My favourite handmades

I love handmade things, I do.  And so I thought I’d share some of my favourite gifts to make in case someone out there needed some inspiration.

1.  A fishing basket:

fishing basket 2

This one is as easy as drawing a fish template and tracing it onto some scraps of felt.  I embroidered some details on these ones and then decided to also make them “counting fish”.  Notice the orange one has one bead, the purple has two, the green has three etc.  Next, find a stick, tie some garden twine to it and secure a round magnet to the other end.  Each fish has a metal washer in its “mouth”.  Super easy and fun.  Then find a basket and some blue fabric for the water and pack them up!

fishing basket

2.  Wee Wonderful Dolls:

Lumina

This one I made for Lil’S a few Solstices ago.  We called her Lumina and still can’t get over her hair!  I love it!

joy

This one I named Joy and she was destined for my my niece on the east coast.  I actually made her outfit and shoes whereas with Lumina I stole the clothing off of another doll’s back (there wasn’t enough time!).  Making these dolls was so simple.  I really barely knew what to do with my sewing machine at the time.  I ordered and then downloaded a PDF from Wee Wonderfuls which included instructions for three darling dolls and their clothes for only $15.

3. French Press Slippers

french press slippers

Now these little lovelies I must confess I did not gift…they were for me!  Oh and how I adore them!  Actually I still can’t believe that I made these.  You can download the PDF pattern here.  And for $7.50 it is a steal.  I’ve been knitting up a number of these in some pretty funky colours for Christmas presents.  Now all I need is a trip to the laundromat to felt them in a top loader…

4.  A Scandinavian Inspired Felt bag:

Scandinavian Felt Bag

This will probably be the hardest gift for me to wrap up and give.  I have wanted one for myself ever since I saw it on the cover of Scandinavian Needlecraft.  It took me forever to source the thicker felt.  In the end I bought the synthetic felt from Fabricland but I would have loved real wool felt.  One day I’ll find a source (and if you have one that ships to Canada please let me know!).  The bag was super easy to make but it did put a sizable dent into my embroidery thread stash.

5. A Knitted Snake:

snake

The snake you see on the right is one I made for Solstice a few years back. “Snakey” as he is known has been well loved as you can see.  The skinny unfinished guy on the left will be gifted away this season.  The pattern can be found in the book, Knitted Toys.  I love this book and have made a number of their knitted dolls and animals.

6.  Even more slippers:

embroidered slippers

I love these slippers and they turned out even better than I expected.  They are another project from the Scandinavian Needlecraft book I mentioned the other day.  I used Sulky Solvy to trace the embroidery design on, laid it over the felt and pinned it in place.  Once you’re done embroidering you simply run it under water and the Sulky Solvy dissolves!

baby slippers

These baby slippers are from the same book.  The fleece on the inside is sooo soft.  I love them but I admit, they were not as easy to make due to their size.  They are en route right now to my new nephew in NFDL!

7. A Headband:

headband

I based this headband on this tutorial at Heidi and Finn.  I covered my elastic in fabric and made the band itself a little wider.  I’m still tweeking this as I’d like the band to be longer but the standard sheets of felt are too short.  I also had a hard time sourcing the pre-cut felt flowers.  Instead I used felt embellishments that were intended for use in scrapbooking from Michael’s.  I simply took off the sticker on the back, did a little hand sewing to reinforce them and sewed them onto the felt.  I’m using up my scraps from past projects for the fabric backing.  Lil’S has had many compliments on hers already.

8.  Felt Animal Masks:

felt animal masks

I made these for Mrs. Iverson’s birthday party this year.  Instead of loot bags the guest were able to bring home a mask.  I keep meaning to post a tutorial…one day…

9.  Alphabet Magnets

IMG_5658

Lil’S made these for Mrs. Iverson a few years ago and they are still a huge hit.  Click on the link to find out how to make your own.

10. Homemade Playdough

homemade playdough

This is always a favourite and it is super simple to make as well.  I’ve used this as an add on to many gifts over the years.  Click on the link and you’ll find my favourite recipe.

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Nana knits…up some life lessons

We were lucky enough to have my mum down for a visit a few weekends ago.  Visits like these are treasured as they happen only every few months and sometimes only once a year.  I love watching my girls climb up onto Nana’s lap like this was something they were able to enjoy just yesterday.  Their relationship doesn’t miss a beat no matter how long between visits.  This is aided in part by frequent phone calls, telling them all about how my mum sang this exact lullaby to me when I was young, looking at photos etc.  But an important thread between Nana and these girl is an appreciation of Nana’s knitted gifts.  My mum has always been a prolific knitter and there have been many gifts of blankets, sweaters and mitts and hats to family and friends over the years.  In fact my sister’s littlest is still wearing a cookie monster sweater and hats that my sisters and I wore as kids (and this was after it had been handed down to at least three or four cousins before making their way to this generation!).

Nana’s newest gifts are simply gorgeous (and are based on the sweater made famous by Soulemama…the hats were created in my mother’s head)!  They clearly warranted a photo shoot with Brandy Jackson.

Ah, classic.  The child who won’t smile picture…next one should work…

Not quite.  This is Scarlett being scared by a dog just out of the frame.  It set the tone for the rest of the shoot for her.  Oh, and just try to ignore the baby doll…it was the only way to entice Ivy to do what we asked.  And besides she loves baby dolls so really a photo with one would capture the “real” her.  At least, that is what I was telling myself watching this.

Let us see if a nice kiss will make things better…better than scowling at the camera anyways.  It was unfortunate Scarlett wouldn’t let me adjust her hat…but I’ll take it.  Pretty sweet photo if you ask me.

Things are a bit tense so lets lighten things up by taking a look at some sheep (and the turkeys, chickens and the cutest little pigs who call Stonewall Farm home).

All in all not our most successful photo shoot but despite the less than cooperative kid challenges, Brandy (who is a photographic genius) managed to capture some really great moments…like this one.  And the lessons of letting go, rolling with it and embracing the complicated people that my kids are were, er, reinforced.  Because really, the most important thing is what these sweaters represent: a connection between the generations.