December 9, 2013 in MAKE
It’s happened. The christmas bug has reached feverish heights in this house. The tree was up and decoarted on the 1st December and I have been crafting my socks off; making decorations, collecting pine cones, baking mince pies and other christmas delights and doing a little inner squeal each time I turn the christmas tree lights on. I think I get more excited about Christmas every year, and it’s not because Frankie Rose is now here (although it’s lovely to start traditions with her) it’s because I love Christmas time a silly amount. I love the gluttony, spices and smells, the cheesy vintage music and films, the parties and the dinners, the cosying up indoors.
Moving and setting up house has set me back with my Christmas makery however and I am engaging in a lot of ” I won’t if you won’t” conversations with friends and family. It takes a lot of stress out of things! I also still feel as I did when I wrote this article on Christmas consumerism; that Christmas can be a wonderful time, but is in danger of becoming simply a festival of high street shopping. We are being bombarded with millions of marketing messages daily, blog land is packed with Christmas gift guides and wish lists and this year we are once again told that despite continued squeeze on household budgets, major cuts to public services and rising unemployment, we should shop (with glee!) to save the economy and make everything better this Christmas (full piece here). Of course Christmas involves gift giving of some sort, and I will be making a few gifts this year, and buying some from ethical shops (more in another post) but I’m generally attempting to push back against the heavy tide of “BUY STUFF, MORE STUFF!” that it’s battering against our collective Christmas conscious. So I thought I’d start with pulling together some thrifty, eco present ideas from previous posts in case you needed some inspiration! (I know I do!)
First up is one of my favourites, this ‘Thank You For Hosting Christmas’ bag was full of homemade goodies for our christmas hosts a couple of years ago. Containing hot chocolate, breadsticks, jams, chutneys, biscotti, chocolates etc which was all homemade and lovingly packed in recycled tins and jars I already had around the house. If you are making batches of cookies etc anyway then it’s not too much work to throw together. Also included was the kitchen garland at the top of the post with herbs used in Christmas cooking. We have an enormous rosemary bush in our garden this year which will make this gift super cheap to make.
Biscotti in brown paper, quickly sewn up on the sewing machine, is a great last minute gift to whip up and easy to double the recipe to make more if needs be. You could also used ready made paper bags, lots of craft shops sell these on ebay.
Leather iPhone cases were made by my mister last year thanks to this Instructables tutorial. They were made using the leather of a favourite pair of boots that had too many holes in the soles to be worn, but still had lovely leather on the long part of the boot (if that makes sense) so I salvaged it before I threw them away. They were also stamped with the recipients names too, using the letters from my type writer.
I made a couple of these button necklaces using this Martha tutorial. A good mum/aunties/sister present.
Friendship bracelets, for which I used this very useful tutorial and I am sorely tempted to make some more for myself!
I made up a method of making turban headbands but have since seen this much simpler version! (add a few stitches to keep it in place?)
These Fabric corsages were made at a craft class but there are tons of tutorials available online. These are really good mum/auntie type presents. Although using black, white and neon they’d be pretty sweet for friends too (or for me…hmmm… are you sensing a theme?! Must. Stop. making. Things. For. Me)
Everyone I’ve ever made these hazelnut chocolates for has fervidly badgered me for the recipe afterwards. True story. We make them every christmas and throughout the year too as they’re so easy and make lovely gifts, especially in a tarted up recycled jam jar. Recipe here. Quick tip on recycling jam jars: you can spray paint the lids to make them look a little prettier!
The British blackcurrant association sells bags of frozen organic blackberries all year round meaning you could order a bag and make some very easy jam, following Mrs Beeton’s recipe, in time for Christmas. It’s the easiest jam to make due to the high amount of pectin in it, so it’s honestly fool proof! You could order double and make Creme de Cassis too, using this recipe (My Hugh love increases daily…) like we did.
I think homemade bread is always a lovely gift, especially in a simple bread bag. A spiced walnut bread would be nice, as would a cumin bread or similar.
This homemade notebook is simple and lovely. It could be left blank or used as a photo album, baby book or recipe collection, and is made from recycled papers. Full tutorial here.
These are the first teacup candles I made and make gorgeous gifts. Ray and I are planning on making a big batch again this year and have been collecting interesting receptacles in charity shops for this purpose. I’m afraid I cant remember what recipe I used so shall be researching new ones!
I made it up as I went along with these pig aprons (the pig bit is an iron on transfer) but again, there are tons of apron tutorials online. These went to the lovely men in my life!
Vintage plates, some sanding, some careful measuring and some glue cement gives you a sweet homemade cake stand. Very easy. I used vintage sherry glasses from charity shops in the middle. And I doodled on them with a china pen for good measure. Keep it up to date by using some simpler plates or adding some neon paint splatters (my new favourite thing!) or triangle decals.
And as for gifts for kiddies, I am again going to flog my tutorials for Mollie Makes Mama on making a patchwork playmat and potato printed baby clothes! The latter is far quicker and easier than the former, although both are easy.
I made big batch of stuffed vegetables for my baby brothers 1st birthday and put them in a little wicker basket along with a mini watering can and garden tools. (again- I just made it all up so no tutorial, sorry, but is simple and I’m sure similar tutorials exists on the web somewhere) but I think these would make lovely Christmas gifts for kiddo’s. I am planning on making Frankie some nappies, a roll up sleeping mat and a sling for her ‘babies’ and thats it. She simply doesn’t need anything else and will be over the moon with all the wrapping and people to adore her!
It’s harder than ever to find time to make presents with my offspring haring around the house but I am going to give it a jolly good try. Are you planning on making anything this year? Please please share below, I am constantly on the hunt for relatively easy DIYs and homemade foodie gift ideas.