By Hand.

(The No Photo Disclaimer: I have been anxious to blog but have no photos on hand to illustrate today. Maybe its our dirty floors or maybe it’s October’s gloom, but I have been a bit uninspired behind the lens lately. Forgive me!)

One year I asked my family if we could exchange only handmade gifts for the holidays. The suggestion was met with something less than the enthusiasm I had hoped for. (and the “you are crazy!” eye from all around the room.)

This year we are making most of our gifts my hand. (Anyone who I might give a gift to this season had better stop reading, as details follow!). So maybe all the gifts that come into our lives won’t be made by hand, but the ones going out will, and that alone warms my soul. Even if you plan to purchase gifts, you can purchase handmade. I of course am partial to you purchasing handmade from me, but heck, hit Etsy for more ideas if you plan to branch out beyond body care.

I am planning a gathering of women at my home this month to dye playsilks with natural dyes. The silks will be mostly for play for the kids and our kids’ friends, but I am also adding a long narrow silk for my mom and my sister. Playsilks are the quintessential play item in our home. They are in constant use as costumes, horse reigns, farm fields, roads, wrapping paper, and baby bedding. You can purchase blanks from Dharma Trading Company and dye them yourself, even with Kool Aid if you are up for surprise colors.

Last night I stayed up a little too late making a birthday crown for a friend’s almost-five-year-old. The ease and satisfaction of working with wool felt late into the night was delicious. I realized that it might be inspiring for you to see what is inspiring me these days. Below are some of my favorite projects that I have in the works:

Felt crown tutorial. These are lovely! There are many felt crown patterns and ideas on the web. This is the pattern I used last night and it turned out so sweet.

Gratitude Wrap. The ever inspiring Amanda Blake Soule has a lovely wrap pattern for making a “Gratitude Wrap”. Those of us who are Thank You Note impaired appreciate the idea.

Cheerful Little Banners. I made one of these for Sage’s birthday (with his help) and it turned out so sweet. I have a stash of holiday fabric and plan to make more for sharing.

Felted Beads. I could eat these. Okay, not really because they are felt, but they are so yummy and so easy to make!

Bean Bags. One word. Easy. (And sweet. And fun. And kid-friendly if you have helpers at home. But that is more than one word, isn’t it?) I stuff these with a combination of millet (or rice) and dried flowers. Roses, lavender, and mint are all lovely. I can’t find a tutorial, but scroll down to October 15th here to see a lovely example. Really, all you do is cut and sew two rectangles most of the way around, turn, fill, and stitch closed. Ta da! Beanbags. I like to top stitch my edges before I fill mine for a sweet little hem.

Here’s wishing you each a handmade holiday this season.

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