When Handmade is not your thing…

I get it.  Handmade may not be you “thing”.  Maybe you lack the space, the time, the talent (although I doubt it)…my goal is certainly not to make everything I give and so sometimes it feels right to give something someone else has made.  This city I live in has no shortage of fantastic artisans and craft fairs.  With the rise of Etsy, there is a whole world of handmade at your fingertips!  Here are some of my favourite handmade things that I didn’t have to find time to make myself:

1.   Handcrafted knitting needles:

knittingneedles I picked these gorgeous needles up at the Squam Art Fair in NH this summer and they are destined for a very special knitter in my life.  You can find more treasures made by the maker Cynthis Ellis at Wood By C.

2.  A whimsical print by Fig Design:

fig designThis one caught my eye as the perfect gift for my new nephew.  It captures a dreamy sort of boyhood adventure one might have especially if you’re a boy growing up in Newfoundland.

3.  These endearing and quirky lockets from the Black Apple:

bear dance locket

maskedgirllocket

I bought these last year for my girls (if anyone remembers Lil’S and her “bat/mask” phase, you’ll know which one was hers).

4. Hammered Feather Cuff Bangle:

featherbracelet

These beauties are handmade with love – it says so right on the website!  I was lucky enough to receive the brass bangle as a gift and I do love wearing it.  Check out Salvage Jewelry Co. to find more gems made from deconstructed vintage jewelry that have been reinvented by designer Brandy Olley, to create inspired, modern pieces.

5.  A vintage inspired headband or hair piece:

jasminandolive

Mrs. Iverson was the lucky one to receive a headband by Jasmin and Olive for her birthday.  These hair adornments and headbands look fantastic on people of any age.  Simple and gorgeous.

Where are you favourite places to shop for handmade gifts?

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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.

Handmade Gifts: Alphabet magnets

If you are like me, you have drawers (and random bags and totes) full of your children’s art work.  We have more in common if you also find it hard to part with these masterpieces.  Here is one project that will help to use up that stash and it is guilt free (aka not using them to light the wood stove – not that I have EVER done that).

I was inspired to help Scarlett makes these alphabet magnets for Ivy’s solstice gift after reading a number of great blog posts. First Sarah Jane Studios gave inspiration for reusing children’s art (plans to make this for the family christmas gift exchange is already in the works),  then at Not Martha  I found a great how-to-make marble magnets tutorial and last but not least at Tiny Twist Creative the most perfect alphabet magnets!  This is exactly what I love about the blogosphere – tons of great ideas!

What you’ll need:

  • kids art (we used abstract watercolours just like at Tiny Twist Creative)
  • 1 inch magnets (we found ours at the local Home Hardware)
  • Clear garden rocks with a flat bottom (sourced at Michael’s but I have seen some at dollarstores…just not the big ones)
  • silicon glue (we had left over from making homemade snow globes last year)
  • a marker
  • 1 inch circle punch (again, Michael’s)
  • scissors
  • a cookie sheet for placing them on to dry…trust me if you just put them on the table the will all be drawn together and it will mess your not yet dry magnets up!)

Gather you art piece, circle punch and almost 6-year-old helper.  Set him or her to work punching out circles.

If you are less than 6 years old you may have to use your entire body weight to use the punch.  If you are older than six you may not have to do this but you still could if you felt like creating some drama as you work.

Once you have punched out one row use your scissors to cut the punched out circles off so you can start again.  Keep going until you have 26 circles.

Note: this photo does not contain 26 circles.

Next, take your marker and have your helper write the letters on the alphabet on the circles.  It helps if you make them a bit “fancy” for aesthetic appeal.

Now it is time to glue the circles onto the magnets and then the garden rocks onto the circles.  First lay down something to protect your work surface.

Put a small dab of the silicon glue on the magnet and place the circle on top.  Press down.  Next put a small dab onto of the paper circle and press the garden rock into place.  Put it on the cookie sheet to dry.  If you notice the glass rock slip a bit, just move it back into place.

Enjoy and remember to let me know if you make these!

Note: the 1-inch magnets can get kind of expensive so you can make these using smaller ones…the 1-inch magnets will hold up anything though so you might consider the splurge.