Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Handmade Gift Parade

About two years ago I made my first handmade gifts-- a couple of poorly sewn aprons. But no matter how crooked the stitching, they were beloved by their recipients and I was tickled that I had made something with my own two hands (and a sewing machine).
Last year everything was handmade out of necessity. We got a property tax increase notice toward the end of November that nearly crippled us financially, so I set out to sew literally every Christmas gift we gave. And that's when my real understanding of and love for handmade gifts was born. I felt so happy that I could give people some of my time, and a piece of my creative self, when I gave them their gifts. I enjoyed the creative process immensely, and loved the challenge of coming up with something that would fit each person's personality and actually be useful to them.

Like Emily so beautifully explained last week, we recognize that doing everything by hand isn't always realistic. But we still thought it would be fun to have people show-n-tell about their handmade offerings. Yet another way to connect with each other, and circulate ideas.

We hope you enjoy.

From Emily B:

This year I think I was a little too ambitious, thinking I'd make everything. I didn't.
These stockings are my gift to David and the girls this year and my gift to myself for forever. Don't they look cool on my field stone fireplace?
I didn't really want to pigeon hole myself to red and green decorations every year so I made them with a lot of fabric remnant pieces- orange, greens, purples- to get an eclectic look. They are strip piece quilted, bound with black bias tape. The letters, ACDE, are appliqued on the toe.

From Amanda:
Grandma made necklaces out a scrabble tile for each of the girls.

My oldest wanted to make skirts, so I taught her the basics of the sewing machine and together we created these!
My youngest wanted to paint, so we bought letters and she painted and glued and stickered to her heart's content!

The girls each helped me make a tie for their baby brother.

This one made earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

One of the girls made hair bows, headbands & flower clips for everyone.

Probably my favorite gift this year. My hubby used some spare lumber to create a stable for the girls' My Little Ponies. I Mod Podged some material scraps to the inside, and since our last name is Stringham, we named it "The String 'Em Up Stables."

My hubby apparently overheard me telling my mom that I wanted to put all my recipes into the computer, then organize them into one place. He spent countless hours inputting recipes to his computer, then putting them into a giant notebook for me! My girls helped decorate the binder. So unexpected, but such an amazing gift!

Each of the girls made either body wash or lotion for their dad. We bought the base at Hobby Lobby, then everyone added their own coloring, scents, "extras," such as Vitamin E, Aloe, and Shea Butter, then everyone got to name their product whatever they wanted. SO FUN!! We'll do this again, for sure. Maybe for Grandparents next year.

From my s-i-l, Rebecca:

Parisian Dress-up Trunk. Bec picked up this great hinged box at Marshall's for a song, and with stickers and mod-podged embellishments, she made it a personalized dress-up trunk for her little girl. She filled it with thrifted/clearance dress-up paraphernalia. It was a huge hit with the girl cousins in Texas all week.

Bec sent all us ladies in Oregon a couple of these rosettes each. Made from various colors of knit, and glued to pins, they look darling on cardis, blazers, belts, necklaces, headbands, you name it.

From my other s-i-l, Melissa:

Plain white Target tee + cheerful fabric initial = darling monogrammed tee for niece, Eliza.

Same idea, this time with a $2 canvas tote from Wal-Mart. So classic, and yet simple and cheap!

Melissa's major masterpiece this year was this Native American dress for her daughter Katie, who plays like a member of the Nez Pearce tribe most of the time.

Mine (Anne's):
About a year ago, I wrote about this apron that I am obsessed with. Then, last spring, my heart leapt when I helped my husband's grandmother prep for a garage sale and scored a whole pile of vintage towels. I knew they were bound for glory. I made aprons for each of my sister-in-laws on the side of the family from whence the towels came. Here is Rebecca's...

And here are Melissa and Sara modeling theirs on Christmas morning.

To be fair, here is what they look like when they didn't just wake up! The three of us the night before...
For my nieces, Katie and Mary, I dressed up magnet boards with cardstock and monogram stickers, then made them some simple magnets with paper and those glassy, flat-marble-ish guys from the craft store. Mary's is displaying the paperdolls Katie made her for Christmas, by cutting mag pics out and backing them with cardstock. Cute!

From Emily:
Beaded necklace for 18 mo. old Lily.
Cutest part? Hand-strung by her four year old brother, Henry.

Sometimes it's hard to come up with handmade gifts that young kids can help with - chunky beads are great for kids (boys) whose fine motor skills may not be so...fine.

Ribbon + alligator clips = super-easy clippies for Lily.

And, for the grand finale, my husband's offering this year. Home-made sausage! It took him one whole day, the assistance of four family members, 17 pounds of pork butt, meat grinding and sausage stuffing attachments for his Kitchenaid, and sausage casings purchased online. Here's what I can tell you. 1. I have never seen my husband more giddy. About anything. 2. My garage served as the cold storage for a couple of days and seriously smelled like a meat market. Mmmm... and 3. That sausage is dang good.

The end.

(Dying for a tutorial for something you've seen today? Let us know; we'll hook you up with one.)


Deanna said...

Where in Oregon do you live?

Bianca said...

Ooooo...I'd love a tutorial on the little boy tie!!! Lots of fun ideas!!! Thanks!

Rachael said...

ditto on the tie tutorial! I'd also love a peek at the rosettes.

I love handmade gifts! Last year I made shoulder bags for all my sisters; this year my kids made bath salts and my husband and I built them a dollhouse and furniture. so much more fun!

We live in a Zoo! said...

The boy tie and the apron's are amazing please tutorial me.

EHC said...

A tutorial on the little boy ties would be great! I love to see dapper little boys at church on Sunday wearing ties. :)

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing. My favorite part is all the love that underlies your gifts. Beautiful.

jeanine said...

What great ideas... I didn't do many handmade gifts this year. I'm planning ahead for next year. My sisters did a few that I LOVED. And I did manage to find time to make new stockings for my family that I think are great!

Sallie said...

I would love a tutorial on the knit flower on the sweater! Very cute gifts!

Cee said...

What special gifts! I would love a how-to on those skirts. I have some darling fabric with matching tulle (both from the remnant bin) that I was hoping to make a skirt with. Pretty please? :)

Kris and Chelsey said...

These are all really great! I'd love the rosette tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

Daron and Jamee said...

I would love to know how to make the ties!!


danielle said...

I'd actually love to hear more about the sausage making. I think that deserves a post of its own! Plus its about time for a man to post at Bloom right?

Jessica said...

So cute! I'd love the tie tutorial too. I've made them before by cutting off the back of one of an adult tie, but it would be fun to know another way. The dress-up box Rebecca made is so darling too! If I ever have a girl I'm definitely going to make something like that!

Emilee said...

I would love to get the tie and apron tutorial. I'm already making plans for my Christmas presents. Thanks girls!