people don’t.
So what do we do? Should we be polite and keep participating in this meaningless, object-filled practice? Or should we initiate a radical movement of non-gift giving in the family, trying to educate everyone about gifts of true meaning (time, love, compassion)?
We decided to find a compromise between the two. Yes to objects. Handmade ones. Not made of plastic, but made with love and sustainable materials. Not made in China, but made in the comfort of our own home. Not costing a thing, but sourcing a lot of love. So we started practicing the art of DIY.
Yes, these things take a bit more time to be taken care of than comfortably riding a car to the shopping center, or ordering a pretty thing online. But if you have time to watch a silly movie, then you do have that time to prepare something for your loved ones. There aren’t many moments like this in life. It’s a magical and truly heart-warming feeling. Just like when you were a kid, participated in building science projects and finally the moment came where you could excitingly share your creation with your parents or classmates. Those moments are made of your curiosity, your efforts and your loving hands. You may not have been born to do this. Maybe the result will not be as you had expected it to be. It doesn’t matter. The whole process is about cultivating the most pure state of creativity and mindfulness, connecting with your inner child somehow.
When I was a kid, I would gather stones from the beach. And what I loved to do is to paint them. Draw funny faces on them, making them alive, like little friends.
When it came to finding a DIY gift for our lovely little niece, who turned 2 years old, this idea was very close to my heart. So we decided to make pebble monsters.
Here’s what you need to make the funkiest little pebble monsters. But hey, if you don’t like monsters, be creative: I myself hesitated between drawing monsters, penguins or crazy mini-fruits:
– Get yourself a set of medium-small round edged smooth pebbles. As many as you’ll need. We found ours at the front of my parents place, and then we just cleaned them!
– You’ll need white acrylic paint, and whatever other colors you’d need for your ideas. We used some colors we mixed up to create funky tones.
– Use a couple of brushes. A medium one for mixing colors and rough painting, and a thin, precise one for details.
– We love using paint markers for extra details, such as the eyes & mouth of the monsters. We love those by Edding.
– Use a top-coat varnish. If you use paint markers though, do the varnishing before going through with the markers, just after using paint!
– Find a nice box to customize and keep your treasures in! (optional)
First step: On the clean pebbles, paint a coat or two of white. This is a good base coat. Can be left on its own or topped with other colors!
Second step: Make sure your white coats are completely dry. You can then get funky with your colors and designs! Creativity begins here. Check out this little crazy cucumber monster!
Step three: Let dry completely. Do the finishing coats. After painting, varnish. After varnishing, finish up the last details with your paint markers. Note: varnish reacts well on top of paint alone, but not so well on top of paint markers. This is why I recommend doing these last marker touches AFTER the varnishing.
Step four (which is optional): Find an old box and repurpose it for the occasion. This one will be the home of your little monsters. We found an old wooden cigar box and painted it in a vintage ivory color on the outside, a cool turquoise hue on the inside, topped it off with some drawings of the monsters themselves and mountains, using paint-markers! Possibilities are infinite!
Say hello to those crazy little folks. I want to know, which one if your favourite?
The kiddo loved it! Hurray!
Now, have I got you convinced to try your own DIY gifts? Let us know what you will make!