I Will Finish My Handmade Gifts Early This Year, Damn It.

I am one of those obnoxious people that completes their holiday shopping long before December 25th. Unfortunately, when it comes to homemade gifts, I am usually putting the finishing touches on them and wrapping them in the car on the way to my mom’s for our holiday festivities.

This is how I found myself in Target on Christmas Eve last year, surrounded by a bunch of stressed out men searching frantically for something, anything, that would work, and frazzled mom’s with over-excited children in tow wanting everything in site. See, my iron had picked Christmas Eve to die on me, and unfortunately, the gifts I was making, without an iron, were nothing. Had I not waited until the last minute, I would not have had to break my cardinal rule of “NO shopping on Christmas Eve”, and would not have wanted to punch Santa in the face by the time I was done waiting in a 20 person line. This year, I am going to start early. Really. I swear.

Last year I did the easiest and most awesome homemade gifts- customized pajama pants and tops for my sisters and friends, and personalized tote bags for sisters and mom. There is no sewing involved here, and if you keep an eye out for sales, you can find great deals on plain tops and bottoms all the time. Plain canvas totes were the foundation for the bags, which can be picked up at any craft store for a song. Some fabric markers and paints, some stencils, a doily and carbon paper, and baby, you’ve got some super-cute, one-of-a-kind gifts that people really seem to enjoy (and even if they don’t they will pretend like they do because you made it and they don’t want to hurt your feelings, so either way, yay for you!)

DIY gifts can seem daunting, but over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some tutorials that will prove they can be really simple. While I am not going to try to delude anyone into believing that homemade gifts are substantially cheaper (Michael’s and Joanne’s are the biggest money-sucks in my life), I will be trying to prove they can be easy and relatively cost efficient (so long as you put on your blinders when you hit the craft store and not walk out with ALL THE SHINY THINGS!). They are also thoughtful and you can convince people you slaved over them, and then they will feel guilty about the mass-produced item they got you, and as we all know, guilt is a powerful motivator, my friends. Just kidding. No I’m not. Yes, I am. Well…

To get the creative juices flowing, below are some of the images I am taking my inspiration from for this year’s gifts. Family, if any of you are reading this, SPOILER ALERT…


Image courtesy of The Creative Crate

How adorable is that?!? Something like this will be perfect for my niece’s artwork displays.

Image courtesy of Homemade Simple

Who doesn’t need more jewelry organization in their life? I am going to make the hell out of some of those. Covering up the cork with fabric is going to help me use all the awesome fabric I have purchased over the years with the intention of learning how to sew. Yeah, not so much. I can use a stapler and a glue gun, though, so it will finally find it’s purpose!!

Image via Bridal Inquirer

Simple, chic, and eco-friendly, who could ask for anything more?

How many of you out there make your own gifts? Are you generally crafty? Do you have any homemade horror stories?

11 replies on “I Will Finish My Handmade Gifts Early This Year, Damn It.”

So I’m a knitter and a little before Thanksgiving (a couple years ago) I was browsing through a knitting magazine at my mom’s kitchen table after everyone had left.  She and I were talking when she spotted a really awesome pattern for a scarf with an attached hood.  Now, truth be told, my mom is of the “manufactured” era – the idea that if you can buy it at the store it must be better than home/handmade.  I get my crafting gene’s from her mom.  Evidently, it skips a generation.  So, seeing that my mom really liked the pattern and was genuinely excited when I showed her some yarn I could knit it in, she and I both thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift. The pattern could be knit in my favorite yarn, Malabrigo, which is not terribly expensive, but not cheap either, so I spent the $50 or so for the yarn and got started.

I knit furiously, even while on vacation, but alas by Christmas I was barely halfway done.  I realized at that point I was knitting it to the wrong gauge which is why it was taking FOREVER to finish. 

Knowing I would never make the deadline, I put it on a stitch holder and wrapped the unfinished scarf up.  When she opened it she had a puzzled look on her face until I explained the situation… I would have to pull it all out and re-knit it, but I promised to get it to her asap.

She looked right at me and said, “Oh don’t worry about it honey, I bought one of these scarves at Target a week ago.”

Right then and there I decided I would never again make her anything – I added this to the list with quilt I made her that was used as a blanket in her dogs kennel.

Hopefully Mr.B won’t read this, because I’m about to spoil his Christmas surprise.  I taught myself how to knit so I could make him a Jayne hat this year.  I already sort of knew how to knit, my grandmother taught me the basics when I was little, so it was more a matter or learning how to refine the technique and increase/decrease and knit in the round.  I’m pretty happy with how it came out, so I think a lot of people will be getting knitted hats this year.

I am a craft NUT.

a million different DIY presents over the years.

last year we gave our closest friends two boxes full of homemade, frozen food, and I made them the fanciest menu, I even got to laminate it!!

then I went a little crazy and finally made myself the advent calendar I had always wanted:

I’ve also made photo-covered cookie tins, pottery (not really a beginner’s project), jams, etc.

yeay xmas!!

I love that tote! I googled how to make it and it looks really doable. I think it is definitely a possible present for my boyfriend’s Mum and sister. I think the area where I struggle most with home made gifts is being excessively optimistic about both my ability and the amount of time it takes to complete a project. A very very recent example of this would be the time I thought I could quilt four placemats and bind them in the week prior to my friend’s wedding. She definitely got that part of  her wedding present about a month late.

I’m generally crafty and over the past couple of years, I’ve been supplementing my bought gifts with homemade ones. So much so that my mother suggested that we do a Christmas where everyone ‘makes’ each other’s presents, because I think she sees me give them and thinks its got to be just ‘so easy’ and ‘super cheap’. (Not always.) I did a post last year with some of my favorite last minute handmade gifts (none of which I got around to actually making and giving, though I’ve done them in years past).

I think I might try to do bath bombs again. It did not Go Well the last time I gave it a shot, but I’ve got all these damn supplies…

Love that doiley tote!

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