Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Buy Hand for the Holidays ideas and links

If you signed up for the Buy Hand for the Holidays Challenge and now are panicking over what the heck you are going to do, I thought I'd throw out a couple of ideas to get you started.

Want to get ideas of what to make? Craftzine should be your first stop. If you can't find anything inspiring there, saunter on over to Craftster for some awesome ideas, including craftastrophes, which would make some great joke gifts.

Keep in mind that, just because something is handmade, doesn't mean that it was "built green". In other words, you can buy some seriously environmentally unfriendly handmade items out there, that isn't much better than mass-manufactured plastic junk. So, keep this in mind when looking around. Choose natural fibers, fabrics and materials and, when you can, choose organic. Keep the packaging and shipping to a minimum as well, if possible.

The first place for checking out handmade stuff online should be the Buy Handmade site where people post links to their handmade wares. It's a little hard to navigate through the 45,000 or so posted links, so your better bet for searching for something specific is to go to Poppy Talk Handmade and Etsy.

There are a veritable shitload of craft how-to's out there, and I found a ton I like over on Purlbee, among other sites. I've listed a few I thought might be of interest here, some more difficult than others. If you have a middling talent at sewing, knitting and/or crotcheting, most of these shouldn't be too daunting. Although, I must admit, that some are far beyond my talents.

Crafts to get you thinking:
  • Woven Felt Placemats
  • Fabric Gift Tags
  • Crotcheted Linen Grocery Tote
  • Quick Dishtowels
  • Handmade Napkins
  • Handmade Ties!
  • Plaid Pillows (from men's shirts)
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Easy Lace Scarf (knit)
  • Springtime Scarf (crotchet)
  • Needlepoint Pillow
  • Cashmere Fingerless Gloves
  • Wool Blanket

    For the kids:
  • Tooth Fairy Bag (I need to get making a couple of these cuties!)
  • Skirts for Girls
  • Felted Christmas Trees
  • Lunchbag
  • Felt Aquarium Magnets
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Felt Doll (these are amazing!)
  • Elf Skittles
  • Bobble Dress (Crotchet)

    For those pet lovers:
  • Homemade Dog Biscuits
  • Cat Scarf
  • Pet Leash

    Quick projects (for those who wait until the last minute):
  • 11th Hour Scarf
  • Cozy Quick Blankie
  • Embroidered Plushies

    Soaps and Scrubs:
  • Homemade Lavendar Dishsoap
  • Moisturizing Kitchen Hand Scrub

    You'll want to wait until we get closer to the holidays before making the following food items (if that wasn't already patently obvious), except for the jar recipe. I'm including these here for planning.

    Foods 'n Stuffs:
  • Homemade Almond Roca
  • Pumpkin Biscotti
  • White Chocolate Brownie Mix in a Jar (I plan on livening this up a bit by adding 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the mix and calling it Mexican Chocolate Brownies)
  • Homemade Fortune Cookies
  • Aztec Chocolate Bark
  • Chocolate Truffles
  • Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime
  • Homemade Beef Jerky

    Odds and Ends:
  • A hand made recipe book compiling old family and favorite recipes. If you start now, you could also include some pictures here and there. If you're worried about printing it out you can make it entirely electronic either as a PDF file or even creating a family recipe website.
  • Make a family calendar, including pictures of family and friends for the months and including birthdays, anniversaries and the like
  • Make handmade soap or wax candles
  • Make homemade liquors

    That's the list for now. I'll be compiling a list of links to reader's stores, so if you sell your handmade stuff, send me the link.

    Happy planning!

    Robj98168 said...

    Afew I might add-, Ready Made, Arts and Crafts finder and Family Crafts, or make your dog a sweater from a sock

    Billie said...

    I have been begging my Mom for a family recipe book. So far... no book but I keep asking her.

    I have flat out told her that I don't have any great desire for 'money' in the sense that she needs to spend money on me. I would be happy with a recipe book or knit socks or whatever.

    Jenette said...

    I asked my mom for jam for Christmas :) and I am trying to make some pillowcases, capes, napkins.

    Anonymous said...

    You know, I probably really should plan this if I want to succeed. Thanks for the reminder. Now I am off to go write a list while I still have time to complete it. :)

    Green Bean said...

    Is this the most addictive list ever?? Love all these ideas - and links to great blogs

    Marino said...

    i tried to do this last year. but keen to give it a go again this year.
    would be interested in any tips on gifts for fussy nephews and brothers who don't like home/handmade...
    I was thinking like maybe a mixed CD for my brother but any other ideas??

    Veronica said...

    I thought I would add and Idea that I came up with last night. I was originally going to buy something similar to this but realized last night that I can make it! Yayy!

    My youngest son loves to build. He will take pillows, random stuff, etc. and make forts, cars whatever.

    Anyway - I'm making him a kit for building forts. It will have 2 sheets (I'll get scrap material to make these), some rope, some clips and anything else I can think up that will help him build.

    Unknown said...

    Crunchy- re handmade stores, I see naturally dyed yarn and fiber and t use only non toxic mordants and high quality [and mostly organic] natural dyes- which are also from a local Seattle company. @

    There are also free knitting patterns on my site.

    (midnightsky (at) midnightskyfibers (dot) com)

    I always like for patterns- they have some crochet stuff too.

    Lisa said...

    My Christmas isn't all homemade but I do make stuff each year and I'm trying to make more this year. We also buy a lot from

    Thanks for the ideas!!

    Lise said...

    What a great list! I'll have fun checking out these lists.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I feel like a celebrity's been there; yours was one of the first blogs I read. :-)

    Unknown said...

    Don't forget easy knit hats in chunky yarn! It can take as little as 50 yards of yarn in knitting to make a simple hat.