Ask An Expert: DIY Gift Ideas

December 16, 2014 7:00 AM

It’s not always easy to find that special gift for a loved one. However, do-it-yourself gifts solve this need with heartfelt meaning and personalization. Experts from the worlds of art and beauty and skincare have shared ideas for top DIY gifts for families and friends. The featured experts are Sofia Art Academy’s Igor Khunteyev and Jhéanell Adams of Jolie Bloom, a South Florida lifestyle brand of eco-luxurious bath and beauty products.
Igor Khunteyev
Sofia Art Academy
17070 Collins Ave., Suite 253
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
(305) 949-1617

Igor Khunteyev is Co-Founder and an art instructor of Sofia Art Academy, a traditional classical private art school. He founded the academy with his mother, Sofia, in Dallas in 1993 and the Miami branch launched in 2012. Sofia is an established artist and Igor is an MFA art professional. They both have years of experience teaching classical art in private institutions. Students of the academy learn the fundamentals of composition, painting and classical drawing; everything is tailored to students’ ages, skill levels and abilities. This style of art instruction allows students to confidently develop and excel as individuals with personal needs, talents and desires.

Copy Painting

At Sofia Art Academy, you can learn to replicate the work of a famous artist in history – such as Pablo Picasso. A few of his stylized works are not difficult to replicate, particularly under the close supervision of a professional instructor. This can be an exceptional gift for art lovers. Art materials are included. You can take the drawings or paintings you produce and take them to get professionally printed into postcards or posters.

Jhéanell Adams
Jolie Bloom

Jhéanell Adams is the go-to woman for anything and everything lifestyle. She’s a former assistant celebrity makeup artist, certified skincare specialist and popular blogger, and now the owner of Jolie Bloom, a line of sustainable, non-toxic and luxuriating bath and beauty products. The handcrafted products from bath teas to body butters are made with the healthiest and safest of ingredients with the aim to care, indulge and pamper. There’s a wonderfully heartfelt story behind the brand as well, a brand named in honor of her late infant daughter, Jolie.

Curated Gift Box

A more modern version of a gift basket, use something as unusual as a wooden crate as a fun way to show your loved ones that you’re thinking of them. Want to introduce your friend or family member to something new? Fill it with a few of your favorite things such as snacks, stationary, wine and chocolate. The other option is to fill it with bits and pieces of things that they love. The possibilities of what you can fill the crate with are only limited by your imagination. If the crates aren’t your thing, jute tote bags are another fabulous and eco-friendly option that would work just as well.

Related: Ask A South Florida Expert: Ideas For Hostess Gifts

Cake In A Jar

Have a few mason jars and cake mix in the pantry? This is the perfect treat for your friends or family with a sweet tooth. This DIY gift is simple, unique and thoughtful.


  1. Choose a cupcake flavor and bake as directed.
  2. Cut the cupcakes in half and be sure to set aside the bottom and the top.
  3. Place the bottom half in an 8 oz. jar.
  4. Use a frosting bag and a large frosting tip to add frosting on top of the cake in the jar.
  5. Take the top half of the cupcake and place it in the jar on top of the frosting.
  6. Add another layer of frosting on top of the second half of the cupcake that you just placed in the jar.
  7. Seal the jar with a cover.
  8. You can also add twine, a label and a wooden spoon to personalize the gift.

Everyone loves cookies! If you don’t want to bake a fresh batch from scratch, feel free to pick up a box from your local grocer. You can then repackage the cookies into something stylish such as clear bags or craft gift boxes. You can then add twine, ribbon or labels to further customize the gift.

Related: How To Navigate The Best Deals And Sales This Holiday Season

Chanoa Chen is a Fashion Merchandiser, Freelance Writer and Blogger. Chanoa has contributed stories to top firms including QVC Insider Germany and regularly contributes to CBS Local Miami and She may be reached via: