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Homemade Holidays – Roundup

November 12, 2009

Holidays are always a special time in my extended family. My mom’s side of the family takes special pride in picking JUST the right present for someone. It may not have been something you asked for. But it screamed your name just the same! I’ve never opened a present from my mom, sister or aunt and haven’t had the pleasant zing of anticipation for what I’m about to see. Because I know it’s going to be wonderful. It’ll be something I use and every time I pick it up, it’ll remind me that my family loves me.

Ingrid in her nightgown


To me, that’s a gift. Toys are nice when you are a kid. But the cup that my Aunt Carol made special for me, is SPECIAL. And though the mug might be tiny now, I used it for my milk as a child and now as an adult that hand thrown blue and white speckled mug sits in my bathroom as a q-tip holder and I feel loved every time I use it.

The flannel rainbow flame pjs I made for my then 5 year old son are still beloved by my now 8 year old son. Every time he wears them he feels mom’s love. He knows that I love him so much I made him something with my own two hands to cuddle him in his sleep and keep him safe. I keep having to add length to the legs LOL, but he still adores them!

So this year, like every year, I come up with things to make the kids and my extended family. Like my nephew Avery, he’s 5 but he ADORES scientific books. And add that to his dinosaur obsession and we’ve got a little boy who doesn’t want toys, but a whole bunch of our older homeschooling books on dinosaurs, the stars, Egypt, and deep sea fish. Plus some flannel dinosaur pj bottoms that he’ll hopefully wear until he’s outgrown them or my sister has to mail them to me to add some length on the bottom! LOL!!

Then there are the other benefits of a Homemade Holiday…

1. It’s Greener – especially if you have to buy very little and instead can use items around the house – easy for me with my massive craft supplies. You can even push at this a little and buy your supplies locally, plan your trip so that you use the least amount of gas, or even see what supplies you can pick up at your local thrift store. (I do this a lot; buying flat sheets and x-large clothing I can cut down) Plus making sure what you buy is either made in the USA or Europe.

2. Save money – no more multiples of 20 and 40 dollar toys that will soon be broken or forgotten. Instead, have them unwrap handmade one of a kind Yule stockings, pjs, primping items, decorative items and items to help them organize. All for much much cheaper than store-bought prices.

3. Lifetime memories. That’s something no money can buy. Looking at something from 30 years ago and still feeling loved.

So here’s a roundup of things I’m going to be trying to pump out this year. I usually WAY over plan and my serger is on the fritz this year (which makes my anal retentive self do french seams instead of serging *sigh* which adds to the time I’m hunched over a sewing desk) so I probably won’t get all of these done, but I’ll darn sure try!

Rice Therapy Bag – I have 2 sizes of these, a foot long one that is about 6 inches wide and one that is about as big as a Mommy’s hand. One can wrap around necks, or lay on sore tummies, the other can sit upon sore hands, eyes, cheekbones and knees. I really need 2 of each, one for the freezer and one for the microwave! They definitely need covers as they tend to get dirty! And the original bag needs to be made out of fairly tough material. No gauze!

Twirly Skirts or Tiered Skirts

Handmade Patchwork Stockings

Pj Pants – you can make kid pants or pj pants from this great tutorial. I usually do Pj’s for the older kids and reversible for the 2 year old, they keep her little legs warmer and in case of stains, I just flip them inside out! Plus if I make them about 4 inches longer, and fold the bottoms up, they work for 2 years worth of pants instead of just one! Kaia still fits her pants from last year!

Needle Case – really cute needle case idea. I loathe the plastic ones you get at the store and I always end up dumping out a bazillion needles trying to grab one. Or I stab myself or SOMETHING. They just annoy me. These are great because you can keep the sizes YOU want and even add a bit of extra felt to protect your fingers from stabs!

Crayon/Paintbrush/Colored Pencil/Inkpen Organizer Rollup – My 15 year old is seriously into Anime and Manga and draws every day. Often I hear ‘MOOoom, have you seen my xxxxxx?’ with that added huff at the end of it. She sits on her bed or the couch to draw and her things just tend to disappear into couch cushions or bedclothes. My 8 yo daughter draws ALL THE TIME. I hate grounding her from drawing but she’s SO awful about putting her things away. But she’s also really obsessive about purses. So if she had a cute little roll-up for her purse…. hmmmm

Nightgowns (aka pillowcase dresses)


Kaia in her 'pillowcase' style nightgown

Personalized Ornaments – When I was a new mom at 19, with my own apartment. Christmas came by that year and I had *nothing* for decorating. I had to buy all my ornaments at the 99cent store and think about 1 year old Morgan and what would be safe for her. I firmly decided that year that I would buy her at least one ornament a year, and put the year on the ornament somehow. That way when SHE moved out on her own she wouldn’t be faced with nothing to decorate her house with. I decided upon Angels or Fairies as her theme. Morgan at age 15 has about 20 angels and fairies. She’s going to have enough for a small tree by the time she has her own place. So as each child has come along they’ve gotten their own theme (it’s easier to remember whose is whose with a theme) and the kids get SO excited about unpacking their particular boxes of ornaments and the shouts of REMEMBER THIS! ring through the living room LOL!

Rag Rugs – I used to make rag rugs all the time from my scraps. But I have a VERY large hairy dog who has allergies which make her smell if she gets into wheat (and I have a toddler = food crumbs) plus the large hairy dog sheds a lot AND loves rugs to lay on. Washing rag rugs mean that they distress a lot faster and they were getting very worn, very fast. So I stopped until I could come up with a better idea (or steal one LOL!) One day at my friends house. We were cutting fo0d up for dinner together and she pointed down and asked how I liked her new rug. I LOVED it. It was very squishy under my bare feet, protecting my back and arches from the hard floor. She told me it was old t-shirts crocheted together. AH HA went my brain. At home I’d been given a whole bunch of t-shirt neck binding. Rolls and Rolls of it. PLUS some 8 yards of various t-shirt material I’d gotten for a project that I’d found it was ill-suited too. All in colors that would look great with my house. So now I’m crocheting rugs again after 5 years off. They stretch in the washer, then pop right back into shape. They don’t get distressed with lots of extra threads coming off and they are super comfy under your feet. Better than scrap fabric!

Scrap Fabric Magnetic Fridge Letters – Perfect for your toddler or college age kid!

Patchwork cloth napkins – perfect for those friends who want to go green and quit using paper towels, but pretty enough for dinners! I’d made a set in just the absorbent material for everyday yucky mess use and then a patchwork set to use for dinner.

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