Homemade Holiday Gifts

Homemade Holiday Gifts
Homemade gifts and decorations sewn with care, making once again delicious treasured family recipes, and the gathering of family and friends inspires our most lasting memories. Twinkling lights, welcoming door wreaths, stocking hung over the mantel or placed carefully on window ledges are all some of the wonderful sights of the season of joy, peace, and hope.

Decorations of holly and ivy, festive ribbons and tiny lights surround the time of winter solstice, the beginning of winter for the northern hemisphere, when the sun is lowest in the sky and the shortest amount of hours of daylight occurs.

Of course, an eye-catching array of festive tree decorations whether made of jewel-encrusted blown glass or lovingly hand or machine sewn bits of fabric, lace, and buttons, with hanging golden tassels, crinkly taffeta bows or velvet ribbons give an opulent radiance to even the tiniest and humble of holiday trees. Times past have revealed holiday pine trees adorned with strings of popped corn and cranberries, circles of colored paper garland, candy canes and red velvet wrapped sticks of cinnamon. Tree trims luxuriously elegant and sparkling or wistfully simple and rustic all bring smiles to yuletide guests.

Handmade holiday decorations borrowed from times past offer an old-fashioned appeal. Colonial crafting traditions involved making use of thrifty fabric scraps, old clothing, and even worn-out blankets to make holiday toys, appliqued ornaments, quilt blocks and decorative garlands. Old world crafters were adept at making something beautiful from even the simplest of materials.

Knowing the happiness that a homemade gift can bring is just as joyful in the receiving and often the most memorable. Holiday times are the busiest of times, however from the sewing basket can come an array of quick, last-minute gifts.

Consider: Sew a simple chef's apron, create easy stenciled napkins or sew a popular quilted bowl cozy - nice to protect hands from a hot microwaved bowl. Quilted or insulated casserole carriers for potluck get togethers are welcomed great gifts. Easiest to make of all is to fold a purchased potholder in half, top stitch along the edges leaving an opening with the loop open. Insert a bright colored spatula or wooden spoon along with a favorite seasonal recipe to complete the gift idea for a friend or neighbor who likes to bake.

Envelope-style throw pillow covers in a seasonal print for the living room, and charming lace-edged pillow shams or bolster pillows for the bedroom are a few home d├ęcor ideas that sew up in a jiffy. Many tutorials for envelope style pillow covers can be found online.

Handmade felted wool gloves are surprisingly easy to make. Machine launder and dry a thrifted wool sweater to form a dense felted material. Draw a glove template by placing your hand - fingers together and thumb spread out, onto printer paper or whatever paper is handy and cut out for an easy template. Place template onto the felted wool and cut out four glove shapes adding 3/8 of an inch for seam allowance. If the felted fabric has ribbing from the sweater bottom use this for the wrist area as the tighter ribbing will produce a finished look. Place two wrong-sides together and sew near to edges using a straight or zig zag stitch. Trim close to stitching, turn right sides out. Embellish as desired.

May this holiday season, as challenging as it usually is, be filled with an abundance of supportive family and friends, simple joys and hope for the future.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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