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Simple, Handmade, Budget Friendly and Cherished for Life

March 17, 2009

Is that too much to ask of a gift? I truly admire individuals who go all out for major holidays like Christmas but trying to make a dozen or so gifts ready on the same day overwhelms me. Instead I decided to try a year of homemade gifts. It requires a lower work load stretched over the course of a year which gives me time to try and make items truly tailored for the recipient.

My first test was my mother’s birthday on the 9th. I made her a pot holder from a combination of knitting and quilting. Then I sewed the same fabric onto a kitchen towel. You can find the tutorial here. Not the most original idea but it is a useful gift, being “green”, creating items that are useful is important to me. I’d show you a picture except I was in a bit of a rush to get it mailed out in time and completely forgot to take one. The project is very easy and if you don’t knit you could create a simple pot holder from some fabric and batting. It was also very budget friendly. It took maybe 1/8th of a yard of fabric (1/4 yard usually cost a couple dollars), less than a skein of yarn (prices vary widely depending on what you use) and some scraps of batting leftover from my baby quilt. This project is also infinitely customizable, so your loved will get an item that truly fits their style.

J.’s birthday is in April and he was very firm in his desire to get a quilt. I saw this fabric and knew it would be perfect.



Erin Michaels – Lush, originally uploaded by the workroom.

I’m going to make a quilt based loosely on the Love Beads pattern. The circles will be patterned fabric, the majority of the front will be a dark brown solid and the back will be patch work so I can try and use all of the fabric I’ve bought for this project. This fabric is hard to find so it costs a bit more.

The next holiday is my sister’s birthday. My sister has, well, a very unique sense of style so I was a bit stumped and ended up simply buying her some fabric so she could make something.



Inked, originally uploaded by Archymomma.

I’ve seen this turned into purses but I just got my sister a purse and she doesn’t carry them that frequently anyway. I also thought of a pillow but… I don’t know. She will love the fabric and along with some other choices it just screams her to me so I guess I’m afraid of cutting into it versus letting her make something.

With her fabric ordered I started worrying about Mother’s Day. That’s a lot of pressure to find something that fits all my criteria and can be made in time for my mother, step-mother and mother-in-law. I’ve decided on cloth napkins as a simple and beautiful way to encourage them to be a little greener. It’s also going to help me use some fabric I purchased online and didn’t end up loving as much in person. A 1/4 yard makes 3 14 by 14 in napkin and I’m going to take the remaining patterned fabric and use it to decorate solid colored fabric so they will get a total of 6 napkins each. Well I’m doing that for my mother and mother in law, my step-mother is very definitive in her decorating so for her I’m going to make 6 solid colored napkins.

Now I just need to figure out something for Father’s Day and everyone else’s birthday. The Dad’s are hard, well I think it’s usually harder to find gifts for guys anyway! I’m thinking about handkerchiefs and tissue holders but I don’t know that they would use them. I also thought about making them lunch bags and utensil rolls since they both pack their lunches for work everyday. If I went that route I would stick with solid fabrics or simple geometric prints.



Utensil Rolls – unrolled, originally uploaded by mimiwilborn.

Some ideas I’m toying around with for birthdays are purses, camera strap covers, yoga mat bags, rice heat bags, softies, pencil rolls and bath salts. I’ve already fallen in love with a ton of fabric so now I need to make sure I put it to use!

Do you have any ideas for homemade gifts? Do you find yourself making more gifts or purchasing more gifts that are handmade?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2009 8:39 am

    We always celebrate homemade Christmas with my family. All gifts have to be homemade and you can’t spend more than $10 on supplies. It’s always so much fun to think of what to do. I think this year I’m going to making homemade non-toxic cleaning products for everyone.

  2. knutty knitter permalink
    March 17, 2009 10:44 pm

    Home made jam goes down well and cushion covers too. I also came across a great pattern for pincushions that are also really ornamental. Might be worth looking at a few books for that – mine was an Australian crazy quilt book. Maybe diary covers or pen holders?

    My brother in law is getting a cushion that unfolds into a quilt (if I can get it finished by next Tuesday!).

    viv in nz

  3. March 19, 2009 8:59 pm

    I love the idea of working on gifts throughout the year. My daughter and I are always “crunched” for time around the holidays. We tend to bake & cook gifts – I had the thought several years ago that fod gifts stand the least chance of collecting dust or being re-gifted :). we have thought about trying other presents but I could never get around to them since I waited to the last minute!

    We like to make spaghetti sauce – there are vegetarian and non-vege versins, and an assortment of holiday cookies in tims bought from thrift stores for well under a dollar apiece!

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