Saturday, 18 December 2010

Don't Panic: Last-Minute Gifts You Can Make

T'was the night before Christmas,
And all through the house...
Panic set in! You haven't a present for Aunty Nora!

It's not quite the night before Christmas yet, but with a week until the big day, a fair few of us could be engaging panic mode: forgotten presents, relatives difficult to buy for…this time of year can become a nightmare! 

Unfortunately Oh! brings you some suggestions for handmade gifts and stocking fillers that can be whipped up in anything between half an hour and a day.

1. Fur & Claws Scarf
Great for a sister, cousin, or funky friend.

2. Pearly necklace
A good present for any female friend or family member--why not add small bows or other beads for a more personalised look?
3.  Washer + leather cord bracelet
Something for the boys (or tomboys)! Make with ribbon for a more feminine look.

4. Personalised cushion
The design could be anything--patchwork, applique, or simply a great piece of fabric. Cushion covers are incredibly simple to make!  
 For a simple zip-less cushion cover you need:
Front of cushion: square of fabric the size of cushion (customise this before doing anything else!) e.g, 14x14 inches

 Cushion back
Back of cushion: two rectangles of fabric, (cushion length) x (half cushion width + 3 inches) e.g. 14x10 inches.
Sew one side of each of the back pieces to the front piece and zigzag stitch the opposite edge of the back piece. With the front piece facing upwards, fold the back over so the right sides face in (they will overlap). Fold over 1 inch of each side of the back piece then sew up the top and bottom. Turn inside out and your cushion cover is done!

5.  Hand-painted picture frame
Customisable for anyone! Picture frames can be picked up incredibly cheaply these days; all you need is a plain frame, some paint, and your imagination! You could always consider decoupage, or gluing on buttons and suchlike.

6.  Hand-made memories book
A great present for a parent or grandparent. It's incredibly easy to hand-make and cover a book! Fill it with pictures and memories of times spent with that person. 

7.  Covered notebook
Buy a hardback notebook and cover it with fabric--this could easily be embroidered or embellished to be customised for the recipient. 
Tutorial: See step 6 onwards in Handmade Book tutorial

8.  Painted leather bookmark
All you need for this one is a strip of leather and some paints!

9. Home-made photo canvas
A perfect gift for anyone with modern tastes. Photo canvases can be expensive when made to order, but making your own small canvas is simple enough! There are several ways to transfer photos onto a canvas--just pick the one that seems more comfortable to you.
Here’s a tutorial on One Hour Craft using fabric and transfer paper:
Alternatively, you could use canvas paper and print straight from your PC to canvas! Simply stretch the paper over a frame and staple down on the back of the frame. The canvases above were made using this method.

10.  Hand-painted plant pot
Self-explanatory really! Acrylic or enamel paints probably work best--cover with a coat of varnish when dry. Not for outdoor use.

11.  Handmade earrings / necklace
Earrings are so quick and so easy to make, provided you have the right tools!  Design, length and colour can easily be modified for the recipients. Basic necklaces are also very easy to make, but slightly more time-consuming.

12.  A charming bracelet
Make/customise a basic chain bracelet with beads, charms and ribbon.

Bonus suggestion:
Home-made biscuits/cookies! These are a great little extra gift--make up a basic recipe for plain biscuits/cookies and add mixed spice, cinnamon or ginger. Cut into seasonal shapes and ice. 

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