Tag Archives: handmade gifts

Christmas Project Progress


button tree

People, Christmas is three weeks from today. Three! I need to get serious about what I want to do and what I will be able to do before that happens. It is definitely time for a prioritized list.

First, here are the things I absolutely want to finish before Christmas:

  1. Any pottery I want for giving needs to be ready for firing by this weekend. It may already be too late–December is a busy time for the kiln! At a minimum I want to finish up some of the small medallions I made to make into magnets and complete whatever coil trees I have already built. These things need to be painted with underglaze and fired, then dipped into clear glaze and fired again. Hopefully I can get them done quickly.
  2. Blanket for my brother
  3. Button tree collage for my aunt
  4. Crocheted coasters for my mother

If I get those things done, I will be happy. If I get them done with time to spare, I will do some or all of these things:

  1. Crochet a wreath for my front door
  2. Find the shawl I started last year for a friend and finish it
  3. Make some jewelry
  4. Make homemade lip gloss
  5. Make sugar scrubs

There is a very good chance that my list of finished projects will look nothing like this list, but I like having a plan to start with at least. I feel pretty good about the first priority items, although not entirely certain.

How are your Christmas projects coming?


Projects I Have Done and Projects I Have Yet to Do


Christmas Countdown R & G Dots

Christmas is 34 days away! Time to take stock and kick into high gear on my remaining projects!

Projects completed:

  • 3 crocheted blankets
  • 9 crocheted scarves
  • 6 crocheted stocking ornaments
  • 18 small pottery plates
  • 1 pottery Christmas tree
  • 4 crocheted spa cloths

Projects in progress:

  • Two crocheted makeup bags – crocheting is done, they just need buttons sewn on
  • Button Christmas tree collage
  • Pottery magnets
  • More pottery Christmas trees
  • More pottery plates

Projects I would still like to do:

  • Coffee mug cozies
  • Homemade lip gloss
  • Jewelry-making
  • More ornaments–both stockings and snowflakes
  • One more crocheted blanket
  • Lavender Sea Salt Scrub
  • Finish a shawl I started for last Christmas
  • Crochet some coasters
  • 1 more crocheted scarf

What do you think? Too ambitious? How are your handmade projects coming?

buy nothing new christmas // the first of a new series


I think this is a great idea, although I am not sure I can fully do it. If I buy new crafting supplies, does that count? Plus, the kids might be disappointed if they don’t get some new things. I have definitely given a lot of thought to giving only gifts that I have made, though, and we could certainly do clothes from the resale shops and stay in this challenge. What do you think? Can you go without buying anything new for Christmas?


A few years ago, in the spirit that I like to do most things in – completely last minute – I decided I was going to have a Buy Nothing New Christmas. There seemed to be a lot of chit chat going on in the blogosphere about having periods of buying nothing new, and nothing motivates me more than a challenge! So I dove in head first and have to say it was such a satisfying experience that I have *almost* done it every Christmas since. In fact, I was so motivated, my Buy Nothing New challenge continued for the first six months of 2011!

It made me realise not only how much we consume needlessly in our daily lives, but how much we can do without, and more to the point, how much great stuff is circulating the planet as rubbish, because we are constantly, obsessively…

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Ack! Christmas is coming!


I am not a fan of Christmas music in October or early November, and it drives me crazy that Christmas merchandise is everywhere already, but when you are a person who makes things for Christmas presents, you have to start early. I did start early this year, too–I have been making blankets and scarves since June. However, this weekend I suddenly realized that Christmas is less than 2 months away, and I still have so many things left to do!

I can’t post everything here, on the off chance that some of my recipients will see this post, but I can say that I have gotten a lot done. Yesterday I experimented with mini-stocking ornaments to make as a decoration for all of my gifts this year.

first stocking

I made three of these, each slightly different, to perfect the pattern (or really, my interpretation of it). I’ve nearly got it down, and I am pleased with how quickly I can knock these out.

I also started a collage for my aunt, based on this pin.

green canvas for tree collage

tree collage getting started

Last night I painted my canvas to get ready, and I have been working on it off and on today. With collage, I often have to stop and let the glue dry a bit, so it is good that I started now, when I have time to come back to it over several days.

I also finished a scarf and worked on a blanket that I can’t post here. All of this is making me feel a bit better, but there is still so much left to do! Anyone else making Christmas gifts this year? What kind of progress are you making?

Thinking About Christmas: Gift Baskets


I know Christmas is far away, but I really want to make as many gifts as I can this year, and that means starting early. I am planning on making a few blankets, and those take time, and I am going to finish a few things that I started last year that I didn’t get done in time, but I also need to throw in some easier gifts. Trying to do 15 big crochet projects in about 3 months is crazy– I know, because that is what I tried to do last year!

