Monday, July 2, 2012

Christmas in July: The Ultimate Round-Up of Handmade Gifts

Every year around October, I begin thinking about all of the wonderful gifts I would like to make for friends and family for the holidays. But, every year, I get swept up into the busyness of the holidays, traveling, preparing for Thanksgiving, setting up the Christmas tree, and then, before I know it, December is upon me. And handmade gifts are an elusive fantasy.

I think that a handmade gift can have a lot more meaning than a store-bought one. And I always put a lot of love when I craft something myself. There are numerous other reasons for making handmade gifts, like knowing where your gifts are sourced and by whom,  giving people thoughtful gifts, as opposed to something you might buy on a whim. And perhaps when you make something yourself, you are less likely to give something that they won't need or use, since you are putting more effort and thought into it.

Making a handmade gift brings the joy of giving back into Christmas that is often stolen by consumerism, marketing, and the pressure to buy, buy, buy.

So this year, since one of my goals is to have a 100% homemade Christmas, instead of waiting until the coolness of fall to remind me of the coming Christmas, I have decided to start just a little bit earlier. I have put together a series, highlighting many of my favorite DIY gift ideas that would make wonderful Christmas gifts. I have handpicked items that I would want to receive myself, plan to make for someone I know, or something that I think is really beautiful. And I tried to avoid anything that might be kitsch-y or screams "homemade Christmas" in a less than appealing way. Here is the schedule for the week:

Today: Christmas DIYs
Also see:
~All Children are on my Nice List: Gifts for Babies and Beyond
~Gifts for Women (That Quite a Few Men Might Like Too!)

1. Fabric gift bags

Estimated Time: 1 hour (depending on how many you make...but a pretty quick project!)
Costs: $10 +/- depending on fabric choice
Skills: Basic Sewing
These fabric gift bags from Amanda Blake Soule are at the very top of my to make list. I think they are pretty brilliant. By making a set of bags, you could never have to buy (and waste) wrapping paper for a very long time. Just re-use them year, after year. The options are endless as far as fabrics that you use, and as a bonus, all of your gifts will coordinate! What a lovely way to give a gift too- like a gift, wrapped in a gift!
2. Glass ball ornaments

 Estimated Time: 30 minutes or less
Costs: $5 +/-
Skills: None
These glass balls are so incredibly beautiful that it might be hard to give them away. And they can be re-created with a little bit of paint and clear ornaments from the craft store.

3. Felt Garland

 Estimated Time: 1 hour
Costs: $10-$15
Skills: None
One of my favorite parts about this felt ball garland is that it would be a wonderful craft to do with children of all ages. I cannot wait to try it with my little ones. Other colors would be fun for other holidays or all year long too.
4. Pottery Barn Inspired Advent Calender # 1

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours
Costs: $10
Skills: Spray-painting
Shameless self-promotion with my re-creation of a Pottery Barn advent calender. But, I just loved this project so much, and it's been such fun every year, I couldn't leave it out.
5. Pottery Barn Inspired Advent Calender # 2

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Costs: $6-$15
Skills: Basic building skills with a miter saw or the ingenuity to avoid power tools altogether..
This DIY advent calender might be a little easier, and is still incredibly cute. Instead of building a frame for it, maybe consider using a canvas from a craft store and cover it in fabric.

6. Wooden Noel 

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Costs: around $10
Skills: Basic Painting and hot glueing
What a simple and beautiful recreation of the PB "Noel" sign. This would be gorgeous on a mantel or on the wall.

7. No-Sew Ruffled Christmas Tree Skirt 

Estimated Time: 2 hours
Costs: $20 + depending on fabric costs.
Skills: Gluing
 There are approximately one million tree skirt tutorials. Just check pinterest. I happen to really like this ruffle one. And it's pretty awesome that no sewing is involved.

8. Stocking and Sweater Pillow

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Costs: $20 for two pillows
Skills: Sewing
What a cute pillow. This also reminds me of how cute sweater stockings are. And how nice it is to re-purpose items from Goodwill.
9. Snowflake Curtain
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
Costs: $3-$5
Skills: Cutting with scissors, Printing on a printer
So this DIY from Layla Palmer is a little crafty, but still pretty. I thought it would be super fun for older kids, and it looks pretty freaking cute. And I'd be tempted to leave it up all winter wonderland long.

10. Sweater Stocking

Estimated Time: 2 hours
Costs: $6-$15
Skills: Sewing
I couldn't resist. Sweater stockings. I just love re-using old items. Here is a pattern for $6. Sometimes, I like to try to wing it. But if you want a well-done, finished look, and are a novice sewer like me, go for the pattern.

11. Burlap Elf Stocking

Estimated Time: 1 hour
Costs: $3 +/-
Skills: Simple Sewing
Another stocking option: burlap! These are so classic and whimsical. And very inexpensive too.

Happy elfing. Have you started thinking about the holidays yet? My family definitely makes fun of me for planning ahead. Now, I feel justified in my excuse. It's hit 110 degrees here the last two days, I can't help but dream of Christmas.


Clandestine Road said...

Love it!

Andy & Katie said...

You are not crazy to start thinking about Christmas! Ha...I'm right there with you because this heat wave is just about ridiculous. :) I actually did an ornament exchange with a bunch of ladies a month ago so that we wouldn't have to worry about making ornaments this fall. My ornament was a painted glass ball for each person.

They are super simple and easy to do. If you want to get a jump start on them head to Hobby Lobby (I think they still have one in Athens? My sister was in school there not to long ago.) because they keep glass ornaments stocked even in the 'off season'. They also have varying sizes and decently priced. They were the only place that I found that had them this time of the year. The only other thing I would use beside the paint is an acrylic flow medium which will help you 'push' the paint around in the ball. I think I'm going to make a set for each of our moms with family members names on each individual ornament. And I need to get started on them sooner than later because chances are that I'll need a set for myself. Happy crafting.

Adri @ A Yellow Bicycle said...

Thanks for the link to our painted ornaments tutorial! This looks like a great series, I'll definitely be checking back in for the rest of the posts!

Katie Moore said...

Hey! I just had a quick question about your site. If you could get back to me when its convenient that would be great!


Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

Katie, feel free to email me anytime.

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

How fun! I am thinking about Christmas already and have a pillow in the works as we speak! Thanks so much for featuring my stocking and sweater pillows!Have a great 4th!...hugs...Debbie

Kim said...

I am right there with you, four present are already knit up and ready to go. Over the last few years we have been working more handmades into our Christmas giving and this year will be no different.

Have fun!

Kelly @ Handmade Tears and Triumphs said...

Thanks for the great ideas! And for the inspiration to get organised. We do a secret santa in our family, and this year I would like to issue the challenge that you are not allowed to spend any money on your secret santa gift. I think it adds a bit of fun and encourages us to think outside the box and be creative :)

Emily said...

I am so glad I am not the only one already thinking about Christmas! I knit for my mom and three sisters each year, along with my two kiddos, so I've vowed to get cracking on those projects early this year. It seems like I'm in a pattern of alternating "get it done early" years with "last minute crunch" years ... hoping to break that trend with two early bird years in a row!