10 Awesome Handmade Gifts

Holy cow, December is upon us, and I am slacking in the Holiday department. I better get off my tush and start making my handmade gifts for this year. If I am this far behind in my holiday gifting, I thought you may need a hand. I have rounded up a few of my favorite DIY gift projects that we have made in the last few years. Happy crafting!

Kristen’s Awesome List of Handmade Gifts


Maple and Oak Cutting Boards

Maple & Oak DIY Cutting Boards

These boards are a fab gift for the foodie or the entertainer. You can make them a traditional shape, or simple & modern. This gift also goes beyond the holidays, and is great for a house warming. Check out the how to here.


Cutting Board Oil/Wax

Cutting Board Oil and Wax

While you’re making your cutting board, make up a batch of Cutting Board Oil/Wax and a pretty tag, and give it along with the cutting board. This oil/wax is the perfect wood conditioner for all your wooden items. From Grandmas vintage salad bowl, to your every day wooden spoons. See the how to here.


House Shaped Candle Holder

House Shaped Candle Holder

This makes for a perfect housewarming or hostess gift. Its a small gift that you can give in addition to a bottle of wine, or just a little something for a teacher or coworker. Check out the how to here.


Beer Can Carrier & Custom Pint Glasses


This is the gift for the beer lover in your life. You know you have one. Pair it with their fave beer, or better yet some new microbrews. Check out the how to here.


Wood & Nail Bottle Opener

DIY Wood and Nail Bottle Opener

This is another good man gift. Its also a small enough that it can slip easily in a stocking, or pairs well with a six pack at a holiday party. Check out the how to here.


Chevron Cheese Board

Chevron Cheese Board

Another awesome board, but this time just for cheese. This chevron cheese board is perfect for setting up a cheese tray. You can arrange one or multiple boards along the center of a table and let your inner foodie out. This is the perfect gift for the entertainer in your life. Pair with a nice cheese knife, and a bottle of wine, and expect to be invited over for the next party. View the how to here.


Custom Door Mat

Custom Door Mat

A custom door mat is a great for the newlyweds, or a first time homeowner.  Heck, its even a great gift for the in-laws. For a classic look, use a monogram, or for the hipster in your life consider a cheeky saying. Check out the tutorial here.


Custom Mailbox

Custom Mailbox

A custom mailbox is another great home owner gift. You can personalize it with their address, or their family name. See the how to here.


Wooden Bath Table

DIY Bath Table

This is a gift perfect for the overworked, stressed out people in your life. Bathtime (when you’re over the age of 8) is a time for relaxation, and a moment of peace and quiet. Pair the bath table with some swanky bath products or a fluffy robe and a bottle of time, and the Moms, sisters, or athletes in your life will love you forever. Bonus points if you offer to take the kids/dog/whining husband out of the house so they can really enjoy their bath. Check out the super simple instructions here.


Concrete Clock

DIY Concrete Clock

Last but not least is the awesome concrete clock project we showed you earlier this week. It would be a great gift for your secret santa, your city dwelling brother, or surprise your spouse with it for their office. See the full tutorial here.


I hope these ideas help you out with your handmade gift ideas! Happy gifting!

10 Awesome Handmade Gifts


DIY Concrete Clock

I’m so excited to share today’s project! It’s something I’ve wanted to make for over a year. When I first started talking to Jeremy at Buddy Rhodes about making our concrete counters, he told me to take a look at his portfolio of work. He wanted me to be inspired by the awesome stuff you could do with artisan concrete, and to brag a bit about how awesome he is.

One of the first projects of his that caught my eye was a series of concrete clocks. I sent him an email saying something along the lines of “omggggg I need to make a clock!” said in over excited girl squeal. He kept saying clocks were easy, and after we pour our kitchen including a badass one piece waterfall countertop, I will be able to make a clock in my sleep. But clocks seemed like such a big project. So much so that I never tried to make one. Then a few buckets of Buddy Rhodes 10lb artisan mix showed up at my door a few weeks ago, with a few curse words gentle push from Jeremy to get off my butt and make something. So I made this:


DIY Concrete Clock

DIY concrete clock! It was so easy. Really truly so easy. Here’s how I did it:

Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill  + Mixing Paddle + Small Bucket + 10lbs Buddy Rhodes Artisan Mix


photo 3(3)

I sourced a mold in a shape I liked. I went with a $1 Christmas Snowman cookie tray from the dollar store.

photo 1(3)

The only other item I used for my mold was an empty plastic screw container. It was the perfect size for a inset in the back of the clock for my clock works. Note, you don’t even have to do this, your clock works can totally stick off the back of your clock.

photo 2(2)