So, I am combing through my Pinterest boards trying to find some easy projects I can start working on now, and get some things set aside before life gets too hectic with school and work and the holidays. I want to start now while the kids are off for the summer and I am not volunteering at their schools all the time. Plus, if I start now, I will feel motivated to keep going. If I clear out a shelf in my pantry, I can have a growing stash of gifts to look at and feel good about! (Mental note: pantry needs a thorough re-organization and purge….)

With this in mind, I am thinking about making gift baskets/kits. I like the idea of giving several small things I have made grouped together–it makes it easier for me to space out the projects, and it seems like an abundance of gifts, 🙂 .

I am in the early planning stages, but here are some ideas I have so far. I have several similar projects grouped together. I probably won’t do all of them, but I like to have a range of choices when I start to work.

Pampering Kits

Image credit: paulaparrish.blogspot.com

I really love the soap socks in particular–what a neat idea! The sock felts as you use it!

Reading/Relaxing Time Kits

This idea is very crochet-intensive, which sounds more time-consuming. I really like the idea though, and the small projects may be doable. The notepads would be a lot of fun for standalone gifts, too.

Bling/Glamour Kits

Image Credit: foodpluswords.com

I am hoping my daughter will work with me on the jewelry–I like doing things like this with her.

So, those are my beginning ideas. Even with the relatively quick projects, you can see why I need to start doing something about this now! I haven’t even mentioned that I would like to make up a bunch of Christmas ornaments so that I can attach one to the packaging for every gift I give…I guess I should get a start on those, too.

Am I the only one crazy enough to be planning out Christmas gifts in July?

Planning a Kids’ Crafting Party: Stations and Snacks


Note: I am having a bunch of kids over this coming weekend to make Christmas gifts, and I have been trying to spread the planning out to make sure it goes well. Part 1 has possible projects I considered, and Part 2 has the supply lists for the crafts we chose and some ideas for what needs to be done ahead.

Now that we know what we are making at the party, we need to figure out how to set up the projects and what we will give these kids to eat. First, the food.

I want a combination of healthy and fun snacks, but I don’t need anything too substantial, since the party is from 1-5. Kids are always hungry, but they will have presumably had lunch and will be having dinner after they leave, so we don’t need a meal. Here are some things I am thinking about having:

Image from Family Fun

Holiday Pretzel Treats
Holiday Cucumber cups
Either White Chocolate Holiday Mix or Christmas Snack Mix
Red and green grapes
Holly Jolly Dip with veggies
Pine-Tree Fruit Kabobs
Gumdrop Tree

This may be too much, and we may not do the last two things, but I think my kids would enjoy doing those as a pre-party activity, so I am leaving them on the list for now. I am thinking of making a punch with cranberry juice, pineapple juice and lemon-lime soda or ginger ale for the kids, and this pomegranate champagne punch for the adults, too. I am not certain that we really need the champagne punch, but it does sound festive. I figure if I make it with a bit less rum and a bit more juice, it won’t be too much for the afternoon.

Next up, deciding how to set up the supplies so that kids can work on projects. I have a table for eight in my dining room that will be the main location for all things crafty, but I think we will need more space, too. We have a couple of different options.

We will need to do some spray painting outside, and I would love to set some stuff up out there, but the forecasted high for that day is only 36 degrees, so that won’t work. I do have a small table in the family room that could be used for something. I can either set up one project in there, or bring it into the dining room and place it at the end of the big table to expand the space. I like the idea of keeping everyone together, but it does make the dining room crowded. I think there will only be about 8 kids, though, so I think we’ll try that. We can always move the table back if it is too hectic.

I’d like to set up the coasters, magnets and dragonfly crafts near each other, because they will draw from the same pool of supplies (felt, magnets, buttons, beads, etc.) I also want to add one small craft–pipe cleaner ornaments. I have some pipe cleaners and we will have beads, so it should be pretty easy to make some beaded wreaths or candy canes. The felt coasters can be on the other side of the table.

We will set up the tables early Saturday morning so we can check on flow through the room, so the moms can help as needed. I will also need to clear off my desk and the buffet to lay out the snacks for easy access without messes on the supplies.

I am starting to feel like this is something we can do fairly successfully! I still haven’t done any practice crafts, but we have a bit of time for that, still. I think we will need to run out for a few supplies as well, but we are definitely close to having what we need, and the plan feels good. Next up: the party report, hopefully with pictures of actual crafts.

I made a hat!


I used this pattern, and it didn’t turn out too badly. I wouldn’t say it turned out well, exactly, either. The bump in the back is actually my daughter’s bun, but the bump on top is from something I did. Also, I didn’t do the last few rows at the end to make the curled up brim, because I thought I might be able to give this to my son, and I thought the lack of a curled brim would make it less “girly,” which is important to nine year old boys.

Despite a few problems, I am pleased with this, mostly because it went quickly and I was able to crochet loosely, which is something I have been struggling with a bit. In my practice, I have had to rip out entire rows because I couldn’t work the hook into the row at all. This is nice and loose, and pretty regular. I think I can take the lessons I learned in this first attempt and make several hats by Christmas time for presents. Hooray!