Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Handmade Holiday Plans: Two Months

Holy cow, do you realize Christmas is two months from today? Today!! My three-year-old gasped with delight when I said this out loud. In the hopes of creating some accountability, I'm going to share some of my plans for handmade gifts. If I get even some of this done, I'll be happy.

(But first of all, a reminder: if you want to make a lovely and simple Advent calendar that really doesn't take that long, you have plenty of time to make my wool felt countdown calendar, pictured to the left; the tutorial is here.)

So, I have the countdown calendar ready, at least! I've also begun some embroidery. I've stitched three of the four pine cones I transferred. The plan is to turn these into sachets with some pine needles inside. The first is pictured to the right there.They're all a little different, and I was making good progress until I got distracted by a completely frivolous knitting project. (That should be done soon and I'll share photos then!) These will go to family.

I also need loads of teacher gifts. When you add up the classroom teachers, aides, specials (PE, music, art), the people in the office who make things go, the speech therapist... it ends up something like a dozen or more. I have three pairs of my go-to Evangeline mitts already knit (not those three; one of those went to my niece, but I've since knit a white pair). Last year I gave a pair to each of the boys' teachers. Since my oldest has the same teacher this year, I only need one pair for a teacher. But I'd like to give a pair to the administrative whiz who actually runs the school, and another to the speech therapist, and probably one to the school nurse to round it out fairly, which means I need to knit another pair. By the time all my kids are out of that school I think I'll have knit everyone something...

But I also want to make some recycled books, similar to these, using all the paper, printed only on one side, that comes home from school. I've been saving it for a while now and, especially since I get lots of notices twice (sigh), I should have enough to make a notepad for every teacher/aide/etc. I want to fiddle with this basic recipe a bit, and hopefully post a tutorial, too.

Then there are these cute bookmarks we made for teachers at the end of last year (the how-to post is on my other blog here). My daughter loves bookmarks--she puts them in every book she gets her hands on--and she wants to make more, so I said we could make some in Christmasy colors and she could give them to extended family members. Who doesn't need a bookmark? We need about thirty, minimum, in our house.

Speaking of crafts with kids, I like when my kids can be involved in making something for family members, including their cousins. We want to make some recycled crayons in fun shapes for the two youngest cousins, so that's on the list too. I also saw this recipe, via Pinterest, to make a plasticy rubber from milk and vinegar. Knitters, you've heard of casein needles? Casein is milk protein. This, apparently, is how it gets out of milk and into something hard enough to knit with. I'm curious if we can use the same candy molds I bought for making crayons to make little plasticy figures to either play with or just to have. File this under Experimental Gift Ideas!

And since I have those candy molds, did you see Whipup's tutorial on making beeswax polish? There's a nice photo of some molded beeswax shapes along with a suggestion that you could use candy molds to make Christmas ornaments. We can buy beeswax at one of the famers' markets, although maybe I should tuck this idea away for next year. (I've been pinning whenever I see something likely.)

Source: Etsy
And then there's the stuff I'd like to make for the kids. My two youngest like to have handknit wool socks in their snow boots (who can blame them?). I still haven't sewn my daughter's butterfly/caterpillar pillowcase. I saw these adorable felt pretend envelopes on Etsy (via Pinterest) and I really do think I can make them myself--although Missprettypretty's shop has some beautiful things in it, go take a look. My daughter looks for mail for her every single day, and I think she'd love some pretend envelopes--I'm tempted to make detachable address labels and stamps, too.

Source: Etsy
Oh, and if you're looking for gift ideas, look what Wendi just put in her shop--kits to make embroidery pendants. I think these mini patterns would look really sweet on bookmarks, too. (This is just the flowers; she also has a geometric design set and a set of ladies. Go look.) I ordered a set, thinking I wanted the frames for something else I had in mind, but I might be too tempted to use these sweet patterns in them after all.

Sadly, that's just part of my want-to-make list. I have two  months. I'm going to work on posting something weekly--after Halloween. We'll see how it goes. Right now I need to cut a freezer paper stencil for one kid's Halloween costume and figure out a ribbon belt for the other. Thank goodness my sister gave my daughter a ladybug dress-up outfit for her birthday... all she needs for Halloween is black pants and a red shirt!

What's on your handmade holiday list?


Rose Red said...

Wow, that is ambitious! All I have in mind is a pair of socks for husby. No doubt a few other small things will slip onto the list between now and then. But there is plenty of time, isn't there?! Heh!

GirlAnachronismE said...

Wow, you do sound like you have a lot of presents to make. I hope you get them all done, i just wouldn't have the time. I'm going to try make 2 pairs of socks and maybe finish a half completed scarf, but there are no gurantees those will get done...

MadMad said...

Whoa! That's a ton to do! I bet the recipients will love them, though!

Donna Lee said...

Since we schedule people 12 weeks out, I've been looking at the weeks till Christmas dwindle down from 12 to 9 and now 8. It really is a lot of time but it doesn' t sound like it, does it?

I'm halfway through the traditional Christmas socks. I'd like to do a few small things for special folks, too, and fingerless mitts might be the ticket.

amy said...

@Donna Lee, if I buckle down and focus (y'know, shut off the computer!), I can knit a pair of Evangelines in two evenings.

It sort of looks like a long list, but part of is also with my kids, so that means I'm not squeezing it into the evenings. We've always given some sort of handmade teacher gift, too, and as long as it's something we can do sort of assembly line, it's not as overwhelming as it looks at first.

And of course, if I had two or three days completely to myself, I could knock this out, no problem. (Except maybe the kid socks.)

Michelle said...

Ack, I know!

Nice pine cone! I think I'm making a large heating pad & a little pocket wallet for my sister, and a tote bag for my nephew. Possibly bath salts, but those are ridiculously easy, they barely count as making stuff. Thanks for the reminder about the beeswax. We have lots of people around here with bees, and I need to see if they'll sell me some wax. They always have honey but never bring wax to the market.

Casein needles? Seriously???

Jill said...

Nope. You're crazy and that's just all there is to it.
Fudge is handmade, too, you know. Just sayin.
And yes, I am the Auntie who Rocks. Eventually.

Carolyn said...

I love my Evangeline mitts!!! You are very ambitious...I have nothing on my handmade for Christmas list!

Bells said...

there's just so much making going on in your house! I love it! Make! Make! Make!

I have a few handmade holiday plans, and Alice's quilt has started, as well as some PJ shorts for Willem. Beyond that, maybe a shawl for Adele? If I'm quick!