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25 Handmade Gifts of Christmas (Part 2)

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about coming up with holiday gifts for all those special people in your life—your children’s teachers, your friends and neighbors, the babysitter, your hair stylist…What better way to say Merry Christmas and thank you for all you do then to present each and every one of these hardworking individuals with a heartfelt, handmade gift? And because I know we are all busier than the big man in red this time of year, your very own Simply Family holiday helper (that would be me) has rounded up the best of the web, 25 handmade gift ideas—complete with tutorials, pictures, and packaging ideas. Here are the next five gifts. Move over Martha Stewart, let’s get crafting!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Quick Bread in a Bottle

(Adapted from www.sunset.com)

What You Will Need: an empty milk bottle, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup miniature chocolate chips, and craft paper (for decorating your milk bottle).

To Make: Simply layer in the dry ingredients, and attach the recipe (found here) to the bottle. Decorate with a cute, homemade label and you are done and ready to gift! The mix keeps for two to three months at room temperature.

(Handwritten) Recipe Tea Towels

(Adapted from http://blog.spoonflower.com)

What You Will Need: fabric from which to create the tea towels (the author suggests using Spoonflower’s linen-cotton canvas), handwritten recipes (four would be ideal), a camera, and a computer with access to Picassa (free photo editing software available for online download).

To Make: First, take a photo of each recipe page. Next, upload the pictures to your computer using Picassa. Make any necessary color and cropping adjustments. Select all of the images, then select the “Picture Collage” option under the “Create” tab. Add a grid spacing in between each image for a convenient cutting line, and a colorful, eye catching hem for each towel. Under the “Page Format” option, set the size of the collage to 54x36 (will fit exactly onto one yard of the linen-cotton canvas). Upload the design to Spoonflower. Finally, cut the towels along the grid lines and turn back the hems (sewing them into place). The author also suggests sewing a small amount of twill in one top corner of each towel for convenience. What a wonderful way to preserve a treasured recipe from a loved one!

DIY Wooden Bead Necklace

(Inspired from a find at www.etsy.com)

What You Will Need: leather string (in the color of your choosing) for the “chain”, 11 wooden beads with predrilled holes for stringing (four small beads, four medium, and three large), a paint brush, and acrylic paint (you choose the colors).

To Make: Paint each of the beads in turn, and allow them to dry completely before stringing them onto the leather necklace. I just love the ombre affect achieved here, don’t you? And who wouldn’t love receiving a striking, handmade necklace this Christmas? I know I sure would!

Hand Dyed Onesies (For the Littlest Ones on Your List)

(Adapted from www.danamadeit.com and http://theardentsparrow.blogspot.com)

What You Will Need: plain white onesies (the ones you find at Target and WalMart will work just fine), Rit Liquid Dye (in the colors of your choosing), large bowls (that you won’t mind tossing at the project’s completion), a mixing spoon, rubber gloves, and any scraps of fabric, lace, etc. that you might want to use for gender appropriate “garnish”.

To Make: (The quick and easy version) Mix the fabric dye and some hot water in the bowl. Add the fabric to the bowl and mix periodically (for one hour plus). Drain and rinse the fabric, and then wash and dry the onesie(s) in your machine. Finally, if you feel so inclined, decorate the onesie with your desired fabric scraps (attach using a sewing machine, NOT craft glue). For a more detailed fabric dying tutorial click here. So cute, and so affordable!

Herbal Fire Starter Sachets

(Adapted from www.wholeliving.com)

What You Will Need: pinecones, dried herbs (rosemary, sage leaves, and cinnamon sticks), newspaper, and raffia or twine.

To Make: Bundle the herbs and small pinecones in a sheet of newspaper. Secure the ends with the raffia (or twine). To use, nestle the bundle underneath your pile of logs, newspaper edges facing out (this is what you will light). Smells like wintery, Christmas deliciousness—you may even want to “gift” yourself a few of these sachets!

Looking for more gift ideas from local merchants for the loved ones on your list? Don’t forget to check out the first annual Simply Family Gift Guide in the December issue of the magazine!