What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Handmade Christmas, again (are you sick of it yet?)

A Homemade Christmas at SimplyVintagegirl.com

A few more handmade gifts to share. This will complete all the extended family gifts. Believe it or not~none of these include any gifts for my own children or husband. I hate to say it, but I will have ONE more handmade Christmas post coming sometime in the (near) future.

I am overlooking the fact that it will be mightily late (as is this one) but perhaps even the post-Christmas gifts might inspire in the future one of the visitors here. And if not~ at least I will be able to look back on this Christmas and see how much I accomplished.


For two of the most adorable nieces (who are not very far apart in age and due to differing body types-about the same size): Matching Shirred sundresses. I have been hoarding this material for my own children...but you know what they say: Tis better to give than to receive. (Or Hoard.)

And for a little sister who loves *LITTLE* things: A Wee Doll family to match her own (family that is...)

This was, believe it or not, the most TIME CONSUMING gift of all of them probably. And incredibly intelligent me decided to wait until a day or two before the gift exchange to get serious about completing them. So the outfits are entirely too plain for my liking-but it was miraculous enough just to complete them on time. I was sweating it. Profusely.


Some super cool record bowls for my super cool brother and sister in law. Loved them. Inspiration: HERE.


For a little chef, No-Sew Play Food was just the ticket. This was probably the most addicting gift I made. I could have made a TON more deliciousness to give had I had more time. As I would create one thing, I would get an idea for another. The children loved it all so much I promised we would work together to make some for our kitchen sometime this winter.
For Breakfast:

Eggs (Dippy, if you ask me)

For Lunch:

A serious sandwich (Bread, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and bacon)
A gingerbread man cookie
For Dinner:

Ravioli with mozzerella topped sauce

All were made with cotton balls, felt, fabric paint and hotglue. The carrot included some scrap green fringe.

I made a foam grocery bag to store it all in.


I made a BEAUTIFUL ruffled scarf (which I forgot to take a picture of! *sniff*) out of this yarn (light rose) using THIS free pattern.

I am so sad I forgot a picture. It was really beautiful. And amazingly soft and shimmery and oh-so-feminine.

I love Bernat's Bamboo yarn.


A Blue-birdy Bath Mat with coordinated towels for my mom. Used a towel for the mat and mitered corners with some of Oma's blue fabric. Appliqued bird, embroidered branches and button berries. LOVED it.

Want to make a birdy pillow for myself in this exact same style. Different colors, maybe.

Had the coordinated towels set aside for some animal hoodie-towels. A year later, animal hoodies still hadn't appeared. Convenient!


A Manicure set for my beautiful niece is cosmetology.

The tutorial/pattern was graciously shared here.


And wouldn't you know?!? Matt got into the gift-making too!!!

He crafted some soft maple frames to house some posters he had bought for his dad and brother. They were big hits (and very well made, if I might add.) The frames had shiplap corners. (whatever that means) :-)

And He also made a leather bible bag for my dad.

Beautifully stitched and the leather so perfectly suits my Dad. I had taken some incognito bible-measurements during a visit to Mom's.


In the final analysis:

I challenged myself to a completely Handmade Christmas because:

  • I had a craft room full of supplies that I was tired of not doing anything with
  • I wanted to rekindle an appreciation for homemade gifts in a time of plastic toys, XBOX and giftcards. (None of which, btw, can be homemade. Ever.)
  • I wanted to challenge myself to think deeply about the person to receive the gift (and see if I could discover something that they really loved.)
  • I wanted to reject the notion that holidays have to be expensive.
  • I wanted to return to a time when thoughtfulness was gift enough and when time and effort counted for something.
  • I wanted to encourage myself and others to slow down and find meaning in those things that REALLY matter, the gifts that God have already given. Like creativity and devotion and love.
  • I wanted to see if I *could*
I think I succeeded in every one of those things and discovered a few more blessings along the way.

I discovered how exciting it is to see the reaction of the person who received a homemade gift from you.

I discovered how worthwhile it is to spend your own moments thinking about the receiver. What they like, what blesses them, considering their lives and praying for them. Making something for someone draws those moments into your heart much more than a shopping trip and quick wrap-job.

I realized how much can be accomplished if you set a goal for yourself.

I realized that a home swirling with creativity fosters the very same in the little people of the house and that devoting time to others as adults results in little people looking beyond themselves and thrilling at the thought of doing good for others.

And finally-I realized there is NOTHING LIKE the pride of handing over a gift that has love moments wrapped in paper and saying (without really saying) "I did this for you because I care."

Honestly, I wonder if/how I will ever be able to go back to non-homemade Christmases.

I do have some regrets though.

