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Homemade gifts, decorations can be a big hit with family, friends

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Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:48 am, Sat Dec 18, 2010.

Still looking for the final decoration to make your home sparkle? Want to brighten up your presents with a little last-minute zest? Then grab some supplies and get crafting. Handmade gifts are not only affordable, but can also please the person who has everything. Plus, making gifts gives you a fun activity to put you in the Christmas spirit.

"It is something that needs to come back because it builds fellowship in the community, whether it is with your girlfriends or your children," said Kimberly Smith, owner of Bunches of Beads.

Below are a few ideas from Lodi residents to get your creative juices flowing.

Decorative cards or gift tags by Janene Ford, bookartsandalteredbooks.blog spot.com

1. Find some old CDs lying around to make these cute collages. For Ford, it was a way to get rid of old AOL discs that she constantly received in the mail.

2. Cut up old Christmas cards, gift wrap and magazines and glue the cutouts to the CD. She used a regular glue stick, but any type of glue or even acrylic glazes will work, she said. Other details like sequins or glitter can also be added.

3. To hang them as ornaments, Ford recommended gluing ribbon on one side or drilling holes in the CD.

Beaded stars from Heather and Kimberly Smith, owner of Bunches of Beads, 7 N. Cherokee Lane.

1. Start with a package of wire stars that come six per pack and an assortment of beads to match your tree or wrapping paper if you are doing a decorative replacement for a bow. The store will provide all the supplies for free at a workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

2. String each arm of the star with beads and then use a pair of pliers to close the loop, so the beads will stay on.

Crafty bookmarks from the Memories in the Making scrapbook store, 1325 W. Lockeford St.

1. These fun gifts for teachers and other bookworms can be either Christmas-related or another fun theme. Buy a pack of clear bookmarks and some card stock to start.

2. Use stickers or glue decorations onto the card stock and tie on a ribbon.

Painted glass ornaments by Patti Wallace at the Lodi Art Center and Gallery, 1373 Ham Lane at Lakewood Mall.

1. Every year people dye eggs for Easter, so why not start your own creative Christmas tradition? Buy a package of clear glass ornaments. Buy some paint that can be used on glass and squeeze it into the ornament and swirl it around. Craft stores sell holders so you can hang the ornament without getting tons of finger prints on the glass.

2. You can also insert tinsel or yarn as another option. Wallace has even crinkled up some paper with a message written on it, put it in an ornament and then smoothed it out with a small stick. Wallace will teach children how to make ornaments from 3 to 5 p.m. today for $5 at the Lodi Art Center.

Colorful ribbon trees by Carol Llewellyn and displayed at Artist Palette Cafe at Bella Terra Plaza, 1110 W. Kettleman Lane.

1. A variety of ribbons can be used on the trees to create a decoration with a lot of color. Be prepared to spend time on this project. It took Llewellyn about 3 hours to finish each tree. Buy the 3-inch ribbon and Styrofoam tree forms at any craft store. Smaller ribbons also work, but it takes longer to create the tree and more spools are needed, so it is more expensive.

2. Cut the ribbons 6 inches long for larger trees and 4 inches long for smaller trees. Fold them in half, and starting at the bottom, push straight pins into the Styrofoam tree to secure the ribbon. Pin it at different points going up the tree and let the ribbon sag enough to cover the pins. At the top, the ribbons might need to be cut down to fit.

3. You can buy crafter snow to decorate the top of the tree or glue on small ornaments.

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