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Holiday Gift Making

 
Posts: 29
Location: NW Arkansas
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Lots of beautiful creations in this thread. I don't have any craft skills to speak of but I've given homemade food: lemon curd (liked pretty well), fire cider (not liked), beer and pickled jalapenos (both liked fairly well). I've brought breads and cakes for meals that people seemed to enjoy, so I might try giving seasonal bread as a gift.
 
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I began making jam and jelly for gifts when my hubby and I first got married and had NO money to spare. After we started doing better I asked our families if they wanted us to go back to buying gifts. The overwhelming answer was NO!!! 26 years later I'm still giving jams and jellies. I make blackberry jam and jelly, strawberry jam, strawberry/cherry spread, black cherry spread, grape jelly, black raspberry jam, apple jelly, apple sauce and apple butter.
 
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This year I made a ton of Mullein tincture for myself and to share with family and a couple friends who are prone to lung issues in the winter.  I also canned blackberries to share with family in the Midwest who can't get real ones. We grew up on berry pie and it's my group gift to them every year.

I don't do a lot of gift giving or receiving anymore. It's just slowly morphed that way over time and it works for us.  Mostly with distant family, we spend our budget on visiting each other and time together is what I REALLY want anyway.

I do like to make blankets designed for a specific person and that's a good winter activity but not something that will be done by the holidays and usually is gifted whenever it's finished and because I love them, not prompted by timing our tradition.
 
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Location: Olympia (WA) Aptos (CA), Sarasota (FL), & Utila (Honduras)
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Nicole - I may need to commission a kitty of mine...  shall start collecting 'wool' from his pelt now.  Probably done by next week wed, lol.  

How talented everyone is!!  Restores my bitter old soul, I tell you what.  I am going to break a plow now and see what i can do with the metal fragments, and make some edible necklaces.  And shed  a couple tears I'm not related you y'all (as I know someone above whose name i forget has already lamented)...

kudos!!!
 
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Location: New Jersey
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Wow Nicole your felted creations are amazing! Do you mind sharing what tools you use, and where you get your roving? I signed up for a felted fox class but there weren't enough participants to hold it. I watched video on youtube, but when I google felting needles the choices are overwhelming.

I'm thinking of making my Mother-In-Law fairies of each of the grandkids, made to look like them but with wings and their favorite colors. That's 6 fairies to make! Can I do it?

She also asked for a felt elephant. I've made dragons and a horse and duck in the past, but an elephant? We'll see if I have time! Maybe that'll be her birthday present instead...

 
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I can totally help you out!

I first bought one of these felting needle pen things, thinking that it was necessary. It's helpful for doing big projects like the cats, or birds I've made, but really, all you need are the needles. Since I broke the Clover needles really fast (maybe it was quality, maybe it was learning curve), I went and ordered this set of felting needles.



I've broken some of them, and the kids have broken some of them, but I still spent less on them than on the Clover ones, and they do just as good of a job, if not better. And, there's 60 of them! So, I still have a bunch of needles despite braking a bunch. And, I've made a lot of needle felted things! The heavy duty ones are for when you first start felting. They felt faster. The fine ones are for finishing touches. But, honestly, a lot of the time I just use the medium size felting needle for the whole project, and it works out fine.

So, starting out, I'd just buy the big set of felting needles, and not worry about a felting pen if you don't have much in the way of funds.

For the roving, you can find it at a lot of craft stores. I've found it at Michaels. But, the selection isn't the best, and the prices are a lot higher. I order online unless I've run out in the middle of a project and don't have time to wait for it to be shipped to me. Don't go for one of those multi packs with small amounts of lots of colors. Roving packs down to a good 1/10th to 1/40th its size. You want at least a 1/2 ounce for a small project. For something like the cats, you'll want probably 8 ounces (1/2 pound). I order a pound of white at a time, and 1 ounce of colors that I'm doing smaller projects with. Some people don't felt their creations down very tight, and that gives the creation a lot of softness...but it also is a lot easier to become misshapen or even fall apart! So, I've learned to felt mine down more.

