Archives for December 2012

Homemade gifts worth getting

I am not that crafty. My sister got all those genes in our family. She writes poetry for people (the good kind, that should be published – not the kind you wonder where to hide in your home) She makes things out of clay, she stays up until 3am making every item for her daughters birthdays (including homemade princess dresses & crowns)…One year the level of thoughtful personalization of gifts from my sis got so out of hand (OK, we were feeling insecure) that as my dad was unwrapping the wool sweater we purchased him from REI, Jeff commented that he was sure Katie had woven him one out of her hair (I’m sure it wasn’t that far off-base). Anyway, I shamelessly support the material, economic engine of the USA by purchasing my gifts…The truth is, I don’t usually want to receive homemade things, they are usually so…homey. My aesthetic isn’t homey. Now that I have said it and made every person past and future insecure about making me things I would like to follow-up with some home made gifts I have received over the years that were great: burp clothes from my Aunt Di, all my baby bedding from my grandma (I picked out the fabric and she made them), a few beautiful quilts for the birth of my daughters, book of wonderful parenting/childhood quotes from my friend…I am sure I have received some other wonderful things that I am forgetting from every single person that is reading this (sorry to offend). Anyway, my point is that while I can go to crafty wonderland and appreciate most everything there, almost none of it would fit in my home. That being said, my husband and I do love the thought and process of making things for other people (& have given homemade canned goods & caramels as gifts for a few years now), so I am a curating a list of things that I would love to receive from others & that seem do-able as a way to kick start the holiday crafting time of year.


 DIY salt dough or cornstarch ornaments {here’s a recipe}:

cornstarch and salt dough ornaments

{images found originally at 1. even*cleveland, 2. Oleander and Palm, 3. Composing Hallelujahs, 4. the woodside kitchen. 5& 6 are for those who love this look but will never get around to making anything, you can buy these white ceramic beauties from marley & lockyer}


I would be happy to have these DIY home goods at my house:

modern homemade gifts

{1. DIY lavendar vanilla soy candle tutorial found on Ruffled, 2. wooden doormat DIY compliments of Martha Stewart 3. DIY rustic US map from Girl in Air 4. if you knew how to quilt and you made me this I wouldn’t be mad. It’s the anti-granny afghan & I LOVE IT. originally found here, 5. homemade soap is a serious labor of love. Don’t EVER feel bad about spending $5 for a bar at a craft show, the person who made that soap earned every penny. One year my sister made Jeff a years worth of amazing, gritty, clove-scented soap – the real stuff, not melted and reformed glycerine – & he has been daydreaming about more ever since. For a bunch of recipes look here, 6. Pillow tutorial here}


DIY food/drink gifts {homemade food is pretty much always a good idea, because it doesn’t take up space for long & if the person receiving it doesn’t appreciate it, chances are someone in the household will}:

gourmet homemade food gifts

{1. recipe for these homemade peanut butter cups is from Blue-Eyed Bakers, 2. find a tutorial for homemade fruit jellies at sunset magazine , 3.recipe for candied pecans, 4. I love friendship or russian tea. It’s made with Tang which is pretty much enough reason not to love it, but I still do & you know, everything in moderation. Here is a recipe for this delish drink mix which would be so cute packaged in a little glass jar with a homemade label,  5. I fell in love with pasteis de nata during a trip to Portugal & I like the idea of introducing something new to friends, 6. infused vodka can never be a bad idea and keeps forever, I made a cucumber gin that lasted years…}


If you have kiddos {or know kids you want to give gifts to} here are some of my favorites:

homemade gifts for children

{1. I would love these large stacking rings for my kiddos, such a great diy idea, 2. What child’s day isn’t made happier with a felt crown? 3. If you happen to be my husband you may have been put up to making some version of this for our daughters for Christmas – good thing they don’t read my blog – or you could spend $1300 and purchase them from Modern Playhouse, that is if tons of other parents. with way too much money, hadn’t already bought them all! 4. how about these adorable sewing cards from the adorable/informative  handmade charlotte. It’s a free printable, so all you need to do is add a needle and chunky thread & put it in a cute box. easy peasy! 5.this would be a great semi-homemade gift to make for a child – or homeschooling mom like me – again, you don’t even have to be crafty, just download the printable and assemble. You can find it at Mr.Printables. While you are there you should look around, if you have littles, it may be your new favorite freebie website}


You now have no excuse, go make something! If you know us, you may even be the recipients of some of this fun stuff!