Craft time – homemade gifts

Today I want to talk about homemade gifts. With Christmas only 8 weeks away it’s that time of year to start thinking about everyone’s Christmas presents. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but for me gift giving is the best part about Christmas. There really is something magical about finding a present for someone, wrapping it up and watching them open it on Christmas afternoon. I get these bubbles of excitement just thinking about it. Something I have realised over the years is that great presents really don’t have to cost a fortune, in fact some of my favourite gifts to and from people have been homemade, so I wanted to share some of these with you today. Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not the craftiest of people – I have all these great ideas, but actually putting them together is another thing. So the majority of these ideas, aren’t over complicated.
So here are my top homemade presents:

1) Cake mix in a Mason Jar

This is something that my sister and I gave to our younger sister for her birthday last month. She’s in her first term at University so we thought this would be absolutely perfect for her. She can get a baking fix without having to buy all the ingredients, and she has a lovely jar to use at the end. Win win, in my opinion. Here’s what to do.
Fill a preserving jar with all the dry ingredients needed for a basic chocolate cake (or cupcakes) –  6 oz caster sugar, 6 oz SR flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, 2tbsp cocoa.
Then add the rest of the instructions either on a postcard, or a present tag. Here we used a free postcard that I had picked up years ago and tied it to the jar with some ribbon. We added the following to the back of the postcard ‘add dry mixture to 2 large eggs, 6 oz margarine and 2 tbsp hot water. Mix together. Pour into 2 cake tins or spoon into cupcake cases. Bake for 25-30 mins on 170C/335F/Gas Mark 3 (slightly less if making cupcakes. Decorate, eat and enjoy. 

2) Patchwork Quilt

This quilt photographed was made by my incredibly talented Mum. She sews. A lot. And this is a creation of hers – a handmade patchwork quilt, that once unfolded spreads perfectly across a double bed. Now this is something that I will always treasure, partly because I know that I will never have the skills or patience to make anything like this but also because it was lovingly handmade with me in mind. The way I see it every piece of material was cut and stitched just for me and that’s just a lovely thought to have.

3) Quote Book
My twin sister gave me a quote book one year for my birthday and I have adored it everyday since. You see I have quite an obsession with quotes, and, before this gift, I was always writing my favourite words and lyrics down on scraps of paper and loosing them. Well Fi realised this and bought me a gorgeous spotty notebook from Paperchase one year. In it she added some quotes for me and from there the book has continued to grow. Now the book is literally stuffed full of scribblings, old cards and sayings. It’s something that I go back to time and time again, to find the perfect quote for any occasion, birthday, wedding or funeral I know I can always find the words that I need.
This gift show that something homemade doesn’t have to actually be crafted. Yes, she bought the book, but Fi realised that the idea of the book and what she wrote inside it was much more important than what she actually spent money on.

4) Personalised Photo Calendar
My sister’s and I made one of these for my Mum last Christmas and she absolutely loved it. In fact she cried when she opened it. We used photobox to customise an A3 wall calendar for her. We added pictures to every month of all our family members. If it was someone’s birthday then the month was for them. Or if it was a special event – like my parent’s wedding anniversary in August – then the pictures for that month were of the two of them. I have to admit there’s something wonderful about personalising a calendar in this way, and after seeing how much she loved it I’m very tempted to do it again this year. The great thing about using one of these online sites is that it’s just so easy. All you need to do is upload your pictures and drag and drop them to create your masterpiece.

5) Knitted pig
Here’s another gift that I made for my younger sister, I found this pattern for a knitted pig online and knew that Becca would love it. So as I had left over wool I decided that I would make it for her. It only took me a few evenings and it really helped me understand how to knit in the round. The pattern was from here, the brilliant Spud and Chloe blog. Ironically I was knitting this for her when she contracted Swine Flu, so it turned out to be a perfectly apt gift. Even if you haven’t knitted before i’d urge you to give it a try, it really is quite an easy craft to pick up, and there are so many great beginners books along with some brilliant instructive videos online. Once you’ve got the basics try out a pattern and see how you go. Scarves and toys are the easiest things to may (in my honest opinion) so just give it a go.

So anyone inspired to get a bit crafty this Christmas. Let me know what you think.

Lau xxx

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