I mixed up a small batch of the BR mix, with a teaspoon of coal coloring & a dash of water reducer. This is also optional. The water reducer will let me put less water in the mix, but still get a nice workable mix. I used coloring to get a grey color, but the BR mix is bone white, and If you don’t want to tint it, you don’t have to. The mix has no large aggregate (gravel) so it can be made into tiny or thin molds without issue. I mixed up my concrete with a paint mixing paddle from the hardware store. My Milwaukee Hammer Drill made quick and easy work of mixing.

photo 3(1)

Once it was to the viscosity of a milkshake, I poured it into my mold. I filled it 3/4 full. I inset in the screw container, and weighed it down with a jar of Vaseline (Vaseline can be used as a mold release, so I had it on hand. I’m not a creepy weirdo who keeps Vaseline in their basement workshop for no good reason).

photo 5(3)

I gave it a shake to level everything out, and a bit if vibration from a palm sander. I covered with plastic sheeting, and left to cure in our nice warm basement.

I had a bit of extra mix left over, and I also had some simple silicone molds nearby, so I poured the excess in to them. (I will show you how they turned out next week.)

The next day I unmolded it by very carefully flexing the tray until it popped out. This is what it looked like after unmolding.

concrete clock demolded

It was almost perfect, except you could just slightly see the outline of the snowman design. To remedy this I lightly wet sanded with 400 grit diamond hand sander. In hindsight, I would have not sanded. The finish was even more perfect before sanding, and I don’t think you would have seen the snowman after a quick buff. Where I did need to sand however was the back of the clock. I evened things out and took off any roughness around the edges.

Next we drilled out a hole for the clock works. Note, each brand requires a different size. We used one from Lee Valley, and it required a 5/16 hole. We purchased a masonry bit, marked the center of the clock and got drilling.

Drilling hole in concrete for clock works

I applied four coats of Buddy Rhodes satin sealer with a lint free cloth. After the sealer dried, the clock & hands were quickly installed with the provided hardware (read the directions for your brand). My clock works came with a hanging attachment, which wrapped around the clock works. It saved me figuring a way to attach a hanger to a piece of concrete. I opted to not apply any hour indicators to keep it more modern, but adhesive ones are sold in the clockmaking isle at your local craft store. For my next clock I think I may just put one number on. Perhaps a three? You can also make your own with adhesive vinyl. If you’ve got a craft cutter, you can easily make anything you’d like. Heck, even make an Alice in Wonderland clock with wonky numbers. (Storing that idea for LATER!)

The clock has a nice polished concrete surface, in fact, it’s so polished its hard to photograph. I have tried the clock in a few places in the house. Here is is against the black wall of our powder room. I love the contrast.

Completed DIY Concrete Clock
The concrete surface is nice and uniform with a few tiny bubble holes where I could have given it a bit more vibration. Honestly, if it was any more perfect it would look like plastic, so I don’t mind the imperfections much.

detail shot of concrete clock

Overall I’m very happy with the results, and am itching to make concrete clocks for everyone for the holidays.

DIY Concrete Clock


Clock Works $5.40 – Lee Valley
Clock Hands $1.95 – Lee Valley
10lb bucket Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete Mix – $18.95 (one bucket would easily make 3-4 clocks)
Buddy Rhodes Water Reducer – $25 (optional)
Buddy Rhodes Coal Coloring – $9.85 (optional)
Buddy Rhodes Satin Sealer – $45 (optional – this will last you for a ton of projects, we did our countertops and still have a bunch left over)

Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill
Paint mixing paddle – Paint isle at the hardware store
Buddy Rhodes diamond hand sanding pads
Trowel for scraping bucket
Dust mask (wear during mixing)
Rubber Gloves (concrete dries out your hands)
Plastic drop cloth
Masonry drill bit (the size recommended for your clock works)

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five


Total Cost: $25

Disclosure: Buddy Rhodes sent me a sample of their new mix, with no obligation or compensation for me to post about it.

Handmade Holiday – Custom Beer Glasses & Carrier

Handmade gifts are one of my most cherished things. When someone spends time creating me the perfect gift, it means more to me than if they were to have bought me the most expensive gift around (except maybe an Audi R8, I’d jump in front of a bus for one of those.) Creating the perfect gift is rewarding both for the giver and the givee. Nothing is more awesome than the look on someones face when you give them the most badass gift around. To give you a helping hand on your quest for the epic gift, today a group of Canadian bloggers are showing you their best handmade holiday gifts for under $25. Check out #CDNHandmadeHoliday on social media to find some great gift ideas. Want to see what we made?

Custom Monogram Pint Glasses & Beer Carrier.


Wood Beer Carrier & Monogrammed Pint Glasses

This gift is a remake of an old classic. Starting with our simple beer carrier plans, we made a pine carrier with brass nails, and added a brass bottle opener.

Wood Beer Carrier

The holder will hold six short or tall cans, six bottles, or three bottles or cans and two pint glasses.


