So Halloween has been and gone, bonfire night is over, hmmm, I have a feeling something else is coming up? But just what is it? *Scratches head*
Ha ha, just kidding, of course. Christmas looms large on the horizon from about September, usually with the result that I feel super-Christmassy in November and completely over it by the middle of December. And yes, so it is once again, I am feeling all merry and bright right now.
So apologies to those who want to hold onto the festive cheer til December, but I thought I might just do a little round up for the more organised people who’d like to get started making Christmas bits and bobs in good time. (I am not a very organised person and therefore have a tendency to post things like advent calendar DIYs on December 3rd, so forgive me for the repetition but corralling a few past posts together in reasonable time this year seemed wise.)
If you missed them the first time around, here are a few of my past Christmas makes that you might like to try out…
Vintage pictures advent calendar
I think this is my very favourite Christmas thing I’ve ever made. Of course I do! It combines vintage images, iron on fabric transfer paper and chocolate. What, my friends, is not to love?!
If your Christmas tree is lacking in polar bears, squirrels and moose (meece?) this is the place to visit. Unbelievably easy to make and you can use any biscuit cutters you have to make whatever shapes your heart (or tree) desires.
A jam that tastes like Christmas! I’m not sure if I have ever succeeded in converting anyone to this idea ever, but I shall keep on singing the praises of a sweet carrot jam full of Christmassy spices. One day in the future someone might actually give this recipe a go and find that it’s really pretty good. If you do, please let me know!
Okay, the photo is ugly and the actual post is seriously long, but I did go ahead and make most of these presents and I can recommend all of the tutorials wholeheartedly.
Secondly, and not at all popular on Pinterest, despite my attempt to make a nice Pinnable image for it, 17 more tutorials for presents. The difference? These are all from my own makes. The lobster necklace is my favourite. I still love that.
And I’d love you even more if you go and pin that image for me, ha ha.
So, there you have it. If you’re feeling festive too and starting to get ready, I hope there is some inspiration here.
And what else are you thinking of making this year? Drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear all your plans…
This time last year, I put together a round up of my top 20 tutorials for homemade Christmas presents that I’d found elsewhere on the web, for the delectation of my lovely readers reader. (Ha! That is actually almost true. I had only been writing the blog for a few weeks and I was so excited that 20 whole people read that post in the first few days!)
This year though, oh frabjous day, I thought I’d put together a round up of some homemade presents from my very own blog posts, sharing some of my favourite presents that I’ve made over the past 12 months.
Not all of these are my own tutorials, but all link to a tutorial for you to follow, so I hope there is some inspiration here for anyone planning on making some presents in this fine month of December. So, without further ado, here are my top 17 homemade Christmas presents…
For vintage lovers
A huge fan of a vintage or retro image myself, I’ve made a fair few things using some (copyright-free) vintage pics over the past year. These are the ones I’ve been most pleased with
1. Lobster necklace
This was my first experiment with shrink plastic and, I’ve got to say, I was pretty chuffed with the results. He’s rather spectacular, isn’t he? I also made some rather lovely shrink plastic teapots, which would work brilliantly as tags for presents…
This was a gift from Christmas last year and one I was really delighted with. It takes no time at all to print out all the bookplates, but I think the (slightly time-consuming) additions of the little envelopes really added to the cute factor.
Of all the presents I’ve ever given people, my homemade soaps have got the best feedback (and requests for replacements when they’ve run out…) Using a melt and pour soap base, these are straightforward to make, but still give you that pleasing mad scientist feeling as you stir them all together.
For the loveable executive in your life… …what better than some homemade business card holders?! I’ve got to admit, since I made myself one it has seen very, very little action — but then I really must start carrying my business cards around and handing them out a little bit more. Again, this is a quick project, perfect for when you’re half paying attention to something on TV.
If you thought the business card holders were a prosaic present, let me introduce you to the plastic bag stuffer! Sexy? No. Romantic? No. Thoughtful? Erm, perhaps. Useful? Very!
The thing is, buying something like this in the shops costs a ridiculous amount of money and it’s really, really easy to make with some beautiful fabric. But, I reckon, don’t give this to someone unless you know they have a plastic bag mountain hidden in a drawer or cupboard. This is the sort of present that could see you on the receiving end of a pair of socks the following year if given to the wrong recipient.
Erm, what can I say about this? It’s a fairly weird present, I know, perhaps better suited to children with a toy kitchen, but this felt breakfast really pleases me. Those little yellow yolks on the eggs, the curly bacon, the bright red tomato. Visually, it’s rather glorious.
Ideally, if you were making these presents, you would have started a while ago. But, hey, I’m only posting this today so you couldn’t have known… If you’ve a fair of time before the big day, these would make lovely presents though.
