Holiday Crafts

I'm always trying to simplify Christmas, I don't know why. I should probably just accept its complexities! One great year was when my mom and I didn't get a tree, but strung lights on the coffee table and put our gifts beneath that. Craziness! These days, with children and an extended family, I'm still trying to make things easy yet special. Last year my equation was that each person would get: one homemade thing, one purchased thing (modestly priced), and food. I collected ideas from blogs and my ancient stash of abandoned projects. Here are a few examples of DIY gifts from last year. I've been waiting since then to share them!

Project: Stuffed Ornaments
Sometime in the early 80s someone gave me fabric that had Christmas toys printed on it. You were supposed to cut them out and sew them together with ribbon to make cute stuffed ornaments. Fast forward about 30 years to when I rediscovered this fabric with my sewing stuff. Santa brought two for each child--stuffed toys are excellent stocking stuffers!

Project: Boxer Shorts
Is it too much information to share that I make all of a certain person's underwear for him from a worn and loved Butterick boxers pattern? The best part about homemade boxers is the mad fabric choices that are possible. One year I made boxers with adorable otters on them floating in a sea of blue. Another time I made boxers sporting multicolored jalapeƱos. Here, please note one pair has an idyllic village pattern with little houses and copses scattered about.

Project: Painted Spoons
Design Mom inspired me to encourage our older child to make her own presents for family members. One of our first (hopefully of many) projects was to paint these spoons with spots and stripes. We left the stirring part of the spoon plain so nobody would have to eat paint. We also sealed the painted section with a coat of non-toxic clear stuff. (I will have to dig around to figure out what it was called...)

Project: Road Rug
I'm not sure if I like how this turned out. It is just some traffic fabric from the quilting store that I backed with plain blue cloth and sewed together. Cool, except with our hardwood floors it slides around and is really hard to play on. But it could be a good roll-up road to use outside or where there's carpeting.

Project: Porcelain Pens
I am most proud of this one. I got the basic idea from Design Mom, who explains how to make monogrammed mugs using porcelain markers from Michael's and plain white china from the thrift store. I made my own trip to Michael's and sure enough, found these neat markers that are like thin sharpies for ceramic. The best part is: everything is totally adjustable and erasable until it's how you want it, then you bake it briefly to set.

For this mug for Grandpa, we decided to add his grandchildren's hands as part of the design. First I traced the hands and cut them out.

I taped the hand stencils to the mug.

We traced around them with black porcelain pen.

Here's the basic tracing. I may have been the main handler of the porcelain pens up until this point.

Then I handed the pens over to Miss Monkey, who did her own decorating (with some help when requested).

All three grandparent gifts. If you like the ancient Greek egg-and-dart motif on the bottom of the slim vase, I take all the credit.

Project: Embroidered Tea Towel
This was also a satisfying project, many many years in the making. I got these tea towels to embroider when I was about 10, and did not finish them until my second maternity leave.

Project: Homebrew

I posted a photo essay about this early in the year -- great gift for some special uncles.

Project: Baked Goods
We packed up a bunch of lovingly recycled Christmas tins with a selection of holiday treats baked by 3 generations of ladies, me being the middle generation. (Thanks mom!) We made:
  • lebkuchen
  • fruitcake
  • shortbread
  • my signature oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe

Thanks for reading! I have some more ideas for this year, though not being on maternity leave I will not be as prolific this time. What are your fave DIY gifts to make--or receive?

1 comment:

ValleyWriter said...

Lots of great ideas! I just love giving (and receiving) homemade gifts. They always feel so special. I especially love the DIY mug you did - great idea for the kiddos!