Hands up who loves giving a handmade gift you’ve made yourself. OK, lost some of you there. Don’t go anywhere. I may be about to change your mind.
Right, those with their hands still up, keep them up if you’d like to make a present but think you either lack the skill or time, or both.
Some hands down there. That’s OK, you’ve probably got December sorted. Still. I have a few more ideas that you might like. Don’t go anywhere.
It’s OK, the rest of you. Hands down now. You’ll need the blood supply to your hands for this next part. I’m going to show you a few imperfect crafts that produce the perfect gift. Presents that can be coupled with shop bought gifts to give that more personal touch.
Can you knit?
These are felted slippers. They could be embellished with felt flowers, ribbons or pompoms. Gifted with a bottle of foot lotion or anything relaxing. They are easy to knit. Then you throw them in the washing machine and they shrink. They start off big and shrink down to the right size, like magic.
This is the clever part. When they shrink they disguise most imperfections or mistakes you might have made. Even a dropped stitch or a purl instead of a knit. They are truly forgiving. They can even be reshaped, while they’re still damp. Handy if you made one slipper a size too small. So forgiving.
Quick to knit too. If I remember rightly, this pair took me two evenings to knit.
Can you sew?
Next suggestion is a fabric bookmark. Maybe slipped into a book you are giving. These can be hand sewn or whipped up at the speed of light (OK, only kidding, but it doesn’t take long) on a sewing machine.
No need to be perfect like most patchwork projects. In fact, the less perfect they are, the better. You can use scraps of fabric that are special to the recipient. A favourite colour. A favourite theme. A truly unique, and useful, gift to give.
Can you craft?
These are felted soaps. I love them. It is a flannel and soap all in one. Wrap the bar of soap in roving (wool) and shrink it in warm water. You’ll need some determination and elbow grease to encourage it to shrink, but that is as skilled as it gets. I made these ones with the children. The designs are organic and abstract, so plenty of room to be imperfect again.
It could be gifted with bathroom goodies. Maybe a bottle of bubble bath or a soap dish. Use colours to match their bathroom or to complement it.
After the recipient has used up the soap, they can add more soap. Alternatively, they could recycle the wool in their compost heap or use it in the garden as a slug barrier around a plant.
(I’ll be posting up a more thorough step by step guide to felting soap soon, as the one above I wrote in the early days of my blogging!)
Can you measure?
No cooking involved in this craft. There are so many ideas out there for jar gifting. We’ve given jars filled with cookie mix, granola or hot chocolate. Everyone always loves this kind of gift. It looks good and it’s also a useful gift. I know I thank the giver when I reach into the cupboard a month or two later and pull out a jar to make cookies. Most of the ingredients are there and no measuring required. Speeds up cookie baking no end.
With this one, you do need to measure carefully, but after that you can be as creative as you want. Decorate the jar with pretty fabric and a handwritten label (with instructions). Maybe a sparkly flower or bow.
I think the hot chocolate version was the most well received. We added special chocolates to it.
Also, if you can measure and make a sand castle (not at the same time, of course) you can make bath bombs. Really easy to join the children in with this one and incredibly easy to make a professional looking bath bomb. Package it up and you may need to add a note to say you made it, as they may not guess.
So, your turn
Some of these crafts will need a few supplies bought in. Others you may have everything you need on hand. Crafting a handmade gift does not have to be perfect. Choose the right project and any lack of ability tends to be disguised in the end. Couple it with another gift, or give it on its own. Either way you will be giving a unique gift.
How about you? Are you making handmade gifts this year? Does the idea of making imperfect gifts appeal to you?