Tag Archives: gifts

Wouldn’t you like to see something strange

One last hurrah for fall: everyone go out and defy the encroaching Christmas season for one more day! Eat candy and apples, look out for monsters and magical creatures, coo over the cute kids with facepaint and ogle any awesome costumes or decorations that come your way.

It’s not yet Halloween but I’m drinking hot chocolate and watching it snow outside. As if Christmas trees in stores by the second week of October weren’t enough, now the weather is moving in early. The large fat flakes are lovely, but they feel wrong against still green oak trees and yellow sugar maples.

There’s something very Burton about it…

I’ve been making a lot of tree pendants recently. Mostly just playing around, still putting some of them up for donations to different international and ecological organizations.

The wire trees are fun to make, and I can stop and start with trees in a way I can’t with my other styles. It makes them comparatively relaxing. I was hoping to run a short class in making them for a local adult education program, maybe in the Spring.

If you’re feeling crafty and in the mood to start making holiday gifts, I’ve got a tutorial I made for the trees here. I also like this design because it’s easy to modify and personalize with favorite colors or birthstones.

A walk in the woods (not the Bryson book, though that is worth more than a look too!)

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Resources, Repurposing, and Recycling

There’s so much waste this season. Time, money, resources… I’m trying to get better about using a minimum of materials. I still offer to wrap things on my etsy shop for customers, but my family isn’t so lucky 😉

I try to reuse paper when it’s doable, and use gift bags that can be reused by the recipient the next year when size/shape of the gift allows. I’ve made some fabric gift bags that can be repurposed as well, but haven’t quite gotten fast enough at sewing them up to make a widespread attempt. What was kind of neat was a woman in line in front of me at the fabric store last year had agreed with her sister that they’d each make at least a few bags (very bright and decorative ones guessing from her fabric) each year and keep swapping them between the two families.

Being a total magpie (or perhaps packrat) I try to use every bit of everything I can, and *hate* throwing away anything pretty. Years ago a friend of mine showed me how to make folded paper stars in return for me showing her how to make cranes.

We had a lot of fun in the dining hall swapping back and forth, and those stars make great fidget projects. You see them occasionally see jars of them for fundraisers made with the traditional papers. (She used to sometimes send me glow in the dark paper; I have an origami dealer in NYC!)

Somewhere along the line I decided that the small bits of wrapping paper were too pretty to throw out. I started cutting the scraps into strips and making them into stars. I gave small jars of them as gifts, and then decided that they’d make nice hanging ornaments for my friends and family who use them.

So if you have paper you like, save the extra bits, or the scraps once they’ve been torn off their packages, and make stars out of them. They take a long time, but little attention once you get a feel for it, so they’re a wonderful watching television or chatting time type of project. Once you make enough you can put them in glass jars or bottles to catch the light, use them as swanky packing peanuts for small fragile gifts, or carefully put them into hollow glass ornaments. It’s repurposing with class. And a super early start on next year… So unwrap those packages carefully!

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DIY Gift Ideas

This always ends up being a pricy season.

I try to keep costs down a bit by making what gifts I can. (Of course that can backfire when supplies get expensive…) It’s also a nice way to tailor something to an individual.

I admit I cheat and give more jewelry for gifts than I probably ought to, but like chocolate, no one ever seems to complain about it too much 😉

If you want to make stocking stuffers I’ve got two simple tutorials for a pin and a basic pendant on deviantart that you’re welcome to download and play with.

Innerdiameter works magic with square wire...

I’ve been awful about never finishing a wire wrapping tutorial of my own. (It got waaay too long…) If you’d like to try your hand at a more complicated pendant as a gift I’d suggest this one.  She’s got a great hand with wire, and is always so nice about fielding questions.  Besides, look at these earrings aren’t they amazing? I’m rabidly jealous of them. And mirrored symmetry is so difficult to achieve.

Last year, besides the usual jewelry, I made scarves for my non knitting friends and family. I stumbled on a tutorial for a cargo scarf on instructables. I was iffy on some aspects of the design, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. So when I got a stash of flannel to play with I did some serious tweaking and went to town.

More room added to pockets, extra pen holder, reinforced band for larger keyring.

What I loved was the versatility of the idea. And sure, it’s good for the trendy sort like in the demo, but if you make it toastier it’s also good for the practical sort and for cold season. (I used mine to stash tissues and cough drops last winter.)

Also on the toasty side, I’ve been itching to try this fleece hat tutorial, but I own so many hats that it seems silly. I’m sure I’ll cave eventually and have to try it!

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