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In the busy and chaotic run-up to the holidays, I have been known to ‘misplace’ my Christmas spirit somewhere between the mad dash from store to store and the long, tedious lines for the cashier. Fortunately, I have realized that with a bit of planning ahead and creative thinking, I can cut down on my store visits and retain a sense of a heartfelt Christmas.
I like to support my local, independent stores so if I see something I know would make a great gift for someone I love, I snap it up. But because I can’t resist this seasonal opportunity to get creative in my sewing room, I like to think of ways I can combine these store-bought items with my own handmade offerings.
An obvious example might be sewing a personalized cover for the latest electronic gizmo, but there are plenty of other ways to bring a little handmade spirit to your Christmas morning.
For example, if there is a man in your life who will be getting some smart new shirts this Christmas, consider making a couple of fun ties to be worn with them.
Female friends of mine would probably be delighted with a gift certificate for a pedicure, but presenting it with a pair of handmade, crochet slippers completes the gift in such a nice way. The slippers I made are the Oma House Slippers pattern sold by Mamachee at http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mamachee
Alternatively, presenting someone with a new piece of jewelery in a sweet handmade purse can be a nice touch. I made this small coin purse from my own pattern and the frames are widely available for purchase online.
Click here to see Coin Purse project
Friends and family who enjoy spending time in the kitchen might be happy with a new casserole dish or oven ware (particularly if you bake them something in it before giving it to them!) I made a pretty set of linen dish towels and napkins to go with the casserole dish. After cutting the linen to size, I embellished the fabric by punching shapes into freezer paper using a Fiskars seasonal punch. I ironed the freezer paper to my fabric, creating a stencil, and used fabric paints over the shapes. Once dry, I peeled back the freezer paper and completed stitching the seams of the fabric. Depending on the kind of fabric paints you use, you may have to heat set your design.
Click here to see Dish Towels and Napkins project
Children can often be the easiest people to make things for (at least in my experience) and there is a huge range of patterns, books and tutorials available for all kinds of clothing, accessories and toys. Many of the children I know are avid readers, so I know they would be very happy with a huge pile of good books and a new pair of cosy handmade pajamas. The pajamas I made are from a patten in the book Sewing for Boys by Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage.
Click here to see Christmas Pajamas project
Another idea for the younger child might be to purchase a new baby doll and to kit her out with a fine set of handmade clothes or miniature cloth diapers. If your little girl has enough dolls in her life, how about buying a wooden doll crib and making a pretty doll-sized quilt or new bedding set.
Click here to see Doll’s Quilt project
These have been just a few of my ideas for combining store-bought and handmade gifts. I am sure that once you get thinking, you will come up with no end of ideas for creating unique and heartfelt gift combinations for your loved ones. And as long as you get started early, I think you will have more time to relax, sit back and enjoy the season.