In the months leading up to Christmas my family and I decided to hand make all of our gifts for each other. We were inspired by the TV show 7th Heaven. I went one step further and decided that I would hand make all my Christmas gifts. I almost made it, except for the chocolates I bought for my children’s music tutors.
With my commitment to gift making I didn’t have the time to blog, even though I was itching to share my work. I also wanted to keep my gifts secret and blogging them, might have let the cat out of the bag.
For my sister-in-law, I made her wedding invitation image into an appliqued picture, which I framed. I visited my favourite store Unraveled Textiles and picked up a beautiful piece of charcoal coloured linen to use as a background and some wool felt for the appliqued elements. I love how this gift turned out. It has inspired me to play around some more with applique.
Another present I was particularly proud of was my son’s. I made a beautiful upcycled mirror out of an old stained glass window I had picked up on the side of the road during council cleanup. I hid the window in my mum’s garage and worked on it there. My son loves wood grain, so I wanted to sand it back to the original timber. As it had 7 layers of paint on it, stripping it all off was a real labour of love. The first layer took me an entire day. So I dug out our belt sander to help me cut through the paint. I was so happy when I revealed the timber. I had to chisel the surrounds of the stained glass out, as it was impossible to sand it out. I went to my local glass store and had them cut a mirror for me to install. I used a matt varnish to finish the window.
He loves the finish product. I do too. I love that I salvaged a piece of our local history, rather than letting it go to landfill. I see real beauty in upcycled work. If I hadn’t turned it into a mirror, I was considering how it would work as a corkboard.
I have started a Pinterest board for Upcycled Beauty. I encourage you to see the beauty in old and redundant items.
Children are easy to make for. There is less pressure when you create for them. I decided to make all of my young nieces and nephew’s Story Rocks. I used POSCA Pens and pebbles from my local hardware store. I washed the rocks and let them dry. Then I thought of images that would be useful in telling a story and drew simple images.
I varied the pictures and tailored them to the child the rocks were for.
When they were dry I sprayed them with a matt varnish to seal and protect them.
My hubby came up with the name Story Rocks and I made a bag for them and wrote “My Story Rocks” on it.
Sock dolls are a passion of mine. If you look at my Esty Store you can see that I love making them and helping other people to make them too. I designed and developed a reindeer to give to the children in my life. I made a dozen Rudolph’s for Christmas. They were very well received.
Sock dolls are wonderfully tactile. They are lovely to cuddle. One little girl I know carries her sock doll around with her constantly. It doesn’t even matter which way up she carries her. It is the feeling of her under her arm, that I think she likes.
For my neighbours I used a pattern for an appliqued cushion that I designed. I made one in reds and one in blues.
For my friends I needle felted some Owls and stuck them in a terrarium with an artificial plant.
Bespoke Gifts are meaningful for the giver as well as the receiver. In the words of my Sister in law, they are “the best presents ever”.