Fun Monday: Handmade gifts-Naughty or Nice?

Okay so in November we covered: Christmas shopping and Christmas decorating– admittedly, 2 topics I coveted covering myself once I realized I was ‘hosting’ December, so we’re starting afresh, staying along the same lines and today we’re talking about ‘handmade’ or ‘homemade’ gifts. Are they naughty (boring, useless, only something your great aunt Matilda does), or nice (useful, cheery, tasty, cozy, pretty, economical)? Do you ‘handmake’ or ‘homemake’ any items, and if so, what, for whom and do they appreciate it? This can be birthday, something you got as a kid, something your kid gave you, and so on, it’s not limited to Christmas, or even this time of year! Have you even gotten a ‘bad’ homemade gift? The web space is yours.. post away!

Tween/teen girl gifts from last year

I think handmade gifts are very economical and customizable. These are 2 shoulder bags that I made for my teen/tween nieces last year. They were an instant hit. Both girls carried the bags around with them for a long time. The bags were about $5 each and the iron-on gemstone words and icons were also inexpensive. I know the younger one’s gemstones fell off (I included washing instructions with both of them–but I’m not sure they were followed) but of course you don’t have to use iron ons, you can use paint, thread, etc…. if you’re looking for an inexpensive gift for a younger girl, they’d probably love something like this. Craft stores are full of ‘customizable’ items and even department/warehouse stores have a craft section with a bit of variety to them. You can even buy ‘tshirt printing’ kits that allow you to make your own iron-on transfer with your home printer. You might have to look around a bit to find what you TRULY would like to put on something, but there’s always the internet.

I’d love to have time to do some shopping bags with embroidery thread as gifts, but I don’t have it… because you already know what I’m working on… right? If you’ve looked at all at any of my previous posts… they’re about 1/2 about FELT FOOD! In case you’ve been out of the loop, I have a 2 year old and she’s getting a kitchen set for Christmas, and I’m making all the food for it. Here’s a photo of what I have so far:

hand crafted felt foods (oh and 4 wooden eggs)

Left to right starting at the top and reading like a book:

2 pieces of bacon, 2 fried eggs, 4 assorted cookies
ham lunchmeat, cheddar cheese slice, swiss cheese slice, lettuce leaf, bologna slice, 2 pickles
The ‘whole eggs’ standing up are 4 wooden eggs from a craft store.
2 pretzels, 2 slices of bread, a turkey with removable drumsticks
4 carrots, a whole apple (with indicators telling which slice is which to velcro them back together, an apricot, kiwi and pineapple slices, a small strawberry, lime, lemon, pink grapefruit, orange, green and yellow apple slices
and my partial ‘feat’ right now that I’m working on is a “ham steak” — one side is ‘raw or pan fried’ and the other is ‘grilled’

Any suggestions for further ‘feasting’ would be appreciated!

From the sneak peeks my daughter has taken when I’m trying to do something, the ‘yum yums’, I think that means she gets the idea, but I still keep trying to hide it from her anyway. We’ve got some dishes for her, too, so she’ll be able to start playing right away. My parents are going to ‘fill out’ her kitchen set in the next little while, so far what we’ve got is the sink I had when I was little (that my dad made for my cousins, and then I played with– it’s survived all these years)– we’re going to rehab it and paint it and we’ll be all set. I think it will be a hit, given her love of ‘stirring’ in one of my small bowls with a whisk and offering us tastes of things with a measuring cup.
For those ‘really hard to buy for’ people, like the pastor and secretary of your church, I donated time at the Salvation Army last year and made that their presents. I got a little writing book and wrote that inside the cover. I’d write it inside a card another time, makes more sense, I just thought the books were cute!

I’ve also made food like cookies, embroidered tea towels, and made magnets for various people. They all seemed well received. Not many people ‘take’ the time anymore, but I find I can embroider while listening to a tv show, or watching, sometimes (thus why I stick myself in the fingers with a needle way too often!) and several shows I DVR like Ellen and Rachael Ray you don’t actually have to watch to ‘get it’ the whole time, you can just listen since they are a ‘talk’ show.

The magnets I’ve made are from painting small wooden craft shapes (under $1 from Michael’s craft store) and buying a pack of magnets and some strong glue. Not a huge deal, but you can do whatever you want, write a child’s name on something, etc. etc. that makes it ‘cutesy’ as a gift, I think. It probably takes about 15 minutes total to make a magnet (add in some drying time),  but for instance if you did a teddy bear, you gather the materials, put the newspaper down to protect the work surface, and paint it brown. Wait for a bit until it’s dry, then go back and add the details in as many colors as you want. Same drying time, then glue the magnet on the back and let it sit overnight, then clean up. It probably doesn’t take that long even to make one, but you get the idea.  Even your kid’s teacher would appreciate something that doesn’t have ANOTHER apple on it, right? The best part is that you can get a variety of shapes year round and make them into.. anything. A circle could be the sun, a basketball, a car steering wheel, a pizza, and so on. There are dozens of items right now at craft stores for the holiday season, if you want to hand make for next year, you can go in the week after the holiday and buy up the stuff for 50% off, and put it in with your ornaments or your tree, and when you’re ready to decorate next year, you’ll find all the stuff ready to be made and passed out. Or give yourself a bonus and put it with your Halloween/fall decorations and get a jump start! My definition of handmade/homemade gifts is: NICE!

So what say you? If by morning I have magically come up with a linky, it will be here. If not, please sign up in the comments! Thank you and I look forward to what everyone has to say! Check back later in the week for the next topic in the sidebar!


  1. When I was growing up, homemade gifts were the norm. There were just too many of us and too little money. My mother cranked out beautiful stuff for me – A gorgeous doll with a bisque head (that I STILL have), crocheted scarves that were wonderfully warm. My dad’s awkward attempts at carpentry yielded wagons and heavy stilts and personalized foot stools. We got STRONG playing with his creations.

    I’m not as skilled as my mother was, but this year, I’m making nightshshirts for my guys. Wraps for a couple of friends. Ornaments for a few friends. Haven’t decided on my granddaughter’s gift yet, but last year, I made her a really warm blanket patterned with cats – her favorite thing. She’d been complaining that she was always cold at her house. NOt anymore!

    I love that you’re starting this tradition of making for Keeley. She will appreciate the time and effort you put into her presents more and more as time goes by (except between the ages of 7 and 12… When they want what everyone else has). I still use the scarf my mom made and I’m keeping that doll until my son has a little girl to pass it on to.

  2. Thanks to Sayre for finding the code for the linky for me, and Pamela for letting us Fun Mondayers use it! Be sure to link up!

  3. I have been loving all your felt food creations! It’s nice to have someone crafty in the family! My mom and grandma always home make things but that leaves me feeling like I can’t or people will be overwhelmed with homemade stuff and no electronics, lol.

  4. Wow Jill! You have alot of fantastic ideas there! I must say that your felt foods are turning out great! I love that you made the drumsticks detachable with velcro! You are one crafty gal!

  5. chrisb

    I just can’t get into blogging mode. I have too much going on here at the moment. I love your home made food and if someone has taken the time and trouble to make a gift and give it with love then it is something to be treasured. I still have things my girls made over 30 yrs ago and I now have quite a few things made by my grandchildren. So homemade gifts get the thumbs up from me.

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