Here's the store I order from Weir Crafts. I like them because there's a wide variety of wool colors and textures, and you can pick the hues you like the best. Their Merino is expensive and very soft, but it's also hard to felt with as it's so smooth. The Ashford/New Zealand Corrindale is really lovely for felting--it felts well and is soft...and it's also a bit more expensive. I tend to buy mostly the eco soft and  homespun Romney--they both seem about the same quality, and the Romney is cheaper. I like Weircrafts because I can pick just the hues I want and not get stuck having to buy a red I don't like because it's the only red available. You can actually see the colors I have right now here (I sell my fairies/dragons/chickens/etc here on permies, so I have a list of the colors I have so people can pick which ones they want).

We've got a thread all about sharing needle-felting tips and creations here on permies. It's here: Needle-Felting! Share your creations, and your tips!!! Needlefelting is really fun and I really enjoy it. I've learned a lot in just a year and a half, and it's not too expensive, either. Just get the wool color(s) you like and that big set of needles, and start poking away!

I honestly never went to any class, and I watched part of a video and just started poking. A class or video tutorial would have been handy, though, as I did end up making some mistakes that I wouldn't have if I'd researched. But, thankfully the wool is really forgiving, so I'd say just start poking and have fun!
 
Rita Bliden
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But, thankfully the wool is really forgiving, so I'd say just start poking and have fun!



Thank you SO much Nicole! I guess I could have looked around Permies and found the thread on felting. I appreciate all the links. Your work is adorable. I fell in love with the felted fox the moment I saw that class posted locally, and swooned at the pumpkins(I was away for that class). When I saw  all your felted creations, I thought why don't I ask an expert and just do it?
My favorite line "just start poking away"!! Not too many crafts you get to say that.


I like to make lemoncello to give for the holidays, ever since we had it in Italy 20 years ago.
I  took a basket weaving class a few months ago(held in a lighthouse!) and made a lovely market basket. I really liked the material, and the process. The wine basket class is this Saturday (back to  the lighthouse at the Tuckerton Seaport). I will also be learning how to make a wine cork Christmas tree (county offered), a woven reindeer, and a fused glass night light. There is a super artist supportive shop in Bay Head, who holds fused glass, mosaic, painting and metal smithing classes. It's a fun night with my girlfriends, and I get to go home with something I made, to keep or gift. The fused glass work is very forgiving! I made a bowl, two ornaments, and a sun catcher. Thanks for letting me brag!
 
gardener
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Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
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Just adding to last minute pressie stash with some crochet cotton face cloths
20191211_174640.jpg
crochet cotton face cloths
crochet cotton face cloths
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I have teamed up the flannels with a twisted headband and some lovely soaps bought at a local market.
20191214_164318.jpg
headband and soap
 
pollinator
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This year everyone is getting beeswax wraps. And after a marathon of making them today, I have to say that they can be a bear to make! But they look really nice, and hopefully will eliminate the need for plastic wrap in many instances. I made a makeshift cloths line to hang them from an open shelf in my kitchen to dry, and had an assembly line set up.
beeswax-wraps.jpg
beeswax wraps
beeswax wraps
beeswax-wraps.jpg
beeswax wraps
beeswax wraps
 
Nicole Alderman
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I'm so behind this year! But, I finally did get around to making the elephant I was going to make my mother-in-law like two years ago. My husband insited I make it in her favorite colors, so I did! I also just finished the Shutterfly camera that I make for my grandma each year (I scour all the family member's facebook pages for current pictures of them, and insert those pictures on their birthday and anniverary months. It takes a surprisingly large amount of time!).

Done: calendar, Zelda-themes "rupee wallet," teal and neon-pink elephant.

To Do: Little knit flowers and doll-house-sized felted animals (pig and cat?) for my nieces, big forest green+sage dragon for my mom, wood-burned sign and felted hot-wheel-sized car for my husband, fire dragon for my father-in-law, and Christmas cards.

I just found out we're celebrating Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve, so one less day to work on things!!! So, back to work I go!
20191218_141856.jpg
zelda rupee pouch wallet, teal and pink elephant
 
Nicole Alderman
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Yesterday I finished the dragon and made the pig, and today I made the cat. It was NOT easy making such a tiny cat...still not quite sure I managed it. It was really hard to try to make the ears even somewhat pointy.