1. December was harried, not by shopping but by making. So much so that many projects that I had hoped to do in anticipation of Christmas (with the children) had to be set aside. That was sad for me, because I do very much love those silly holiday craftings and traditions leading up to Christmas. And so do the children.

2. After doing more than 20 gifts, I did begin to lose steam. Especially when I saw laundry piling up and cool projects I wanted to make for myself (greedy!).

3. A week before Christmas the timing in my sewing machine went bazerk. (I am beginning to think my sewing machine has a vendetta against me). A week BEFORE Christmas. (May I remind you I JUST got it back from getting CLEANED?! Molly Monkey was the only project I got out of the thing before it had a little hissyfit. argh) A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS! And I had several sewing projects in line. I ended up borrowing my Mom's. (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MOM!) but my goodness was I stressed for a while there!

ALL of these things could have been resolved with just one little thing: starting EARLIER. Had I been working through the year (or even for a few months prior to Christmas) I would have had plenty of time to do it ALL, casually, with time to spare for fun little advent projects and homemade Christmas decorations.

Even despite those minor inconveniences, I had a blast and this personal challenge was not only reqarding but made this Christmas tremendously meaningful to me.

And I proud of myself for sticking to it. :-)


Peggy said...

I am so very proud of you!! You have no idea what an inspiration this has been to me. In the past I primiarily did homemade Christmas' for family but after the move it was just no longer cost effective. As much as I loathe gift cards it seems it was everyone had been asking for, to include my own children. ugh.... In fact you have been so much of an inspiration that I have already started on next years gifts, some to be given as birthday presents along the way! I am so excited!!!

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

All of your gifts are delightful. I'm sure they were very much appreciated. :) I need to make one of those manicure sets for my daughter. ;)

Bonnie said...

OH. MY Goodness.
Awesome. Seriously, I am in utter amazement of all your fantastic gifts. The wee-people are so cute, and yes, how crazy is it that they take forever and a day?
(Speaking of which, I need to get started on the Ingalls family for a certain Little House obsessed little girls birthday).
I LOVE the bath mat, I think pillows AND a framed bit of wall art are in store for the family room.
Don't even get me started on felt food, I love it so. I have lots of felt, and methinks it will be a good winter project (along with doll house making, learning to crochet, making a quilt, cleaning the basement- how long is winter again?)
And you shirred. I so long to know how to do that.
I to am proud of you, and am already inspired to start on NEXT years gifts. Bravo to you my dear!

Unknown said...

You did SOOOOOOOO great, Rebecca! I just LOVE IT ALL! Kudos to Matt also...I love that leather Bible case! I still have 4 unfinished Christmas gifts myself and I did NOT do all handmade...I totally understand the START earlier part...sheesh, I am SUCH A PROCRASTINATOR! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see the other Christmas handmade post in the near future...

Anonymous said...



Tracy said...

I am so impressed by the many beautiful and thoughtful things you made, Rebecca. Am I inspired? Absolutely!

Nanci said...

You know me better. . .I NEVER get tired of seeing HANDMADE CREATIONS!!! You and Matt did a marvelous job!!!

Like you, every year I tell myself, "If I just did a little all year, I could have wonderful gifts for everyone and NO STRESS!" Sadly, I have yet to learn my lesson. SIGHHHHH!

Look forward to all the HANDMADE Show and Tells that you can produce. ;)

Anonymous said...

I love you homemade Christmas. I do the same but I have learned to start in January with the goal of all the gifts being made by Thanksgiving. I did learn the hard way...but it was a lesson well learned!

Crystal in Pahrump

Mrs. Bowen said...

Thanks for sharing- it is inspiring! About the felt food- did you use patterns or create your own? Was that embroidery on the lettuce and onion? I'm hoping to make some felt food for my own kiddos.

Mrs. Bowen

Rebecca said...

Thanks everyone, for your pats on the back! I loved reading all your encouraging comments!

Bonnie~ confession time. I got the fabric (already shirred) for $1.00 a yard at JoAnn's when red tag clearance was 60% off. I tried shirring on my machine once.

I failed.

(But I WILL conquer. I WILL!)

Mrs. Bowen~ the felt food was all just made up as I went along. If I had had an abundance of time (read: I might still do later for my own children) I would have made pancakes with butter pats, doughnuts, muffins, spaghetti (using pipe cleaners), strawberries, and watermelon too. The lettuce, onion and tomato were simply fabric paint. (could they be ANY simpler?!) :-)

Kim said...

You created wonderful gifts Rebecca! I never tire of seeing hand crafted posts.:-)
I managed to finish all my handmade gifts, except the ones for my kids and hubby. :-( They will get them as surprises this month.
I WILL be starting in Jan on gifts for next Christmas.