Posts Tagged ‘present’
Have you finished all of your holiday knitting? Of course not. It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat. As if I didn’t like to spend countless hours hand making gifts, I also really love a gift that looks beautiful. Jon’s family isn’t really into gift wrapping but I really can’t bear to give a gift without at least some nice paper. I think I drive him crazy but it makes me feel like an old-fashioned, thoughtful gift giver.
Generally speaking, I bargain hunt for gift wrap at TJ Maxx. But I really can’t say no to a pretty knitted paper. Maybe it’s a cruel fake out, wrapping up your store-bought gifts in this paper that screams “I’m a hint! Psych!” but I love these knitted gift options that wrap your gifts in their own little “sweaters.”
How do you gift your hand knits? Do you fuss over gift wrap?
Holiday gifts are such a challenge for crafters. It seems like a no-brainer to make a gift but in the end it’s an expensive, time-consuming, soul-crushing experience. Sobs between sips of heavily-spiked eggnog, fingers crooked and bleeding after hours and hours of work. It’s not worth it. Sorry, family and friends. You’re all lovely people and you deserve great gifts but it’s just not possible.
My mom’s family is diverse and pretty large. I can’t afford to buy the kind of presents that they deserve for each and every one of them and I like to think that, since they are all grown adults, they buy themselves the things that they really want. I try to give everyone the same gift (so it’s equal) which presents another challenge. It’s really difficult to find something that they would all like and use or put in their homes. I refuse to give weird pieces of crap also known as “decorations” or “tchotchkies” because I don’t think I’d like to receive any. We don’t have the same taste and that’s ok, let’s just not pretend that we do.
So I like to gift them with food. Everybody likes to eat and generally everyone cooks or bakes at least enough to get by. Buying food gifts can get expensive (gift baskets, fancy chocolates, liquor) so I try to keep everything DIY. I’ll be the first person to tell you that DIY gifts do not mean free or cheap but when it comes to food, you can keep it relatively inexpensive while staying fun and thoughtful. Besides, DIY gifts are like a present for the gifter as much as they are the giftee. Making gifts is fun and rewarding even when it’s exhausting and all of your hair has fallen out.
Last year I put together these hot chocolate mugs. They were really fun and adorable and probably cost less than $5 for each mug. If you cut the marshmallows as I suggest below (using a biscuit cutter that’s just slightly smaller than the opening of the mug), you’ll be able to sip the cocoa through the marshmallow the way you would with whipped cream. It’ll be like a cloud keeping it hot and yummy. This is my favorite part.
While packaging everything up in this “I thought of you and hope you enjoy a cozy evening courtesy of me!” kind of way is lovely and gifty, the key to this present is the marshmallows. People that have never made marshmallows before think that they are witchcraft. They’ve never given any thought to where marshmallows come from (marshmallow trees?). They will be very impressed with you.
Here’s how to do it!
1. Make your marshmallows. While they’re setting up, put together the hot chocolate mix.
2. Line the mug with one of the little gift bags. Pour in hot chocolate mix to fill about 3/4 of the mug.
3. Now that the marshmallows have set, use the biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Dust them lightly in confectioners sugar and place two or three over the hot chocolate mix. Close the bag and secure with ribbon.
4. Add a gift tag with instructions for the cocoa mix and maybe even include a recipe in case they want more.
Ta da! Merry Christmas!
Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more quick and inexpensive DIY gifts so stay tuned!
What’s your favorite DIY gift to give? How do you gift food?
* The mugs are the most expensive part of the gift. You can pick up adorable Christmas themed mugs at the dollar store or you can go all out and buy a hand-thrown piece on Etsy. Let your budget be your guide. (I used these CB2 mugs because I loved that they came with a little spoon. I believe they’ve been discontinued but here they are on ebay. $3 per mug! ) But this mug will become your relative’s new hot chocolate mug and when you see them next Christmas they will say, “Every time I drink hot chocolate in that mug I think of you!” Awww! Choose wisely.
Remember when I was making a cool Zelda cross stitch as a belated Christmas present for my cousin who is a really awesome? Surprise! It’s still not finished! Surprise again! I’m the worst.
I don’t have much to say since it’s really more of the same but I did feel like this poor thing deserved an update. I’ve been sharing photos on instagram between pics of the Williamsburg Bridge (get used to those!). I won’t pretend like I’ve been slaving away at this piece. I’ve actually had it packed away since we moved but I’ve been between knitting projects so I thought I’d give it some time while I waited for some yarn to arrive.
As torturous and mind melting as it can be, I have become a little addicted to cross stitching. I decided to skip right to the good parts with this session and start working on the title letters. Of course, they actually ended up being wonky. Somewhere along the line I miscounted or maybe I stitched a few too many in a place where they shouldn’t have been? In the end, I had to squeeze the E in a little. It looks noticeable here but it won’t once the shadow is added (I really hope). The shadow makes everything really pop and look like magic.