10. Hot water bottle cover
This might take you a couple of evenings to knit, but it’s a really nice pattern and very simple to follow. I was delighted with the way it looked at the end and (as is the way with every present I make for someone else that I really like) have been meaning to make a version for myself ever since. It never happens, of course, because there is always another present to make for someone else first…
Not that this takes a long time to make, but it takes a long time to get really tasty. If you knew a patient person (it’s not me) you could make up a bottle of this now and tell them not to drink it for a year. Otherwise, make up some bottles now, and save until next Christmas for giving out…
I was umming and ahhing about including this, since I don’t have a (non-photocopied) version of this pattern to point you towards. But, this dog draught excluder is so amazing that I couldn’t resist including it. If you’re good at sewing, you could probably take one look at it and figure out how to make it. It’s just two main pieces for the body, plus a garter at the top of the head (and the ears, of course)…
There’s something almost irresistible about making presents for babies. From their cute little tiny person clothes to lovely snuggly soft blankets for keeping them toastie and warm, there’s an almost infinite option of things to make you super broody while you whip them up.
Of all the presents I’ve made this past year, the large majority have been for little people. These are my faves:
13. Knitted blanket
I knitted this for the sproglet while I was pregnant, working my way through a few rows every evening. It’s called the shale baby blanket and is one of the few patterns I’ve ever paid for. Worth every penny though, because it’s utterly gorgeous. The finished result looks really complicated, but it’s actually only four rows to remember so is quite a relaxing knit…
If there’s one thing every six-month old baby needs it’s a lot of bibs. I made this pattern myself (not that it is hugely complicated, ha ha) and the bibs are all backed with velour, for easy post-meal mouth wiping.
Best of all, it’s super easy to make so you could whip up a little bundle very quickly for a last minute present.
Get the (free) pdf pattern and step-by-step tutorial here: baby bibs
15. Printed babygrows
If you’ve visited here before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of using iron on transfer paper to add images to fabric. This works particularly well, I think, with babygrows, which can look adorable with an extra embellishment. This matryoshka is one of my favourites…
There’s no denying that little babies are cute. But there’s also no denying that they are very vomitous. Very, very, very vomitous sometimes. I sewed a burp cloth before the sproglet was born and it’s fair to say it’s seen a bit of use in the intervening year or so. This isn’t the most glamorous present, it can’t be denied, but it’s a super useful one. Perhaps pair with some bibs or babygrows to up the cuteness quotient…
I’ve saved the best til last with the baby pressies. I’ve made a few pairs of these baby trousers now and I think they are utterly gorgeous and great for showcasing a nice fabric. These red elephant ones are my most preferred.
Last year, I was in Hong Kong for six months over Christmas so I had to buy presents online for my family back in the UK. Despite the fact I was on what I cheerfully referred to as a “sabbatical” (read instead “long holiday”) and wasn’t earning any money, I felt a bit sad that I wasn’t with the rest of my family for Christmas and wanted to make sure I sent nice presents over.
So I over-compensated. I spent £800 on presents. £800! And that’s not on presents for everyone, just my family. And to clarify again, I don’t mean aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. No, I mean mother and siblings and siblings-in-law. Eeeeeep. I didn’t even buy everyone grand amazing presents, I just did that thing where you see something cool online and it costs £15 or so and you think “Oh, that would be a nice little present for x” and you buy it and then you forget you’ve bought it and you keep on going until you’ve got five “little” presents for x and accidentally spent a fortune.
Anyway, lesson learned this year, and the plan is to spend nothing at all and make presents for everyone (or at least only spend money on supplies…)
With this in mind, here’s a round-up of 20 appealing-looking tutorials for presents. I’ve only made a few so far, but I’ll keep you updated on any successes (or amusing failures…)
You can find more craft projects that I’m planning on making at my Pinterest board I could make that. Go on, follow me there, you know you want to.
I’m normally tempted to go all-out on knitted presents, but this year I am trying to keep the selection small, as this is one of the slower ways of making presents and I have less time on my hands than normal, what with a four-month-old to look after and the past few weeks spent making presents for my partner’s birthday. Here, then, are a few quick and simple knits:
I absolutely adore this little cabled romper suit (and the cute baby in the photos…)
I’ve had the pattern saved in my Ravelry queue for ages and a Christmas present for my baby is the perfect excuse to get it out of the queue and onto the needles. By the way, if you’re on Ravelry too, do friend me. I’m here: Wolves in London.
If this romper suit is just so much adorable cuteness that you can’t actually bear to stop knitting once you’ve finished it, there is a matching hat and booties to go with it too. All for free. Amazing…
2. Bella’s mittens. A free pattern by Marielle Henault found through Ravelry. These look lovely and snuggly with a big thick wintery cable pattern. I’ve already started on these, in fact, and the first mitten knitted up super-quick. I’ll dedicate a separate post to them, once finished.
