Get a Jump on Your Handmade Christmas

Get a jump on your handmade Christmas

It’s barely November, but this week I’ve been planning out my Christmas gifts–especially the ones I want to make myself. I love to DIY, but it’s not fun if I wait till the last minute, because looming deadlines stress me out!

As a general rule, I don’t make gifts to save money.  (Although last year my father-in-law asked for pinecone firestarters, and the only ones we could find were $40. We made that gift, and we saved a ton of money doing it.)

I make gifts because I want to give something that’s unique and highly personal. The best gifts to make are the ones you just can’t find in a store.

And with that in mind, here’s what I’m making this season:

Owl Rice Heating Pads

 via Just Another Hangup

I’m making these for my kids. Aren’t they adorable? Last year we discovered rice sock bedwarmers, but seriously, all I did was dump rice in an old white tube sock. This year I’m making these darling owls and I think my kiddos will love the upgrade. (And yes, I’m totally making myself one too.)

Family Guess Who

via Madsens Memories

My mother-in-law loves board games.  She’s the one who introduced me to Sorry, and Mexican Train, and Guess Who?–as an adult.  She loves Guess Who? and she will go bananas over a customized version with our very own family photos in it.

Darling Aprons

Bridal Aprons from Sew Fearless

I’ve been planning on whipping up a few Christmas aprons ever since I started sewing again this summer. And just as I was beginning to gather my supplies and make my sewing plans, Jodi put up a post over at her blog Sew Fearless about the beautiful aprons she made.

She reminded me why I’ve been wanting to make beautiful aprons for gifts this year: I just can’t find an apron like this in the stores.  (Although there are some cute ones on Etsy!) And my mother-in-law has a thing for aprons.

Ruffly Tote Bag

Mommy by day…Crafter by night

My sister-in-law loves accessories, especially unique accessories that no one else has, and she is especially partial to orange and pink.  I am super-excited to make her a custom tote bag in her favorite colors using this awesome tutorial from Mommy by day…Crafter by night.

She’s recently started her own cosmetics business, so I thought she might like a bag…but if I have the time I’d love to accessorize the accessory. What else should I make? A wristlet? A lipstick holder? I need ideas!

That’s what I’m making this Christmas. What gifts are you making this year?


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  1. Jamie says:

    These are all great ideas! As a beauty consultant myself, I’d say that if you want to include accessories for your SIL’s bag a mini-wristlet for business cards or a cute, coordinated little notebook cover (the refillable kind you put mini-legal pads in) would top my list of must haves. (I know there are tutorials for the latter on Pinterest, incidentally.)

    Happy sewing!

  2. I’m officially inspired. Thanks! Think I’ll head to Michael’s this morning. (And, I really did laugh out loud while reading – haven’t told my MIL about my blog, either! In my defense, I’m not sure she’s even heard of these here internets. Hehehe)

  3. Rebecca says:

    Oh, how I love those owls! I might have to do Owl & Pussycat pairs for our family and then figure out a way to make the gift box/bag look like a pea-green boat, though 🙂
    My pet peeve with home sewn totebags is that I don’t have an easily accessible spot for my phone. I’ve seen supercute phone holders that hook around the handle of a tote bag, so I’d go for one of those if you have time to accessorize. I have a wristlet that holds just my phone, license, debit card and a little cash so I don’t have to take my whole tote into the store.
    I love, love, love homesewn gifts . . . have fun making them, and have a blessed Christmas!

  4. I’m not making anything! Not with a baby one the way soon (or with my lack of craftiness). I eventually want to learn to sew, but that requires a sewing machine first and we can’t afford one right now. But if I did sew, I would make those owls – so adorable. And I love rice socks – infinitely useful! I wish I was on your gift list, all those gifts are wonderful and so sweet!