When I put this down last, I was starting to have a panic attack that I’d run out of room at the top. I obviously had no idea what I was doing when I started this thing. Now I’m not so worried or maybe I’m just so fed up with this insanity that I just don’t care.
I have some deadlines coming up so I have a feeling this is as far as this sad excuse for embroidery will get for another few months. I’d like to keep working at it and I can at least mindlessly fill in the pink background while I’m watching Mad Men. I have the Lon Lon Ranch song stuck in my head right now. I’d really love to finish this thing because then I can brag about it forever.
Has a project every driven you crazy? Do you think cross stitch is fun or tedious? Will this ever be finished?
Speaking of handmade gifting, I just went to a wedding! The first wedding of my friends, actually, so it was kind of a big deal! Katie and I have been friends since high school and all of our oldest friends took the trip down to Richmond, Virginia for an amazing party weekend.
But, let’s start at the beginning. As you know, I take gifting pretty seriously. Registry? I laugh at your registry. I wanted her gift to be unexpected and awesome and something she didn’t even know that she wanted. I wanted my gift to be memorable. But one can’t gift hand-knit socks for a wedding present. What’s a crafty girl to do?
For a while, I’d resigned to get something from my nemesis the registry. I had a few ideas of what I could make but I didn’t want to disappoint her. Then, at the bachelorette party, Katie turned to me and said that she got a feeling from the questions I was asking her (mainly about her monogram) that I might be making her something and that if I was, she was really excited. So that was that.
I decided it was about time I try my hand at embroidery. I haven’t done any embroidery since I was a kid. But I had a design in mind and I thought a pillow would be a cute gift filled with love for their southern home. And I can finally reveal to you what I’ve been working feverishly on for the past month!
My friends and I starred in our high school production of The Wizard of Oz. (Katie was Glenda, I was Auntie Em.) And since Katie and her new husband Colby live so far away, I wanted to give her something that reminded her that the rest of her friends were always with her no matter where we are.
It was a little too ambitious at first. I, as usual, didn’t really know what I was doing and changed my plans multiple times. But, I’ve realized that’s just how I do things. And I got to do lots and lots of chain stitching. That’s my favorite. The couching in part of the heart is wonky but I’m pleased.
Of course, I’m stubborn and refused to sew only a pillow case so I put together the back of the pillow and stitched the whole thing up and filled it with polyfill which actually makes it really squishy and huggable. Seriously, though, making a pillow case to put onto a pillow form would have been just as effective and probably easier.
I hope that Katie and Colby love it. They are such a lovely couple, it is so exciting to think that they will have this keepsake for the rest of their lives, commemorating their love.
Have you ever made a wedding gift? What is the favorite handmade gift you’ve given?
(instagram by my girl Ashley)
Tags: and your little dog too, chain stitch, couching, diy, embroidery, friends, friendship, handmade gift, handmade wedding, pillow, present, sew pillow, there's no place like home, wedding, wedding gift, Wizard of Oz
I’m all about giving hand made gifts. I like seeing genuine excitement instead of looking for a gift receipt. That feeling of pride as they unwrap it makes it just as much a present for me as it is for them. I like that my friends know that I really took the time to think about them and put lots of love into what I’ve made for them. And when they like something that is so full of love, it makes my heart swell.
That being said, I don’t often receive hand made gifts.
It’s a strange phenomenon, right? I’ve got a passion for things that are made from scratch. I know how to appreciate a good handmade gift! Well, my wonderful and talented Aunt Sherry made me an awesome handmade present for my birthday!
Isn’t he adorable!? She made this little guy after taking a class at an AENJ conference. (She’s always got the coolest crafts! And I’m still fascinated by the swag she brings me!) He’s made of alpaca from Back to Back Alpaca where you can also find a kit! I just want to cuddle him! It’s so exciting to get something so fun and so full of love from someone so close to me. (Love you, know you’re always reading!)
I was so excited to give him a spot on the shelf above my sewing machine. He looks very proud! Link is keeping him company.
I really don’t know anything about needle felting but it’s a craft so I’m obviously curious to learn more! (This book looks adorable!) Maybe my next present can be a lesson from my Auntie?
Do you know how to needle felt? What’s the skinny? Do you receive any handmade gifts?
I recently finished this sweater for Jon’s birthday and I think he looks great in it! The pattern is from Erika Knight’s Men’s Knits which is such a beautiful book. The navy rows are a special pattern of 2, 14, and 10 which represent our anniversary, February 14th.
It took a long time to finish on size 3 needles and I finished half of it without him knowing. Anyway, I’m so proud of it and I’m excited to keep him warm!