In my family I have 4 younger brothers - Sam, Kent, Denver, & Mason - who are all married. For a while now we have done a sibling Christmas gift exchange in which we each give a gift to one other person and the list rotates each year.
Early in 2013 my mom made the suggestion that maybe we should try exchanging handmade gifts this year. I thought it was a good idea. And by the time Christmas came and the gifts were exchanged and opened I had moved my opinion from good to great!
Here are 3 reasons why:
1) Obviously the gifts are more meaningful. I'm probably going to love and enjoy my handmade gift more and longer because I know someone put effort & thought into it.
2) I actually spent less $$ putting together my handmade gifts than I would have if I just went to the store and bought something. Crazy! I know that's not always the case with handmade vs. store bought, but it worked for me.
3) As Scott likes to say, "Let's stop the crap exchange." Granted, there is still plenty of crap (stuff) I want, and sometimes random crap can be really fun . . . . but for the most part we have all the crap we need. So, the plan to stop spending our money on stuff we're not even sure other people want/need sounds like a pretty good one.
I had Kent's name this year and here is what I put together for his family:
The big pillow is for Kent's theater room. If you don't recognize that movie quote then I kinda feel sorry for you. I made the pillow from cotton canvas and the words were printed out with help from my Silhouette Cameo onto heat transfer material.
The memory game was for Nicholas (4) and Ellie (2) and includes pictures of all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on the Andersen side of the family. It was a pretty fun project to put together. Here's a few easy steps:
- Sand and paint 3" wood discs (I got mine from Michael's - 40% off coupons are your friend). I also did a light sanding after painting.
- Print your photos (with or without text) and cut into 2.5" circles. Remember, you will need two copies of each photo.
- Adhere each photo to a wood disc using a light layer of mod podge.
- Once dry, brush a thin layer of mod podge over the entire disc. Let dry, repeat.
And be sure you give the discs plenty of time to dry before stacking or bagging them up. You don't want them to stick together.
I made the canvas bag with some leftover fabric from the pillow project and used my scrapbooking stamps and ink to add the title & year.
Finally, this cute silhouette canvas was for Becca. I plan to share a step-by-step tutorial for this project in the next week.
The kids and I made a set of personalized flour towels for each Grammer. See idea HERE.
Denver and Bree gave me two jars of flavored salts which I LOVE! One is Rosemary-Cumin and the other is Lemon-Chili. I used the Rosemary salt on our Christmas Day pork tenderloin. Mmm!
My parents also got into the handmade spirit and gave us a few things. This shadowbox contains my mom's wedding veil. What a keepsake!
And the fabric envelope above is meant for using in the temple. It was made from my mom's wedding dress. At first I was a bit surprised when I opened the gift and read the note - she cut up her wedding dress??! But after talking to her it all made sense. You can read the story HERE.
For Scott and I she also put together this bag with picnic supplies and a denim quilt made from my dad's old work jeans. She made a jeans blanket for all 5 of her kids! That is a lot of sewing! I love these denim blankets -- we had a bunch growing up and I've even made one of my own. They are so great for picnicing, camping, tailgating, city parades, on the beach -- just so sturdy and they hold up to everything.
Oh and one more handmade item . . . my dad is offering "free labor" for one home improvement project. I better start planning!
While the majority of our Christmas was not handmade (we are very good friends with Amazon.com), it was nice to infuse just a little handmade touch into the gift-giving season. It adds a little extra magic. Who knew I would be so excited about salt?!