  5. Kendra says:

    Oh, these ideas are so fantastic! I love them ALL, which is a problem, seeing as I don’t have time to make them all before Christmas. I’m sewing felt play food for my kids as a Christmas gift, and while it’s tons of fun, it’s a little time consuming. But once I’m done with hamburgers and carrots, I’m so coming back for each and every one of these ideas!

  6. Hannah says:

    Very cute…love the bed warmer idea. We keep our temp fairly low in the house since we heat with oil…grrr. My girls are always feeling the chill.

    My friend Cindy from had some great ideas that kids can make as gifts. I thought that was a great idea, too since they don’t necessarily have the cash to make gifts happen. Thanks for the ideas!

  7. Lucky says:

    I like the owls! I think I need to try and make those. DH’s aunt would love one.

    I’m making a few things for the kids, and then limiting myself to baked goods.

    I LOVE getting home made gifts.

  8. When we were in college, my now-husband and I constructed a Guess Who? game with pictures from all our friends at college. We actually spent a long time planning out how many people we needed to wear hats and glasses and trying to get an even gender split (unlike the original Guess Who? game, we ended up with far more females!), then taking pictures of everyone with the same plain background. It was fun to make and even more fun to play! We still have it in our games closet and break it out every so often 🙂

  9. I’ve been eyeing those owl rice heating pads on Pinterest – they are SO cute! I’ve also pinned a cute little idea that uses two hearts cut out of felt, filled with rice, and sewn up to use as hand warmers (they claim to stay warm for about an hour). Super cute! I might even do something really crafty and cut them out in the shape of a stocking or a Christmas tree or something equally as holiday-themed! 😉 I’m more into buying the perfect gift, but if I can easily make something, I will.

  10. sarah says:

    Love all your ideas! I wish I would actually take the time to learn to sew so I could put my sewing machine (and maybe a few of your ideas!) to good use! I got a sewing machine 2 years ago for Christmas and I have yet to actually use it!
    I’m still planning on attempting to make a few things myself…all found via Pinterest (LOVE it!).
    I’m going to decouppage some vintage map coasters using ceramic tile with felt as a backing, use wrapped Pringles tins as cookie containers for teachers (just bought some Pringles tonight…don’t normally indulge in them but I’ve got to empty them somehow, right?), and (my favorite idea) taking a clear Christmas ornament and filling it with curled strips from a wedding invitation for some newly-weds in our family.
    (All of the ideas are on my Pinterest board at

  11. HopefulLeigh says:

    Those owls are so cute! Every year I make a mix CD of my new favorite bands that I give to my friends. The CDs have become quite the rage and even though I don’t really have time this year, I’m going to have to make it happen. I’ve also been working on cloth books for my nieces-in-love. My aunt made me one when I was a baby and it’s a great keepsake. Each page is a different animal and activity, such as zipping the alligator’s mouth open and close. This is very time consuming but I know Anna and Katelyn will love their books!

  12. Natasha says:

    I love hearing about people’s ideas. This year I am doing a lot of photographs since I managed to save enough money to upgrade my camera. And I’m making an afghan for my husband. I started making a scarf as a gift for a friend and he got all excited, “You’re making me a blanket?” so, I did the only sane thing a woman can do… I smiled and said, “Of course! Do you like the color?”

  13. 'Becca says:

    I like the owls! I tend to use my rice bag draped around my neck (to relieve muscle tension), though, so an owl would not be the right shape…maybe a salamander or dachshund or long cat!

    My six-year-old son is very interested in a 30-year-old “crafts kids can make from thrown-away stuff” book. Among other things, it shows how to make a doorstop by covering a gravel-filled shoebox with scrap fabric. This Christmas we will be flying halfway across the country to my parents’ house; they use several doorstops in summer as they have an attic fan. So we are planning to decorate the box, pack it in a suitcase filled with clothes, and then after we arrive sneak over to the school playground for gravel! It’s just the sort of mysterious gift my parents will enjoy finding under the tree–“So heavy! How did you get it here?”–but we won’t have to transport the weight.

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