- Arts and Design
Great Handmade Gift Ideas
Gifts to Make
When it comes to gift-giving, many people often have difficulty deciding what to buy. It is often nice to give handmade gifts....whether it be crafts, baking, woodworking, etc. For those who are craft-oriented, the possibilities are endless. For those who aren't, there are always craftspeople willing to sell their creations.
This page is going to be aimed at those who are craft-oriented. If you're not, don't despair...you will still get some great ideas for those on your list. Also, don't just think about handmade gifts for Christmas...there are also birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or just because.
1. Crocheted or knit dishcloths - who on your list could not benefit from a few of these? When my daughter was younger, she claimed several of the ones I made for blankies for her Beanie Babies. Patterns for these may be found on the skein wrapper. I have made ripple ones, granny square ones, and the basic single crochet pattern.
2. Toque and scarf set - there are several patterns available for these. I have made several toques, and made my daughter a set for Christmas this year. She wears it every day, and appreciates the work I put into it. The neat thing was I worked on it while she was beside me, without her even knowing it was for her.
3. Quillow - for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it is a quilt which turns into a pillow and vice-versa. They are usually made out of single fabrics, but if you want to get more creative, you could do a patchwork top. I have made several...some with printed panels, some with patchwork cushion tops. When my son was little he loved playing with his Hot Wheels, and wanted roads for them. I was able to find a couple of panels with roads and buildings, and used them for one side of his quillow. The cushion top part was a race car panel.
4. Afghan - these can be made any size, and out of almost any yarn. I have made at least 20 over the years, out of both worsted weight yarn and one hundred percent cotton yarn. I prefer working with the cotton yarn, as my hands don't get as hot. They are also a little heavier than the worsted weight yarn, so seem to be a little warmer. I have made most of mine in the ripple pattern, although I have also done the Mile-a-minute and Granny Square patterns.
5. Wallhanging - the possibilities for these are endless. A nice idea is to think about the person you're making it for, and have the pattern relate to their decor or interests. I made one for my daughter with horse silhouettes...another for my best friend with cat silhouettes. These particular ones went together quickly as I used fusible web to place the silhouettes. I used the blanket stitch on one and fabric paint on the other to secure them. This way, they wouldn't come apart when washed. Making them so they are easy to clean is a good thing.
6. Door Sign - I made several of these about seven or eight years ago. I purchased unfinished chalkboards at a dollar store, and painted the wooden frame. I wrote kid's names on the chalkboard part with fabric paint and added fabric cutouts that represented things they liked. The edge of the fabric was sealed with fabric paint, and hooks were put on the back so they could be hung on bedroom doors. I made one for each of the kids I babysat one year, plus for both of my children. My daughter still has hers on her door, and she is now thirteen.
7. Fabric Baskets - these can be crocheted out of strips of fabric or made using Aunt Philly's Toothbrush Rug pattern. A neat idea is to fill a handmade basket with goodies. For the crafter, it could be filled with yarns, embroidery floss, buttons, crochet hooks, sewing paraphernalia, etc. For the scrapbooker, it could be filled with stickers, die-cut shapes, adhesives, scissors, pens, etc.
8. Bookmarks - for the avid reader, these are a wonderful idea. They can be made from aida cloth with the recipient's name cross-stitched on. A piece of felt glued or stitched onto the back will hide the loose threads. A quicker bookmark may be made from card stock, rubber stamps, markers and ribbon.
9. Casserole Caddy - patterns for these are available at almost any major fabric store. They are best made from 100% cotton fabrics, as hot casserole dishes can scorch polyester blend fabrics.
10. Candle Holder - easily made from jars, these can be a wonderful gift for the gardener in your life. Make a set of 6 to be put out on the patio. All it takes is a glass jar, some sand, some paint or stickers and a candle. Paint or decorate the jar, pour some sand in the bottom to keep the candle level, and add the candle.
A Lasting Gift
Handmade gifts are becoming a lost art. I can remember my Grandma making me slippers and pajamas every Christmas when I was little. I so looked forward to each Christmas because it meant I was getting a new set. By that point the ones from the year before would be getting too small on me, but I would still wear them because they were comfy. I can also remember how disappointed I was the first year she didn't make me any...she had been ill and opted to buy presents instead.
My Grandma also gave me a lasting gift...she taught me how to knit when I was six or seven, and how to crochet and sew when I was eight. We spent countless hours sewing and crocheting together over the next few years. She also had a knack for plants...her house was full of them. Her love of crafting and gardening left a lasting impression on me. It pains me she got sick and couldn't do the things she loved anymore. She had so much to give, but her life was cut short because of cancer. She was just sixty-five when she passed away.
For those who craft, don't be afraid to share your knowledge with others...especially children or grandchildren. It is those special times that are remembered most.