I do my best to keep my handmade gift list manageable, because I’ve made the mistake in the past of trying to do too much and having it be a really stressful experience that sucked the joy out of the season for me. So now, I try to limit my list a little. If I have a really good idea for someone and it sounds like fun to make – great! If not, and if all they really would prefer is a gift card, no big deal.
One thing I have committed to though is to have a handmade gift for each of my kids. It’s usually not their favorite gift by any means – I mean PJ pants are great, by they can’t compete with Legos. I also think it’s fun to make gifts for my kids’ teachers because it can be pretty simple and I can usually mass produce them.
So, without further ado, here’s my plans for this year. You’ll note, I’m only half done! Forgive me. I think we might need to do a follow up in January to this series so I can show you all the things I actually accomplished (and the secret gift making I’m doing for people that might be reading)! (Also, if you happen to know my kids, this is just between you and me ok?)
My daughter is getting a yak blanket with matching pillowcase. Now, you might think it’s awful that she didn’t already have a yak blanket, but this girl is the queen of blanket hoarding! I just couldn’t justify it before when there were already SO MANY! But, she’s gotten rid of a few and steals my yak blanket enough that it was time she had her own. She is in love with this amazing Laboratory fabric from Dear Stella, and I thought the Constellation fabric was the perfect contrast for the pillowcase. The Constellations is a beautiful lawn, which means it’s crazy soft and wider than most fabrics. This was the perfect backing for the yak blanket! Since it is 53″ wide I could just get 1 2/3 yards (60″) and it would fit the precut yak perfectly – no piecing and no waste! I did make sure to top stitch around the blanket though as I don’t think the lawn stays put against the yak as much as the flannel does. It is fluffy and cozy and just perfect – I think she is going to love it!
My middle son has asked for some kind of art caddy. He is never without his notebook and pencils and draws constantly. I think it’s going to be sort of a combination of the MT journal cover with a pencil pocket zipper pouch, but it remains to be seen. I was eyeing up Kathleen’s Artist Tote last week too…hmmm. Stay tuned for this one.
My youngest son is a game enthusiast! Cards, board games, chess, checkers – doesn’t matter, he’s into it. I thought a Traveling Checkerboard of his very own would be perfect for him. Being the youngest of three there isn’t much “of his very own” in our house, so I think this will make him feel really special. You’ll notice that this project isn’t actually done either, but I would argue that coming up with the idea and choosing the fabrics is really the hardest part. Hoping to check this one off the list soon! (Click the photo for fabric details!)
My go-to teacher gift has been the Pencil Pocket Zipper pouch for a few years now. Last year we got the great idea from a customer to gift it as a “going to a meeting” bag (awesome idea, dear customer, I’m sorry I can’t remember who you are)! So I pack it with nice pens, Post-It notes, mints and hand sanitizer. I am planning to do the same again this year, but we do have one teacher overlap from last year. So I’m trying to come up with a great idea for her. In the meantime, I’ve got these two done! (Guy teachers have meetings too, right?)
For this pouch I used the Pencil Pocket Zipper pouch dimensions, but instead top stitched a piece of leather 5-1/4″ x 10-1/2″ to one side. Center it so the leather doesn’t get caught in your seams, then finish the rest of the pouch.
Last, but certainly not least is our most favorite bus driver Laura. Bus drivers tend to get a bad rap. My memory of bus drivers from childhood is of scary old guys that yelled a lot. (Can’t say I blame them, just me in my car with my own three kids makes me feel that way sometimes.) But Laura is different. Laura decorates her bus for every holiday – Valentine’s day, Halloween, Christmas, you name it, and gives the kids treats. She’s nice and kind and doesn’t drive like a maniac and gets my kiddos home safe and sound everyday. Basically, she cares, and that means a lot.
For Laura I made this adorable festive reusable gift bag filled with yummy treats. We’ve got kits for these in the shop with the cutest holiday fabric combos (and twill tape) all ready for you for just $4.50! Grab a couple next time your in the shop. Great for awesome bus drivers, childcare center staff, co-workers and neighbors that unexpectedly drop off a gift. Avoid the awkward they got you a gift and you didn’t get them one moment!
So, as you can see I’ve made some progress, but have a ways to go. How about you? What’s on your handmade giving list and what’s already checked off? Maybe reread my post from last year if you’re having trouble getting in the mood.
P.S. Be sure to check back next week for the next installment in our Handmade Giving series!