Archive for the ‘12 Days of Homemade Gifts’ Category

Adding my final two gift ideas in a hurry — as Christmas is upon us! 

Homemade Gift Idea #11

Cloth Napkins:   These are a fantastic beginner sewing job.  Sewn right sides together, flipped right side out, a quick top-stiche and TA-DA!…you have a sweet, thoughtful, eco-friendly gift.  We made a bunch of these, gifted them in packs of four and/or used them to wrap gifts.    Consider stocking up on  Christmas fabric at the end of the season (when they are greatly discounted) then save for next year’s projects.   We don’t buy/use paper napkins for anything — soooo we can’t get ENOUGH cloth napkins around our house. 

These were made by a friend of mine who claims she is "in NO way crafty." So...clearly, it can't be TOO complicated! 😉

Homemade Gift Idea #12

Christmas Tree Ornaments:  Clearly, I’m a bit late with this idea…given that most trees have been put up and decorated by now — however, I wanted to include it.  Like several families we know, we have two Christmas trees in our house.  We have one large’ish tree, which we cover with a mix of new and old decorations — And we have one tiny little tree where all of our homeade decorations go.  Our girls are so proud of this little space and use it to display and point out all the decorations they’ve made/collected throughout the season.  Here are some samples of this year’s decorations:

Crayons melted into silicone trays. Cute and useful.

A salt-dough snowman anyone can make.

Salt dough candycanes. Twist first, paint later.

I love these homemade little sheep. A friend passed along the idea from: http://carolynshomework.blogspot.com/2010/09/etceteras-fuzzy-yarn-sheep.html

Clothespin angels. The 4-year-old had such fun putting these together. They clip onto tree limbs, or anywhere else you might need them

Okay!  There you have it.  12 days of Homemade Gifts — not entirely timely…but hopefully helpful.  I’ve enjoyed putting together this festive and (occasionally) frantic collection of crafty posts.  I might need to start collecting a dozen NEW ideas for next year??  But for now…it’s time to sit back, sip something warm, give my sewing machine a well-deserved rest and enjoy the holiday.

Merry This & Happy That!



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Homemade Gift Idea #10

Not much time between now and Christmas morning!  So, I need to throw a few more ideas on here in order to reach 12!

Here’s yesterday’s project…

A Homemade Pirate Map

I made this for a little boy we know and love…but both my girls want one…so will need to make a  few more!

So many adorable fabrics in the world.  If only there was more time…


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Gift Idea #9

Some people are already done wrapping gifts.  I overhear moms all the time saying, “My gifts have been bought and wrapped for weeks!” 

I am not one of those moms.

So, as I prepare to start the wrapping process (and as a follow up to yesterday’s packaging-related post) I thought I’d share another homemade gift wrapping idea.  Actually two ideas…

Pinwheel bowsThese are great for little kids.  You can print/draw the template, then let kids have fun decorating both sides of paper to create this:

I spent 30 seconds decorating this with a black pen. It really needs some color, perhaps some glitter and lots of preschool imagination.

I borrowed the template from Pinwheels for Peace.  A template isn’t necessary, but makes it super easy.  Ideally, I would print this design (two per page) to avoid wasting paper.   I secured mine with thread and a button, but you can also use a small hole punch and some colorful brads (i.e. mini-metal paper fasteners).

The second idea…

Gift tags:  Such a simple thing and something I often skip.  Instead, I’m usually up until midnight, trying to rememer what is inside each package and hastilly scrawling initials on corners of wrapping paper.  This year however, the girls and I have had fun cutting up old Holiday cards, using stamps and our own artwork to create some nice homemade gift tags.

Use whatever you have around...cardboard, cardstock, old cards, stamps, etc. We hole punch the corners, add some ribbon and it's ready to go.


Hopefully everyone will be pleased with what they find inside their gift boxes/bags this year.  At the very least, I hope they’ll notice the time and love that went into the outside. 🙂


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Homemade Gift Idea #8

Packaging.  It’s something I can’t help but notice… as an environmentalist …a mom…a crafter…a consumer.  I appreciate and am drawn to packaging that looks different…earthy…and of course, homemade. <smile>

This year, even though I’m behind on lots of things (such as…gifts to go INSIDE packages!), I’ve decided it’s high-time we paid a  bit more attention to how we package Christmas morning.  So…while it may not qualify as a “gift” (exactly), I thought I would include it in this lineup.

The best part of this little endevour has been all the fun I’ve had collecting fabrics (most of them thrifted) — curtains here…pillowcases there…and turning them into colorful, long-lasting gift wrap. 

An example?  Here’s a photo of the gift I just sent off to one of the loveliest, most unique and precious women on this earth (…our mama). <smile>

Stumbled upon this eccentric t-shirt that reminded me of our colorful mamita at a local thrift store.

