Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fave Five: Quick Handmade Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching, but there is still time for last-minute handmade gifts.  As I mentioned in my quick crocheted gifts post, I love giving gifts, and I love that handmade gifts let me show that I care while stretching my gifting dollars.

Here are five more ideas for quick, easy handmade gifts. These are perfect for friends, coworkers, or as stocking stuffers.
  • Instant Russian Tea: I like giving consumable gifts.  If the recipient enjoys them, you can gift the same thing again and again, and they don't have to give the gift a permanent space in their lives.  That can be key for many of us who have too much stuff already.  Russian Tea is a hot beverage that I was introduced to by Stephen and his family.  It is a mysterious concoction of orange, pineapple, and grapefruit juices, tea, and cloves.  An instant version of the brew is perfect for gifting.

    Instant Russian Tea Mix:
    1 1/3 c. Orange Flavored Tang
    1/3 c. instant tea with lemon
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves

    Mix all ingredients.  Store in a tightly sealed container.  To gift, portion the mix into mason jars.  To prepare, mix about 2 tablespoons of powder (or to taste) with 8 oz hot water.

    If Russian Tea isn't your thing, try instant chai tea mix.  Either mix could be tweaked to reduce the sugar content for friends and family with dietary restrictions.
  • Wood, glass, metal, and acrylic beads
    combine for a one-of-a-kind bracelet
    Memory Wire Bracelets:
    Memory wire bracelets make great gifts.  They fit virtually any wrist.  They do not have clasps, so they are perfect for people who might not be able to fasten a bracelet (such as seniors).  They can be made in any color or pattern to suit any taste.  I like making memory wire bracelets with mismatched beads.  I sort them by color then, when I have enough, I thread them onto a spool of memory wire.
    Memory wire bracelets are also nice because they don't require a lot of equipment to make.  If you have a pair of multi-use jewelry pliers, some beads, and a spool of memory wire you're set.
  • Fishing Lure Earrings: I've had many compliments from friends and strangers on the fishing lure earrings I made during my Crafty New Year month in January.  They are perfect for outdoors-women or friends with a funky aesthetic.
  •  Acorn Earrings: Acorn earrings are another Crafty New Year project that would make an excellent Christmas present.  Nature lovers on your list will appreciate the earthy feel.
  • Embroidered Gifts: You can combine the ease of a store-bought gift with the sentiment of a hand crafted one by embellishing purchased items with embroidery.  I have embroidered canvas totes, towels, clothing, and more for myself and friends.  I particularly enjoy personalized gifts, so I often embroider the recipient's name.  I start by drawing my design in pencil on the item to be embroidered.  The pencil should come out once the item is washed.  Once I have a pattern I like, I stitch over the design.  This is another crafted gift that you can customize to the recipient.  Your design can be anything from subversive to traditional.  Embroidery is easy, low-stress, and requires a minimum of investment in supplies and equipment.  If you're new to embroidery, Sublime Stitching has excellent tutorials for a variety of techniques.
Embroidered kitchen towels are a store-bought
gift with a personal touch.
Tomorrow I'll share a few of my favorite inexpensive, store-bought gift ideas for the craft-impaired.

Happy crafting!

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