Not Crafty. Except During the Holidays.

I’m not a super crafty person.  I have never woken up in the morning and thought to myself, “I’d like to get out the hot glue gun today.” If I have creative energy, I write something. When we were on the farm, I used my creative muscles to churn out 50 to 100 flower bouquets and merchanidse a market booth every week during the season, and that was plenty crafty for me.

I’m not bad at crafts, but I don’t have the patience that being a “crafter” requires.

That said, I’m grateful that I have some crafty skills to fall back on every Christmas. I know the basics on a sewing machine. I have one simple embroidery stitch that I can use to make an iron-on pattern come to life. I am familiar with mod podge applications and know that even a simple art project looks near professionally done if put on canvas or framed.

We had some lean years on the farm in which my crafting skills allowed us to give decent homemade gifts to everyone in our fairly large families. Things aren’t quite as lean, anymore, but the sense of frugality has endured. We’ve started planning this year’s project already, and while I can’t reveal that one here, I thought I’d share some simple ideas that have worked well for us in the past.

DSCF01271. Ugly Doll Pillows

Have you seen these things? They are like tiny stuffed monsters, and there is a pillow variety you can view here.  I kind of love them, but the number of our small nieces and nephews X $20 was an obstacle. So I spent $30 on felt and fleece and stuffing and made 7 of these with my sewing machine. Pretty quick. Super easy. Big hit.

DSCF01302. Kid Art on Canvas

My husband loves bikes, so one year I bought a blank canvas and printed out an old postcard of a bike in front of a beautiful sunset. Using that model, the kids worked together to turn out this painting. It became Matty’s Christmas present from the both of them that year, and we all love it now. I think it would work fairly well for grandparents, too.

2013-11-18_1384789797[1]3. Fabric Scarves

One year, we made almost 50 fabric scarves, mostly out of scrap fabric we had in the house already. I have lots of fabric because I buy it with coupons and then never get around to actually sewing anything. It’s a problem. Except that Christmas, when our parents, brothers and sisters, godparents, and nieces and nephews all got fabric scarves for Christmas and we didn’t spend any money at all. I still wear mine. As a bonus, this project basically involved sewing one seam on a rectangle and then closing up the end. Very simple.

4. Tile Coasters

I don’t have pictures of this one, somehow, but I do have a pinterest link. Last year, we made sets of tile coasters by mod podging Christmas scrapbook paper onto cheap ceramic tiles. They turned out really well, in fact, the Year of the Tile Coasters was much more popular than the Year of the Fabric Scarf. Instructions and pictures can be found here.

I like making gifts for a lot of reasons. It is a way to save some money, of course, but better yet, it gives us time to really think about the people we are making the gifts for. Which is, of course, the entire point.

12 thoughts on “Not Crafty. Except During the Holidays.

  1. Love those pillows. The bulk of our gift giving has been hand-made items for a number of years. It’s one little blow against the commercialism of the season – and it’s a great family togetherness project. Plus, I love the outlet for my limited supply of creativity. 🙂 -Amy


  2. I am not very crafty but love to get those kits sold at craft stores. You can find holidays ones for a deep discount in the late winter and early spring. During the summer, I like to do those simple embroidery projects on cotton. I make a few of them and sew them together to make throw pillows as holiday gifts. I know a basic crochet stitch to make scarves and simple ornaments. We have huge pine trees and it’s fun to make holiday ornaments by dipping them in glue and sparkle.


  3. I’m jealous–I’m not sure of my way around a sewing machine! Some kid in Home Ec. got his thumb stuck on the needle and I have been scared of them ever since. 😦


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