Should I put black "shoes"/hooves on the pig?
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fire dragon with neck ridges red and orange
Blurry picture of the red fire dragon.
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needle-felted dollhouse-sized pig and cat
Should I put black hooves on the pig?
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needle felted orange cat and pink pig
Does the cat face look catty enough?
 
gardener
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Really loving the pig! They cat is cute, but the pig is priceless!
 
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Location: Sequim, WA USA - zone 8b
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I am loving all the beautiful handwork here! Also love these rainy days (at least, in the PNW) to stay inside and be creative.

I recently posted a couple of blog posts about things I'm making in the kitchen from the year's harvest: cordials, honeys, vinegars, jams, liqueurs, and the like:
Last-minute Gifts from the Kitchen - (some of the craziness going on in our kitchen at the moment - some things might need to cure a month, but a label could say something like "Ready February 15" or something)
November Gatherings - and a recipe (sort of) - Spoiler alert: the recipe is for a Hawthorn-Fir Herb & Spice "Tonic" and would be very easy to make right now in time for Christmas. You could subtitute hawthorn berries for any that you might have. The Doug fir needles definitely give it a woodsy holiday aroma. Of course, the brandy is optional. I always try to bring a non-alcoholic beverage to our family gatherings that everyone can enjoy, and this is what I'll be making again for our gathering this year.

Thank you everyone for all the inspiration!
 
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brad millar wrote:My dad is getting a leather belt I made. My sisters are getting spoons I’ve carved.



What wood do you use for spoons?
 
Phil Swindler
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brad millar wrote:I just finished this one for my boss



Brad, I was wondering what kind of wood that is.
I like the look.
 
Nicole Alderman
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*FWEW!* I managed to get everything done! I spent two days making the jade dragon for my mom (she loves sage green and forest green and gold), and made a last-minute bunny today. It's SO TINY! Really hard to make it look like it's supposed to at that size :o. Is it just me, or does the bunny have too long of forelegs?

 
Carla Burke
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Hares have longer legs than bunnies...
 
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I gave Katie a homemade gift this year. We are a blended family so when we can all be together varies from year to year, for us that was a few days ago on December 19th, so Katie got her present already.

For her I found a photo center that prints BIG photos for $5 per square foot, so I printed off a 24 x 36 picture of us together, and then bought some 1/4 inch plywood, and then took some old barn boards I had, and made a barnboard picture frame for it. The total cost was $35.

The barn board frame works well because the picture was of us when one day, Katie dressed up in 1940 clothing, as did I, then we went down to our local railroad station and took some photos. This one picture ended up being perfect. It was perfectly aligned, like the edge of the railroad station is perfectly plumb with the picture, and even the umbrella Katie is holding is at a perfect 45 degree to the wooden slats cut at a 45 degree that was used as siding for the building behind her.

Incidentally, we used a cheap point-and-shoot camera, set up on a tripod, using the self-timer to take the picture.

I also got an extra copy of this photo printed off, and intend to give it to our local Historical Society. This is the picture I framed with barn wood.



100_2547.JPG
1940s style photo
 
Denise Kersting
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Nicole Alderman wrote:*FWEW!* I managed to get everything done! I spent two days making the jade dragon for my mom (she loves sage green and forest green and gold), and made a last-minute bunny today. It's SO TINY! Really hard to make it look like it's supposed to at that size :o. Is it just me, or does the bunny have too long of forelegs?



Those are just awesome, I love them all, but that dragon, wow!
 
Denise Kersting
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Travis Johnson wrote:

For her I found a photo center that prints BIG photos for $5 per square foot, so I printed off a 24 x 36 picture of us together, and then bought some 1/4 inch plywood, and then took some old barn boards I had, and made a barnboard picture frame for it. The total cost was $35.



Terrific photo, I'm sure Katie loves it!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Denise Kersting wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:*FWEW!* I managed to get everything done! I spent two days making the jade dragon for my mom (she loves sage green and forest green and gold), and made a last-minute bunny today. It's SO TINY! Really hard to make it look like it's supposed to at that size :o. Is it just me, or does the bunny have too long of forelegs?



Those are just awesome, I love them all, but that dragon, wow!



Thank you! Since it was for my mom, I really wanted it to be good. This was the first time I really tried to add shape and definition to the dragon's head. I figured I surely should have "leveled  up" in my needle felting after all these animals, that I should be able to make a more realistic dragon! I'm so glad it turned out well!!!
 
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