As previously mentioned, it was a very handmade Christmas for my family. Not for any other reason than the fact that they mean more, and I've got the means. When you hand-craft a gift, for the entire time you plan/design it, shop supplies, and whip it up, you're thinking about the recipient. About as personal as personal gets. So why would I buy gift cards for my favorite people on the face of the earth?! (Except for teenage girls. They're aliens. And not impressed by anything, itunes cards for all!)
I spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest. It's what I do on my phone when I have a few minutes to waste. My usual strategy is to click the 'everything' button and see what thrills me. I started seeing things that reminded me of my people, and started a board for it. It's secret.
I figured I'd just show, for fun, some non-minis that I made along with the 'pinspiration'. (I hate when people say pinspiration. But it is an appropriate non-term. Damn.)
One big victory, was the bike clock for my brother (a nationally ranked cyclist, brag brag brag). I'd planned on making this for the previous Christmas, but encountered logistical and part-sourcing issues. I'd bought the movement, the extra-long hands, and picked up a junked wheel rim at his favorite bike shop.
There was one spoke missing so I decided that spot could be 12 o'clock, and I'd make a marker of sorts. And I wanted to hang it differently, wishfully out of bike chain, but actually out of brass chain.
|Recycled Bike Wheel Clock by Pixelthis on Etsy|
|Leather and brass.|
My sister has a toddler (boy), and a baby girl due any time now. I knew with her husband out to sea soon (Navy) she'd have her hands full. For the soon-to-be big brother, I made this toy/snack bandolier. That way he'd have everything he needs at his fingertips, and mom can maybe have her hands a little bit free-er. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but try anything once. Right?
|Snack Bandolier, by WhipStitchFabrics|
I went with a heavy but soft meanswear fabric in grey. A go-with-everything accessory, for sure. Granola bars, cars, 7 loops and a gusseted pocket for all his nescessities. What a big boy.
And for the wee babe, one of those door mufflers so mom can look in on sleeping baby without the door latch clicking and completely blowing her cover. I'm only assuming the baby will sleep behind closed doors since there's a
I combined two designs for what I thought was a better combination of form and function.
I liked the ease of the elastic over ties, I imagine it would be a nuisance to get it positioned tightly and keep the ties even. And I also liked the look of the leather. I asked my mom to find out a little about the nursery for me, and she mentioned fucsia. I have a beautiful piece of magenta leather. That'll do.
|Door Muff by sweetdreamsbytami on etsy|
For my equestrian inclined sister who just got a new apartment, I decided on a set of six leather napkin rings. Unfortunately, I never got a photo of the finished product (if she can send me one, I'll update the post). Mine came out similarly, but instead of a rivet, I used snaps. That way she could choose the suede side or the smooth side. I recycled a nice belt in a rich caramel harness leather that I thrifted, with silver hardware. I got some pretty charcoal gray cloth napkins and put a ring on each for presentation.
|Napkin rings by Greenbelts on etsy|
And for my princess of a niece (she's four), tea bags for regular luncheons with her "babies". Every little girl loves a tea party, So I got her a beautiful bone china cup and saucer, and made half dozen fabric tea bags that she can dunk in the water without destroying. They just dry out. Brilliant.
I filled them with glass seed beads for weight, and realistic feel. The strings are baby rick-rack, and little pink felt hearts for tags. I also whipped up a cotton cinch wash-bag to keep them in case they should get soiled.
For my dad, it was food. What do you buy for a guy who has everything, and if he doesn't he'll buy it for himself before you can?! His favorite candies are pecan caramel turtles. I saw these pretzel things, and knew he had to try them. They were super quick to throw together, and mindblowingly addictive. We'll be making these again. On the regular.
Another one without a picture of my own, but you really can't make them look much different.
|Rolo Turtles on so wonderful, so marvelous blog.|
And then, because I hate myself, I volunteered to make an "american girl" doll bed for a work friend. This was the one that nearly sent me over the edge, but I couldn't disappoint a 5 year old. The more we talked, the more involved the design got. She preferred something colonial style, and then it would be awesome to have a canopy, and then stained dark, rather than paint. Ummm, I guess I thought I had time at first. I delivered it to her at work on Christmas Eve with the Polyurethane still tacky after staying up until 4 am to complete it. I did the best I could, I felt bad though.
The bed that supposedly goes with the doll is outrageously priced, which is why I originally intervened.
|American Girl Doll Store|
Solid oak, with Minwax English Chestnut stain and a couple of coats of satin poly. High-quality cell phone shots under fluorescent light at work.
And then, since clearly I'm the sucker around here, I also volunteered to create a rather large display for our office Christmas luncheon. It took a lot of time but luckily, besides supply shopping, I did most of it on company time. Nice little arrangement. I made the conference room credenza look like a fireplace. Here it is, the marketing department came down and took a snap for the hospital website. Otherwise, there would be no picture. Again.
So that was ridiculous. I absolutely love making gifts for my family. I will likely continue to do so in future years when I find the right items for the right people. But new rules: politely and gracefully refuse other peoples' project requests within two months of Christmas. No exceptions. Here's to a more enjoyable Christmas, 2013. And to knowing my new workshop will be ready for the task!