handmade gifts

September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to introduce Christina, author of the blog The Sometimes Crafter, where you can find beautiful images and well executed projects.

I am a Jack of all trades, stay-at-home mom, work-from-home woman, small-home-business owner who gets lots of flack for having the blog name The Sometimes Crafter, when in reality it seems to be always. Quilting, painting, block-printing, photography, pattern writing, longarm quilting – you name it, it’s fair game. My first published patterns appears in the newly released Lunch Bags! book by Stash Books. Find me on my blog The Sometimes Crafter, where I post about all of my crafting adventures.

Handmade Host/Hostess Gifts – Before The Rush!

We are just leaving the season of housewarming and summer parties, and entering the season of holiday parties. I am always at a loss as to what to gift to my hosts and hostesses. Partially because I am thinking of something 30 minutes before running out the door. Usually it ends up being a bottle of wine, probably unwrapped. Well, it’s time to think of some other ideas as well as prepare for the upcoming party season. Because my friends all know I craft, they love to see handmade items from me. I think it is a little disappointing to them if they don’t see something handmade. I remember a time when handmade was the last thing you wanted to give/receive – my how times have changed!

If you were lucky enough to make homemade jam or preserves this summer, why not give a jar of it away? Or maybe you attended a local famer’s market with homemade goodies…make it your own with a scrap of fabric! I just love the way these jars of caramel by Creature Comforts look with the right kind of fabric. You could always substitute more season appropriate fabrics and ribbons to match – something orange for fall with a quick raffia bow. Quick, simple and pretty to give and get! Just my kind of gifting. Creature Comforts also provides some free tags for printing and adding to your jars and a link for a simple caramel sauce to make in a pinch. Another great way to fill some jars in a jiffy is to mix up some Instant Spiced Tea (aka Russian Tea – recipe below) – a perfect fall and winter drink.

Create a Thank You box with all the goodies needed for the host/ess to thank their friends. We all know it’s polite to send out thank you’s, but it’s sometimes hard to get ourselves out to buy everything. Assemble thank you cards, stamps and pen in a small box or basket. Tie it with an outrageously big bow and you’re ready to give. (Makes a great housewarming gift, too!) How about taking it one step further? Have your own photos printed on notecards by a printer. Clear off a table and set out some holiday items to snap photos of or fill some coffee mugs with a steaming hot drink and place in front of a window to try and capture that rising steam. Settle some greenery around it for a very festive feel. An even faster alternative is to search on Etsy and support a handmade artisan. If you have a decent printer, find a local paper shop and look for either linen cover stock or something with a slightly glossy finish for a more professional look and print them yourself. Use a corner punch to give them a finished feel.

How about some monogrammed hand towels, as suggested on the Martha Stewart website? Head to a local discount store to pick up some inexpensive, simple hand towels and dress them up with the host/ess initial. Or stencil on a fun shape that matches their kitchen theme and personality.

Another quick host/ess gift idea: Etched glass jars full of holiday candy favorites. This will be a great addition to any party, or for the host/ess to put aside for their own enjoyment later. Grab some jars or glasses at a thrift store or local discount store and find liquid etching materials at your discount craft store and create simple striped or dot designs. Don’t worry about intrigate designs, simple is always better. Fill it with a favorite hard candy – like peppermints for a Christmas party or make your own homemade toffee!

And of course there are always the old stand-by’s: cookies, wine, fresh flowers… If you know you will have lots of host/ess gifts to give this season, set aside a Saturday this month to get everything done and have in the waiting. Then you need not rush around at the last minute trying to think of gift ideas.

Instant Spiced Tea (aka Russian Tea) (pictured at top)

  • 2 1/2 C. Tang (1 – 20oz package)
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 C. instant tea
  • 2 1/2 C. lemonade mix (1 – 20oz package)
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix all the ingredients and place in jar or airtight container. Use 2 rounded spoonfuls per 8oz of hot water for hot tea (or cold for ice tea). I find it easiest to mix everything in a freezer size ziplock bag. Do try a cup for yourself before placing in containers to make sure it is to your preference for taste. You may find you like more tea and sugar added to your mixture. Don’t skimp on the spices either!

Need this to be a bigger gift – make up a few handmade coasters and add a mug or two. Pour the mixture into plastic baggies, tie at the top with ribbon and cinnamon sticks, then slip inside the mugs! Perfect last minute gift for friends and family!

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There’s a truckload of festive craftiness going on over at Better Homes and Gardens. Link.

Project pictured, one ornament 5 ways link.

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