3. Selbu Modern hat. This looks so elegant and comfy. Free pattern found through Ravelry (as always!) I’ll be making this for the same sister who is getting the mittens. I’m currently trying to decide whether to match yarn or just make two completely different items. Hmmmmm…
4. Cable knit socks. Classy, woolly sock pattern from the Purl Bee. These would be perfect for wearing under wellies or boots, or just for slouching around the house.
6. Citrus sugar body scrub. I followed this tutorial from Maybe Matilda to make up a tub of sugar scrub for a friend earlier this year after she had a baby.
She said it smelt so delicious that she had to taste a little bit to try it. If that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is.
(Disclaimer: no matter how gorgeous your scrub smells, I don’t advocate eating it…)
7. Bath Fizzies. Simple sounding instructions from the Martha Stewart website.
8. Also from Martha Stewart, these grass soaps look amazing…
There is something about the presentation here that is so fantastic. There are lots and lots of different soap making projects on the website so I definitely plan on buying some melt and pour soup base and having a crack at a few of these.
10. For all my bath and food creations, I plan on printing out and attaching some homemade labels. I was inspired by this post on a thousand word’s blog. She’s made a whole hamper for her friend’s birthday with matching labels on all the products. So gorgeous. There’s a raft of great labels to download and use on the World Label blog.
11. I’ve been planning a quilt for my sister and her husband for some time. I bought some stunning Liberty fabric a few years ago and it’s been sitting waiting to be transformed ever since. Consequently, I’ve been storing lots of quilt tutorials, so can offer a few options:
12. Lavender and cedarwood bags in matching fabric to the quilt. I met up with my sister the other evening and was gratified to see that she was wearing the snood I made her for Christmas two years ago. Less gratifying to see though, was that there were a couple of holes in it — however, gratifying again, that when I pointed this out, she was genuinely annoyed at seeing them and said they have got a serious moth problem in their new house. So, lavender and cedarwood bags are an essential. I won’t actually be following a tutorial for this as it’s pretty straightforward, but there is a great tutorial on Martha Stewart’s site that also tells you how to print your own designs onto fabric first.
I’m not entirely sure where I’d be finding big slabs of wood, but if I do I will certainly be making…
15. This must be one of the simplest ideas for a present ever. Print out some beautiful vintage bookplate designs and cut to size! I’ve come across a few different free graphics for these, so I’ll be putting together a combination of the ones I’ve found at The Graphics Fairy (pictured on the left), Design Sponge and Benign Objects (links take you directly to the bookplates). I think I’ll also make some little envelopes to hold them all. Will cut some to size out of card, stick one of the bookplates that is inside on the front and embellish the insides using the Guardian’s guide to making envelope liners. It’s a really simple idea, but hopefully will be appreciated by the bibliophiles in my life…
16. I’m going to have my first crack at grown-up potato stamp printing, inspired by the tutorial for this stunning feather-printed gauze blanket. I think I will try and craft mine into a scarf, however.
17. I’ll be following my own tutorial for transferring printed images onto fabric to make some more printed T-shirts, this time for friends’ children. I’ve been storing cool free graphics to use for this. The advantage of doing this is you can make the perfect T-shirt for their tastes. One friend’s son is crazy on horses, so he’ll get a horse T-shirt and I am already excited about how much he’ll love that…
This is a really perfect homemade present: hard to find in the shops, a bit unique, looks beautiful and, best of all, utterly delicious…
19. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Turkish delight. I’ve never tried to make it before, so I don’t know how well it would turn out, but this turkish delight recipe from the Guardian sounds pretty simple.
20. Thesepeppermint hearts from Flossie Teacakes blog (love that name, don’t you?) originally got on my radar as a potential Valentine’s Day present. But I think they’d be great for Christmas too: all wrapped up in a nice box, with a jolly ribbon tied on. I think I’ll make up a couple of batches of these to use as “back-up” presents, just in case I forget to buy someone something…
So tell me, what have you got planned for your DIY Christmas presents? And what amazing tutorials have I missed off this list? Please share anything fabulous you’ve seen or created by posting a comment below…
I’ve made a few of these projects now, so I’ll add links here to anything I’ve tried out
My favourite of the completed Christmas presents was definitely the homemade soap. It went down really well with the recipients and I made so many I’ve used a fair few myself! Read more about it: how to make your own soap
I managed to get a fair few things knitted in time, including the lovely Bella’s mittens, along with a hot water bottle cosy and a nice slouchy cable hat. See more photos and details of all at Christmas knitting
The bookplates were certainly one of the simplest but most appealing of all the homemade presents. See the finished bookplates and the cute little envelopes I made for them (ahem, even if I do say so myself…)