Next we created some custom monogrammed etched glasses. Using our Silhouette SD and a piece of adhesive vinyl, we cut out vinyl stencils.

Cutting Vinyl with Silhouette Stencil made with adhesive vinyl

The stencils were applied to the pint glasses, and firmly burnished in place. Masking tape was applied around the stencil to make sure no errant etching cream got on the glass.

glasses ready for etching

The etching cream was applied with a paint brush while wearing gloves, and left on for ten minutes.

Applying etching cream to glass

Then it was washed away and glasses dried. The simple yet classic monogram is the perfect addition to the classic pint glass.

Custom Monogrammed Beer Glass

The carrier & the glasses were all made for under $25! Just fill with your friends fave beer, and show up to your Holiday party like a boss.


Beer Carrier:

Pine (1×6 x 2′) $3
Poplar (1/4″) $2
Dowel (3/4″) $2
Brass Finishing Nails $1
Bottle Opener – Target $5

Cut List:
2 – 9″x5 3/4″  – 1″ thick Pine
2 – 2″x 9 1/2″ – 1/4″ thick poplar (sides)
2 – 2 5/8″ x 9 1/2″ – 1/4″ thick poplar (bottom)
1 – 9 1/2″ dowel (handle)

Tools Used:
Miter saw – Milwaukee 12″
Combination Square
Drill – Milwaukee M18
3/4″ Spade Drill Bit
Orbital sander – Milwaukee
Measuring Tape


Etched Custom Beer Glasses:

2 – Pint Glasses – The Bay $4
Etching Cream – Lee Valley -3oz $8

Tools Used:
Vinyl stencil – Silhouette SD
Paint brush


Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five


Total Cost: $25

Wood Beer Carrier

What do you think? Would you like to find this gift under your tree?


Check out the #CDNHandmadeHoliday projects from other awesome Canadian bloggers:

Mason Jar Leather Lantern – NorthStory

Fabric Handmade Gifts – Rambling Renovators

Needle Felted Wool Socks – Fynes Designs

DIY Winterberry Branches – Vin’yet Etc

Homemade Sweater Mittens – Life is a Party

Pottery Barn Inspired Advent Calendar – New House New Home

Mr. & Mrs. Rudolph Towels – SewCreative

Mini Yarn Wreath Christmas Tree Ornaments – A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Santa’s Sleigh Gingerbread Cookie Garland – Kitchen Counter Chronicles

DIY Anchor Fridge Magnets – Swell Conditions

Cranberry Pear Relish – Time with Thea

Burlap Photo Frame Display – Joy in Our Home

DIY Felted Bowls – Bear & Lion

DIY Beaded Star Ornament – lifeovereasy

Handmade Clipboard Photo Book – Personally Andrea

Handmade Holiday Decor – Brooklyn Berry Designs

DIY Shadowbox Mirror

Here is how we created a maple shadow box mirror for the powder room. Originally we sourced the Ikea Molger mirror, but in real life the shadowbox was much too deep, and would not only block the faucet, but also jut into the room too far.

This is what we made instead: Continue reading “DIY Shadowbox Mirror”

DIY Marble Shelf

The powder room is small. At only about 4′ wide and 8′ long, with a closet jutting into it, it’s practically miniscule. To even be able to fit into the room, a vanity was vetoed for a pedestal sink. It’s great for the flow of the room, but offers no storage, and barely a surface to sit a bottle of soap. If you want to set your phone down, or touch up your makeup, you end up having to use the toilet tank as a shelf for your things. Not ideal (or very sanitary for that matter). To gain a much needed horizontal surface in our Powder Room Makeover, we opted to install a small shelf. Take a look at what we made.

Custom Marble Shelf

DIY Marble Shelf

  • 1 4″ wide x 3′ marble shower sill
  • 1 pkg corner brackets
  • Spray primer
  • Krylon gold spray paint
  • 1 tube PL Premium construction adhesive


  • Wet tile saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Caulking gun


How To:

Measure available space (ours was 18″). Mark and cut marble to length with wet tile saw and diamond blade.

Cutting Marble with wet tile saw
Prime & spray paint corner brackets. (We used Krylon Gold Metallic).

Install your corner brackets as shelf brackets screwing into studs, or using hollow wall anchors. We used black screws as we liked the contrast with the gold, and we have black accents in the room.

Spray painted gold brackets and black screws
Attach marble to the brackets with a small amount of PL Premium construction adhesive, and let dry for 24 hours.

DIY Marble Shelf Complete
The shelf is perfect for holding a few decor items, and a place to set down your phone and lipstick. Now to style it!

Marble Shelf Styledphoto 4
I tried out a few accessories, and decided I really need a piece of art to balance everything. A small print set off to the left side will be perfect .

The bathroom is really coming along now. I will be back with another DIY project later on in the week.


