Thursday, December 30, 2010

Handmade Christmas

I'm not sure where, when or why I decided to do a lot of homemade gifts, but I did.   With it all said and done, I think that I would do it again.  It was a lot of fun trying to find stuff that I could make that was a bit cooler than knitted coasters.   

Also, I loved getting stuff that was handmade.  It's great, it makes me feel cool and hip, and it feels 1,304% more personal (even if the person didn't make it).  A quote from the Etsy article sums it up much better than I can:

“It’s not just ‘you are what you eat’ anymore,” he {Robert Kalin, co-founder of Etsy} said. “You are what you buy, and these things define you.”

First, here are all the things that I made as presents:

1.  At the top of every child's Christmas list is personalized shirts and pillowcases, so for each of my nieces and nephews a set was made:

Their eyes lit up (mainly with confusion) when they opened their boxes.  "Honey, that's a pillowcase-enjoy."

Side story: When I was in elementary school, my great-grandmother passed away and I was given a few of her belongings.  Among them was a pillowcase with a pink monogram on it that said "Estelle."  It was my first encounter with was love at first site.

2. I'm pretty sure that my b-i-l's and s-i-l's are done having children, so for them, I made silhouettes of each of their kids.  Over Thanksgiving, I snapped a profile picture and used a free program to design each one.  It wasn't easy, and I couldn't have done it without my husband's help (who is a design engineer).   

Eventually I got the hang of it.  Pictured here are the black and white ones, but I did a funky version as well-grey and white zig-zag with a brightly colored silhouette. 

3. Magnets of each of the grandchildren.  My friend, Juli, gave me this idea.  I thought about making some for everyone, but I thought it would be special if just Grandmama had them.

Full size picture of each kid, laminated at Kinkos, magnet hot glued to the back.  It was fun getting them to be goofy in them.  (Pictures taken outdoors works best!)

4. Custom t-shirts for my brothers.  Printable fabric and iron-on stuff, it was great to meet you, we'll be seeing a lot of each other.

For the record, I waited too late to get started on all that stuff.  The last two weeks before Christmas was a little crafty, a little TOO crafty.  I vow to never wait that long again!  Keeping the vow is a different story.

Next up: all the handmade gifts that we received.  

1.  A leather chalk bag.  A friend at church has a hobby of making things out of leather and started making chalk bags for his son who climbs.  It was a perfect gift for John, who needs a chalk bag and appreciates cool stuff like this.

2.  Not pictured: my m-i-l made fleece blankets for each of the seven grandchildren.  What a great and easy handmade gift: fleece rectangle with snipped frays.  

2a.  Also not picture:  My dad made me some new side tables for my living room.  More on that later.

3.  Wooden trucks.  Burl asked me to put these on his Christmas list, and I allowed them seeing that the toys are wooden.  They are from Etsy.  Click HERE to see all the cool wooden stuff that they have.

4.  Jewelry.  I'm not a jewelry person, but I've decided to become one.   I told my mom that I would LOVE a necklace from The Ardent Sparrow, and I showed her where I blogged about them earlier.  Well, I'll be danged if she bought me everything I posted!  She doubled my jewelry inventory and I have been wearing something everyday since Christmas!

I loved opening each of the cutely wrapped packages.  Pink and white, hello, it's like the The Ardent Sparrow made them just for me!

5.  I saved the best for last, because no present, handmade or not, was enjoyed as much as the wheelbarrow that my dad (with the help of John's dad) made for Burl.  

The pictures turned out a little blurry, but don't let it distract from what the picture is saying:  Burl loves the 'barrow.  

There ya have it.  My creative juices are spent.  Thank goodness I have a whole year to be inspired, and thank goodness there are cool blogs and websites to do just that, inspire.  I love being part of the online community of creative hipsters that are making crafting cool again.  {And yes, I just declared myself a creative hipster, even though I am not even close to being.}


  1. Let's just start calling you Martha!!!

    Everything looks great...I especially like the silhouettes

  2. You are so creative gurllllll.
    & thoughtful!

    I made these:

    it was fun && easy!!

    Gracias for din din last night- yummmaayy. And fun game time too :)
    hope burl actually got some peace & quiet

  3. Love the craftiness! Also really love Burl's wagon! So awesome that his granddad's made them! Lucky little boy!