Nov 2, 2011

Holiday gifts to make yourself.

The holidays are fast approaching.  What better way to share yourself with your friends and family than with a hand-made gift. Here are some ideas to get you started. Be sure to check out our prior blog  for more creative gifts!

1. Personalized book for cooks. Create a book of your favorites recipes to give - along with a sample - customized for each person. You can start with chip board as your base and paste colorful papers printed with ingredients and directions. Use stickers and labels to make it easy, and attach pages with brads, rings, ribbon and more....

2. Mouse Pad.  All computer users need one! Turn a plain cork tile or existing cork mouse pad into a custom pad by painting (a terrific children's project) or stamping an image onto paper. Enlarge it with a copier and cut to shape; use it as a template to cut the cork tile. Try stencils or placing a cut out design over the cork with a sharp pair of scissors. Use a foam brush and acrylic paint to fill in the negative spaces. When dry, spray the entire surface with a protective sealant.

3. Refrigerator magnets. A simple project that can use scrap materials and/or flat glass gems (found at your local craft or hardware store). Use strong 3/8" round magnets and not adhesive sheet magnets for'hold'. A good craft adhesive holds your creation together. Present in a pretty box, decorated like the magnets, or wrap them in fabric remnants and tie with colorful ribbon.

4) Personalized calendar. This is requires a computer template (free when you "Google") and then a professional printing and binding (Kinkos, Staples, etc..) but the result is 12 months of your family or nature photos, children's artwork, or other creative art, bound and beautiful.

5) Wine glass charms. Made from scraps of paper, fabric or small works of art. Cut small squares of your material and insert each into a frame pendant (available in the jewelry-making aisle at a crafts store). Earring-hoop wire threaded through the pendant loop makes it easy to attach the charm to a wineglass stem. Make a whole set (or multiple sets) easily.

6) Tie dyed clothing and accessories.  With the resurgence of haute hippie clothing, this is a fun trend to enjoy.  From cotton (nylon or polyester don't take color well) t-shirts, pj's, socks, hankies, sheets, etc... you can create beautiful colors and patterns. Check out on-line links
for detailed instructions and ideas!

7) Custom hand towels. If you can sew a straight line, this project is fun and allows a bit of creativity.  From plain hand towels, dish towels, on trims, ribbons and other fabric embellishments for a beautiful gift.  Wrap a wine bottle in one for a dual duty gift!

8) Hand made soap.  This is pretty easy and a lot of fun. You can make large and attractive batches and satisfy your entire holiday gift list.  Basically melt the soap base for a few minutes in the microwave, add natural scents and exfoliants, pour them into molds and let them cool. That’s it! Creating unique names and gift labels can add to the creativity and presentation of these gift to make them even more memorable. 

9) Chocolate truffles. Yumm.  Almost everyone loves chocolate treats. These are easy to make and look beautiful in a hand decorated box.  Many recipes are available but I like the one from Epicurious. You can purchase wrappers, boxes and bags at a local craft store for a professional looking gift.  This is ideal for children to help make! 

10) Sachet bags. Sew sachet bags from linen or cotton fabric and fill with lavender for a sweet-smelling gift. Use vintage brooches or earrings to secure the flap of the bags closed. Perfect for a holiday party hostess, mom, aunt, or grandma.  Adorn with holiday-inspired jewelry and fill with balsam for a Christmas scent.