Marble – Home Depot
Primer – Zinnser – Home Depot
Paint – Krylon Gold Metallic
Brackets – Brass corner brackets – Home Depot
PL Premium Adhesive – Home Depot

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Cost $25

Pumpkin Spice All The Things

We at the Storefront are mantel-less home owners. As such, come fall or winter, we are the only blog on the entire internets to not have a decorated mantel. No really, find me another home/decor blog without a mantle post this week. Never to be left out, we tend to decorate the front porch (with heavy, and/or bolted down items of course.) One extension of our seasonal decorating, is the front entryway coat rack. With it’s small shelf, it is about the closest thing we have to a mantel.

We have a variety of canvases and prints that get trotted out seasonally to grace our front entryway. Feeling a little bored with our fall decor this year, I opted to add a new canvas to the repertoire. Enter my latest “masterpiece”.

Pumpkin spice all the things

Pumpkin Spice All the things

How to:

$3 Dollar Store Artist Canvas

+$2 Dollar Store Adhesive Letters

+2 parts cheeky 😉

Whats on your mantel this season?

Pergola Canopy

I did a whole hell of a lot of sewing last weekend. A marathon of sorts. I was adamant about getting the pergola and daybed finished by the end of the weekend. To accomplish this, I spent 13 hours sewing on Saturday. For realsies. El Granto helped too, measuring, cutting and installing grommets. What do we have to show for our work? Continue reading “Pergola Canopy”

DIY Concrete Side Table

As we continue to push ahead with the backyard reno, I am starting to think about the smaller details. Accessories, lighting, flowers, furniture etc. We are currently happy with our outdoor chairs, but the rest of our outdoor furniture leaves a lot to be desired. We were using a old chipped green table with a cigar burn as a side table. Not the best looking piece of furniture…

As a place to set a drink and small plate of food is a must have in any backyard, I did what any DIY’er would do. I set out to make a useful, stylish new side table.

Back before we embarked on our concrete countertop project I made a small concrete test slab with some cheap big box store concrete mix. It had some big flaws, and I cringe when looking at it now. I used the wrong mix, did some sketchy form caulking, used a product with too large aggregate, and didn’t get out all the bubbles! None the less, I had created it, and rather than throwing it into landfill, I opted to re-use it.

I fabricated some simple modern table legs, and this is the end result.

Concrete Table
DIY Concrete Side Table
photo 1 (1)
Completed Table


The legs are made with some kiln dried 2×2 pine from our local lumber yard. It was assembled with some simple pocket holes and screws.

Drilling Pocket Holes with a Kreg Jig
Drilling Pocket Holes with a Kreg Jig

DIY TIP! I like to have two drills (or a drill and a driver) for working with pocket holes. One for drilling, and one for driving the screws. It saves having to change the bit every few minutes!

One for Drilling the Holes and one for Driving the Screws
One for Drilling the Holes and one for Driving the Screws

The legs were primed and then painted with Rustoleum Universal Flat Metallic Soft Iron spray paint (looove this paint and colour).

Legs Fabricated with 2x2 pine
Legs Fabricated with 2×2 pine
Table Legs Primed with Exterior Primer
Table Legs Primed with Exterior Primer
Legs Painted with Rustoleum Universal Metallic Flat Soft Iron spray paint
Legs Painted with Rustoleum Universal Metallic Flat Soft Iron spray paint

We topped the legs with our recycled concrete slab and sealed the concrete with the Buddy Rhodes concrete countertop sealer. If was to do this project again, I would have used the Buddy Rhodes mix instead of the cheap big box mix (the BR mix is lot lighter and easy to use.)

Top sealed with Buddy Rhodes Satin Sealer
Sealed with Buddy Rhodes Satin Sealer

If you were to do this project, you could easily pour the concrete top yourself, or buy a prefab concrete patio stone at the big box store. If your patio stone has a texture on it, consider flipping it upside down so the raw concrete side is exposed. Make legs to fit your slab, seal it and you’ve got an inexpensive industrial table!

Here’s a few more shots of our finished table.

DIY Concrete Side Table
DIY Concrete Side Table
photo 1 (1)
Concrete Side Table
photo 1 (2)
Completed Table


Concrete – Hardware Store
Concrete Sealer – Buddy Rhodes
1 2x2x10 kiln dried pine – Downtown Lumber
2 1/2″ pocket hole screws – Lee Valley Tools
Zinnser Primer – Home Depot
Rustoleum Universal Flat Metallic Soft Iron spray paint – Home Depot

Drill & Driver – Milwaukee
Measuring Tape
Kreg Jig – Lee Valley

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Cost $40


Beats spending $1155 at Restoration Hardware for this, doesn’t it?!


Restoration Hardware Belgian Trestle Weathered Side Table
Restoration Hardware Belgian Trestle Weathered Side Table


What do you think of our new table? Would you give a try at making one?