Only took a moment to turn it into a nice little drawstring bag (and gift wrap)

Inside were several goodies…including a book, wrapped in this:

A Paris t-shirt and recycled ribbon

Wish I could be there to see her open it…but, knowing our resourceful mama…I suspect she’ll enjoy the wrapping almost as much as the gifts inside. 

Tell her I love her next time you see her. <big smile>

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Homemade Gift #7

An Eye Pillow for All Seasons

You sent me one of these last year for Mother’s Day and I really loved the idea/smell/feel.  However, I didn’t really consider myself an “eye pillow” kind of girl — since it requires lying down for a moment in the name of peaceful relaxation…something I’m terrible at.  Though, when I got my first sinus infection this past summer — I learned to LOVE eye pillows.  Warmed in the microwave for a minute, it helped ease the pressure/pain across my face and allowed me to finally get a night of real sleep.

This year, I decided to make several.  Friends, close neighbors and school teachers each received one.  Filled with a combination of brown rice, chamomile and lavendar — they are great for warm heat or cool therapy in any season. 

It’s also a nice beginner sewing job.  All you need to do is sew two rectangles (one slightly larger than the other).  Like the one you sent me, these have a soft (satiny) outer layer and a cotton inner layer (which can be placed in the microwave) and hold the rice, etc.  Of course, you could just sew one bag (made of heat resistant cotton or such).    

And like most things, I love adding a tag with a description/instructions. 

Thanks again for giving me the idea. 🙂

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Apologies that it’s taking me a while to chronicle my “12 Days of Gifts.”   Between making gifts, making merry and making our house ready for guests – I’ve been busier than usual.  Haven’t we all?  I’m doing my best to stay busiest playing/building/creating with the girls…versus shopping, stuck in holiday traffic and similar roadblocks that take away from this season.  Anyway…here goes:


Homemade Gift Idea #6
How to Make a Little Guy Tie (out of a BIG GUY tie)

Today, I’m including a quicker-than-quick project…to match my uber-busy life at the moment.  Following the great tutorial I found on Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! I made this sweet little guy tie out of a big guy tie that was gathering dust.  Steve took the girls to pick out a Christmas tree (a benefit for a local school/church) and by the time they were home, this little project was complete. 

It’s going to be a gift for my little girl’s favorite lad.  An adorable brown eyed boy she has decided she will marry…one day…when she’s older than four…in his backyard…after he marries his mother.  Or something like that…

If I had a boy, I’m sure I would feel compelled to make matching ties for father/son.  I will probably also make a couple for our dress-up collection.  Perhaps, this way my tiny daughter will stop asking her tiny boy friends to wear frilly pink tutu’s and other things their grandfather’s wouldn’t approve of when they come over to play.  

Plus, remember when we were little, we often used to play house and pretend one of us was the mom and one of us was the dad?  Okay…you were always the dad…sorry about that.  But, you would have looked even CUTER in this tie! 🙂    


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Homemade Gift #5

Mulled Wine/Cider Sachet

These make a small and warming gift; perfect for neighbors, teachers, colleagues, holiday parties, etc. 

Feel free to mix up your own blend of mulling spices (which I’ve done before), but I must confess, the ones they sell are pretty good.  Trader Joes has a great mix that costs $4 a container (a bargain).  This way, you’ll have more than a dozen sachets wrapped up and ready to give in minutes.  You could also pair this gift with a bottle of wine or quart of cider. 

All you need is:

  • Mulling spices
  • Cheese cloth
  • Kitchen string
  • Card stock (to attach greetings/instructions)
  1. Cut a square of cheese cloth (approximately 7” x 7”)
  2. Add 2 TBS of mulling spices (if using the T.Js variety) 
  3. Bundle this up and close with a piece of kitchen string
  4. Attach the instructions (using a portion of the string)

Here’s the greeting I attached:

Tis’ the Season!

Mulled Wine:  Add ¼ – ½ cup sugar to a quart of red wine.  Heat over low heat to dissolve sugar (can also be heated in Crockpot on low).  Add mulled spice packet.  Add orange slices/zest if desired.   Avoid boiling.  Heat for at least 30 minutes (or 2-4 hours in Crockpot).  Serve hot.

 Mulled Cider:  Combine mulled spice packet with 1 quart apple cider.  Heat for 20 minutes on low.  Serve hot.


It’s best to store these in a small, airtight bag/container, as you want to preserve the spices as much as possible.


p.s. If you want to try this out, but don’t have cheese cloth/string laying around, you can always empty out a teabag, fill it with mulling spices and use the teabag string to close up the teabag. I’ve done this with spices (to flavor drink, soups, etc) on many occasions. 🙂   

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